What should I do about my Glassdoor problem?

My colleague Ward Duft recently wrote an article about winning the war for talent. It’s a hot topic and one that marketers are being asked about more often these days. Clients frequently ask if Glassdoor helps or hurts their recruiting efforts.  The question is often phrased like this: “We have a Glassdoor problem; how do we fix it?”

Our short answer is simple – “Chances are, you don’t have a Glassdoor problem. Glassdoor is just a reflection of a different problem; let’s work on fixing that.”

The long answer is much more complicated and answering it in detail requires a base understanding of what Glassdoor is, how it works, and why it’s essential to your brand.

What is this Glassdoor thingy?

If you ask Glassdoor what they do, they’ll say that they are “one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites.” And that’s true, as a job seeker it’s a great place to find open jobs. But at its core, it’s a ratings site.

Glassdoor is to employment reviews what Yelp is to restaurant reviews. Just like your review about the cheeseburger you had at that new restaurant down the street may encourage or deter another customer, the review you leave on Glassdoor about your experience working for your company may have the same effect on an applicant at your company.

People like you and I can write a Glassdoor review about what it’s like to work for a company, rate our overall experience, our faith in senior leadership, our approval of the CEO and many other categories. Glassdoor aggregates individual ratings and turns them into scores on a company’s profile – alongside open jobs at that company.

Job seekers who search for openings on Glassdoor are more informed about the companies they apply to because they have a deeper knowledge of what it’s like to work there than other applicants. A Glassdoor educated applicant asks better questions, accepts a job with open eyes, and according to many employers, stays longer.

Glassdoor metrics are impressive. Brands should not ignore the volume of people reading about their company, culture and jobs on the site:

  • 64M monthly unique visitors
  • 900K employer listings
  • 11M job listings
  • 47M reviews

Of course, that’s the consumer side of Glassdoor, the side most of us have experienced and used. On the flip side lies their B2B model. Glassdoor makes money by selling job posting ads and “premium profiles” to companies. When a company works with Glassdoor they can’t change or delete reviews – these are sacred – but they can control the experience potential employees have on their profile page when reading reviews from current and former employees. You can read more about this side of their business in the employment center.

So, do I have a Glassdoor problem?

When a client asks us this question, it is usually in relation to one of their scores. It could be overall rating, their CEO approval score, the all-favorite “would you recommend this company to a friend” or other scores. Brands understand that if these scores are low, they have an impact on their reputation with job applicants. And, what’s more, they are learning that low scores have an impact on their overall brand reputation, which is not just with job applicants.

The common misconception is that people go to Glassdoor and review their employer only when they have an ax to grind – this is simply not true. Ratings on Glassdoor are out of 5 stars; if all or most of the reviews were negative, you’d expect average ratings for companies to be low – like 2.5 or lower.

In reality, the average Glassdoor company rating is 3.4. If Glassdoor were just a place to complain, that average would be much lower.

So, when a company asks us about their Glassdoor problem and then tells us about their 2.0 overall rating, we say, “No, you don’t have a Glassdoor problem. You have an employer branding problem.”

Sounds harsh, but it’s true. The “problem” could be culture, wages, management issues, communication problems or something completely different. What most people are describing when they ask about a “Glassdoor problem” is a concern with what they see about their brand on Glassdoor.

Glassdoor isn’t causing the problem; the ratings left by your employees are a reflection of the problem. Identifying what lies beneath is the first step to fixing your “Glassdoor problem.”

Of course, recognizing the problem is only half the battle. The next question is, “How do we fix it.” That involves a strategy, and in the coming weeks we’ll be writing more about that process. For now, if you have questions or want to chat, hit us up.