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Published: Jun 27, 2023 14 min read
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Just as many people do an internet search before going on a first date with someone they just met, it's become standard practice to research prospective employers before accepting a job offer. Unfortunately, it's equally common for businesses to receive bad employee reviews.

The reach of bad employee reviews extends beyond job candidates. Negative company reviews can seriously hinder a business by impacting consumer perception and recruitment. It can make it hard to find new employees, even if you use a job posting platform such as ZipRecruiter, and gain access to its 3 million users.

While poor employee reviews can be disheartening, it's important to remember they don't necessarily reflect negatively on the company. Instead, they're an opportunity for you to improve employee satisfaction and create a truly great place to work.

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Why do bad employee reviews happen?

Bad employee reviews can happen for various reasons. Sometimes there are disgruntled employees who feel an employer has somehow slighted them. Other times, your business might operate in a stressful or chaotic work environment. It's also common for a lack of clear communication between employees and management to lead to a serious misunderstanding. Whatever the reason may be, it's essential you, as an employer, take steps to address this issue publicly and internally. By "walking the walk," you can resolve this situation permanently and improve your company's work culture in the process.

How bad employee reviews can impact your business reputation

Negative employee reviews can have a significant impact on your business's reputation. They can damage your public image, ability to attract workers and ability to retain top talent. Checking review sites is one of the first things prospective candidates do when looking for full-time jobs in their area. Damaging posts and employee complaints can also decrease customers' satisfaction with a business, affecting that business's bottom line.

Addressing negative employee reviews online: 8 tips to follow

Whether an ex-employee leaves bad reviews or posts constructive criticism, everyone from customers to job seekers can see negative posts on employer review sites. The only thing worse than negative employee reviews is uncontested reviews, as they give the impression the employer doesn't care or can't refute the claims.

Responding to negative employee reviews in a productive manner allows you to portray another point of view. It gives you a chance to improve customer perception with a thoughtful, reasonable response. A positive company posture can even help you find great candidates for a job on websites like ZipRecruiter, which allows you to post on 100+ boards with one click.

Whenever you receive negative feedback, follow these essential steps to correct it and prevent it from happening again.

1. Be open to constructive criticism

While no one looks forward to bad reviews, it's essential to be open to constructive employee feedback. This allows you to create an open and honest dialogue between employees and management You'll demonstrate your willingness to take employee reviews and concerns seriously. Just as employers may look for minor advantages when choosing between two great candidates, potential employees closely examine the companies they're considering applying to. Potential employees and members of the public will likely see a thoughtful response in a positive light.

2. Create a workplace environment where employees can express their concerns internally

One of the best ways to avoid poor company reviews is to encourage your employees to speak up internally. Creating positive workplaces is essential to fostering an atmosphere. It's a good thing when employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns to management without fear of recrimination. One way to provide this atmosphere is to create and maintain open-door policies and procedures for airing employee grievances.

3. Investigate employee complaints to figure out what went wrong

While it's essential to acknowledge that some bad employee reviews are fraudulent, remember this isn't always the case. Investigate employee complaints to determine their merit. In plausible instances, learn what went wrong and how you can improve it. This not only gives you a chance to demonstrate responsiveness to employee concerns, but it also helps you identify and address any underlying issues in your organization. This can significantly boost morale and is one of the best ways to help retain employees.

4. Acknowledge the issue and express your commitment to making improvements

Even a bad online employee review can allow you to stand out among employers. Turn a bad situation good by giving customers and job seekers a more positive view of your company. Acknowledge any shortcomings or flaws, then positively express your commitment to improving issues raised in online employee reviews.

Just as creating a better career page can help attract top talent on websites like ZipRecruiter, having an online response policy is a practical approach to demonstrating your company's openness to dialogue and effective change.

5. Encourage current employees to leave positive reviews

While you would never want to suggest employees leave dishonest or exaggerated reviews, encouraging them to share their positive experiences can effectively counteract negative reviews. In fact, this may be one of the best ways to respond to negative Glassdoor reviews as it shows another side of the story and illustrates positive aspects of your company culture.

Not only does this show potential employees that your current staff is satisfied with their work environment, but it can also help repair your business's reputation. However, if your employees are hesitant to leave positive feedback in their reviews, you may have more severe issues to address, such as spotting employee burnout.

6. Develop an online review response strategy

If you're in business long enough, you'll run into the issue of disgruntled employees leaving bad reviews. It's inevitable. An essential step to counteract this is to develop an online review response strategy before it happens. Doing so will allow you to effectively address and handle poor employee reviews when they happen

Just as researching the best recruiting software can help you find qualified job applicants more quickly, a little bit of preparation goes a long way toward helping you respond to negative reviews promptly and respectfully.

