What to do about Negative Reviews on Company Review Sites

By now, you should be pretty familiar with company review sites. There’s Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably, Great Place to Work, FairyGodBoss…sound familiar? (If not, check out our post about employer review sites). If you’re familiar with the places where people can share with others what its like to work for you, you may already know what’s being said about your business. Is it all positive? Does a low overall score of your business on company review sites bother you? Or is there a specific comment that you just can’t shake?

The Problem with Crowdsourcing on Company Review Sites

In this day and age, you don’t have to look far before you run into someone’s opinion about something–anything! The wide use of the internet and the frequency of free publishing platforms use allows and encourages everyone around the world to give their two cents. This is great for a lot of reasons. Whether you’re considering buying a new mattress, doing an activity on vacation, or deciding who to do business with, you’re able to make a more well-informed decision. An open platform for discussing opinions and experiences allows for an easy to use, post, and research just about anything.

But, with the simplification of ability to share comes a few issues.

Issue has not been resolved…yet.

Sometimes people are heated in the moment or are in the middle of an issue and share their frustration before the situation can be addressed with whomever or whatever caused the problem. While you could be working up a plan to have someone promoted behind the scenes, they’re beginning to write a fuming review of your business, complaining that there’s no room for growth.

There’s no vetting

Are we really sure that the person who left the negative online review of your business had an issue with the service? It could be anyone! There’s no paperwork needed to prove that the person creating the review is a former employee of yours. They just need an email address to log in. If a former employee was fired and angry about it, they could create multiple accounts, create negative reviews on company review sites, and tarnish your reputation.

Sometimes, they’re just wrong

I know, I know. No opinions are wrong. But what we find with online reviews, from Yelp, Tripadvisor, Amazon, company review sites–anywhere where someone can share their feedback–is that some people are answering the wrong question entirely.

Our Experience with Negative Reviews on Company Review Sites

Our answering service prides itself on our customer service and the way we treat our employees like family. Thankfully, we have an overall average that reflects the amount of care and effort we put into building a solid team. Employees have said some really great things!

via Indeed

via Indeed

via Indeed

Nevertheless, we were surprised to see that we had any negative reviews on company review sites. What went wrong? Was it something we could fix?

Answering the wrong question

As I mentioned before, the issue with an open source for sharing experiences is that people aren’t always sure what question they’re answering. There are some negative reviews in which this was the case for our business on company review sites. For example:

via Indeed

via Indeed

Both of these comments within reviews make it clear that their rating has less to do with the company they worked for and more to do with whether or not they prefer to work from home.

Working from home isn’t for everyone. It’s hard to stay disciplined, stay productive, and it’s difficult to separate home life from work life. It’s not quite fair to rate a company based on whether or not the office type was right for you. Company review sites also aren’t asking whether or not the specific industry is a good fit for you, so saying you don’t like answering the phone for an answering service really isn’t relevant.

Issues that need to be addressed

Not all of the comments made in the negative reviews on company review sites were irrelevant. Some were valid concerns. You may find this is the case for your small business as well.

What to do about negative reviews on company review sites

As you can see, we have positive and negative feedback brought to our attention through these company review sites. Now that we have this information, what’s next?

You see, company review sites don’t just help potential employees make decisions about who they would like to work for. They can also give you otherwise-unknown insight about your company from an employee’s perspective. You can improve your leadership skills and better manage your business with this new insight.

Use the following tips to use the information gained through company review sites to improve your small business.

Don’t take it too personally

Not all star averages are on the higher end, like ours. When you see a quantitative score that’s on the lower end, it’s easy to feel disappointed or like you’re failing your employees or your business. You’re not! Less attention should be paid to the score. Put more emphasis on the comments that are said. You can do more about that than the average rating.

Take note of the comments

Especially ones that are repeated! If there are several reviewers who have had the same issue working for your business, it may be a bigger problem than you realize.

