Even companies who have found themselves named to a Best Workplace list will find themselves dealing with negative employee reviews from time to time. Looking at Glassdoor.com, one of the most popular employer review websites, the average employer rating is 3.3 out of 5 stars. Being aware of the negative reviews you have online and appropriately responding to them can help you shape and strengthen your employer brand.

What is an employer brand? It is the perception that individuals (both potential employees, current employee and former office-820390_640employees) have about what it is like to work for your organization. Recently, websites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com have given people and outlet to share thoughts on their work experience with others. These sites can be both a blessing and a curse. Often potential job candidates will research your company prior to applying and employer review sites are a popular place to look. This means that if you have an accurate representation of the employee experience online, you could attract candidates that will fit in the company culture well. On the other hand, these review sites are anonymous which means people could completely lie about their experience and there is little you can do about it. This can be incredibly frustration, especially for small business leaders.

A recent article from the Happiness Index gives some tips for how to deal with inevitable negative reviews in order to preserve your online reputation.

Know what is being said
Creating a profile on these employer review sites allows you to share information about your organization and respond to the reviews online. Make it a regular practice to review these sites and understand what is being said about your organization.

Take the opportunity to respond
It is best practice to respond to all employee reviews, both negative and positive. For a negative review, it is important to show compassion and offer to have a discussion offline. You also don’t have to agree with the reviewer, but you should focus on the positives and perhaps explain the steps have taken or will be taking to address the concern. If the concern seems completely different that then experience your other employees are reporting it is ok to say that.

Encourage employees to write reviews
Ask your employees to write reviews about their experience working for your company. Sites like Glassdoor.com actually encourage employers to do this. There are a few rules though. Never offer incentives for reviews. Also avoid asking only those employees you think will respond positively to write a review. It is a better practice to announce it in a staff meeting with all employees. The truth is, you want a fair, balanced representation. All organizations will have pros and cons. A completely glowing review of a company will likely not be trusted, while one that discusses both pros and cons is likely to be believed by readers.

Understanding and managing your online reputation is important to your recruiting and retention strategies. If you are looking for even more ideas for improving your employer brand, please attend our free Employer Branding Webinar on Thursday August 18th from 11:00 am-11:45 am. To register visit: http://www.aplusbenefits.com/webinar-sign-up-employer-branding