It feels nice to hear positive things about your company. But as many have said, you cannot please everybody. No organization is immune to the bad reviews posted online that may wreak havoc. The thing gets even more complicated because it turns out that the negative reviews are written by one of your own employees! What should a good leader do in this situation?
It is easy to see your company as the innocent victim in such a case. There is, however, a good reason why your employee is driven to post a negative review about the very place they work. Many employees who write negative reviews feel wronged by their employer, thus leaving a negative review is one their means of voicing frustrations, alerting other prospective employees, or getting the ultimate say after resigning, being laid off, or being terminated for cause. Poor communication is frequently regarded as a major source of employee dissatisfaction. This might include unclear expectations, a lack of a safe place to share complaints, or a shocking decision by higher management that resulted in an employee’s resignation. In other words, you need to first look into the internal management’s performance instead of putting all the blame on the said employee.
Employee’s negative reviews carry more weight than ever before in an era when hiring competent people is on the top of business priorities. Negative reviews, unsurprisingly, may leave a mark on an employer’s image, even if they are inaccurate. The great majority of workers and job seekers (86%) consult employee review sites before selecting where to apply for a job, and half of candidates say they are not really interested in working for a company with a negative reputation, even if it offers a wage raise. CareerArc, an HR technology business, discovered that 55% of job seekers would abandon the application process if they saw a bad employee review for that employer.
Below, we share some step-by-step tips on how to handle negative reviews from your own employees:
If an employee makes compromising claims in an online review, their remarks must be taken care carefully. Cutting them off immediately will further justify their negative review, so leaders must approach this employee with no intimidation. Delegate a specific HR personnel to have a one-on-one and discuss this matter; listen more than you ask and this employee may just reveal their reason behind the negative review. Even if the statements are proven inaccurate, the situation deserves a comprehensive analysis. Some situations may involve more than a quick analysis of recent 360-degree feedback issues, so be careful to contact the relevant employee as needed.
It seems to be a lost cause to respond too soon, as pouring your heart out in the heat of the moment may backfire. Resolve the problem internally, confirm with the employee who wrote the review, then craft a response. For preventive acts, you can try to monitor employee reviews on a regular basis, develop an action plan or checklist to ensure you have a good grip on the issue, and then take the time to prepare a response over the course of a day or two. It can be a good idea to designate one person in charge of responding to evaluations. Remember, reviews about your company can affect the employer branding and your company’s public relations initiatives.
Coming up with a template response as clarification to online reviews is easy, but most people can spot a response that is a mere template. The drawback? It shows insincerity. Therefore, you need to take a good time to think about each item raised in the review, then respond to those issues carefully and constructively. Avoid legal and public relations concerns by carefully selecting your words—don’t reveal any personal information, say anything that may be misunderstood, or include any material that depicts the company or the employee in a negative way.
Ultimately, this step is vital to prevent further negative reviews in the future. If a negative review indicates an issue within the company, then examine what measures are needed to fix them. Be open to your employees and ask for their feedback regularly. Something as simple as admitting issues and seeking feedback can go a long way toward preventing employees from believing that their only channel for complaint is a review site.
People want to work in situations that are both comfortable and pleasant. Having reviews that are negative about your company may reveal what it is like to work there, although they may not be true. If the reviews are negative at most, your employer branding could be at stake. Moreover, if the review comes from someone who actually works within a company, people find it easier to believe, even though it may not always be true.