As companies compete to gain and retain human capital, their reputation is more important than ever. After all, if the right candidates aren't applying, your business' future success can be hindered. Online reviews are tantamount. 

In a recent study from a digital growth company, Fractl, over 1,000 Americans revealed the reasons they left their jobs, how their experiences impacted their opinion of the company, and how online reviews will sway their employment decisions in the future. 

The study found that most people are leaving their jobs because of very basic employer shortcomings. The top three reasons Americans quit their job: 

  1. Poor management 

  2. Found a better opportunity

  3. Low salary

In the age of ping pong tables, bean bag chairs, and flexible work hours, employers may be prioritizing the wrong things. All people want is to feel respected by leaders who value their contributions and offer them opportunities (and a good salary to go with it). When a company's reputation is available online for everyone to see, the simple things are far more poignant than standing desks.   

The bad news: 10 percent of ex-employees lie online

Unfortunately, you can't always trust that a company's reviews are truthful. According to the research, more than 10% of people who left a review on Glassdoor, Indeed, Facebook, and Google admitted to lying or "stretching the truth" when giving feedback. When asked why these people were dishonest, these are the top reasons they gave: 

  • I wanted to hurt or damage their reputation

  • I felt hurt by my managers or colleagues

  • I was unjustly fired

  • I lied so that my ex-colleagues or managers wouldn't be able to identify me

This is unfortunate news for employers. While around 90% of reviews are truthful, there may be a few scattered throughout a company's portfolio that could ruin their rating or turn a prospective hire away. 

Those who lied on an online review of an ex-employer also frequently reported lying about their salary or their boss in the review itself. 

Thankfully, employers can try to redeem themselves and combat any negative or dishonest reviews by replying to a submission. According to Glassdoor, 62% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. 

Who's leaving reviews?

The short answer: everyone. The study found that most people who leave an online review have very few positives to share. Of all the people surveyed, over half reported giving their ex-employer 1 or 2 stars, and 22% reported giving their ex-employer 4 or 5 stars. Furthermore, those who leave the worst reviews report having a tenure of less than a year.

Researcher for the project, Domenica D'Ottavio, speculated, "To me, when looking at these results, it makes sense that those who stayed with a company for less than a year were more likely to leave a negative review. Logically, if you left before a year, you either quit freely for one reason or another or were let go. People don't quit jobs they love, and many people who've been fired feel it was unjustified."

While people are usually only inclined to share their experience if it was a negative one, there is a silver lining. Baby Boomers are most likely to leave a 5-star review, which suggests those who spend the most time with a company have the most positive experiences. 

How much do reviews impact hiring?

A high rating on employment platforms can earn your company some of the most competitive candidates, and a low score can make it difficult to hire exceptional staff. Glassdoor is the most popular online review site, with Google reviews also making the ranks. 

Any and all of these platforms can have a major impact on your reputation, and thus, your hiring pool. It'd be wise to keep an eye on all of them because 84% of Americans surveyed look at online reviews when making a decision of where to apply. What's more, 1 in 3 people have turned down a job offer based on a review they read of the company online. 

Given that most people can't even decide on a restaurant choice without checking reviews on Yelp or Google, it's no wonder Americans are getting more thorough with their employment decisions. And this should be of importance to business owners and hiring managers alike.