VP of Talent & Admin, Co-Creator of IMPACT's Core Values, Vision, and Culture Code
July 8th, 2020
Back in 2016, we were just coming out of a tough time here at IMPACT.
We went through a long period of high employee turnover in 2015 so we made some huge improvements to our team experience knowing that we would be hiring a lot in the next year and, of course, to keep the talent we had.
We were proud of the strides we made.
The only problem was, our Glassdoor rating, the most prominent grade of our performance as an employer, didn't reflect that.
Our rating had been sitting at 3.4 for quite some time, with our last review dating back over a year.
You see, although I’m nonchalantly stating that our happiness data was trending upward and our current culture was better, there was nothing nonchalant about how that happened.
If you read through our culture code on our careers page, you’ll see that we weren’t always a great place to work.
A brutally honest slide on IMPACT’s Culture Code
People weren't happy here and that showed on Glassdoor at the time of those reviews.
Based on the increase in our employee happiness score compared to when the last reviews were posted, I was confident that most people would agree our current culture was much better and our score could be too.
Knowing that Glassdoor ranks as one of the top 10 websites that job-seekers visit, I became determined to increase our rating and help us attract and keep the talented we needed.
But wait, why does a Glassdoor rating matter for companies?
In a nutshell, your Glassdoor rating is a score of your performance as an employer based on reviews by past and current employees.
While Glassdoor calculates individual ratings for each company’s hiring process, CEO, benefits, and more, the one I was focused on was the overall company rating, as it’s the first one seen on a company’s profile.
As explained by Glassdoor, the overall company rating is “the overall rating of all approved reviews that company has ever received after applying our proprietary algorithm, which among other factors more heavily weights recent reviews over older ones.”
In other words, it was a good overarching indicator of how well your company was doing.
When starting my Glassdoor journey, my first goal was simply to go from a 3.4 to a 3.5, assuming there would be a lot of effort and time needed to move the number at all.
I quickly realized that to do this we needed two main things.
For starters, we simply needed reviews. Even if our culture was amazing, if nobody was writing about it on Glassdoor, it would never be reflected there.
I knew I couldn’t sit on the sidelines and expect employees to stumble onto our Glassdoor page and not only be compelled to write a review but a positive one.
So I needed a real plan to get reviews rolling in, and regularly.
Second, we needed a culture that would people would want to talk about.
Nobody was going to anonymously rave about how great it was to work at our company if it actually wasn't so great. If anything, they’d want to warn the unsuspecting job seekers and we didn't want there to be anything to warn about.
How to get more Glassdoor reviews (to increase your rating)
As I mentioned briefly above, it’s unlikely that your employees will naturally visit Glassdoor regularly and leave glowing reviews. Even the happiest of employees may never even think about it.
That’s where you (or your HR team) come in.
Develop a plan so those employees do feel inclined to review your company and do so honestly.
While you shouldn’t ask for or incentivize positive reviews, you want to encourage your team to give feedback.
At the very least you’ll either get a negative review that includes some additional insight into how you can create a better place to work, or you’ll get that positive review.
Follow these steps to start putting your plan into play.
1. Set a goal
Before starting your initiatives, set a goal.
For me, I chose a conservative goal so I could get a feel for what it would take to make that progress. I don’t remember for sure, but I want to say it took five or more reviews over about a month to see a change. This was actually faster than I expected.
I suggest starting with a conservative goal so you can get the insight I mentioned above, but also to hopefully show a quick win to your team so they know from the beginning that their reviews really make an impact.
Which brings me to my next suggestion...
2. Make your initiative known to the team
Ideally, I wanted the whole team rallying behind me to make our Glassdoor score more accurate. To do this, I announced my goal at our next all-hands meeting.
If you don’t have an all-hands meeting or one in the near future, work it into the way you regularly communicate with your whole team.
This could be a newsletter, company email update, Basecamp announcement, Slack message, etc.
