Consumers are increasingly seeking more transparency from companies about their products, services, operations and employment practices. The evolution of the social Web has triggered and perpetuated a growing demand from consumers for greater transparency. The growth of social media has empowered them to directly engage, question and critique brands on a global scale. Customers are leveraging social platforms to provide feedback about products and services through conversation-based engagement on company pages.
Likewise, consumers have used blog commenting to spark similar dialogue with C-level executives. And now, employers are being forced to evaluate how they should handle a growing line of social-enabled technologies that encourage, and even incentivize, employees to candidly share information about their employer’s operations and employment practices.
You might ask yourself, what are the platforms that I need to be aware of?
Glassdoor, Indeed, CareerBliss, TheJobCrowd and Vault are a few of the more widely known employee review websites that allow endusers to voluntarily post anonymous reviews about their current and past employers. A few of these sites offer endusers some level of membership access in exchange for contributing an anonymous review.
However other sites out like Company Connector, provide job seekers with an even deeper level of access to company insiders. These job seekers can directly exchange messages anonymously with employer insiders about company culture and other valuable information. Based upon the amount and quality of the information that they anonymously share, employees can earn karma points that they can then redeem to access insider information about other companies
And, InsideLook even monetarily incentivizes people to write reviews about companies where they have worked. InsideLook pays contributors $5.00 for each review (a maximum of three) that they anonymously post. In addition, contributors are allowed to set the sales price for each their reviews, which are then sold on InsideLook to anyone who wants to read them. Contributors get 75 percent of the revenue on each sale of their reviews.
Should I even be concerned with the influence of these employee review websites?
Yes! Job seekers are progressively using employee review websites as a resource for learning about prospective employers. Last year, Software Advice Inc., Gartner Inc.’s software consulting company, found that 48 percent of job seekers use GlassDoor during their job search. Job seekers highly value the objective reviews that are submitted about employers by both company insiders and former employees. Users are able to glean unique information about an organization’s job opportunities, typical salary structures and workplace environment.
More and more, users have also come to rely on annual industry rankings that some of these sites now publish. One of the more popular reports is GlassDoor’s “Top Universities to Work For” list, which is based directly on employee feedback.
Hence, your employees’ level of participation and candor on these sites can impact how your organization is ranked on such industry lists.
Does my participation on employee review websites leave my organization at risk of having its brand damaged?
The job search process is intrinsically social. Job seekers have come to expect that employers will now participate in a two-way dialogue with them through digital social networking tools. Up until recently, most brands were still fearful of, and slow to adopt, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. A 2013 Codegent’s Twilert reported that “81 percent of businesses think that social media can harm a company’s reputation if not used properly.”
Gradually, businesses began to realize that the benefits of using social media platforms to market their brands far outweigh the risks. The most effective social brands consistently plan and execute initiatives to participate in conversation-based engagement with customers and prospects on these platforms.
In a similar fashion, the proliferation of employee review websites, and their popularity among job seekers, is forcing employers to take inventory of what is being written about them. Moreover, employers are feeling compelled to contribute content and participate in the dialogue on these websites. Forward-thinking enterprises are now bound to overcome their fear of these websites, and get more involved in these conversations. Sites like GlassDoor offer organizations the opportunity to directly message job seekers who are researching them through its employer account product.
How can my organization stand to benefit from employee review websites?
These websites furnish organizations with valuable insights from insiders that reveal their impressions of their employers’ work environment. These can sometimes come in the form of negative reviews. However, you should not necessarily be scared of bad reviews. In 2013 Revoo reported that when endusers see no bad review reviews under a company profile, 95 percent of them suspect that the profile has either been censored or populated with fake reviews.
Bad reviews can serve as an opportunity for your organization to publicly demonstrate how it processes constructive criticism. In fact, organizations can positively change a job candidate’s perception of their brand by responding to negative reviews. In its “Don’t Fear the Review” eBook, GlassDoor reported that 69 percent of job candidates said “their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.”
The same eBook also shared research that found 94 percent of job candidates “are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages their employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment).”
In addition, negative feedback can serve as a catalyst for your organization to proactively address its problem areas and make necessary improvements.
In summary, if you enthusiastically adopt social-enabled technologies that cultivate a culture of transparency and openness, you will build more credibility in the eyes of job seekers. Moreover, you will likely inspire your current employees to serve as brand ambassadors for your organization.