How to Deal with Bad Glassdoor Reviews as an Executive

Are you unsure of how to deal with employees leaving bad reviews? Here, we discuss how you can navigate the situation as an opportunity, rather than a threat. 

Have you noticed a bad glassdoor review about your company? Maybe it feels like an attack. The company you have worked so hard to build is being criticized. It might feel challenging not to take this personally. You might be embarrassed or angry and want to protect your business from public scrutiny. 

We understand that a bad glassdoor review can create stress, especially if you are already struggling to retain employees or have no idea what to do about your company’s work culture. Glassdoor is a place potential employees might try to find out what it’s like to work for you. So it can feel like not having a pristine reputation is going to hold you back.

The way you choose to respond to a bad glassdoor review is important. If you choose to see a bad review as a gift instead of an attack, it can create opportunities for your company. 

We’ve seen firsthand how choosing to see a threat as a gift can transform a company. One of our clients has had many bad glassdoor reviews. They could not retain employees. Instead of being defeated by this, they decided to ask more questions, listen to their employees, and work with their employees to improve the work culture. Now they have a 95% employee retention rate.

You don’t have to let a bad glassdoor review be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for your company. Here, we’ll discuss three steps for dealing with a bad glassdoor review:

  • Don’t try to average out the bad review with lots of (forced) positive reviews;
  • See the bad review as an opportunity for the company; 
  • Develop (or refine) exit interviews for employees. 

The most important takeaway from these steps is the way a bad glassdoor review is perceived. Yes, it is important to acknowledge it. But it is first and foremost a catalyst for learning and evolution - if you choose it to be.

1. Don’t Create Fake Reviews in Response

Your immediate response to a bad glassdoor review might be to get several people from your company to create their own positive reviews. You might think I’ll have my three favorite employees go write a review. Or I’ll write a review myself. There are even plenty of companies online you can pay to create new, positive reviews for your company. This might be the first approach that comes to mind, especially if you feel embarrassed or upset about the review. It is perfectly normal to want to hide the bad review under good reviews. 

But we don’t suggest taking this approach. The worst thing you can do is try to average your results away by flooding your glassdoor page with positive reviews.

Creating any kind of a false response will be apparent to people who read reviews. If you have one bad review and then have five more positive reviews right after it singing the praises of your company, people will feel like something is off. People are smart. They can figure it out and determine if a review has been manufactured. And then you’ll immediately lose their trust.

Attempts to conceal the bad reviews with good ones then make the bad reviews look even worse. Not only do you have the bad reviews, but now people can tell you’re trying to hide something. This is not a great start for building a relationship with a potential employee.

2. Acknowledge the Opportunities the Bad Review Creates

Instead of it being an attack on your business, look at bad glassdoor reviews as a gift. And acknowledge the gift. 

There is a way of looking at a bad review and the person who made it as a threat. Or maybe you think they are just trying to be mean. Maybe you want to respond aggressively and attack them back.

But you can take a completely different approach. You can say, “Thank you. I appreciate your courage for being able to put that out in front of the world.” You don’t need to deny what was said. You can be grateful that this information has now come to light so you can look at it and address it. 

You now have one data point (if there’s just one bad review). You might have fifty other great reviews. So you might not have to worry about that one bad review as much. However, every time somebody gives you a bad review, there is something that's true about it. Even in one bad review, there is truth. And it is worth examining. But the more bad review data points you have, the more you need to examine.

And, if you have one bad review out there, you've got many other employees in your workforce that share the same story as the reviewer. But they're not quitting. They're not leaving. They're waiting. Some people might wait for twenty years - or even their entire careers - but that doesn’t mean their experience at the company is positive. It just means that they are too scared to leave

So you can take the bad review, the gift, back to your team. Acknowledge it within the company and ask, “What does this mean?” “How can we learn from this?” “What can we do?” “What actions can we take?”

Even if you don’t have an immediate plan to address the complaints made in the review, it is important to acknowledge it. If you ignore it as an executive member of the company, everyone else will ignore it, and nothing will change. If you address it, there is now potential to invent solutions. So what you do in this situation will begin to shape your culture.

If they hadn't written the review, there is no opportunity to create a better work culture. Don't pass up this free gift. And this free gift is somebody really took their time to write a bad review, so acknowledge it.

3. Create an Exit Interview Strategy for Employees to Voice Concerns

If someone leaves a bad glassdoor review, they could have wanted a space to voice their concerns. Maybe they didn’t feel they were treated right and felt the need to validate their experience by posting it online. There are many reasons why someone leaves a bad review as a former employee. Just because you might have a different story about your company, doesn’t mean their story about what happened isn’t true for them.

This is where exit interviews can be helpful. You can even incentivize people to have an exit interview before they leave so you have a better understanding of why they made the decision.

An exit interview can open a dialogue to allow the employee to express why they are leaving and what problems they may have had with the company that caused them to leave. In an exit interview, there is an opportunity for a conversation about what is causing the employee to leave. This conversation can allow you to see issues you might have no idea about otherwise. And this information can be valuable in shaping and refining your company’s culture.

You can listen to them and address their concerns, so they feel respected. Go into the interview just wanting to gain more understanding. Don’t try to convince them that they are wrong or that their experience is not valid. Just listen to what they have to say. Notice their observations about what it’s like to work for your company.

This can create a space where they feel heard and don’t feel the need to air their grievances on glassdoor. But curbing bad reviews should not be the intent of the interview. The most important thing is learning about how this person views working for your company and what could have been done to make their experience better.

If you do already have exit interviews in place and you are still getting bad glassdoor reviews, consider that maybe a space is not currently being created where employees feel welcome to express how they really feel. 

Bad Glassdoor Reviews Can Help Your Company

If you have received one (or many) bad glassdoor reviews, it might make you feel like you want to fight back. You want to protect your company and its reputation. How could this possibly be helpful?

Bad glassdoor reviews can allow you to see someone else’s perspective of your company. Even if there is only one bad review, there is still truth to that person’s experience. And, if one person felt that way and decided to quit, there are likely others who have a similar story but just aren’t saying anything.

You can use a bad review as an opportunity to create a more positive work environment for your employees. Don’t use it to instill fear in your workforce. If someone leaves a bad review don’t punish the people who stick around. Use the gift of the bad review to shape your work culture into something that works for everyone. 

If you feel like you could use some help with turning your work culture around, we are here for you. Use the button below to fill out a form for a business consultation. We look forward to seeing what’s possible for your company.