Mike Schaffer

Glassdoor Strategy for Communicators: The Definitive Q&A

By: Mike Schaffer | October 31, 2018 | 
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Glassdoor Strategy Not that long ago, the perception of Glassdoor was a place where employees went to vent frustrations about their employer.

Or, perhaps they were looking for another job at a company they think would be a good fit for them.

Now, these employees were criticizing everything.

From bosses to work-life balance, to the snack bar in the kitchen, the good and the bad, nothing was terribly off-limits.

  • Businesses were struggling with how to process this information.
  • Ostensibly, all of their dirty (and not-so-dirty) laundry was publicly available.
  • Employees felt emboldened by the anonymous nature of the platform, which allowed them to air their grievances.
  • Company leaders felt aggrieved and needed to defend the company’s good name against threats.
  • Job-seekers took the feedback into consideration during the application and interview process.

Communicators were increasingly considering Glassdoor.

So, should you treat it like Wikipedia and leave it alone?

Or figure out an engagement strategy that doesn’t come across as faking positive reviews?

We know that, as communications practitioners, organizations and clients lean on us to guide them through this important, complicated, evolving platform.

For stronger recommendations, I reached out to Amelia Green-Vamos from the corporate communications team at Glassdoor.

Fortunately, she agreed to answer some burning questions.

In the spirit of transparency, Amelia will address many top questions, and then ask the author, Mike Schaffer, some questions she has for communicators.

Let’s begin!

What is Glassdoor?

Question #1: What are some Glassdoor capabilities most companies don’t know about?

Amelia:

  • Glassdoor is a recruiting site first: Glassdoor is one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites.
    • Glassdoor offers millions of the latest job listings, combined with a growing database of company reviews, and much more. Ultimately, it’s built on the foundation of increasing workplace transparency.
    • People come to search and apply to jobs right for them. And in turn, Glassdoor winds up delivering higher quality candidates who are more satisfied in their jobs and stay longer.
  • Glassdoor aims to encourage balanced reviews: Glassdoor is sometimes mistakenly thought of as a rant site.
    • But surprisingly, 73 percent of employees who leave reviews on Glassdoor report they are “ok” or “satisfied” at work.
    • The average company rating is a 3.4 out of 5, meaning their reviews are largely balanced with both pros and cons.
    • And, unlike many other review sites, Glassdoor leverages a ‘give to get’ policy, which research shows acts as a proven mechanism to eliminate bias in reviews.
  • Glassdoor moderates content, including reviews, before it appears on site using a multi-tier moderation process which includes technological and human touch vetting.
    • We do this to ensure the most transparent and valuable information is available to workers and job candidates. All while balancing fairness to employers.
    • If a company has a question about a review, they can contact Glassdoor’s content and community team for help.
    • In addition, employers can respond to any review and offer their perspective, for free.
  • Glassdoor has resources for companies to take an active role in managing their Glassdoor profile and reputation.
    • To start, Glassdoor has an entire website devoted to supporting employers.
    • They can sign up for a Glassdoor Free Employer Account. This allows companies to respond to reviews, showcase company culture, and connect directly with millions of job seekers every month.
    • And it provides access to update your employer profile including:
      • Company description & Mission Statement
      • Basic details
      • Logo
      • Employer verified benefits
      • Photos & awards
      • Company updates

For Excellent Reviews, Be an Excellent Employer

Question #2: How can employers best influence their ratings on Glassdoor? Is the standard practice to ask employees to provide reviews?

Amelia: The short answer is simple. If you want an excellent company rating on Glassdoor, be an excellent employer.

Then, the feedback will show up on Glassdoor and across the web too.

However, we do see common themes among companies with more satisfied workers.

According to a Glassdoor study, the three most important factors affecting employee satisfaction are:

  1. Culture and values
  2. Career opportunities
  3. Senior leadership

Above all, we encourage employers to keep these three factors in mind as they aspire to support their workforce and drive employee engagement.

And Glassdoor for Employers also has resources for learning how to engage with employees to encourage them to share reviews.

Below are a few strategies we recommend:

  • Invite new hires to share their interview experience on Glassdoor during your onboarding process. After 90 days, ask them to write a review reflecting on their employment experience to date.
  • Managers are also a key resource to help encourage team members to write reviews.
  • Invite the entire company to check out the Glassdoor page and submit reviews. Your employees can provide a fresh perspective on what it’s really like to work at your company.

Glassdoor Strategy: Respond to Good and Bad Reviews

Question #3: Should companies respond to reviews, even negative ones?

Amelia: The answer is yes. Responses to a review may be the first thing a candidate sees before the recruitment process starts, or a potential partner or investor sees before a meeting.

How do you demonstrate you’re interested in feedback and are serious about employee satisfaction? By promptly responding to all reviews.

As a result, responding to reviews can be valuable to your employer brand.

You may think a bad review tarnishes the company image. That said, job candidates are more likely to convert to hires after reading reviews outlining the pros and cons of working for your company.

