Today’s candidate is super savvy, meaning that by the time they apply for a position with your company, they’ve already done their research which according to the most recent Candidate Experience Report by the Talent Board, the average candidate spends 1-2 hours researching jobs and a company and 46 percent said they needed to do more research and learn additional information about the company before they apply. It is also important to note that the value in review sites like Glassdoor have increased over the past four years from 20 to 29 percent.
Your talent brand includes the perceptions of prospective, current, and previous employees and influences whether or not people choose to apply, accept offers, and stay at your company. A talent brand audit is an excellent way to measure this information with regards to where you are now, set goals and define where you would like to be, and implement or change processes based on the information gathered via your audit. This is how you control (most of) the information that is out there about your company, your messaging, and the perception of your company for the long-term. It’s dynamic by its nature, which means that a long-term candidate marketing strategy that supports your employer brand must be maintained and audited frequently.
Getting a Handle on Your Online Employer Brand
A positive brand experience is critical to not only filling your candidate funnel, but protecting your online recruiting brand when it comes to digital properties like social media, review sites, and other online communities.
There are four primary considerations for monitoring and taking action to protect your digital recruiting brand:
1) Monitor your mentions.
Companies need to keep track of the 17+ employee review sites including some non-traditional ones like Google My Business (GMB), Yelp and Facebook Page reviews. This can be as simple as setting up Google Alerts for various phrases and mentions of your company, or using robust monitoring software – also called “reputation management software” – like Brandify or Reputology.
Setting up Google Alerts is easy. In the “create an alert about” field, simply enter your company name the same way you’d enter terms in your niche you want to get alerts for. You’ll get email notifications of your mentions via Google’s database, based on your preferences: as they happen, at least once a day, and at most once a week.
For larger companies, using reputation management software makes the process of monitoring reviews on multiple sites, setting up GMB pages, recommendations, and templates for review responses manageable. You’ll want to select the software that is the best fit for your industry and what you’d like to focus on. For example, retail companies must monitor their consumer and employer brand and connecting all of this online listening to one platform can be a huge timesaver.
2) Craft and develop appropriate responses.
Should you respond to online reviews? Absolutely—both positive and negative. The important point here is communication and improvement, not to discount the negative reviews with a snarky response (big “no-no”). You want to show employees and candidates that your company is listening, acting on, and addressing the reviews. You don’t have to change an entire process based on one negative review, but you can talk about changes you have made.
Reviews like these should be seen as opportunities for feedback to learn, grow, and change. Not everyone feels this way, however, it’s important to educate executives on the whys behind choosing to respond to reviews. The why? A better candidate experience.
Example employee review responses:
An existing employee leaves a negative, anonymous review: “Thank you for sharing your concerns. Please know our management team is doing its best to help all employees work through these evolving and interesting times. Your feedback will be shared with our leadership team. In the meantime, feel free to discuss your concerns with our dedicated HR associates.”
An existing or former employee leaves a negative review regarding layoffs or restructuring: “Thank you for sharing your concerns. We understand that employee communication is important to reducing rumors and maintaining transparency during these changing and interesting times. Your feedback will be shared with our leadership team.”
A former employee leaves a negative review about your company: “Thank you for sharing your feedback on [reference specific complaint and/or department and company]. as it concerns us a great deal that this was your experience in our XXX location. Your feedback will be shared with our local and global leadership teams.”
3) Plan for scenarios and situations before they happen.
As you monitor your employer brand, it’s important to work with your team to develop a strategy and or plan of action to address comments and reviews before they happen. Being proactive doesn’t mean you have to dictate or enforce an employee policy with regards to reviews (while technically not illegal, there are compliance issues involved in policies like asking employees for positive reviews, or taking action when you’re able to identify a current employee who leaves a negative review, not to mention the lack of trust it will create among your staff). It means that you get ahead of what will likely be out there and ensure that you present your brand positively and proactively.
For example, a positive policy change within your company, such as adding perks like additional PTO or fully paid health insurance, is an opportunity to return to review sites and respond to reviews that mention “restrictive PTO” or “terrible health coverage” and let the reviewer (and readers) know that you heard their feedback and tell them about the new policy or perk.
4) Develop a regular content schedule for sharing resources and content online.
Content marketing is important for candidate nurturing in the mid- to lower hiring funnel. All candidates should get a list of resources to help them in their job search, whether it’s with your organization or with someone else. The key is to create a referral source that continues to drive high quality job seekers to expand and grow your employment brand in far reaching ways. This can be in the form of an FAQ along with other candidate assets that can help provide information about your company, unique qualities and custom content and resources targeted to your job candidate personas.
Employee review sites and your employer brand are incredibly important as business and the employment process shifts more online. Employment brand is essential throughout the employee life cycle whether it’s recruiting, retention, or in engaging with your alumni workforce. Most important is the planning, strategy, and monitoring that happens to help organize and plan your branding and digital engagement efforts.