Employer reputation: How can you improve yours?
Employer reputation: How can you improve yours?
17th Feb 2017Written by: Iain Blair

When you’re offered a job, there’s more to consider than just the salary and benefits. The decision is also about what it’s like to work there day-in, day-out. But how can a candidate find out what it’s really like to work for a prospective employer?

In times gone by, you might have tried to glean information from friends, family and acquaintances that currently or previously worked for the company. Failing that, however, your options would have been limited.

These days, it’s much easier to discover this information. You can search for current employees on LinkedIn and contact them to ask about their experiences.

You can also take a look at job sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor – sites that let people rate their employers and leave comments. With the anonymity of the internet coming into play, reviews are often given with a no-holds-barred approach. They also give what a prospective employee desperately craves – a true sense of what it’s like to work at a company.

Employer reviews – when things get negative

A study by HR Consultancy Lee Hecht Harrison Penna (LHHP), discovered around three-quarters (76%) of workers confessed to making negative comments about a previous employer. Age is a factor and those under 35 years are twice as likely to have shared an opinion about an employer online compared to their older colleagues. These views don’t go unnoticed – 69% of this group admit to taking negative reviews into account when considering a new role.

LHHP’s UK CEO, Nick Goldberg, comments: “What our research highlights is how that feedback is to become even more critical to managing an employer brand with the rise of social media, and in particular networks that specifically target a professional audience like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

“Negative ratings of an employer can seriously impact on its ability to encourage the best people to join its ranks and stay there.”

The wider effects of negative feedback

In a talent-led market, it’s becoming more vital than ever for employers to keep their staff happy. However, this is more than just a human resource issue, it can affect the reputation of the business as a whole. Bad-mouthing employers can risk damaging relationships with customers, suppliers and even key stakeholders.

The release of the 2017 Trust Barometer by Edelman supports this theory, with trust in businesses found to be on the decline. Even so, according to the report, when it comes to a true assessment of a business, the public is most likely to believe its employees.

So, while it’s important to craft and promote your employer value proposition, the key to successful recruitment is all about keeping the people at the heart of your business – your employees – happy.

Treating candidates like customers

Just as you consider the journey your customers take through the business, it’s important to consider the experience of potential employees, too. According to the 2015 NAM CandE Research Report, only 40% of recruiters have a policy in place that requires them to reply to candidates.

The job application process itself is thought to have become more convoluted, with 59% of applicants feeling there are more steps than there used to be, and three in five candidates leaving their applications unfinished.

Employers need to consider factors such as consistency between job adverts, a friendly tone, and setting expectations to help enhance the candidate experience.

Structure your interview process

Research suggests that structured interviews are 81% more accurate than unstructured ones, meaning it’s important to create consistency for this part of the candidate journey, both to help enhance the candidate experience and to ensure that you find the right person for the role.  

Just as bad reviews of your workplace could negatively impact your hiring process, an inconsistent candidate journey could have an effect on your ability to attract talent too. 

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