7. Monitor review sites for employee feedback

It's important to stay current on employee feedback by monitoring review sites. A great way to guard against lingering problems is to have an online employee review system that regularly checks for new company reviews. This kind of dynamic approach is helpful for responding to negative Glassdoor reviews or complaints left on ZipRecruiter and other best job posting sites for employers. It can also help you quickly identify and address negative reviews on other professional or social media platforms.

8. Respond to bad reviews promptly and respectfully

The worst thing you can do is to compound a bad review by responding in an argumentative or dismissive tone, responding late or failing to respond at all. You should view company reviews by employees, both positive and negative, as an opportunity to demonstrate effective, responsive leadership and a commitment to a positive work environment. Always respond promptly and respectfully to show potential employees that you take employee feedback seriously.

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Bad employee review examples

Bad employee reviews can take many forms and cite many different problems. Some examples include commentary about unprofessional behavior from management, unsatisfactory working conditions, unfair treatment of employees or other concerns ranging from the trivial to the potentially severe.

It's important to note that some complaints — such as failing to keep promises, having unreasonable or unrealistic deadlines, or communicating unclear job responsibilities — can have a more significant impact than comments about personality conflicts or dissatisfaction with pay. [https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/resources/hr-and-recruiting-stats/]

Why respond to bad employee reviews?

It's an unwritten rule that people tend to complain more often than praise. Finding positive employer feedback can be challenging. Every negative comment is an opportunity to impress, and responding to lousy employee reviews is critical to maintaining a positive business reputation. Here are a few benefits of responding to bad reviews.

Showing prospective employees that you take your employees' concerns seriously

Responding to company reviews by employees shows prospective job candidates the company takes employee concerns seriously. It also indicates its commitment to creating an effective, pleasant, professional work environment. This will help create a positive reputation and make the company more attractive to potential hires. It's also one of the best ways to solve workplace morale problems.

Building a positive company culture

No one gets it right all the time. Responding to bad reviews and admitting when you missed the mark is a great way to build a positive company culture and foster a solid reputation as a good employer. Publicly acknowledging issues and taking steps to address them is a great way to become a better manager. It shows your employees you care about their well-being and their concerns are important to you.

Providing insight from the company perspective

There are two sides to every story, and responding to bad reviews is an opportunity to provide insight into company policy and give an employer's perspective on any raised issues. This provides much-needed context to a tough situation. It also demonstrates thoughtfulness and a willingness to receive feedback on the part of your management team.

When to and not to respond to negative reviews from employees

Not every workplace conflict requires a response. It's essential to determine when to respond to negative reviews on a case-by-case basis — and when to let a review go without commentary.

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to respond to every review containing factual inaccuracies. You should also respond to those with language or allegations that may particularly damage your company's reputation.

On the other hand, reviews that seem unreasonable, unduly negative, hostile or based on little more than ill will and personal feelings are best left alone. You don't want to pick a fight with anyone who may be beyond reasonable discourse.

Summary of Money's how to address bad employee reviews online

Though negative employee reviews can significantly impact a business's reputation, they also provide an opportunity to show effective leadership, demonstrate a willingness to take constructive criticism to heart and allow it to create positive change.

It's important to address negative reviews promptly, respectfully and productively. Show potential employees and customers alike your company takes employee sentiment seriously. It's an excellent way to prove you're concerned for your employees' well-being and aim to provide a great workplace.

Being open to constructive criticism can also help foster a positive workplace environment. Employees want to feel comfortable expressing their concerns internally rather than taking their complaints to a public forum. It's also vital to investigate employee complaints to determine if they're legitimate. If they are. you can issue any necessary apologies and identify areas with room for improvement in your organization.

Encourage your current employees to leave positive reviews about their experiences working for your company. Then take the time to respond to those, thanking your team members for their feedback and expressing your gratitude that they're part of your company. It's also a good idea to develop an online response strategy and regularly monitor employer review sites for any employee feedback, good or bad.

If you get the occasional bad review, respond to it promptly and respectfully. Indicate you're open to further conversation on any legitimate issues raised.

Though following these tips can give you a real advantage in dealing with negative PR, it's essential to acknowledge that a real commitment to creating a positive, pleasant work environment is necessary for addressing bad employee reviews. You can't just hide or ignore real problems, as they'll persist and continue to be the source of bad press. By "walking the walk," you can create a positive atmosphere where few people will want to leave negative online reviews in the first place.