I’ve always been something of a fan of Glassdoor – the anonymous employee review website (or should I say employer review website? you know what it is – employees review their employers, that way round). From the outset it seemed like a good thing that if you were thinking about working somewhere you should be able to get an insight from people already there about what the job was like.
Naturally you had to accept that not everyone will love their job at even the best and most well-intentioned of employers, but I always thought that the truth will out in the end. If an employer is genuinely good, then there will eventually be more believable and constructive positive reviews than bad. And conversely if an employer genuinely stinks, then no matter how much the employer tries to paper over the cracks by getting friends or senior staff to write good reviews, there will be enough upset people to tell the true story of what is going on.
And I think in the most part, that is exactly what happens. When I review a company on Glassdoor I always take the time to read a lot of reviews, in date order, carefully and piece together the genuine common threads. the truth does out I think.
But the one place I missed the point and failed was in responding to reviews. Now, I’ve changed that.
Glassdoor has always allowed employers to respond to reviews. It’s not quite a conversation (maybe to stop an argument) – an employee can write one review and an employer gets one opportunity to respond.
But in the past I misunderstood and thought that employers should only respond to negative reviews, and that that was hard because good practice and the Glassdoor guidelines mean you can’t directly challenge or contradict what someone has said and it can be hard to find the words to say that you don’t agree with someone without looking like an ass!
I did try for a little while to persuade Chris Gannon, Director of Talent that responding to reviews was his job., After all, wasn’t Glassdoor a recruitment website and he is in charge of recruitment?
But, after some “encouragement” by a couple of my team, I now get the picture much better.
The mistake I was making with Glassdoor was to think it was a recruitment website. But now I realize it has much more to offer. Glassdoor is actually more important as a communications channel between your people and your leadership. Forget about the people that you might recruit in the future, the most important people to connect with are the people you have already hired, who you’re already paying and who you’re already relying on you make your business successful. Understanding how they feel about work, about decisions the company has made and about things that are going on now is most important.
So the priority on Glassdoor isn’t about rebutting negative reviews – thats a small part of what you’ll handle as a Glassdoor engaged employer. The real priority is engaging with your people now, listening to them, fixing things they tell you that are wrong and helping to re-explain or re-communicate things that they haven’t understood.
So that’s why last week I committed to responding to every Glassdoor review personally within 24 hours of it being published.
So I’m going to work really hard with my Leadership Team on being a Glassdoor Open Employer. I’ve set up my email rules so that I get a notification on my Apple Watch whenever we get a Glassdoor review and I know when I get one that the priority is to respond to that person as an individual – a person on my team that we need to listen to, understand and work with to make Reward Gateway a great place to work.
As part of my new commitment to the openness and transparency that Glassdoor helps you to deliver, I’ve been writing up everything I’ve learned in a new “Comprehensive Guide to Glassdoor for CEOs”. It’s nearly finished and if anyone reading would like an early copy please message me on Twitter, Linked In or send me an email andI’ll send you a copy.