The Cost of a Negative Employer Brand

Lori Maupas
Lori Maupas, Senior Editor

You’ve crafted the perfect job announcement. You’ve designed creative, attention-grabbing ads. You’ve researched the best places to post and share. Now you sit back and wait for the talented applicants to roll in. Crickets.

This makes no sense. Your products and services are top-notch. You’ve won award after award in your industry. Where are the countless brilliant and accomplished job seekers who should be flocking to this unparalleled career opportunity?

They’re probably looking at your company’s online reputation on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster and others.

A transparent view into company culture, employee salaries, stories and overall workplace experience is just a click away —  and a recent survey indicates that over half of job seekers have used Glassdoor at some point during their search.

Competition is Fierce

The current U.S. unemployment rate is under 4%, which means it’s more important than ever to pull out all of the stops in the quest to attract exceptional talent. You’ve thought of everything —  salaries, benefits, perks, training, development, incentives — but have you thought about your brand’s credibility and image online?

Over 90% of job seekers regard the reputation of potential employers as important when considering a new job opportunity. One-third of job seekers restrict their applications to companies rated with three stars or above.

And potential applicants trust employees three times more than the company itself to provide candid insights into what it’s truly like to work there.

Negative ratings on compensation, benefits, career growth, teamwork — these add up quickly and decisively. The lower your rating, the less likely you are to be on anyone’s list, much less on the lists of the top talent you hope to attract.

The Net Costs of Negativity

On average, it costs businesses a significant amount of money to make up for a bad reputation: close to $5,000 per hire, according to Harvard Business Review. When you consider that turnover is higher in companies with negative employer brands, those numbers really begin to add up.

Negative employee reviews impact far more than just the recruitment process. Consumers who learn of toxic workplace environments and poor employee treatment may choose to spend their money elsewhere. Low workforce morale will eventually impact sales. And the stellar employees currently working for you may begin to consider other options, beginning with a quick search online.

Start with a Thorough Audit

Do you regularly review what employees are saying about your company on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and Monster.com? If not, you’ll want to amend that immediately. Visit each site, search for your company, read each review, consider the feedback and set your course of action.

Here are some best-practices for ongoing employer brand reputation management:

  • Monitor: It’s critical to keep track of online feedback that affects your reputation as an employer, and that means checking it —  and managing it — on an ongoing basis.
  • Respond: Like most online feedback, time and tone are of the essence when replying. So respond to comments quickly. Thank employees for their service and their feedback. Acknowledge their concerns and offer solutions. Spotlight relevant factors that make your company stand out as a potential employer.
  • Keep it Positive: Resist the urge to lash out an an ex-employee about his or her bad behavior and terrible work ethic. You’ll only come off looking defensive and perhaps guilty as charged in the eyes of the public.
  • Use What You Learn: Most importantly, apply what you’ve learned from feedback on job sites to improve your work environment for current and future employees. And encourage your existing employees to leave a review —  if they enjoy their jobs, they may shout your praises on Glassdoor and Indeed, and help you recruit new hires.