A Guide to Employer Reviews & Transparency

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

TripAdvisor, Amazon, TrustPilot… We love a good review don’t we? And the world of work is no exception.

Moritz Kothe is the CEO of employer review site kununu and Senior Vice President International for XING AG. kununu is breaking out of the DACH region and launching in the United States, we thought we’d ask him a few questions around employer reviews, culture and transparency.

Who you are and what you do?

I am a German living in Boston enabling and empowering people to fight for a better workplace. That’s what we do with kununu, a service that helps job seekers to get to know their workplace before they live it, and really empower people to create a better workplace. Starting with reviews.

Why do you think employer reviews are important?

We spend most of our life working in a job, in an office. There’s other fun things that one can do, but one is spending a lot of time at work, and thus, one should better enjoy working. So making a job decision is a really important one. Enjoying work, and having fun at work is important because you will be a better employee if you enjoy what you do, but it’s also important for your private life because both intersect, especially nowadays that work gets more fluid, people work from home for example. So, I think we all want to enjoy our life and be happy in our life, so that’s why employer reviews are important because they help people to really make better job decisions. On the other hand, they also unveil for employers what they can improve from an employer perspective.

What’s a step-by-step guide to success with employer reviews?

The first step is, encourage your current workforce to participate in this workplace revolution. The best thing that can happen for you as an employer is all of your current employees leave reviews on a continuous basis for various reasons. The more open and transparent you are about what it’s like to work at your place, the more likely you will end up having people applying for you that really fit your culture. But also the more data that your people feed into this system, the more you can benefit from our dashboards that we provide for you to understand what the topics are that are top-of-mind with your workforce, and what you can improve on.

Approach transparency proactively and openly, don’t stay away, and don’t be afraid of it, since people will talk about you anyways, and there will be a certain perception about you as an employer. So get ahead and help your people and employees participate. That would be my number one advice, and then use the data for your own purposes as well.

What are some of the pitfalls to avoid as an employer?

Don’t only comment on negative reviews. Some companies feel inclined and feel like they have to react to certain reviews that are a little bit more critical, and then they don’t respond to the other ones on the platform. Companies should always see feedback as a gift, and should not only focus on the ones that are a little bit more negative, and then trying to argue why that’s not the truth.

My other advice is don’t pretend to be somebody that you are not, because that will back fire six months later into a relationship with an employee. Why pretend to be somebody that you are not, because you would just end up with people that are not happy.

How can you measure ROI?

It depends on how you set up your measurements. We have studies and data that we can share on successes that certain companies had, but it depends, because companies really have to look at their hiring approaches holistically, and then understand the impact on how branding really impacts conversion and retention later on. I have yet to find a company that’s set up in a way that it can actually measure and understand this data holistically, but if companies would do that, I’m sure they could see the return.

We have one case where we looked at: how does job X perform if they have content at hand, so kununu content at hand versus no content at hand? And we see that if you invest in employer branding, you get 30% more conversion and payback on your investment in job advertising. That’s a data point that we have from certain case studies, but it would be down to every company to really set up the measurement and look at the funnel holistically.

So invest in content. It works similar to how branding works in the consumer world. I think it’s a no-brainer and everybody knows that investment in brand pays back when it comes to being top-of-mind with people with certain conversions and buying decisions, and that behaves in a similar fashion in the job world.

Do you have any companies that you want to highlight?

We can take how many companies we currently have that showcase who they are on kununu. Take any company that decided to proactively showcase who they are on kununu, and they’re all good examples, and then you can look at all the other ones that try to hide from the fact that democracy and transparency is happening, and that’s all the other hundreds, thousands of companies that are not working with us yet.

So, every company that’s taking an approach and is being proactive is great.

What is the next big thing for employer review sites?

The way that we ask companies to be transparent, I think, we are very transparent with regards to the fact that we can do significantly better what we are supposed to do. You talked about verified employees or verified people that leave reviews, and there’s tons of other stuff that one could do in order to really better help job seekers to get to know their workplace. So, what we are heading towards is seeing and understanding what the bias on our platform is, and then really working towards how we can fight this bias and make sure that we are the service out there that offers the most balanced and most accurate view on what it’s like to work in companies. There’s certainly tons of stuff that we have in the pipeline in order to really focus on delivering workplace insights that really matter.

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