As a veterinary practice owner or manager, perhaps the last task you want on your to-do list is management of anonymous employee reviews. Maybe you’ve heard of Glassdoor or maybe you haven’t: founded in 2007, the website allows current and former employees to post anonymous reviews of companies for which they’ve worked. Additionally, Glassdoor provides recruiting and job posting services.
You can look at Glassdoor in a couple of different ways: as a thorn in your side (one more thing to respond to and manage) or as a helpful tool (for both hiring quality employees and for building your company’s online brand and presence). The majority of your potential employees will search for your practice online; taking the time to manage your online brand is crucial, even if an employee has something negative to share.
For this article, I decided to take a potential employee’s approach: if I were looking for a veterinary job, how would a company’s Glassdoor reviews “feel” to me as a job seeker?
Looking In the Door at Two Veterinary Companies
Based in Austin, Texas, Thrive Affordable Pet Care operates dozens of clinics across the United States. A search for veterinarian jobs in Texas resulted in numerous listings. Their average Glassdoor rating is listed at 4.3 stars; from Thrive’s Glassdoor page, I was able to read several reviews from current and former employees. The company’s profile page provides marketing and recruiting opportunities; companies can promote their culture to potential employees.
Online reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt (dissatisfied people tend to write more reviews than satisfied people). However, reviews paint a picture of the culture of a company, for better or for worse. You can’t control what people will write about you (especially anonymously) but you can control your response. What Thrive Affordable Pet Care does well? For every negative review on Glassdoor, the company responds and offers a contact email for further discussion (Glassdoor does not allow back-and-forth conversation on review pages).
Long Island Veterinary Specialists, located in Plainview, New York, tells a different story via Glassdoor – mainly because the clinic has not “claimed” their Glassdoor employer page. In my November search, 16 reviews popped up on the page, none of which were responded to by clinic management. From a potential employee standpoint, this is unfortunate. I realize this is a time commitment: you can’t chase every tail that runs across your desk. However, anonymous reviews can be dangerous to your reputation if you don’t take the time to respond and make things right. Back to Thrive Affordable Pet Care: as a job seeker, reading a negative review is one thing – it can make you question work environment and whether a company is a good fit. However, company leadership that takes the time to respond to all reviews – positive and negative – demonstrates care and engagement with employees – a trait that always looks positive.
The likely difference between Thrive Affordable Pet Care and Long Island Veterinary Specialists is size of company and staff. A larger, nationwide clinic such as Thrive likely employs a marketing/recruiting specialist to handle online presence. A locally-owned, single location clinic is unlikely to have a staff member fulfilling that role, meaning the task of responding to reviews online falls on the to-do list of a burdened practice manager or practice owner, whose day-to-day workload leaves little room for “brand management” tasks. Consider your Glassdoor profile management part of your social media strategy: don’t leave either to chance and don’t be absent. Build your online presence little by little and do what you can to control the narrative about the culture and environment of your business.
Negativity Everywhere: How To Handle Bad Reviews
Further research lead me to search for recommendations for dealing with negative reviews on Glassdoor. An FAQ section on the Glassdoor for Employers page suggested a few tips for dealing with negative reviews. First, the company encourages not only responding to reviews, but considering who you want to reach with you response – current employees, future employees, clients, or investors? Glassdoor also recommends asking current employees to post reviews of your company – encourage them to be authentic and truthful (transparency increases goodwill among your staff). Also important: use reviews as opportunities to improve your business. If a common thread of discontent weaves its way through reviews of your clinic, focus your efforts on fixing it. Similarly, remain committed to what employees report as pros of your business.
As a business owner, much weighs on your mind: finances, animal care, marketing, equipment, taxes, staffing and employment issues, mental health issues, and more. While you may be hesitant to add another task to your job description, you’re wise to handle the perception of your company culture with authenticity, transparency, and care. Don’t shy away from Glassdoor – use it to your advantage to build your business.