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Dear ReWorker,

We are a relatively small company of about 100 employees. We currently have only five reviews on Glassdoor—and three are negative! As the HR manager, this really bothers me and I'm afraid it could affect our recruiting in the future. What can I do to get people to write positive reviews? Can I require it of managers? Can I give people incentives to do it?

Sincerely,

Reading Reviews

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Dear Reading,

You are smart to think about how your Glassdoor reviews can affect your recruiting. Gone are the days when only the employer does background checks. Smart candidates learn everything they can about the company—the good, the bad and the ugly.

There is absolutely something you should do about your bad Glassdoor (or any other online) reviews: Fix the problems that the reviewers point out.

Don't Cover Up Problems—Solve Them

Of course, you can ask people to write positive reviews, but the real solution is to address whatever caused the bad reviews in the first place.

If the bad reviews discuss areas beyond your control, such as a tough commute or the bad condition of the office park, then bummer. HR can't fix that. But, that kind of information is useful for candidates when they consider how far they'll have to travel and if they want to work in an ugly environment. (Yes, it does make a difference.)

But, most likely, the reviews do tackle areas that your company can improve. Is an employee unhappy with the pay? Then work on getting your salaries up to the market standard. Did someone complain about benefits? Shop around for ways to offer better options. You may get pushback from those controlling the company purse strings, but you cannot expect your organization to attract the best candidates if your pay and benefits aren't as good as your competitors'.

If the reviews call the business out for poor culture or management, that's precisely the type of work HR should be prioritizing. Work with managers to train them to be more responsive and engaged with their direct reports. And address the culture issues head on—culture starts at the top, so you may have to have some difficult conversations with the CEO, but that's in your job description.

Bad Reviews Can Be a Good Wake-up Call

A bad review doesn't mean a bad company, but it can point out the problems. With only 100 employees, it's probably pretty easy to guess which employees (or former employees) wrote the reviews. If the employees are still active, by no means should you hold this against them. Instead, be grateful that they brought the problem to your attention.

And if you're actively working on fixing the issues, let candidates know! Say: "I'm sure you've read the Glassdoor review that refers to our 'all work and no play' culture. This is true—we're hard workers around here, but we've realized that a balance is needed. As a result, here's what we've changed to ensure that people unplug when they aren't at work."

Don't do this insincerely. Make the changes real. If you do this, I guarantee you'll get your positive Glassdoor reviews, without asking a single person to write one.

Sincerely,

Your ReWorker

Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady

Photo: Creative Commons