Why agencies take Glassdoor seriously

For agencies, which often like to proclaim how valued their people are and say that their biggest resource “goes down the elevator at night,” Glassdoor can be a major priority.

The anonymous workplace review site is rife with current and ex-employees (and in many cases, people who’ve never worked there at all) offering the pros and cons of working at various companies. It’s sort of a Yelp for offices. Which can be a boon — or problematic, depending — for employers grappling with an industry-wide talent crunch. Favorable Glassdoor write-ups are good fodder “Best Places to Work” roundups, after all.

“I leverage it for branding,” said Shannon Moorman, vp, talent acquisition at GSD&M, who said that having positive reviews means a leg up over the competition.

At MEC Global, global chief talent office Marie-Claire Barker was finding that a lot of potential job candidates were coming in having read negative feedback on the company’s page. “They interpret feedback as they wish, and we have no control,” said Barker.

About 90 days ago, the agency started responding to each Glassdoor comment. Sometimes, it would just acknowledge it with a “we’re sorry that your experience wasn’t a fit.” Other times, it was about actual issues that could be solved, like internal communications or more happy hours.

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Ding: A (negative) review on MEC’s Glassdoor page

Internally, messages from executives to employees included links to the company’s Glassdoor site, asking everyone to put in reviews.

MEC isn’t the only one. According to an employee at another agency, last year the company’s internal communications team created a full presentation on its positive and negative reviews, and then had an all-hands meeting to “discuss” the problem. The executive team “not so subtly” asked employees to share their own (hopefully, positive) experiences on the site, said one employee, who said that managers now get weekly updates based on the activity on the shop’s page. “Yes, of course, we take the reviews seriously,” she said. During exit interviews, employees leaving on amicable terms were asked to “leave a review,” she said.

For MEC, asking people to leave reviews and making Glassdoor part of its strategy has helped. According to Barker, the agency saw the “recommend to a friend” rating go from 48 percent to 79 percent. Also, CEO approval jump from 84 percent to 93 percent, and the average rating go from 3.2 to 3.7, out of a possible five.

Traffic to the company’s jobs site also jumped, from 3,000 people a month to 8,500 people a month. Nancy Lawe, global project manager at MEC, said that going forward, the company wants to invest in an enhanced Glassdoor page. “It’s a defining element of who we are,” she said. And while they don’t ask departing employees to leave reviews, it might happen. “That’s a good idea,” said Barker.

Carolyn Doud, evp human resources at RAPP, is a little more cautious about Glassdoor. While it’s something she keeps an eye on, it’s “only one data point,” she said. “What it does is, it enables us to start a discussion around specific points,” she said. And that goes for potential employees too: Doud said that often, candidates will bring up things they’ve seen on Glassdoor. “Great. There’s the elephant in the room. Let’s address it.”

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