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How to Protect Your Employer Brand on Glassdoor

A woman looking at her phone while sitting at a table.

​Glassdoor bills itself as one of the world's largest jobs and recruiting websites, but among job seekers, it's the place to get "the real scoop" about what it's like to work at various companies, from behemoths like Amazon to privately owned small businesses. With 67 million unique monthly visitors, Glassdoor is a site that recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers can't afford to overlook as they seek to attract and hire top talent.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Recruiting Internally and Externally]

Sharing the Brutal Truth, at Least as Employees See It

What if a reviewer said this about your company on Glassdoor?

"I and several of my colleagues were bullied by an executive to the point that we all left the company, and HR turned a blind eye."

Or "This company is about to lay off all of its developers. Do not apply for a job here!"

These aren't the type of comments that any organization would want in front of prospective customers or employees. Unfortunately, though, even some of the most highly regarded companies have faced negative Glassdoor reviews written by current and former employees.

The veracity of such negative comments is irrelevant in cyberspace. Truth is in the eye of the beholder. Whether the employees have an ax to grind, are "difficult" or are really telling it like it is, their comments can impact the likelihood that potential employees will apply for or accept jobs with your company.

Developing Thick Skin

No matter how well-regarded your company is or how big the brand, you will inevitably have to deal with negative reviews. Transparency is important in the social media environment; the world is watching, especially when the comments are negative.

Krishna Powell, CEO of HR 4 Your Small Biz, an HR consulting and talent development firm in Cherry Hill, N.J., encourages employers to consider reviews on Glassdoor as feedback, which, she said, "is a gift in the hands of wise leaders." Information attained here "can be used to do better, do different or do more of what is right."

Powell said she always responds to Glassdoor comments by thanking reviewers for their feedback, telling them that their concern will be evaluated and asking for a confidential, in-person conversation.

It's important to respond to positive comments, as well. Powell invites these reviewers to "tell the world why they should work here by sharing feedback on Glassdoor, and they usually do." She continued, "This now means I can potentially have more good than bad reviews posted on Glassdoor."

Her advice to company leaders: Don't take the review personally, and don't obsess about who you think wrote it. Instead, focus on what was said, why it was said, and how to change the situation or perception.

When to Take Swift Action

While being transparent even in the face of scathing criticism is important, when comments are false or misleading, seeking their removal can be wise.

Michael Elkins, an attorney with MLE Law, a full-service labor and employment/business law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said he has had some success in doing this. He recommends having employees sign confidentiality agreements when they are hired. Then, if they later share negative information online, they may be in violation of the confidentiality agreement.

"In my experience, a strong letter to the employee reminding them of their confidentiality obligations, sending them a copy of their agreement and asserting the potential legal claims going forward may result in the employee removing the offending review," Elkins said.

Even employers without confidentiality agreements can take action when posts are potentially defamatory, he said. When employee comments rise beyond opinion and reflect false statements about the company, that may be grounds for a defamation claim. He suggests first sending a strong letter to the employee, which may cause the employee to remove the offending review.

Manage Your Brand

Having your own site on Glassdoor is a best practice recommended by Dan Krupansky, a talent acquisition manager with PrimePay, a nationwide payroll, time clock and HR solutions provider based in West Chester, Pa. This provides visitors with "a sense of your culture, work/life balance and the benefits of working for your company," he said. Krupansky encourages employees to post their thoughts and feelings about working for PrimePay on Glassdoor—it's entirely voluntary, he says, and the company values employee feedback on this channel.

Karen Niovitch Davis, partner and CHRO at Prosek Partners, recommended that companies "post a steady cadence of relevant content to [their] Glassdoor page, such as award recognitions, culture events and exciting new-hire announcements." This can help to get the attention of job seekers.

In a tight labor market, it pays to be aware of what your employees are saying about your company. Glassdoor provides a ready-made opportunity to do just that and can be a key part of any company's recruitment strategy if feedback is managed wisely and well.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a freelance writer in Chippewa Falls, Wis.


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