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Responding To Negative Employee Reviews Pt. 2

February 05, 2024 | Online Advertising

Last month (click here if you missed part one), we explored the notion of responding to negative employee reviews by examining whether you should even bother doing so in the first place. After all, it’s far easier to ignore naysayers and focus on moving forward, right?

Wrong. By ignoring negative employee reviews, you allow a bad situation to flourish both in your workplace and the imagination of the public, some of whom you might want to hire one day. More importantly, by remaining silent you lose an opportunity to speak up for yourself and/or make known the rehabilitative steps you’ve taken to address this or that legitimate problem brought up by the review. 

So clearly, for a number of reasons, it’s best to respond to these reviews. But how should you go about it?

Be Professional

You’re stepping onto the public stage here, so the number one rule is to leave emotions out of it. You don’t want to sound like an unthinking robot, but this is also not a place for casual language. Any signs of anger, defensiveness or retaliatory thinking should be omitted entirely. You’ll automatically embody a villainous role and appear unstable. Responding with a calm, cool demeanor in the face of outrageous claims can have the opposite effect, so definitely shoot for that.

Do Some Research

When taking in a negative review, you’ll have a lot of things to consider. For one, who wrote the review? Are you familiar with them? If not, time to do some research. Find out when they worked for you, what department, under which supervisor. Maybe they work for you still! 

Every story has two sides. You’ve heard theirs; now find out yours by asking around. What went wrong? Could it have been avoided?

You’ll also want to start thinking about who should deliver this message. Just because you want to respond to a negative review doesn’t mean you should actually do that job. Perhaps the employee’s actual supervisor would be a more effective source for the response, in which case you should still approve the response before posting.

Resolving the Issue

The review in question may not give you any opportunities to solve issues. Perhaps the person was let go for legitimate reasons but nevertheless feels wronged or simply wants to strike back. Luckily, these reviewers often give themselves away with emotionally charged language and accusations that go against logic. A simple “we’re sorry you feel this way” message should do the trick here. People will not expect you to solve an impossible problem, but they will appreciate the fact that you looked at it and responded anyway.

Sometimes, however, a review will sting with truth. This is a chance for you to get proactive. Identify the issue and take steps to help ensure it doesn’t affect anyone in the future. 

Now, when you write your message you can acknowledge the issue, apologize, and tell the world exactly what you’ve done behind the scenes to make things better. Who knows, this might even get the commenting employee back on your side. That may be a bit exaggerated, but it should at least put your company’s misstep in a much kinder light.

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