A company, like society, has a culture. Systems, habits, norms and goals are among the factors that contribute to a company’s culture. Corporate culture permeates throughout an organization from interpersonal relationships to benefits offered to succession planning to diversity initiatives. When considering a company’s culture, think about how business is conducted. Is it a traditional, formal structure where orders are given from the top, or do the subordinate employees have a voice in the decision-making? What is the communication style among employees? Is care taken to explain corporate changes? Is there a mentoring program, or are employees left to sink or swim on their own? Are processes in place that support employee development or do employees feel their careers are stagnant and stale? The confluence of these factors create corporate culture.
As important as corporate culture is, it is very difficult to assess or even describe. For that reason, online company review sites like Glassdoor, Fairygodboss and Indeed have become a resource for those wanting more information about a company’s culture. On these sites, employees can anonymously post reviews about their experiences at their companies for all to see online.
The benefits to job seekers of learning about companies through online company review sites is obvious. It is a great way to gauge your possible “fit” with a company based on, among other things, its culture. However, the feedback that upper management can obtain from these sites about their own company is often overlooked. Employee feedback on these sites can be a valuable tool in assessing a company’s strengths and weaknesses and generally how employees feel. In other words, the reviews can be a window into the company’s culture.
Reading what employees are saying about your company is one thing. Acting on the feedback is another. Here are some guidelines that can help you assess and act on what your employees are posting about your company and improve your company’s culture in the process.
If the vast majority of your company’s online employee reviews paint a fairly rosy picture, you can be confident that the workplace culture is healthy and happy. Your employees likely feel valued and enjoy their work. If, on the other hand, more than a third of your employee reviews are negative, there is room for improvement. A comprehensive employee review audit is in order by taking the following steps:
1. Evaluate each negative review.
Task your HR team with carefully reading and assessing the validity of negative online employee reviews. Are employees making the same comments about poor morale or high turnover? Do you see consistent themes emerging concerning wages or long working hours? Ask HR to make a list of valid, negative reviews.
2. Immediately respond to negative reviews.
Don’t wait to address an employee’s negative review. Doing so may create the impression your company doesn’t value it’s employees’ opinions or views. Instead, use negative reviews as an opportunity to show your employees that your company’s leadership cares about its employees. Post a response that expresses concern that the employee’s experience was less than positive and explain steps the company is taking to address the issue. You may even provide a point of contact, such as an HR manager, with whom the employee can address the concern. If an employee makes false claims in a review, don’t dismiss them, but instead set the record straight in a conciliatory way.
3. Develop an action plan to resolve the issues.
After you have determined which negative online employee reviews are tenable, task your HR team with resolving the issues in a way that benefits both employees and management. For example, if employees post several reviews about feeling unappreciated, your HR team may recommend implementing an employee recognition program.
By taking these steps, you use can turn a negative, and potentially damaging, online review into an opportunity to learn and improve your corporate culture. If you don’t have the time or resources to conduct an effective employee review audit, contact the HR experts at Smart HR who are equipped with the knowledge, skills and expertise to get the job done.