Interestingly, according to Glassdoor data, 62 percent say their perception of a company improves after seeing the company respond to a review.

Glassdoor Strategy: Base Career Decisions on Reviews

Question #4: When candidates are making career decisions, how much weight should they give to Glassdoor feedback and ratings?

Amelia: Choosing a job is a very important decision and a very personal one impacting one’s lifestyle as a whole.

We encourage job seekers to use this information. That, along with their previous employer experience, will help them to make an informed decision about whether the company and job are right for them.

According to Glassdoor data, the majority of job seekers read at least six reviews before forming an opinion of an employer.

By gathering as much data and information as possible, and asking thoughtful questions throughout the interview process, this helps ensure job seekers have the necessary information to make a decision.

Glassdoor Strategy: A Two-way Dialogue

Question #5: Do employees or reviewers appreciate a two-way dialogue with companies?

Amelia: Glassdoor was built on the foundation of increasing workplace transparency for employees and employers.

Hence, this transparency has a positive effect for both parties by allowing a two-way dialogue.

Not only does this bring areas for improvement to the attention of an employer, but also gives employers the opportunity to share their perspective.

Additionally, 74 percent of Glassdoor users are more likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment).

Thank you, Amelia!

Now, she’ll ask the questions, and the author, Mike Schaffer, will answer them.

Do Job Candidates Mention Glassdoor in Interviews?

Question #1: According to your clients, what percentage of job candidates mention Glassdoor during the interview process?

Mike: That’s a great question. I haven’t heard any client mention a specific number of applicants mentioning any one channel, but Glassdoor is a priority for organizations invested in building a positive corporate reputation.

For years, the Edelman Trust Barometer has shown the importance of employees as one of the most trusted external voices of an organization.

Consequently, we are seeing an obvious link between a strong employer brand and a strong talent pipeline.

Are Communicators Thinking About Glassdoor?

Question #2: How are communicators thinking about Glassdoor in terms of strategy? (Reputation? Hiring? Where does it fit in?)

Mike: One of the absolute strengths of your platform is it combines internal communications, external communications, social media/digital, marketing, HR, talent acquisition, and even IT with some of the badges and integrations.

But the downside to that strength is “ownership” of Glassdoor becomes a jump-ball. In many companies, those functions range from living under one executive to being splintered around a large organization.

And most companies I speak to see it as a major tool in talent acquisition and brand reputation.

We all know candidates are going there as part of their research into potential opportunities. We know strong ratings are important.

However, it is unlikely to get the same day-to-day attention as social networks or newsrooms right now.

Therefore, in many sectors and markets, we see a growing war for talent.

Now, the asks from clients about Glassdoor are coming in more frequently than ever before.

Glassdoor Strategy: Common Questions About Glassdoor

Question #3: What are some common questions or areas of confusion for clients or communicators in regards to Glassdoor?

Mike: I think the biggest confusion goes back to the previous answer where the management of Glassdoor should live within an organization.

Your point that it is a recruiting platform first is well-taken and should hopefully clear some of that confusion.

Similarly, another question we hear from clients is who within an organization is the right person to respond to reviews and feedback.

There are some CEOs who want to take on that role to directly address concerns. And there are some companies that want to have their feedback come anonymously.

For example, I love what my agency does. Our Executive Director of U.S. Human Resources, Maria O’Keeffe, signs her responses. She addresses the good and bad head-on and as transparently as possible in a public forum.

And finally, I think we all struggle with the awkwardness of asking people to leave reviews.

Certainly, transparency requires authenticity. But, Newton’s First Law says employees not currently leaving reviews on Glassdoor are unlikely to start without an impetus.

Personally, I prefer a hands-off approach.  And there are many professionals, whom I respect deeply, who take the other position.

Glassdoor Strategy: What Communicators Want to Know

Question #4: What do communicators wish they knew regarding Glassdoor?

Mike: More precisely, how much juice do you need to squeeze?

Above all, I think anyone managing the company’s Glassdoor presence knows how much time to invest in the page.

Similarly, I can’t imagine an employer (outside of Glassdoor itself!) where the page is their full-time and sole responsibility.

So, depending on where it lives in the org chart, it could be run by a recruiter, HR executive, entry-level social media community manager, or corporate communications director.

Understandably, they all likely wear many hats. Knowing how to optimize their Glassdoor time to have the biggest impact on the investment – as part of the giant puzzle of their job – would be high on the list.

Glassdoor Strategy: Key Takeaway

Thanks to Amelia for answering (and asking) some tough questions.

My key takeaway? Some form of communicator or marketer at every organization may run Glassdoor, but the feedback must go beyond a communications team.

And as Amelia said, “If you want an excellent company rating on Glassdoor, be an excellent employer.”

Because Glassdoor isn’t clear, it’s a mirror.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

About Mike Schaffer


Mike Schaffer is Edelman's Senior Vice President of Digital Corporate Reputation. He provides advisory services on external and internal communications for clients across sectors. Unsurprising to those that know him, he is a retired Bar Mitzvah DJ.

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