Do you realize that your employees could be writing up reviews and sharing their experiences with your business - positive and negative - online?
What can employers do to embrace this transparency and how can they ensure they are using these reviews as constructive feedback?
What challenges does Glassdoor help companies handle?
"The first one is that sometimes the company might not be known by the people they're trying to hire. We see this particularly in the Bay Area in the U.S., where you have so many startups coming along, and I'm sure the same is true here in London. They're trying to make a name for themselves and get known as an employer of choice, but nobody's really heard of them. So a site like Glassdoor can rapidly give people a sense as to what this company is like and showcase them as a really great employer.
Another one I like is where a company has changed a lot, then sometimes there's a kind of hangover, if you like, of something that might have happened in the past that might have tainted people's view of the company or their reputation as an employer. And that company's turned a corner, but people are still thinking about what they've heard in the past. And so Glassdoor can help people understand what's going on at the company right now, and then use that to help them make better decisions.
There's a really good example of this actually, which is HomeServe, up in the Northwest. They had a bit of a mis-selling scandal a few years ago. They sell insurance policies for domestic appliances, boilers, central heating systems, that sort of stuff. And it was all over the newspapers and it created a bit of reputation issue for them.
Since then, the whole senior management has changed, they've worked really hard to turn the company around, to build up a new culture, and to make it a great place to work. And that shows through in their reviews on Glassdoor. They've got a 4.6 rating, and their CEO was fourth highest rated CEO in the UK on our list last year. So it really helps companies like that get their message across that things have changed and they're a great place to work. That's just a couple of reasons."
A bad employer will already have a bad reputation - doesn't Glassdoor just amplify their problems?
"Well, I think the important thing to think about is the mindset that people have in today's day and age. So you're absolutely right that review sites tend to be an amplification for your employer brand. But these days, people really turn to reviews on the Internet to help them make decisions.
If you think about choosing a restaurant, or choosing a holiday, or buying a television - almost nobody will do those things these days without going and checking it out on TripAdvisor or on a review website to make sure they're making a good decision. They want the reassurance of what other people have said - and they always trust those third-party voices more than their own experience. And so, I think we really help to reinforce that.
Also a company might have a great reputation, but looking underneath that, what are the key things that make that up? What are the key points of difference that makes someone a great employer?
Through our reviews, people can understand that and find the company that's right for them, because what's great for some people isn't always great for everybody else. And so, what we're trying to do is also match people up to the jobs that are really going to be well-suited for them. And that goes up and down the spectrum as well, even employers that potentially aren't as well regarded will often have some really good aspects to them. And so we can showcase that, too."
How can companies embrace transparency and encourage employee reviews?
"I think the first thing I would say is that if you're a company and you haven't claimed your Glassdoor profile, you should absolutely go out and do that. We have a simple free employer account, and what it does is it allows you to get involved in the conversation. It basically gives you the opportunity to respond to reviews, to edit some of the basic information about your company, change some of the photos, and then most importantly, respond to reviews - because if you're not responding to reviews, it's like there's a conversation going on and you're not taking part.
In terms of responding to reviews, I'd say, welcome all the feedback that you get, whether it's positive or negative. Someone told me at a conference last year, the expression they used was that "feedback is a gift", employees just taking the time to tell you how they feel about working at your company. And so you should acknowledge that and thank them for that, whether it's good or it's a bad, in a way that's respectful and makes sense. It's great to address specific comments. So if someone makes a comment about something, it's great to address that specifically and not gloss over it with some sort of PR speak - because if you do that, it just doesn't really validate the response that you've made.
And then, like L'Oréal are doing, request more reviews. There's a tool that's actually built into the free employer account that allows you to pick employees from a list and basically email them a sort of template email that says, "We really value transparency. We'd love to know what's going on at the company. We'd love to hear about your experience. Please consider coming and leaving a review on Glassdoor."
And I think when people do that, it really shows engagement. In fact, we've got a thing called "Engaged Employer," which is a badge on the site. And that says, "This person cares about transparency. They're engaged in the Glassdoor community, they're actively responding to reviews." That, I think, sends a powerful signal out to people who are looking for you as an employer."
Follow Diarmuid on Twitter @diarus.