Nederlandse versie

How to deal with negative employee reviews

November 2nd 2020

Responding to a public negative review about your company can be challenging. Should you respond to the review? What exactly should you say? How can you make sure this review won't hurt your company image and dissuade job seekers from applying to your job openings? We are sharing with you a few tips how to deal with negative employee reviews on Stjarna and turn them to your advantage.

First of all, it is important to differentiate between two types of negative reviews: negative reviews that reflect genuine feelings and actual experiences of the respective (former) employee and fake reviews aiming to harm your company.

How to respond to a genuine negative review?

It can be upsetting to read a negative review about your company and it can be hard not to take it personally, but you need to respond professionally: you definitely don't want to appear petty and defensive.

1. Reply in a positive way.

First and foremost, don't ignore the review. Promptly address the issue(s) mentioned in the review by posting a public reply (you can reply to reviews on Stjarna when you sign up for an Employer Account). Respond in a positive and humble way and empathize with the employee: this will already say a lot about you as an employer. Don't forget to apologize that the employee has had a negative experience at your company.

2. Commit to improve.

Look into the complaints the employee has raised in their review: are they reasonable and, if yes, where do they stem from? If the review has brought up known problems that should have been corrected a long time ago, you should reply that you are genuinely committed to improving and are going to address the issues (and then take the time to actually do it). The employee who has made the complaint, as well as your current and future employees, will appreciate this: it shows you care and listen to them.

Employees want to be heard, so if you communicate with them and address issues before they escalate, you reduce the risk of getting negative reviews.

3. Thank them for their feedback.

If the review raises issues that you were unaware of, investigate the complaint within your organization before you reply. For example, if a reviewer has raised concerns about unprofessional management and too much secrecy in the decision-making processes, be sure to discuss this with your management team and ask your current employees for feedback, for example in the form of a survey, and then get the necessary changes underway. In your reply to the reviewer, explain that you have taken action to improve the situation and don't forget to thank them for their feedback.

4. Ask your team to write reviews on Stjarna.

You can ask your current employees to write reviews on Stjarna and share how they feel about working at your company. That way, your company profile could potentially get 20 positive reviews and 1 negative review versus only 1 negative review. However, we are against you incentivizing or coercing your employees to leave positive reviews on Stjarna: ask them to leave honest reviews.

5. Create a positive employee-centric culture.

The most effective way to steer clear of negative reviews is by creating a positive employee-centric culture with a strong focus on transparency where employees can share concerns and complaints internally before they speak them out online. A tool that can help you in that endeavor is the Stjarna internal evaluation. It includes individual interviews with you and your employees during which they share what they encounter in the workplace and how satisfied they are. As the conversations are confidential, employees tend to open up and be honest. Based on their input, we compile an evaluation report that is for your eyes only, and we also provide you with concrete advice how to improve your company culture.

How to respond to a fake negative review?

Unfortunately, not all negative reviews reflect genuine experiences and can be used as feedback to improve your company culture. Some dissatisfied employees write false or defamatory reviews just to damage your company reputation or denigrate managers and co-workers they dislike.

1. Flag it.

When it comes to a particularly mean review, you can flag it as false. We will give it a look, and we might remove it from our platform.

However, keep in mind that:

- You can't pay us to take down reviews.
- We won't tell you who wrote a particular review.

2. Expose it as false.

You can write a strategic reply so that other people who are viewing your company profile on Stjarna will realize it is a false review. For example:

"We have done extensive research into the issue(s) you have raised and spoken with the employees concerned, but we couldn't find any actual evidence that supports your claims. If you have a genuine issue you would like to discuss with us, please contact us via email or phone and give us some details about your situation, so we will be able to address the problem and make things right."

Our LinkedIn authentication feature helps verify an employee's relationship to your company. This mitigates the risk of getting negative reviews from suspicious users who haven't worked at your company but just want to harm its reputation.

Conclusion

You shouldn't fear negative reviews on Stjarna. As long as you reply promptly in a positive and humble way, truly empathize with the employee's feelings about their experience, and use it as feedback to improve your company culture, you can even turn the negative review around into something positive and keep the good image of your company.

The LinkedIn verification feature on our platform ensures that users who write reviews about a particular company have actually worked or are still working there, thus eliminating the risk of false reviews, and in the event of a defamatory review, you can always flag it as false and our team will look into it.

On a final note, the best way to steer clear of any negative reviews is by creating a positive workplace culture where employees can speak up about problems and concerns and discuss them internally. Foster a positive and transparent work culture, conduct regular employee satisfaction surveys, and listen to your employees and the positive reviews on Stjarna will follow.