Talent Management

Reputation: What do people say behind a company’s back?

7 February 2019

4 min
Being attentive to feedback from the field, criticism and water cooler talk is a means to improvement, and sometimes, even survival in this era of transparency; where employees do not have their words seen in the same vein as consumers. To avoid reputation tarnishing, and maintain your organization’s attractiveness, keep your eyes and ears open at all times!

Whether its a carpooling or rental service, a restaurant, a trip or a show, today everything is recorded, and no one can turn a blind eye to opinions and comments published on AirBnB, Yelp or TripAdvisor. Is it any different with professional life? Of course, not – companies are also scrutinized by their users; be it employees, customers, suppliers or stakeholders.

Glassdoor vs. the ostrich approach

The rapid exchange of water cooler talk has entered an unprecedented dimension since we entered the era of permanent company reviews. Welcome to Glassdoorization: a neologism forged from the name of the website Glassdoor, which allows employees to openly express themselves about their employers and instantly educate users about working conditions, behavior of management and even a company’s strong and weak suits.

Faced with the proliferation of review platforms allowing a “from within” perspective (Glassdoor, Indeed, Welcome to the Jungle, Our Company, Bloom at Work, Moodwork, etc.), to simply be indignant to or ignore these reviews would be detrimental. Simply put, the ostrich approach does not pay: denial of reality helps neither the survival of a company nor the recruiting of new talent.

Of course, some employees are not objective when they talk about their employers: they sometimes confuse constructive criticism with angry rants – even though sites have strengthened their moderation. Though you may accuse them of disloyalty or ingratitude, it’s better to take full advantage of it. For example, by properly addressing valid sources of frustration or by taking action against actual dysfunction, you are constructively analyzing critique to make room for improvement.

Manage your transparency

Through these easily accessible online tools, anyone can share their experience as a collaborator, candidate or former staff member. Topics such as salaries, work environment, management style, proposed training, career prospects, benefits and cleanliness are all subject to evaluation.

As a result, companies are no longer interested in being modest: they have no choice but to present themselves as they are, instead of pretending to be something they are not. Taking responsibility for weaknesses also makes their strengths more credible. “In the age of social networks, there are no longer any boundaries between the inside and the outside of the company,” says Celica Thellier, co-founder of ChooseMyCompany. Companies must go beyond the controlled speech of the employer brand and pay closer attention to their reputation.


Competitive benchmarking

No longer content with just collecting the opinions of employees and candidates, some sites even label or rank companies based on employee satisfaction. Sites like ChooseMyCompany offer labels such as “Happy at Work,” “Happy Candidates” and even “Happy Trainees” for those searching for internships.

These rankings offer the advantage of insight: the ability to compare yourself with other companies; especially with competitors. In industries where recruiting and retaining talent is the biggest challenge, it is particularly interesting to hear what is said around other water coolers.

It is thus possible to take stock of work environments, or to appreciate the average level of satisfaction of employees. Or perhaps to become aware of certain organizational dysfunctions? How are you ensuring your recruitment has all this covered? Are you equipped with the right tools?

The intern: Your most important brand ambassador

The way in which interns are treated speaks volumes about a company, and, in turn, interns are saying more and more about companies. As members of Generation Z, they are fluent in digital tools and organize into networks more easily. They talk, share opinions and experiences, and of course, criticisms.


They are key players in the employer brand! The ChooseMyCompany / HappyTrainees 2019 ranking makes no mistake: shining a spotlight on companies where trainees and interns are happiest. They express themselves on the freedom offered by management, the company’s organization, motivation and their happiness with coming to work. All of which are essential to effective human resource management.

The Michelin group has won first place in this ranking, making the integration and investment into their interns into one of their main strategic strengths. A smart choice, considering that post-internship hiring is one of their main recruitment channels. In fact, by 2020, 50% of all new hires at this tire giant will come from its intern and trainee pool. Therefore, it is no surprise that Michelin enjoys a very positive image from employees in general.

It is interns, who trek back and forth between the office and school and as a result, have become powerful influencers; veritable drivers of the corporate image. A vulnerable population, one whose experience must be approached with more vigilance


A company’s reputation is no longer made at the water cooler: in this era of social networks, everything can be said or known – or almost. These platforms are rich in information and lessons for those who are willing to understand and respond to their weaknesses. Learning to manage this new form of transparency is a key point for successful recruitment and retention of talent.

Find out more about how to better manage your workforce from hire to retire, with a modern Talent Management Suite designed to fit your industry best practices.

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