Any sensible applicant knows to conduct thorough research on the company in question prior to accepting a job offer, and this includes reading what current and former employees have to say about the business on Glassdoor.

To avoid running into a situation where your company's integrity is put on the line, you should have a plan in place for responding to reviews that could put your business in a bad light.

Twelve entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share their best tips for dealing with a negative testimonial on Glassdoor.

1. Rally the troops.

Your company should be a special place to work. If you've ever let someone go because they didn't fit the culture and wrote a bad review, that's okay -- a business can not be all things to all people.

If this happens, ask your current employees for a checkup and take the feedback seriously. If they are proud to work at your organization, they will stand behind you.

2. Encourage More Reviewers

Assuming employees are generally satisfied in your company, encourage more people to review. Typically disgruntled employees are the most likely to return to the internet to find their voice while happy employees say nothing.

Get your happy, satisfied team members to tell their stories as well.

3. Record it.

You should take note of all negative reviews of your company, because it's an opportunity to improve. It's even more important to note the complaints that are repeated multiple times.

For example, if you see a problem reported twice, it's definitely time to take a look and try and fix it. Once you've taken steps to fix the problem, you should monitor whether the problem is reported again.

4. Politely respond.

Craft an appropriate response, but make sure it is professional, respectful, and directly addresses any issues. You are only allowed one response, so it's important to get it right.

If the negative review contains inaccurate or false information, contact the website administrators and they'll review the situation and possibly correct it.

5. Use the review as a learning experience.

I would recommend taking the time to assess why the employee was unhappy and what lead them to leave you a review in the first place.

If the situation was one you could have controlled (i.e. they asked for time off well in advance but weren't granted their request), you should learn from it. If it was an uncontrollable circumstance (i.e personality conflict), just let it slide.

6. Make a plan of action with your team.

Negative reviews should be used as constructive criticism of your company's activities, hiring processes and more.

Use this opportunity to meet with the teams that directly deal with the certain activity being complained about (if a user left a negative review on the application process, meet with HR or your recruiters) and immediately discuss the team's outlook, opinions, and make a plan of action.

7. Encourage honesty.

I want to know if employees are dissatisfied, because low morale inevitably leads to high employee turnover and lower productivity. I wouldn't worry much about a single negative review -- a pattern of negative reviews, however, demands action.

I'd be open about it, and ask current employees to submit anonymous assessments of the validity of the reviews. Then I'd act on what they have to say.

8. Reflect on the feedback first.

Give the feedback honest reflection. If it makes sense to respond, maybe directly, go for it in an open and honest way, and if it doesn't, move along.

We've spent seven years building relationships and a reputation with our clients and our staff, so does the rare negative or not-as-positive-as-we'd-like comment really require a response? Maybe, but definitely learn from the feedback.

9. Add a non-disparagement clause to your employment agreements.

There is very little you can do once a negative review of your business appears on Glassdoor. However, one thing you should carefully consider moving forward is to require employees to sign a non-disparagement agreement as part of a standard employment engagement.

When an employee is discharged, make sure you have a proper exit interview and provide a copy of the non-disparagement clause.

10. Appreciate the reviewer's candidness.

Remember, you are not expected to be everything to everyone. Take the time to write a thoughtful and non-defensive reply. Acknowledge the points of the review that are true and, if possible, reply with what you are doing to rectify the problems.

Candid replies will go a long way to showing that your company cares about both past and current employees.

11. Address the review with the person and on Glassdoor.

It's important to respond to the negative review as soon as possible. First, you can post a response on Glassdoor that focuses on your concern and interest in resolving any issues.

This shows others that you care about the issue and want to fix it. Then, you can contact the person directly and see what you can do to resolve the problem they are having with your company.

12. Don't dwell on the negativity.

Discuss the review with your team to ensure that you take corrective measures that might be warranted, remind your team that they can always come to you or senior leadership with any issues they might have, then move on.

Just as a chef can't be personally offended that a Yelper disliked his dish, you can't freak out anytime someone writes something negative about your business.

Published on: Jul 18, 2016