Crisis Management: When Glassdoor Goes Bad

Sometimes businesses have bad days. Negative impressions caused by poor management, unfortunate policies, or something outside of your control, can lead disgruntled current and former employees to want to share their experiences with the world.

When those experiences take the shape of negative reviews on sites as high-profile as Glassdoor, companies can’t waste any time and must swiftly move to damage control. Here are our tips for effective, long-lasting resolutions, garnered from years spent helping hundreds of companies manage their online reputations.

Table of Contents

1. Who’s on first?

The first thing you need to do is determine who will monitor Glassdoor and respond to all reviews. Ideally, you make this call before you have negative feedback darkening your door, but if the conversation happens afterwards that’s fine, just so long as it happens.

You want someone to have this task specifically on their radar for two reasons:

  1. This ensures that all reviews are seen.
  2. You aren’t scrambling to find someone to respond when things go south but can address all reviews quickly and calmly. You don’t want to rush, but you also don’t want to leave negative reviews languishing for days with no response.

When choosing someone, remember that how you respond shows how open you are to feedback and how seriously you’re treating the situation. You may decide to have tiers of reviewers, perhaps even bringing in your executive leadership to respond to certain reviews. Whatever your decision, make sure the people involved understand their role and can execute all tasks efficiently.

Bonus tip: While this post is focused on managing the fallout from negative reviews, we do think it’s worth responding to positive reviews as well. After all, anyone who gives you a five star rating is really helping you out, and that deserves at least a thank-you.

2. Always start with “thank-you”

You might not feel like thanking someone for calling out perceived flaws, but starting this way sets the tone for the rest of your message – a tone that should be calm, reasonable, and open to improvement. While you have no idea who will read your response in the future, assume that it will be seen by current employees, prospective employees, customers, and investors. What message do you want to send to them?

A simple “thank-you for sharing your time and feedback,” goes a long way to showing that you treat others and their opinions with respect.

3. Be specific

The more precise you can be in addressing the concerns raised in the review, the better. This not only shows that you’re taking the review seriously, but allows you to tell anyone else who reads the review how your company has improved/is improving. In other words, this is your chance to turn the negative review into a positive look into your business.

If the person leaving the review didn’t make any specific statements, write and say that you’d like more details so that you can be sure your company becomes the company you want it to be. You can always ask the person to call HR and discuss things further.

You only get one chance to leave a response – Glassdoor comments aren’t designed for back-and-forth chatting – so make it count.

4. Be genuine

The last thing you want is for your response to sound scripted. While you might have a certain template you loosely follow, make sure that every response sounds authentic and genuine. If you aren’t sure how you are coming across, have someone else read your response, or read it aloud. Does it sound like you? Or does it sound like a robot who doesn’t care?

This is also a good time to mention that you need to be sure that your response is well-written and grammatically correct. Messing up here is not going to win you any points.

5. Encourage current employees to speak up

This is a great way to keep your page up to date and allow prospective employees, and anyone else perusing the company, to get a current look into your workplace. Make sure employees know that you value honest feedback, and don’t hound them for reviews. You can ask/remind people to leave reviews a few times throughout the year, perhaps after certain milestones – 90 days of employment – or around certain events – annual conferences.

Every individual is allowed one review, per employer, per year, per review type. If someone chooses to update a review within a year, the original review will be archived and the most recent will be displayed.

6. Record all comments

Keeping a record of your reviews – positive and negative – gives you a way to monitor yourself. If reviewers are consistently complaining about the same things, something really needs to change, and you need to know. This would also be a good time to talk with current employees and get their feedback.

On the flip side, you can also discover that things you love – such as your positive culture or great mentoring – are recognized and loved by others. Good! Keep it up. 

7. Flag inappropriate reviews

While most negative reviews are there to stay and need to be addressed, if the content of a review falls outside of Glassdoor’s content guidelines or terms of use, you can flag it. A second-tier moderator will take a look and, if they agree with your call, the review will be removed. As the flagger, you’ll be notified as to the moderator’s decision either way.

There are a number of reasons a review might be inappropriate. They include:

  • The use of profanity
  • Threats of violence
  • Reviews that reveal confidential information
  • Reviews for products or services rather than for the company
  • Reviews that endorse illegal activities

Online Brand Reputation Management

It isn’t easy managing an online reputation. Sometimes you really need a team of experts on your side, people who have the experience to know what to do and when, while also knowing how to listen to and work with your specific needs and goals. If you want to talk to us about your unique situation, we’re just a meeting away.

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