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Lisa's Fresh Thoughts
Employee Engagement – Glassdoor Company Reviews: Cringe or Curious?
Corporate leaders sometimes act as if "what happens in the corporation stays in the corporation." In truth, that's never been reality. Given the prominence of work in people's lives, they talk about the work and the companies they work for often. Nothing new about that.
The only difference is it's now much easier to learn substantial details about a corporation, its culture, and how employees and former employees rate an organization on a number of factors using websites like Glassdoor. Once again, technology has made accomplishing something now simple, quick and publicly available.
In short, Glassdoor makes an excellent "one-stop-shop" for learning about the culture and employee engagement of an organization. Perhaps that's why Deloitte titled the "Engaging" section of their Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report, "Culture and Engagement: The Naked Organization." **
Leaders' Views on Culture and Employee Engagement
Additionally, it's clear, 1) these issues are not simply an HR problem, and 2) HR must be at the table when making strategic organizational decisions.
As culture and employee engagement have become key elements a potential hire looks for in a prospective employer, Glassdoor and other methods now provide considerable information about a company's culture and how employees/former employees believe employees are treated, motivated and rewarded. Company strengths and weaknesses are more readily apparent.
A management recruiter from a prominent firm told me about a situation with a candidate nearly ready to accept an offered position – until they checked Glassdoor reviews. Based on what they read, they concluded the company wasn't the kind of place they wanted to work. They passed on the job offer.
Leaders Responses to Glassdoor Ratings
Other leaders, who consider themselves responsible for driving positive company culture, strengthening employee engagement and developing talent, are likely familiar with Glassdoor reviews. They expect specific feedback about the company's inner workings, and perceptions of company policies, practices and benefits. They may view Glassdoor reviews with curiosity. For them, Glassdoor offers another means of learning where they are doing well, what needs attention, and proactively communicating with individuals seeking employment.
Conversely, leaders who know – or at least suspect – their organization's reviews aren't going to be positive more likely approach Glassdoor ratings and example reviews with a cringe, resigned to the task ahead. These leaders can most benefit from Glassdoor reviews – if they choose to.
Which type of leader are you?
Ratings and Reviews
Smart leaders will provide guidance on how to respond to negative Glassdoor ratings/reviews – and yes, a response is the appropriate action to take. The response should be timely, genuine and come from a person with a high level of responsibility, and from whom a response on that topic makes sense.
That's simply the beginning. The real work is in actually addressing the issues generating the poor Glassdoor reviews.
The specificity of comments is extremely helpful. And, Glassdoor shows how many reviews included a statement similar to the example. These examples can provide input for setting future policies, practices, compensation plans and benefit offerings.
In situations where the percentages of employees/former employees willing to recommend the company to a friend and/or CEO approval are low, it's time to engage in very direct, extensive and confidential conversations, surveys and other communication methods with employees to fully understand the issues.
Then it's time create an explicit plan for turning the situation around. Begin implementing changes ASAP. Explicitly let employees know you listened, heard, value their input, and are taking action to improve the company for the long-term benefit of employees and the company alike. It's well known that great culture and engaged employees strengthen company profitability. The reverse is also true. While perhaps difficult initially, the "heads up" served as an alarm – giving you the opportunity to reverse course.
**Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the New World of Work, “Engaging” section, beginning on page 33; Deloitte University Press; to access that report, click here.
Glassdoor – www.glassdoor.com