Employer branding can make or break your recruitment strategy. The company branding itself can be widely contingent upon social media presence and the reviews that past and present employees give you online. Before inking a new job offer, one-in-five candidates surf the internet to gauge a company’s public perception, and if the culture doesn’t look promising, they decline. That’s why internet sites like Glassdoor are so pertinent to positive employer branding and how companies are being portrayed online – they either deter or attract talent. 

Glassdoor can be a place where glowing reviews contribute to the sterling reputation of a major brand or company. Glassdoor can be the place employer branding efforts are happily reflected. Glassdoor can also be a platform that carries the scathing perspectives of an employee’s experience at their previous workplace. HR professionals have a hard time biting their tongue when it comes to the practice of a Glassdoor review process. Now, people leaders are also giving their rating of the famous site that created their method of ranking the best places to work in the world. 

HR and Glassdoor might have a love-hate relationship (okay – a little less love, a bit more hate), but they need to find a way to coexist. Both HR and Glassdoor need to provide people with credible reviews that will help place employees at the companies that will their best fit. So, what are the issues that the global HR community has with Glassdoor, and what can people leaders do to better their workplace’s chances with this review platform? 

Termination tirades are a known issue

Being fired isn’t ideal, regardless of circumstance. However, those who are terminated might feel a sting of betrayal following their meeting of detriment. Understandably terminated employees probably have a few thoughts and feelings they wish they would have shared with HR or management. Employees who leave on a bad note are known to log into the Glassdoor site and leave a negative, anonymous subjective review that HR can’t control. These reviews have an impact on your employer branding and reputation, not to mention the star rating you receive on the Glassdoor site. Glassdoor is able to build review categories that are more objective and less affected by disgruntled employees.

*HR leaders can do more than just prioritizing the onboarding process for new hires. They can improve their offboarding process, especially for situations where they let people go.
HR leaders can show people that were terminated that they still care about them if they cater to the tiniest of details of the separation process. Relevant offboarding programs can include severance packages or even just willingness to be a future reference.

Saying a proper goodbye is the right thing to do.

Reviews can be a recruitment drawback

Bad reviews or low-star ratings can deter job candidates from joining your company. Since one of HR’s core functions is to sign top talent having bad reviews is a setback we want to avoid. Bad reviews between colleagues can even affect current employees from staying long term at a company. In fact, 65% of job seekers aged 18-44 look at Glassdoor reviews when deciding to accept a job offer and sign at a new company. Review sites and social pages that collect ratings (like Facebook) are more important than one would think. 

*HR leaders can optimize their online presence to combat any negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor. By tending to social media and uploading or posting relevant information daily, a brand or company image can be boosted with visual imagery and showcased PR coverage. People want to work for a company with a warm and fun reputation they can experience themselves online before signing a contract. 

Fake news? Real companies

It’s just as easy to draft a fake good review as it is a bad one, but no one at Glassdoor currently assesses the authenticity of posts. No validation can make a misleading mess for the recruitment and retention strategies that HR implements. There are several concerns about large companies ending up on the site’s “Best Places to Work” list, due to rave reviews that were embellished or re-posted multiple times. 

It’s difficult to police fake-news, but how can you trust the participants on Glassdoor’s annual list if it is based on fake reviews. We need to believe the top contenders are authentic and not just up there based on reviews  “branding” strategy. Fake news on Glassdoor should be rivaled, but where do we start? Fake good reviews can be identified, and ruin credibility just as bad reviews do.

*HR leaders can advocate for transparency and open communication within their culture, and that has the potential to translate online. Whether it is positive or negative, responding to reviews, and giving honest feedback has the power to make your people feel empowered and heard. A company representative (preferably the CEO) responding to reviews will motivate employees past or present to be more honest in their online reviews.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join them

Eventually, we’ll reach a point where HR and Glassdoor can see eye to eye… at least in terms of practice. For now, HR professionals can do their very best to motivate their people to give honest reviews and be open when employed at the company. Most important, HR must not ignore bad or fake reviews instead, reply to them, comment on them, and make sure the information is transparent. When management responds to bad reviews on Glassdoor, the company is seen as authentic and real. 

Maintaining a strong company culture that centers on authentic feedback will help combat the prospect of bad reviews on Glassdoor. People leaders of all types will be able to implement and execute policies that are reinforced with a genuinely strong employer brand. 


From Stephanie Stevens

Stephanie is Content Marketer at Hibob. She has a background in Clinical Psychology and Crisis Management, and enjoys abstract painting and watching horror films in her spare time. She believes that people can connect with themselves, their peers, and the world around them through creative writing, helping them foster a deeper sense of self and their life goals in the process.