Third party employer review sites like Glassdoor have experienced explosive growth in recent years, and for good reason. They provide valuable forums for employees to share honest (and anonymous) feedback, and give organizations a candid, high-level “scorecards” of their performance as employers.
In this way, third party review sites function a bit like the “Yelp” of the talent acquisition universe. For prospective employees, they’re a great place to start if you know little to nothing about a company and want a general sense of what to expect if you did work there.
Is that new Italian place down the street worth checking out? With a 3-star rating on Yelp, maybe not. With a 4-star rating, it might be worth checking out in person sometime. Yet having a 4-star rating alone tells you relatively little about the experience of actually eating there, or whether it would be a good choice for someone like you.
And what does a 4-star rating mean if you’re the restaurant owner (e.g., employer)? Of course you’d be glad to have four stars instead of three, but if someone asked you what makes your restaurant special – why you’re proud to have built it, and what defines your brand – your Yelp rating is probably not where you’d start.
This is why we often tell our clients to think of third party review sites as important tools for reputation management, while urging them to conduct independent surveys for a deeper understanding of what prospective talent and employees think of their employer brands.
When properly implemented, an independent employer brand health program complements and extends the value of third-party review sites in at least three key ways:
Turning Down the Volume of the Squeaky Wheels and Fanboys
We’ve all seen it. The 2 am review of the disgruntled employee who apparently has a problem with everything, including the type of mints offered at the reception desk. And conversely, the “fanboy” (or fangirl) who has found the meaning of life in working for a company (hint: it’s somewhere between the ping pong table and the draft kombucha station). Are these valuable perspectives? Certainly. Do they provide a skewed view of what it’s actually like to work somewhere? Certainly.
Fortunately, there’s a better way. By sourcing respondents from reputable third-party panels, we provide a more holistic view of what the universe of prospective talent thinks of your employer brand. Do we collect some squeaky wheels and fanboys along the way? You bet – and we should. Again, they’re a part of the overall picture. We just turn their volume down a little. And because our survey respondents are not intrinsically motivated to submit feedback based on extreme positive or negative sentiment, we’re able to deliver a more organic, and we would argue more realistic, view of what your employer brand means to typical (rather than extreme) prospects and employees.
Getting Beyond Compensation and Benefits
Believe it or not, compensation and benefits are important. To almost everyone. Employees want more of them, and companies want to attract top talent without spending more than they have to. Of course, it’s important to keep a pulse on these and other “functional” dimensions of your employer brand, but because they’re so universal, they rarely shed light on what truly makes your organization a distinctively desirable place to work.
Our employer brand proprietary survey templates go beyond the basics and help clients dive deeper into the “softer” side of employer branding. Say you have a 3.8 rating for “Culture & Values” on Glassdoor. What does that mean? How does talent describe your culture and values, and how do you stack up against your key competitors on these same intangible dimensions? We can provide those answers.
Timing, Timing, Timing
Clients often come to us with a hot new employer brand value prop, often paired with beautiful new creative, messaging, and career site. They’re rightly excited, and naturally they want to know: is our new message resonating with talent? Has it moved the needle on the employer brand KPI’s we track?
Trying to answer this question with third party sites is tricky because they’re at best lagging indicators of what’s going on with your employer brand, and employers have limited to no control over when the reviews are collected. Even if you could somehow get a clean pre/post read on your Glassdoor rating before and after you deployed your new career site, how do you interpret the fact that your aggregate rating moved from 3.8 to 4.0? Is this a significant shift? And is it really about your brand, or perhaps the mix of respondents (department, tenure, etc.) shifted between the pre/post period?
We’ve adopted the best thinking and practices from the world of consumer brand tracking, with tight controls over survey timing and sample balancing, so when the needle does move, you can read your employer brand KPI’s with confidence.
Want to learn more about how Change State can help your organization implement an independent employer brand health program? Contact us.