Any business knows how important reviews are for their brand. Reviews give customers a clearer idea of the products or services they’re purchasing and help them decide whether or not they’re worth the money. Chances are, you’ve probably even checked out a review — or a few dozen — before swiping your card to make a purchase.
But product ratings aren’t the only type of review that should matter to companies. Employer reviews — or what employees have to say about what it’s like to work at your company — are just as important.
Employees in today’s workforce value far more than compensation, and they’re turning to third-party employer review websites to get the information they need to make informed decisions in their job search. In turn, these sites have become increasingly important to companies’ employer branding strategies.
Not sure how to manage your image online? We’ve rounded up some of our best tips on how you can use employer review sites to build your employer brand.
Why is employer branding so important?
Employer branding — a.k.a. your company’s reputation as an employer — affects your company’s ability to attract and hire the best employees. A strong employer brand translates to reduced recruitment costs, better employee retention rates, a great candidate experience, and more.
It’s actually pretty simple:
- Being a place people want to work = numerous benefits for your company.
- Being a company that people steer clear of due to a poor employer reputation = bad news for your business.
What role do employer review sites play in branding?
Employer branding doesn’t just happen in one place. It is conveyed in person through your candidate experience and workplace culture. It is shared online through your careers page and your social media pages. It’s amplified when publications write about the workplace you’ve created. But, perhaps most of all, it is built on third-party employer review sites.
Any company can say that they are a great place to work. But what really matters is what current and former employees have to say about their experience. Consider these stats:
- Over 85% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings to decide where to apply to a job.
- 57% of job seekers won’t even apply to a company that has overwhelmingly negative reviews.
How to use employer review sites to build your brand
Approximately one-third of a person’s life will be spent at work. People want to know that their time is going to be spent wisely. Here’s how companies can use review sites to highlight their unique culture and attract top talent.
1. Develop a strategy
Employer branding isn’t something that just happens. If your organization hasn’t done so already, you’ll need to map out a branding strategy that accounts for your organization’s needs and goals.
During the strategy phase, you will work together to:
- Set goals: Determine the main objective of your branding efforts. Do you want to attract highly qualified candidates? Get more applicants? Reduce the overall time to hire?
- Define your employee value proposition: Think about the unique things that you offer your employees. Is it a stellar compensation package? A sense of purpose in the work that your employees do? A laid-back work environment?
- Identify candidate touchpoints: Decide what channels (such as review sites, social media, your company careers page, etc.) you’ll use to promote your employer brand.
This is also a good time to get down to the nitty-gritty and nail down specifics, such as the overall wording and messaging you want to use to describe your workplace.
2. Create a profile or claim ownership of your company on review sites
Once you have a roadmap, you can set out to implement your strategy.
The first step is to create profiles or claim ownership of existing profiles on employer review sites. After you are able to edit or submit information, go over the profile to make sure all provided company data on review sites is correct and accurately portrays your company. If something is wrong, correct it.
Don’t leave anything on your company’s profile blank. The purpose of these profiles is to give your candidates all the information they’re seeking. Use every opportunity to share details about benefits, your mission and values, short bios of key people, photos, and videos. Stick to your messaging and showcase areas that make your company stand out among employers.
3. Empower your employees to provide honest feedback
The best feedback is honest feedback — even if it’s not exactly what you want to hear. It’s important that employers empower their employees to provide truthful feedback.
You can encourage honest feedback by showing employees that what they have to say matters, whether it’s on a review site, in person, or elsewhere. Ask for feedback often and show genuine interest in what they have to say. Emphasize that there will be no negative repercussions for complaints and avoid getting defensive if you don’t like what an employee has to share. Remember: You’re working to improve your chances of attracting high-quality applicants in the future.
By creating a culture where employees’ voices are heard and valued, you can expect to receive better, more impactful evaluations.
4. Respond to reviews, both positive and negative
If an employee takes the time to leave a review, show your appreciation by responding if the site allows you to.
If you get a negative review, don’t panic — and don’t ignore it. Instead, take this as an opportunity to listen and learn. According to one survey, 62% of job seekers say that their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. It shows potential candidates that you care about the employee experience and are committed to improvement.
When responding to a critique, be professional. Thank the employee for taking the time to leave a review, and address the specific issues that they present. Let them know how you plan on fixing the issue if it hasn’t been resolved already.
5. Take advantage of opportunities to be transparent
Some review sites give employers extra opportunities to be transparent. For example, at JobSage, we encourage companies to become Trusted Employers. To earn this recognition, a company lets JobSage directly survey 100% of their employee base so that job seekers can hear from those that know best — current employees — exactly what it’s like to work there.
Most job seekers know that no company is going to be perfect. They do, however, want to know which ones can be honest.
6. Use information from employer review sites to make actionable change
Perhaps the best way to use an employer review site is to use the data that you receive to make actionable changes in your organization. For instance, if a number of employees say that they are dissatisfied with the lack of growth opportunities, it’s probably time to take a look at how your organization promotes employees and how you can contribute to professional development.
When you make changes based on the feedback you receive, be sure to highlight these actions. This will show employees — former, current, and future — that their voice matters and will encourage more transparent feedback in the future.
If you want to attract the best employees, you need to be an employer that job seekers are eager to work for. Employer review sites can be a helpful tool that allows you to showcase what makes your company unique and learn from employees about the pain points of their experience. By using employer review sites to your advantage, you can strengthen your employer brand and make the right hires.
About the Author
Katie Duncan is the Content Manager at JobSage, an employer review site centered around inclusion, growth, purpose, feedback, and flexibility. She is passionate about creating content that educates, entertains, and inspires audiences. When not writing, you can probably find her exploring new places in Austin, hanging out with friends, or playing with her dog, Poe.