I don’t want it, but someone should own Glassdoor

In 2005 I was leading PR and communications for a dot com. Little did I know we were in the midst of a marketing channel evolution. Corporate social media was new, and brands were trying to figure out how it fit into their marketing mix. Blogging was all the rage, but brands weren’t quite certain about the value of self-publishing. One thing was clear, our company wanted to test both. We’d figure out their value and how to use them, but who should own these new channels?

At the time, we saw our social media and blog as communication channels, and they soon fell under the umbrella of the PR team. Yep, my team grew and we found ourselves both excited and anxious.

On the one hand, we had new channels to test – fun!

On the other, we had new channels to manage and make successful – but we didn’t know what success looked like.

Over the past couple of years, I have seen teams faced with similar situations. But with a different channel where ownership isn’t always clear — Glassdoor.

Passing the Glassdoor hot-potato

Many times, I’ve heard people say, “Well I don’t want it, but someone should own Glassdoor.”

As mentioned in a recent article, Glassdoor is a job recruiting site, but at its core, it’s a ratings site. Glassdoor is to employment reviews what Yelp is to restaurant reviews. Employees review what it’s like to work at their company, employers post open jobs and (hopefully) respond to reviews and build out their branded page.

That equation means that Glassdoor is part:

  • PR/ corporate communication: Current and future employees are posting reviews about your brand, and for many reasons, you’re responding.
  • Brand: Like it or not, your brand is represented on Glassdoor; if you like, you can impact the experience people have with your brand on that channel.
  • Human resources/recruiting: It’s a tool for posting jobs, but also an employer branding tool.
  • Social media: It’s a third-party engagement site that has an impact on your brand.

When a tool crosses so many corporate team barriers, who should own it?

In some companies it’s HR, in others, it’s the corporate communications team, social media or marketing in general. And sometimes, it is a combination of all the above.

Not to over complicate it, but regardless of the ownership, even more interesting is the list of stakeholders involved, which includes legal teams, the executive team, board members and any department that might be called out as a “problem area” in the recruiting chain to the list.    

Q&A – Who should own Glassdoor?

I am often asked my opinion on who should own GD, and I have an answer – but before I get to that, I asked a few peers and former colleagues their opinion. Here’s what I heard:

Alicia Garibaldi, content marketer at Lever

  • “The management of Glassdoor is not department specific but should be seen as a company-wide effort. The beauty of the reviews on Glassdoor is that they are free feedback for your company to either take action on, respond to or dismiss – depending on your company’s perspective on it. But filtering reviews can also reveal key trends by department or even company locations that you might not have been aware of otherwise. This helps companies address problems in both a targeted and thoughtful way. I love seeing department heads respond to the reviews that apply to their team. A good response can oftentimes shift the perspective of someone reading the review and provide an inside view for how the leadership team handles conflict internally. Employer branding should be collaborative and a company-wide effort. After all, a company’s brand is its employees, and how great to have a platform that not only aggregates this information, but also encourages great people who fit the company culture to apply.”

Jason Falls, digital marketing strategist

  • “If I had to pick one discipline to own responsibility for Glassdoor, it would be your organic search engine optimization team. Glassdoor is a ratings and review site. So, like Google Local, Yelp and other review outposts, Glassdoor is a necessary check-box for the SEO team to monitor and curate regularly. Certainly, HR, PR and even your social media team should or can be involved. If you don’t have to choose one and they can work in tandem, all the better! But Glassdoor’s effects are more impactful from a business standpoint in the search category than others, in my opinion.”

Jen Dewar, HR/Recruitment Marketing

  • “The most important thing is that someone owns Glassdoor as part of the greater employer branding strategy. This most commonly lives in the talent acquisition or HR function, although I see the marketing department leading this charge quite often as well. TA and HR already have relationships with hiring managers and other company leaders, putting them in a strong position to collaborate and advise. This is essential for addressing Glassdoor comments, both internally and externally. Sharing feedback with hiring managers can help them better attract and retain talent, while sharing with leadership can help affect strategic changes to create a better workplace.

And the winner is…

There you have it, three fairly different answers. But there are two things all three agree on:

  • Someone needs to own your Glassdoor page
  • Managing it should be a cross-functional effort

I advise that one person/department owns Glassdoor as a channel, and cross-functional teams support its management based on their expertise.

With that, ownership comes down to Glassdoor’s value to your organization. Define what success looks like, and the answer of ownership gets clearer. If it’s a traffic driver, then SEO might make sense. If it’s a recruiting platform, it might be the HR/Recruiting team. If it’s the reviews and their impact on your brand, marketing should manage Glassdoor.

The answer is different in every organization, but in the end, Glassdoor should be owned by the team that can best use the results/metrics of Glassdoor as a KPI (key performance indicator).

By assigning Glassdoor to a team that uses its results as a KPI, you ensure they will manage it more closely and not lose interest in a few months. Regardless of who you assign to own Glassdoor, build a cross-functional team around it that will work together to harness the site’s undeniable power.