Never heard of Glassdoor or Rate My Employer? If not, we urge you to Google it now, search for your organisation and learn what your employees really think about your company. Then pick yourself off the floor and think about your strategy in a level headed way. These sites are not all bad news. They can be a great branding tool, they can show prospective talent what a great company you are to work for, and they give you an opportunity to show that you value open and clear communication.

The sites were discussed at length during the last annual CIPD conference and some of the points from the key speaker included how they are a good example of the shift from a traditionally closed-door attitude to the empowerment of individuals. Key to figuring out how to work with these sites, and indeed any of the other social media channels, is sifting the good from the bad. Poor reviews or outright nasty comments could be from employees with a grudge or even a troll. Individuals who read the site reviews understand this, and so should organisations. The important aspect though is how the HR departments handle and respond to such accusations.

An HR team’s first action should be to listen and monitor. By understanding how the site works, and getting the full picture of what’s being said about the company, the HR manager can start to put a plan into action. Being in control of the brand on the site is the second step. Embrace the fact that these sites are not going away, make sure your page on the site is managed well and in line with your brand messaging and use them as an opportunity to show the full picture of how your company works. By including the good and the bad you show that you value employees’ opinions and treat them fairly.

Providing fair and realistic responses to some of the comments can help you build your company’s reputation rather than being known for threatening those that post negative reviews. Think carrot rather than stick and aim to help staff to understand their responsibility around social media.

By far the best way of dealing with these sites is, however, to treat your employees well from the first day they join and to have an employee engagement programme in place where opinions and feedback can be openly discussed and addressed. That way, you won’t have anything to hide so if a negative review appears you can post a positive reply that will provide a good publicity opportunity for your company.

The glasshouse won’t shatter if you don’t leave any stones in there for employees to throw! Treat staff fairly, stick to HR best practice and build a warm cooperative environment within the company, and your glasshouse will stay shiny and intact.