It can be challenging enough when customers get to review the service they receive from your store, but when the employees get in on the act, it can be a bit too much. Perhaps, however, it can be your ticket to lower turnover, happier customers and more business. It’s all in how you manage the feedback. See what you think.
A Culture of Reviews
These days, it is very much a part of our behavior to check with others before making our own decisions. Amazon started this phenomenon in its early days by getting people who read books sold by Amazon to tell others what they thought about what they had read. That, of course, expanded to all sorts of products Amazon ultimately sold.
Once the pattern was established, it spawned all sorts of people emulating the practice, including sites as well-known as Google, Yelp and YellowPages.com, to more obscure sites like Kudzu or BrownBook.
Ultimately, everyone got into the act. Consumers of services now wax poetic about the performance of doctors, dentists, restaurants, hotels and auto repair facilities, among others. Now employees get to “rate” the people for whom they work on sites like Indeed and GlassDoor. Will it ever stop? No, it won’t.
Picking Where You Want to Work
This habit of reading reviews before making decisions is now so ingrained that it is not limited to picking a restaurant — it includes picking a career. Employers have to be aware of how they are being reviewed online, particularly in a tight job market.
But, there is good news, too. Rather than thinking of these employer review sites as just one more thing to have to worry about, they can also provide a springboard as a boost to your “brand” as an employer. The same sites that an unhappy employee can use to get back at an employer can be used as a magnet for the best talent, too. It can also provide a type of ongoing “bio-feedback” to guide your management style.
Your Employer ‘Brand’
Attracting talent is crucial to the success of any business with employees. Instead of fearing what is being said online, it can be strategically powerful to embrace feedback posted by your employees. By monitoring employee review sites, you will get a good idea of whether your business is seen as a good place to work. These are the same impressions that impact prospective employees, too.
Just as consumer feedback sites like Google and Yelp measure how your business is perceived by customers, employer sites like Indeed and GlassDoor provide internal feedback, as well. You can learn the perceived pros and cons about the job of which your employees tend to agree. Learn, too, how your policies on compensation, paid time off, benefits or employee amenities are viewed.
Feedback on Your Hiring Process
You can also learn how prospective employees react to the ways in which you conduct interviews. Whatever style of interview you choose – high-pressure or interrogatory – you will get good insight as to how those being interviewed perceive the experience. You may decide to modify your strategies based on the chance that good employee prospects are turned off by the process — or intrigued by it.
The “interview reviews” that appear on employee review sites may be very helpful in adjusting your hiring processes and creating interviewing experiences that better reflect your company values and potential employees’ expectations.
In my book, Entrepreneurial Insanity in the Tire Industry, I describe a multi-step interview process that is typical among hiring organizations and contrast it with a “selection system” that ultimately locates people who philosophically fit your vision. No intimidation or trickery. Simply an organized process of seeing if there is alignment. At the end of the interview, no damage is done if the candidate is not hired, reducing the likelihood that you will get “dinged” as unfair, unkind or uncooperative. It will improve your employer “brand” among those you hire and those you don’t.
Your Response Is Critical
Unhappy employees cannot help but share their unhappiness – wittingly or not – with customers. Whatever your personal service attitude toward customers may be as an owner, you cannot interact with every customer. Your representatives in the form of your employees must reflect the same caring and values that you do. It is best to be aware of how they feel on an ongoing basis by monitoring what they are willing to share anonymously.
Your reputation as an employer can be dramatically impacted by not only what your employees are saying about you online, but also by how you respond.
With all sorts of limitations on employers these days, responses can be tricky, particularly if the review is negative or written by a disgruntled former employee.
Use the suggestions in the below sidebar for guidance. But, in quick summation, stay cool, remain professional and do not make it personal.
Reading the not-always-fair feedback from a disgruntled employee may not be the best way to stay in a good mood. That being said, you will discover that the vast majority of your employees are happy and willing to say so.
Employee review websites give you a free source of information never before available to employers. If you treat it as a type of marketing research on your employees, you will find that the results will be a happier, more professionally managed organization with lower turnover, higher productivity and happier customers.
10 Ways to Take Action on Employee Reviews
There are many ways to proactively use employer reviews to your advantage. Here is a list of 10 ideas that may spur your thinking:
- Claim (register) your company on as many employee websites as possible. Do not rely on the producers of these sites to get your information correct or complete. Include Indeed and GlassDoor at a minimum.
- Expand your company’s listing on these sites. This allows you to promote the benefits of working for your company.
- Encourage your current employees to leave reviews. If they are happy, let them speak up. It really helps with recruiting and balances out those who are less happy who will leave reviews without encouragement.
- Respond to all reviews whether positive or negative. It shows you are paying attention.
- Keep cool when you read things you don’t like. It shows you are mature in your management posture.
- Empathize when you see things that might be critical. Not only keep your cool, but put yourself into their shoes — even if they are wrong.
- Analyze what you see online. Assign someone from the management team to take responsibility for this activity.
- Monitor your competitors. You may see recruiting opportunities.
- Manage your behavior based on the feedback you are getting. Use all of the information available — even if it is negative.
- Adjust working conditions accordingly. It will pay off.
Roger McManus is the author of “Entrepreneurial Insanity in
the Tire Industry” (Amazon), directed at the owners of tire and auto service businesses who are trapped as the hub of their business wheel and seek to achieve the real reason they started the business — to achieve a certain level of freedom. The book can be ordered at www.RogerMcManus.com. Roger can be contacted at [email protected]
Check out the rest of the May digital edition of Tire Review here.