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HR & Finance
Jennifer Jones Newbill  |  December 4, 2014
Why Dell Couldn’t Ignore Glassdoor

Like many companies, Dell ignored Glassdoor at first. Wasn’t Glassdoor a social platform for people to just complain about their jobs? Isn’t it a small site with users just based in the United States? Wouldn’t directly engaging with users that had negative experiences open us up to even more criticism? After committing to a partnership with Glassdoor over 18 months ago, our experience has been dramatically different.

Although there is some vinegar with the honey, we found reviews quite well-thought out and balanced. Glassdoor moderates reviews – not with a heavy hand – but to simply control the Wild West of social media. They do this by requiring reviewers to provide both pros and a cons to their experiences, while also enforcing social etiquette standards: no foul language and no reviews in all CAPS.

After discovering that users weren’t just posting a review for the sake of complaining and that they had valuable insight to share, we began to spend quite a bit more time evaluating what users were sharing about their experiences working at Dell. Could we create improvements within our company based on actual feedback from Glassdoor? We have done this successfully in the past with our internal company survey, Tell Dell. Now, we are reviewing Tell Dell in conjunction with the feedback from Glassdoor to further analyze our strengths and weaknesses as an employer. Our hope is that we will get even more ways to make Dell a great place to work.

What initially didn’t appreciate about Glassdoor was the sheer volume of growth and traffic on the site. Eighteen months ago, our profile page was visited 50,000 times a month without any internal conversations or external engagement. Now, we have on average over 100,000 profile views per month. In the hierarchy of Dell’s most visited online properties, Glassdoor was quickly climbing the ranks. We also have seen reviews and increases in visits and activity in other locations outside of the United States including India, Brazil and Ireland which are 3 of our most reviewed locations. Glassdoor has even committed to more pages and content in non-English languages with French being their first non-English site.

After we reviewed our presence, branded the page with our social links and videos, we began responding to reviews. We had a number of conversations about how to respond to negative (as well as positive) reviews and were cautious at first. What we realized was that it was important for us to evaluate on an on-going basis the impact that transparent employee reviews (coupled with honest company responses) had on our employment brand and how people perceived our organization. Our fear quickly subsided as well when we realized Glassdoor doesn’t allow flame wars – there is a one-to-one review to response ratio. The user posts their opinion and Dell has the opportunity to respond. End of conversation.

Are you just beginning to explore Glassdoor in your organization? Do you need tips or suggestions for how to approach? Here are some things that have worked for us here at Dell:

  • We have a great relationship with our Account Lead – nurture that relationship through regular calls and business reviews. Through this relationship Glassdoor has made significant investments to their site – many of the changes based specifically on feedback from myself and our extended team here at Dell. Maybe it’s the honeymoon but I feel like Glassdoor really ‘gets me’.
  • Socialize the site with your employees and your leadership team. This may take time so prepare to be patient. Glassdoor was honestly not at the top of our teams list of things to think about or focus on. Get your ‘story’ straight and be clear with why your company should care about Glassdoor, the benefits you can get from the site and how feedback can be translated into improvements for the company.
  • Get familiar with your presence and the employer center. Training materials, eBooks and webinars are examples of the many resources available to you as you get started.

Glassdoor will continue to evolve and grow – there is no question in my mind about that. My advice? If you are not paying attention to your presence on Glassdoor, you are missing a huge part of your employment brand story.

Jennifer Jones Newbill is a global program manager for talent acquisition at Dell.

This article originally ran on LinkedIn.

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