3. Make it a competition
Once we hit our conservative goal, I made a big deal about celebrating it and focused on how the small efforts of a few made a big difference.
From there, I kicked things up a notch.
I compared us to another company in our industry that was known for its award-winning culture and had a rating of 4.7, more than a full star ahead of us.
I told the team my goal was to score above that other company, suspecting that if our employees took the time to write honest reviews, we’d actually be able to do it.
4. Integrate reviews into regular procedures
While it would be great to be able to get a flood of reviews all at once, see your score go up, and call it a day, Glassdoor’s rating algorithm bases your score off of the most recent employee feedback.
As they mention in their Help Center, “the more recent the review, the heavier its weight towards the overall rating on Glassdoor.”
Therefore, without regular reviews rolling in, your score is likely to continue taking a hit as time goes on.
Because of this, it’s important to make a point to ask for reviews regularly and in small batches so you don’t use up all of your reviewers all at once.
A few regular occurrences when you might consider asking include:
During the onboarding check-ins: Add asking for a review to your six-month check-in agenda with new employees. By that point, they’ve had enough time to experience the culture and can provide very relevant feedback for new job seekers.
After team surveys: Did any of your employees submit really great feedback in your recent team survey? If so, ask them if they don’t mind writing about their experience on Glassdoor while you know it’s still top-of-mind for them.
At employment anniversaries: Since employees can be eligible to write a new review every year, why not ask them at their regularly occurring employment anniversary? This makes it easy to keep track of who you’ve asked, while also ensuring a consistent pipeline of review requests.
5. Ask the right people
In addition to the recurring times where you can plan to ask for reviews, there are other great approaches and times to ask in between those opportunities.
Some opportunities might include:
Asking employees who have been at your company the longest. Surely something good has to be keeping them around!
Reaching out to openly happy employees. If you’re lucky enough to have employees who openly talk about the things they appreciate at your company, how your company is different (in a good way) from others they’ve worked for, or their happiness in general, ask them to express their feelings on Glassdoor.
Focusing on individual teams/departments. Assuming managers understand the importance of the company’s Glassdoor review, ask them to rally their teams to get reviews over a certain period of time. Once that time is up, focus on a different team/department the next time you need a review boost.
Look at your team and determine the opportunities you have to ask for sporadic reviews when you need them.
6. Regularly update the team on any progress.
Once you’ve announced your goal, keep the team in the loop with what happens.
Without regular updates, they’re likely to forget about the goal, deprioritize it, or not feel inclined to write a review.
7. Follow the rules.
Whichever methods you use for getting more reviews on your Glassdoor page, make sure you’re following their Community Guidelines.
The last thing you’d want is to spend a lot of time and effort getting reviews, only to find out they were taken down because you didn’t read through their review guidelines.
Creating a culture worth raving about
At the end of the day, all the reviews in the world won’t matter if they’re not good and the only way to get good reviews is to earn them with a good culture.
It took us a few years to curate a company culture that we were proud of, and it’s something we still analyze and work to improve every day.
If you aren’t currently tracking the happiness levels of your employees or the company’s eNPS score, I’d suggest starting that immediately. Otherwise, it makes it much harder to prove that any of your initiatives are working.
Because every company operates differently and has their own definition of the culture they want, I don’t have a specific guide for achieving it.
However, I can share a few focus areas, resources, and initiatives that we found beneficial in case they can provide any help in achieving your company’s culture goals.
Although I know it can be overwhelming, the sooner you start the journey towards reaching your Glassdoor goals the better.
Since starting our Glassdoor initiative and increasing our score from a 3.4 to a 4.8, we’ve seen numerous benefits. Some top ones include a 500%+ increase in applicants who apply directly after visiting our Glassdoor profile, honest insight into things we can do better as a company and leadership team from the anonymous reviews, and candid evaluations on our hiring process, which we’ve used to increase the applicant experience.
Though this can be a lengthy process, take it step by step and learn what works best for your company. In the end, the benefits you’ll see along the way will be worth it.
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