Is there a certain team member that many of the reviewers don’t seem to get along with? Is there a certain protocol that is stifling to production? Pay attention to what is said and make a decision whether or not this is something you would like to improve upon for the sake of your current employees. If there are multiple places in need of improvement, create a list.

Approach your leadership team

Management needs to get on board with you if you’re willing and ready to implement some changes within your organization as a result of these company review sites. Tell them you’re looking to make some adjustments. They should be ready and willing to switch gears and adjust.

There also may be comments about specific leaders, instances with leaders, or toxic employees. You’ll need to check with them for input on these comments and receive a different point of view.

Brainstorm solutions

Now that you’ve got your management team on board, look for ways in which you can improve upon the issues raised in the comments. Do you need to restructure your organization? Is someone’s management style not working? Do you need more structure? Less? An incentive program? An employee write up at work?

Not all problems need solutions

Just because one way of managing your employees is disliked by a couple of former employees doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Not everything is going to work well for everyone, and that’s okay.

Implement solutions

Once you’ve decided on what to do about the negative review, implement the solution as soon as possible. Create specific goals and a method of accountability so that things will not regress to the way they were.

Ask for feedback regularly

Speak with your employees! You should be having frequent one-on-ones with your team, or at very least a performance review. When engaging with someone about the status of their work, it’s appropriate to ask if they feel as if they need anything different from management.

If you’re frequently checking in with your employees, you’ll already be aware of some of the areas of improvement. You’ll be able to sleep soundly knowing that you’re doing your best to create a place where someone loves to start work every day.

Encourage current employees to review your business

At this point, current employees should be able to see the effort you’re putting in to create a positive work environment. Issues they may have had in common with posters to company review sites have been addressed. You’ve been engaging with them and asking for their feedback. It’s likely that they already have some positive things to say about your business and management style!

Don’t be afraid to ask your team to add their input to company review sites. Let them know that in the future you would like to be able to grow the business. You’ll quiet the negative online reviews by outnumbering them with positive reviews.

Don’t stop there

Reach out to previous employees who you’ve maintained a relationship with, and ask them if they’d also be willing to write a review of your business on one of these company review sites.

Responding to negative reviews on company review sites

You’ve now gotten your team on board, have found solutions to address problems within your small business, and implemented strategies to move forward. There’s just one problem: the negative reviews are still on company review sites. You’ll have to address that as well. A few tips:

  1. Thank them for their feedback and for the time they spent as an employee. Gratitude is always a good way to start.
  2. Share the changes you’ve made to address this issue, or…
  3. Let them know the purpose behind the source of contention. Tell them why what they see as an issue is the right choice for your business.
  4. Talk from a values standpoint. Here’s your opportunity to speak about what matters to your small business. Some people may believe that businesses make all of their choices out of greed or they don’t think of the person’s best interest. You can let them know that a disliked protocol is for the sake of the entire staff being held to the same standards, for example. Fairness over profit.
  5. Keep it brief. If you have a very lengthy response, it can reflect negatively on you and your business. You’re here to do damage control. Don’t forget.
  6. Encourage them to share more with you, one-on-one, about ways in which you could build a better business.

Don’t just respond to negative reviews!

Respond to other reviews as you see fit. CEOs in companies big and small are showing that even the person at the top of the corporate ladder should be personable and grateful toward staff members. Find examples of CEOs responding to reviews on Glassdoor.

Apply this to your small business

When you have negative reviews on company review sites, don’t fret. Just do the following:

  1. Don’t take it personally.
  2. Take note of what is said, especially complaints made by more than one poster.
  3. Speak to your leadership team about your willingness to address the issues within the negative reviews on company review sites.
  4. Brainstorm solutions with the leadership team. Decide how to fix things so that your current employees don’t have the same complaints.
  5. Implement those solutions. Once you know what to do, do it! And hold everyone accountable for follow through.
  6. Ask for feedback regularly. Not just about this specific issue, but in general. You should always have a good idea about how your employees experience working for you and ways in which you can improve that experience.

Now, try this: