Given the tight labor market, most job seekers are already employed, meaning they can be more selective when considering their next job opportunity. Before applying to open roles, the most engaged job seekers complete significant research to gauge whether or not each role and company aligns with their career goals. 

One step most of today's job seekers take during the job search process is reading online employee reviews. In fact, a study from CareerArc, an HR technology company, found that more than half (55 percent) of job seekers would abandon a job application if they read negative employee reviews online. The study surveyed HR professionals and job seekers from across the U.S. 

If your team isn't doing anything to measure and address online employee feedback, you're likely driving top job seekers away from your open roles -- which you can't afford to do in today's competitive labor market. Below, I've outlined some tips for you to be more proactive when it comes to online employee reviews. 

1. Read reviews on a regular basis.

The CareerArc study highlighted above also found that 55 percent of employers don't monitor or address negative feedback on review sites or social media.

Job applicants, current employees and former employees often leave reviews about the hiring experience and overall work environment on Glassdoor, Facebook and other channels -- and they don't hesitate to leave negative feedback. For example, candidates might say they never heard back from the hiring manager after an interview. Or employee reviews might call out that management is disorganized and there are no set career paths.

On the other hand, candidates and employees also often leave positive reviews. It's important to stay on top of the latest reviews -- positive and negative -- as they can have an impact on your overall employer brand and likelihood of securing quality candidates.

Try setting aside time a few times a month to scan through Glassdoor and any other websites where candidates and employees might leave reviews, so you can have a full understanding of how job seekers might perceive your organization as a potential employer. 

2. Respond to feedback.

Not only should you read online candidate feedback and employee reviews, you should also make an effort to respond to feedback. As you see new reviews, take a few minutes to respond in a timely manner.

At my company of more than 200 employees, I regularly monitor online reviews and reply with a well thought out response, so employees know their feedback is valued -- whether it's positive or negative. I thank those who leave positive reviews for taking the time to do so and let those who leave negative feedback know what we'll do to improve moving forward. 

Beyond responding to feedback, if you receive positive candidate and employee reviews in person or via email, make sure to encourage sharing this feedback on Glassdoor or on your careers page as a testimonial.

By encouraging positive feedback, candidates who are interested in open roles in the future will see the benefits of joining your team and be more excited about applying. And positive employee reviews can also help you build your customer base. Potential customers will see how much you value your employees, which means you also prioritize building a great team to provide the best possible customer experience. 

3. Turn feedback into action.

Simply responding to employee reviews isn't enough. Reviews from candidates and employees -- both past and present -- can help shape the future of your hiring process and employee experience. 

When employees share negative or constructive feedback, outline steps you can take toward improvement at your organization. For example, if an employee says they don't see growth opportunities on your team, outline a plan to develop more defined career paths. And share an update on any action you're taking with the broader company, so they can see you're working toward continuous improvement. 

When you receive positive feedback about a certain aspect of your hiring or employee experience, you can rest assured knowing this part of your business is working -- and keep doing what you're doing. 

Online feedback from both employees and candidates can have a significant impact on whether or not new job seekers consider joining your team. By taking a proactive approach to monitoring, responding to and acting upon employee feedback, you can improve your organization's online reputation and attract qualified job seekers for your open roles. 

Published on: Oct 31, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.