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Getting the most out of Glassdoor: a guide to employers

by Daniel Swepson

January 23, 2019

Picture the scene…

You’re an employer who’s undertaken an employee survey and you’ve just left the results on the printer for all to see. Imagine, all your employees’ deepest thoughts about their managers, the business culture and what they’re (not) being paid all out in the open.

This is what nearly happened to Robert Hohman, co-founder of Glassdoor. He left the results of an employee survey on a printer hanging around for all to see – but managed to get to them before any curious colleagues came along.

But then he thought: what if the results had gotten out? Surely, from an employees’ perspective, having such transparent access to what is traditionally seen as sensitive information would be a great resource for those looking to make their next career move?

From that idea, Glassdoor – a website where people can anonymously review companies, their management and their cultures – was born.

But Glassdoor isn’t just an opportunity for employees; employers, too, can – and should – use it to the mutual advantage of them and their staff.

Find out what your team really think about you

1-2-1s and annual reviews are useful when it comes to keeping up to speed with your colleagues. But if you really want to know what they think, let them be anonymous.

Glassdoor’s anonymous nature is one of the biggest draws to employees, which means it’s also one of the biggest assets for employers who want an honest picture of what their colleagues think about them.

From these reviews, employers can get a true sense of what a business’s most important asset – its workforce – thinks about it. They can see what things are working well and do more of that. And they can see what isn’t working so well and work to resolve any recurrent issues.

Of course, Glassdoor is susceptible to the wrath of ex-employees who may have left under a cloud. But these might be the most useful opinions of all. Tough as it may seem, taking on board the criticism of disgruntled exes (hey, we’ve all been there, right?) is a golden opportunity for self-reflection and improvement.

“This company is s***!” says one particularly disenfranchised employee. The temptation, from an employer’s perspective, might be to brush it off, chalk it up to one bad apple. But what if behind the invective lies a wealth of useful, erudite information this person could offer on the company’s processes, culture and management?

Where possible, respond to every reviewer (good and bad), thanking them for their feedback and, if it was negative, suggest ways they might improve. You might not like what you hear, but in terms of uncovering areas of the business that need your attention, it might be worth its weight in gold.

Tip: Take reviews seriously and see them as an opportunity for self-improvement.

Glassdoor as a PR tool

Just as with any other online forum where people can find out about you, businesses should use Glassdoor as a PR opportunity – and there are plenty of ways to do so. It almost goes without saying that you should keep your basic information up to date: logo, website link, company description, mission statement, etc.

But, as a means of explaining what your company is all about, its culture and its values, Glassdoor has a lot more to offer. Obviously, there are the reviews, which we’ve already touched on, and you need to use these as a motivator to keep your culture vibrant. But beyond that, you can sell the benefits your company offers, include embedded video to showcase your brand personality, upload photos, post blog content, shout about awards you’ve won and make sure your ‘Work for us’ page is exciting, enticing and spot on-brand.

This has a potentially positive effect on your bottom line. As Glassdoor becomes an increasingly popular way of finding a job, a positive projection of your business will entice talent to you instead of you having to go them – via expensive recruiters. Or, as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, Glassdoor helps you be the honey, not the bee.

And this isn’t just about attracting employees; Glassdoor is also a useful tool for other businesses who might want to do some background checks before deciding whether or not to work with you.

Tip: Use Glassdoor as your company’s calling card to promote your culture and brand values to potential employees and clients alike.

Don’t ignore the data

Glassdoor’s ‘Employer Centre’ offers you a trove of information about senior management, your company’s work/life balance outlook, its culture, brand values, career progression and the percentage of employees who would recommend your company. As an employer, you should be keeping tabs on all this information so you can work out where best to spend time making things better.

And don’t forget, Glassdoor is global so, where necessary, you have to think globally, too. If you have sites across the world, then take your headspace out of your headquarters and think about the reviews and statistics for your regional sites.

In analysing your data, be sure to measure the results against both your immediate, local competitors and those businesses you aspire to be like. The first will be key in your ability to attract better talent than those around you. The second will be important in learning how the big players go about things so you can understand what to emulate and how to even better than your heroes.

Find out more about Glassdoor’s talent analytics here.

Tip: Glassdoor is a treasure trove of unfiltered primary-source data. Use it to your advantage.

Glassdoor is much more than a repository for employee reviews. By making the most of its ability to highlight what’s working and what isn’t working in your business, its potential as a PR tool and the masses of metrics it produces, savvy employers can make it a powerful weapon in your business and brand development strategy.


Strategy Development