May 14, 2019

Here’s What to Do If Your Glassdoor Ratings Stink


Keeping tabs on your Glassdoor reviews makes sense, but dwelling on bad ones isn’t useful. At that point, the die is cast. Unless you have a wayback machine, there’s nothing you can do to change the person’s experience.

However, that doesn’t mean your HR and leadership teams can’t make some changes to prevent future bad reviews.

Cool-headed leaders and recruiters realize how valuable negative Glassdoor reviews can be when used to gain insight into preventing current and future employees from publicly roasting the company again. They also accept they have to make changes quickly. After all, lousy reviews beget lousy candidates. Indeed’s research shows 83 percent of job seekers consider organizational ratings before submitting their applications. Consequently, a low Glassdoor rating could turn off top talent.

Launching New Leadership Strategies After Bad Glassdoor Reviews

From a purely statistical viewpoint, the way to raise your credibility on Glassdoor is to get more positive reviews than negative ones. Happy employees don’t skewer their bosses on Glassdoor, but the only way workers will sing your praises on the site is if you prevent or defuse disengagement and toxicity before they metastasize. As you can imagine, your company’s leaders are in the best positions to take up this charge.

Without a doubt, your higher-ups are incredibly important to the vibe of your corporate culture. As Gallup notes, managers account for 70 percent of the variance in overall employee engagement. The faster managers can identify unhappy employees, the faster they can move to ensure those employees don’t feel driven to take their negativity to the internet.

If your company’s Glassdoor ratings are less than ideal, implement the following tactics to start turning things around:

1. Uncover Why Team Members Are Unhappy

Employees who aren’t satisfied with their working conditions can provide valuable feedback, but only when prompted. Arrange private meetings with unhappy workers, during which you can ask them to rate the way their bosses’ leadership styles affect their on-the-job positivity. Avoid a five-point scale, as it doesn’t give as much room for nuance as a 10-point scale.

Listen carefully to employees’ replies, and respond gracefully if they let their grievances fly. This is their chance to vent, and that might actually relieve some of the built-up anxiety that could otherwise go public. Look at it this way: Instead of turning to Glassdoor, they’re turning to you. That gives you the opportunity to make things right.

2. Ask What You Can Do to Improve Their Workplace Experiences

After you collect feedback on how happy each employee is, you need to ask some follow-up questions. Let’s say one employee rates her happiness as a 4 out of 10. Your next question should be, “What five things could your boss start or stop doing to make you happier?” If she provides more than five options, that’s even better.

This probing question will help put your employee’s numerical rating in perspective, and now you have their suggestions to pass along to company leaders. If leadership does implement some of those suggestions — and they should — the employee will become conscious of the change in her engagement, and so should her bosses. If you meet with the same employee after the leadership team takes action, her self-reported happiness score should increase.

3. Encourage Constantly Unhappy Employees to Find Greener Pastures

Let’s look at another hypothetical. What happens if an unhappy employee resists your attempts to make him happier? In that case, you’ll need to let him know you want him to be happy and will support him in finding another job. Don’t burden him — or your team — by attempting to keep him if the fit isn’t right. He might be stressed by working in your industry and might just need a push to get into a better situation.

He wouldn’t be alone. CareerBuilder’s research found nearly two-thirds of workers are experiencing burnout right now. Helping unhappy employees bring their disengagement to light might cause them to recommit to work, or it may help them realize it’s time to make a change. Whatever the case, you will have a stronger workforce as a result.

Glassdoor reviews offer a chance for self-reflection. Use this learning opportunity to help your leadership team members do their jobs with transparency, sincerity, and optimism. That way, your company can ensure that everyone on your payroll is working with, not against, its vision and goals — and you’ll have fewer negative Glassdoor reviews to deal with, too.

Krister Ungerböck is a keynote speaker, a coach to high-performance CEOs, and the former CEO of one of the largest family-owned software companies in the world. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Krister Ungerböck is the global expert on the language of leadership. Krister is a captivating keynote speaker, a coach to high-performance CEOs, and former CEO of one of the largest family-owned software companies in the world. Based on his experience observing business leaders in more than 40 countries, building businesses in six, and living in three, he shares insights into leadership that bridge business, relationships, and family.