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    | 4 min read

    Elevate your employer reputation by responding to negative employee reviews

    More and more QSR employees are posting negative reviews about their employers online. For VPs of Operations and HR Managers, monitoring and responding to these negative employee reviews is more important than ever before. 

    Responding to a negative review from a current or former employee, however, is not always easy. It’s natural for emotions to heighten when you receive a negative review from a former employee. Despite how difficult those negative reviews may be to read, it’s critical that you put best practices in place for responding to negative reviews. Why? Because, according to a Glassdoor survey, 62% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.

    So, let’s take a closer look at how you can build an effective response strategy for negative employee reviews.

    How to build a response strategy for negative employee reviews

    When it comes time to respond to negative employee reviews, it’s vital that you have an effective strategy in place to maintain a positive reputation for your restaurant. Here are the core elements you need to incorporate:

    Differentiate between current and former employees

    The manner in which you approach a negative review should be different depending on whether the review came from a former or current employee. If you suspect that a review came from a current employee, address the concern with your team and work toward finding an immediate resolution to the complaint. In order to maintain a positive culture, you’ll want to make sure your employee feels heard and valued.

    Respond thoughtfully and in a timely manner

    You should respond to negative employee reviews promptly. If too much time elapses, you may unintentionally be giving the impression to your local community that your restaurant doesn’t care. 

    On the flip side of that,  it’s important to not respond to negative reviews as soon as you receive them, especially if you’re experiencing a strong emotional response. Knee-jerk, heated responses will only make the negative review that much worse for your store.

    It’s best to regularly monitor all employee reviews using automated alerts and then carefully plan a prompt and professional response to post one or two days after the negative review is received. 

    Have one of your leaders write the response

    Designate a leader on your team (a GM or HR manager) to respond to employee reviews. This is a powerful way to signal that your restaurant takes employee feedback seriously. Each response should be signed with the name and title of the leader who wrote it because it humanizes the response—and your company’s leadership.

    Investigate any specific claims made by an employee

    If a negative review mentions a specific event or issue that allegedly occurred, it’s imperative that you investigate each claim by reviewing any available resources in order to determine if the allegation is in fact true. In cases where you determine that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, ask for more information. For any allegations of a legal nature, immediately refer the complaint to the legal counsel for your brand before responding.

    Be thorough and specific in your response

    It’s important to be thorough in your response and address every issue that the reviewer mentions. If you only respond to part of their issue, it gives the appearance that you’re avoiding responsibility. 

    Whatever you do, don’t post generic, canned responses to negative reviews because this will make your public perception worse than not responding at all. By writing specific and individualized responses, you show employees and readers that your brand is sincere. Sincerity increases the chances of reconciling with the employee and speaks volumes to the public about the integrity of your restaurant. 

    Always be respectful and professional

    When it comes to responding to negative reviews, objectivity is the name of the game. No matter how offensive and untrue a negative review is, you should remain professional and respectful in your responses at all times. Companies that are disrespectful or combative in their responses only further taint the public’s perception of them.

    Maintain a culture of gratitude

    It may seem counterintuitive and even unfair but saying “thank you” for a negative review goes a long way towards improving your brand’s perception. Companies that welcome feedback are more respected by their employees and held in higher regard by customers. 

    In particular, former employees who feel like the restaurant didn’t care about them will appreciate that you’re making the effort to reconcile. Additionally, job candidates who are reading the reviews will respect your humility and openness to criticism.

    Communicate your plan of action

    When it comes to responding to negative reviews, words aren’t enough. You must also take action when it’s appropriate. As part of your response, you should detail the steps you’re taking to address the issue. By taking corrective action, you show employees and customers that your business is transparent and accountable. 

    At Workstream, we help restaurants elevate the reputation of their brands by giving them a world-class presence when it comes to hiring future talent. Our powerful, next-generation automation technologies streamline the hiring and onboarding process, which frees up GMs and franchisees to focus on delighting customers and growing their restaurants.

    If you’re ready to scale and optimize your hiring process, book a free demo with one of our hiring specialists today!

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