How Poor Glassdoor Reviews Are Hurting Your Sales -- and What You Should Do About It

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Scott Baradell
Published: Jun 15, 2020
Last Updated: Jan 4, 2022

I recently read on Quora a well-written answer to the question, "What can companies do to mitigate a bad presence on Glassdoor?" The answer, by Ian Mathews,  is spot on in many respects.

Mathews puts it this way:

I didn’t care about solving our “presence” on Glassdoor. When is the last time you heard a CEO on Wall Street talk about Glassdoor strategy? ... If you think you have a Glassdoor problem as a company, don’t fool yourself. You have a morale problem ... Don’t hide from the issues. Admit that you know there is a problem ... Ignore Glassdoor. Focus on your people.

While I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, it leaves out some practical points that need to be considered. 

First, it is true that ultimately a low rating on Glassdoor is a morale issue. Any company that finds itself with poor Glassdoor ratings (which I would classify as any rating of 3.9 or lower) should first look inward to determine how it can do better by its employees by establishing and adhering to core values. Over the long term, there is no substitute for that. There is no papering over a real issue inside your company.

Having said that, I do not agree that that is  all you should do.

The reality is that review sites — including Glassdoor — have become the primary means that many of your company’s potential customers use to determine whether they want to do business with you.

A bad Glassdoor rating will hurt your sales as much as your recruiting. Your prospective buyers inevitably look at those reviews just as your prospective employees do. And they are similarly influenced.

After all, if your company can’t make its people happy, how can it make its customers happy?

For many companies with poor Glassdoor ratings, even if they are doing their best to improve how they treat their people, it can take months or even years for those improvements to show up in their ratings if there is no proactive effort to improve those ratings.

Which could mean a lot of lost business.

The better approach is to make every effort to fill your first page of branded Google results — what I like to call your “second home page” — with as many five-star ratings and positive reviews as possible.

In this day and age, it’s marketing malpractice not to do so.

What that means, practically speaking, is that you must do the following:

  • Solicit positive reviews from your customers or clients on Google, TrustRadius, G2, Yelp, Tripadvisor, Clutch, Gartner Peer Insights, IT Central Station or wherever your buyers go to get third-party validation for your brand.
  • Implement morale-building initiatives within your company; then, immediately begin soliciting positive reviews from employees on Glassdoor. Glassdoor encourages this practice, because it knows that  without prompting by employers, Glassdoor reviews will be biased toward those with an ax to grind.
  • Finally, as you wait for positive reviews to impact your Glassdoor rating, counter your negative rating in the short term. One good strategy is to leverage employee review websites that your disgruntled former employees have probably not discovered yet, like Kununu and Comparably. Ask your happy, engaged employees to post reviews on these sites, and then link to them from your own site’s Careers page. This link will cause your reviews on those sites to rank higher in your branded search results — countering the older, negative reviews on Glassdoor.

Gone are the days when you can simply be a good company or have a good product — or be good to your employees — and hope that this will naturally translate to the whole world knowing how great you are.

You have to do the work to let them know.

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