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How to Respond to Negative Reviews from Employees

There are many online channels employees use to share their opinions about their employers, and monitoring them is an important part of maintaining your online presence as an employer. Responding to negative feedback can be a personal and professional challenge, especially when it is coming from someone you worked with directly. Learn when and how to respond to negative employee reviews and using your reply to manage any negative impact.

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Why should you respond to negative reviews?

Negative reviews from employees can impact how customers and potential job candidates view your company, so addressing them appropriately is essential for protecting the image of your business. Responding to negative employee reviews in a timely fashion has an effect on the short-term and long-term image of your company and can help prevent conflict in the workplace from unaddressed issues.

Showing future employees that you care

Even if someone’s negative review is unfounded, giving them a thoughtful reply is important for showing potential job candidates that you take all employee feedback seriously. A response is the first step to resolving an issue and demonstrating respect for what your team has to say about their time as an employee.

Related:How to Hook Candidates With Your Company Culture Description

Improving overall company culture

Taking the time to read and respond to negative reviews can help you reflect on your relationships with employees to create a more welcoming and positive company culture for current and future staff. Some employees may read the reviews for the company they work at, so any accusations or gossip in online reviews have the ability to impact morale. Providing a thoughtful response gives you an idea of past or ongoing issues and shows employees that they can trust you to be mature with any future feedback.

Providing the public with your perspective

Any time someone wants to research your company, they have the possibility of coming across negative reviews by employees on job boards and review sites. Employees may only post limited information from their point of view, so responding to these negative reviews gives readers your perspective of a situation. If a negative review brings up concerns for a customer or a job candidate, your response is a chance to immediately address those concerns.

When to respond to a negative review

Sometimes, responding to a negative review can make the situation worse. If the reviewer is excessively angry in their post, they may not be open to constructive discussion. People may use overly negative or vulgar language to elicit an emotional response from you or bait you into an argument. If you think your response could result in further negative feedback, reconsider replying at all.

Negative reviews that don’t have any specifics are another situation where you might not benefit from responding. If the employee doesn’t provide any feedback alongside their rating or immediately resorts to name-calling, you won’t have enough information to give them a thoughtful reply. You can compromise by responding and asking for more information, but don’t expect a reply.

Related:Chronic Complainers: Positive Steps for Managers to Take

Tips for responding to negative Glassdoor reviews

If you’ve decided to reply to a negative post on a review site, implement these tips to stay professional and give the most appropriate response for the situation:

Consider the source

Some people sign their names to their online reviews. The way you approach the situation should be different if it is from a current employee than if it was posted by a former employee. If one of your current employees posted the review, it may be best to address their concern privately to preserve the working relationship.

Related:Handling Underhanded Comments in the Workplace

Set a timeline

If you don’t respond in a timely manner, your reply will have less of an impact. Regularly check your reviews or set up a web alert that notifies you when someone makes a post about your company. If you notice a review posted a long time ago, it may not be worth it to reply. When someone does post a review, try to respond promptly.

Designate a representative

Based on the review, decide who should be the person to reply. Someone in a leadership position should respond to each review to demonstrate that the company is taking employee feedback seriously. Sign each review with the name and title of the company representative to add a human touch to each reply.

Investigate and gather evidence

If the review brings up a specific issue, look into what happened by reviewing company communications or other resources. Establish a process for looking into employee complaints and decide what information is appropriate to share online.

Acknowledge each issue

Address every issue that the review brings up in your reply. Leaving out any of the topics brought up in the original review can make it seem like you are avoiding accountability. Avoid being vague and consider quoting or paraphrasing the review to be clear that you have read the review and have carefully considered each point.

Be respectful

It is important to understand that company reviews are not a personal attack so that you can give an objective reply and take appropriate action. Getting upset with a negative review can give off an impression of immaturity, causing employees to avoid bringing up issues and making customers less interested in doing business with your company. Thank the reviewer for their feedback and use professional language throughout.

Related:How Humility Can Improve Your Business

Explain next steps

In your response, explain what steps your company is taking to address an issue, if any. Transparency encourages confidence in your company practices, showing employees and customers that you hold yourself accountable and take action to resolve issues. If you have investigated the review and found that their complaints are unfounded, explain the reasoning behind your current company procedures or behavior.

Have someone else proofread before sending

Any time you make a public post connected to your company, it is important to have another person look it over to make sure your tone comes across appropriately. They should also check for spelling, grammar and structure to ensure the message is as professional and readable as popular.

Example negative review and response

Negative reviews touch on a range of issues, but successful replies include many of the same elements regardless of the specific issues they address. Use this sample negative review from a former employee and the reply from the employer as a way to guide your own responses:

Review: “This company will overwork you and doesn’t give you a fair amount of vacation time.”

Reply: “Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback about our work environment. We strive to provide a positive workplace culture and take your input seriously when shaping company policy. We never want our employees to feel overworked, and pride ourselves on the positive feedback we get from our employees on work-life balance. When it comes to paid time off, we use market guidelines to offer competitive vacation options for our employees along with paid volunteer days and unlimited sick days. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with specific information or suggestions on how we could have done better.”

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