4 Ways to Handle a Negative Glassdoor Review

More and more businesses are turning to employer reviews platform Glassdoor to market their workplace and company culture.

As with many reviews platforms, however, companies on Glassdoor are not immune to negative comments from former employees.

It might be easy to be defensive or dismissive of negative reviews, but Glassdoor data from 2016 says that job seekers read at least 7 reviews before forming an opinion of a company. It’s understandable to be concerned when a negative review is posted about your business.

In this article, we’ll walk through how to handle a negative Glassdoor review and portray your company culture in the best possible light.

1.   Evaluate the Content of the Review

Before responding, evaluate the review’s content with company leadership and human resource experts.

Avoid investigating or guessing who the author might be, even if you have your suspicions. Reviews are anonymous for a reason, so it’s important to be objective when evaluating its contents.

If you suspect the review is fake, however, Glassdoor provides steps you can take to get the review removed.

Some Glassdoor reviews warrant an immediate response because of accusatory content. Negative Glassdoor reviews are worth an immediate response if:

  • The review contains allegations of illegal behavior (e.g. assault, theft, harassment)
  • The review echoes other reviews’ depictions of a toxic work culture (e.g. low pay, bullying, long hours)

Address these reviews quickly to avoid any legal liability for the company. Most negative reviews, however, criticize one or multiple aspects of the company’s culture, management, and benefits without accusing the company of illegal or unethical activity.

Try to see a negative review as an opportunity to change your business for the better. The best negative review contain suggestions and constructive criticism.

2.   Identify Themes or Patterns to Address

Some former employees will use Glassdoor to vent about personal problems with the company. If the feedback in a negative review is consistent with multiple reviews on the platform or with internal employee feedback, though, it’s time to take action.

First, make sure you have a healthy sample size of 3-4 consistent reviews or other internal employee feedback. Then, decide if the issues raised in these reviews is something the company can or should fix.

If multiple reviews complain about your company’s PTO policy, for example, but your employees have 4 weeks of vacation plus generous sick time, don’t feel pressured to add days or change the policy.

On the other hand, if multiple reviews say your company doesn’t provide enough paths for growth, discuss that with your human resources department to decide how to improve promotion and growth plans for current employees.

Some negative reviews will contain unique criticism, which can still provide valuable information for your team. Think critically about the individual points raised, and decide on the best approach.

Once you’ve identified patterns and themes in a negative review, you are ready to begin crafting your response.

3.   Write a Thoughtful Response

Responding to negative Glassdoor reviews is an important part of maintaining your employer brand.

Professional, thoughtful responses show the original poster, and potential candidates, that you take complaints seriously and are willing to grow as an organization.

Make sure your response comes from the best point-of-contact for a potential follow-up. Ask your human resources manager, hiring manager, or another company leader to post a response on behalf of the company.

Always start your response by thanking the original poster for their feedback. Posting reviews show that someone cares about their time at the company.

Avoid becoming defensive when crafting your response. Even if you disagree with the review’s contents, remember that potential candidates are evaluating your response along with the original post.

Take time to address the reviewers complaints specifically. Job seekers may perceive this as unprofessional or unhelpful. Outline specific actions you plan to take as a result of the review, or explain why you’re unable to take action.

High-quality responses don’t have to be long. Keep your recommendations and responses succinct, but professional.

Finally, use your response to open the lines of communication with the reviewer. Making yourself available to someone who has publicly criticized you shows potential candidates that you care about improving the company.

4.   Follow Up With Your Team

If you noticed a negative Glassdoor review, it’s likely your employees did as well. Don’t let negative reviews become an opportunity for morale to decline.

Address the issues the reviewer raised and ask current employees for their feedback. Employees will appreciate that you take the time to listen to them.

Exit interviews, for example, are one way to let employees air constructive criticism in person. You could also use anonymous internal feedback channels, such as surveys, to take the pulse of the company.

Exit interviews are also a chance to address employee criticism when it’s given in writing to the human resources team.

Negative reviews don’t mean that you have a toxic work culture, but it’s important to use negative reviews as an opportunity to stop negative morale before it starts.

Negative Glassdoor Reviews Are an Opportunity for Growth

Tackling a negative Glassdoor review might be daunting, but it doesn’t mean that top talent will stay away from your company for good.

Following these steps will help mitigate the most damaging effects of a negative review. Start by evaluating the content of the review and identifying themes that should be addressed in your response.

Craft a response that’s gracious and professional, while addressing your course of action or company limitations accordingly.

Finally, communicate with your team internally to make sure a negative review doesn’t impact employee morale.


Author – Kelsey McKeon

Kelsey is a content writer at Clutch and Visual Objects, where she offers actionable tips for small businesses looking to improve their marketing and operations.