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  1. Blog
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Why Employee Reviews Are Critical to Your Brand Management Efforts

Request, listen, act, repeat

Why Employee Reviews Are Critical to Your Brand Management Efforts

The practice of collecting, analyzing, addressing, and learning from employee reviews is critical to your brand management strategy. Potential employees, customers, business partners, and investors will use employee reviews to form an opinion of your business and decide whether to work with you.

“Employee reviews play a critical role in a company’s employer brand perception and ability to attract quality talent,” Kaitlyn Holbein, founder and principal consultant at recruitment marketing and employer branding firm The Employer Brand Shop, says. “While your careers site and social media profiles can provide some information, candidates really want to hear about your culture and employee experience directly from people like them—from your current and past employees. Anonymous review sites are an ideal place for candidates to really understand your employee experience from a perspective they can trust.”

Customers and potential hires demand visibility into your business

Treating your employees well is just the right thing to do. And more and more, your clients and customers will demand that you not only treat your employees well, but that your efforts to do so and the effects are transparent and visible.

The Accenture’s 2018 Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research found:

  • 65 percent of consumers say they are attracted to organizations that treat their employees well.

  • 74 percent of consumers say they crave greater transparency in how companies ensure safe working conditions.

  • 36 percent of consumers have been disappointed by the way a company acted, which betrayed consumers’ belief in what the company stands for, and 47 percent stopped doing business with the company as a result.

Your hiring and retention also depend on good, informative employee reviews. A 2017 study by iCIMS titled “The Modern Job Seeker” found:

  • Nearly 1 in 3 workers have declined a job offer primarily because the company had negative online employer reviews.

  • 92 percent of working Americans consider employee reviews to be important when deciding to apply to a job.

  • 43 percent of managerial-level workers have declined a job offer because of poor reviews, compared to 17 percent for non-management candidates.

  • 47 percent of millennials have declined a job offer because of negative reviews online.

  • It only takes 10 reviews for a consumer to trust the information.

A 2020 Jobvite survey found:

  • 81 percent of workers think company culture is somewhat or very important in the decision to apply for a job.

And according to Glassdoor:

  • 40 percent of job seekers say they would pull out of a recruitment process after reading negative reviews from employees.

  • 33 percent of job seekers say they would pull out after hearing about employee or leadership scandals.

Encourage your employees to rate you, regularly

Don’t wait for your team to rate you; invite them to rate your company, and do it often. Your brand management efforts are ongoing and so should your efforts to understand the experience of your workers.

“In order to manage their employer brand effectively on anonymous review sites like InHerSight, Glassdoor, or Comparably, employers need to get involved in the conversation,” Holbein says. “They can do so by encouraging employees to leave honest reviews on a regular basis, responding to reviews that come in, acting on feedback, and sending candidates to these platforms to learn more during the hiring process.”

Keeping your data fresh with new and regular ratings and reviews means you have an up-to-date understanding of your company culture. Encourage your employees to rate every six to 12 months to capture the effects of management changes, shifts in culture, and general policy changes. Additionally, you can ask your employees to rate specific aspects of your business three to six months after a major change in benefits or policy so you can measure its effects on employee satisfaction.

But anonymity is key

Employees will be able to be most honest about their experience working for your company when the review is 1) anonymous and 2) collected by a third party.

Don’t expect workers to provide candid advice unless they know their identities and jobs are safe.

According to a June 2020 survey by InHerSight, 49 percent of women say they are able to be completely honest in an employer review if the employer is the one collecting it, while 81 percent they can be completely honest if a third-party is collecting it.

Holbein: “Companies that adopt this approach demonstrate that they are transparent and ethical employers. These actions show candidates that the employer isn’t hiding anything and thus reduces the risk factors associated with a big life decision like a career change. Managing your employee review site presence as part of your overall brand management strategy provides a major leg up in attracting the most qualified and highest performing talent on the market.”

The goal is to listen, not to control

The goal of playing an active role in the employee review process is not to control the story, it’s to listen to the story. No matter how you feel about culture, benefits, and policies, your employees are the most accurate source of information about what it’s really like to work at your business.

Your role as employer is to listen and act. Employee ratings and reviews, and their trends over time,to create better workplaces for your workforce.

Don’t be afraid of the less-than-positive reviews, learn from them

You need to know what your employees think about working at your company. Whether the experience is good or bad, you need to know. Especially the bad. Negative or less-than-positive reviews from employees are your chance to identify areas for improvement and act.

“Employee reviews are important to improving your company culture because they can provide a feedback loop that helps you to continually improve on elements of your employee experience over time,” Holbein says.

Read more: How to Make Your Company Shine on InHerSight

Simply the act of asking for honest feedback and giving employees a safe and anonymous way to share their experience can signal brand trustworthiness. “When employees see you responding to reviews, it sends an important signal about the type of open workplace you're looking to foster that improves your perceived culture and employer brand.”

But that trust will be broken unless you listen and act. “Reviews only improve your actual (rather than perceived) culture over time if you create a dedicated schedule for reading and responding to feedback, reviewing themes with HR and leadership, and then creating action plans to address any negative comments or patterns.”

Employee reviews are a critical part of SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is part of any strong brand management strategy.

Your ability to “take up space” on page one of Google for your branded search terms means that you’ll need to manage your brand beyond the domains you own. Search terms that include your brand name, like “working at Company X” or “Company X jobs,” or even simply “Company X,” can return a results page that includes employee reviews on a third-party site.

You won’t have a lot of control over whether these pages show up when users search for your brand. What you will be able to control is how you respond to the reviews, what you do with the feedback, and if you’ve listened well—how those ratings and reviews trend over time.

Another way to manage your reputation on these review sites is to claim your profiles. On most review sites, this gives you the ability to upload images, link social media accounts, and ensure information about the company is accurate and up to date.

About our source

Kaitlyn Holbein is the founder and principal consultant at The Employer Brand Shop, a boutique recruitment marketing and employer branding agency. Holbein and her team help organizations around the world attract and engage talent using creative marketing strategies.

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