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Ouch. That hurts. A personal story about managing a bad review.

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I just got slammed on Glassdoor…and I’m happy about it.

Okay, happy isn’t the right adjective. But let me explain…

A couple of weeks ago, Glassdoor informed me that Haley Marketing had a new review. And this one was a doozy. One star. Accusing me and my business partner (who also happens to be my wife) of being cheap and egotistical. Ouch. (And it full transparency, here it is.)

As you might guess, my initial reaction was raw emotion. Anger. Outrage. Disbelief. And of course, wondering who this anonymous critic could be (very few people leave Haley Marketing, so if this was a real review, it was from one of a very small number of people).

But then I got past the emotion (well, at least I managed to get it under control).

The best thing we could do was not some knee-jerk, fight-back reaction, but instead do a reality check. Were any of these criticisms valid? Are there changes we need to implement? And how should we most appropriately respond?

Step 1: Self-assessment.

Before taking action, I shared the review with my business partner and a couple of other people in our company, and I asked them for their thoughts. Not surprisingly, their initial reaction was a lot like mine, and these people all told me that the review did not match the reality of working for our team. Phew! They also suggested some great tips for responding.

Step 2: Deeper self-assessment.

Before responding, I thought it would be wise to solicit broader feedback, so I shared the review with our organization…our ENTIRE organization.

Much as it pained me, I stood in front of every person in our company during a recent Monday Morning Team Meeting, and I read the review, word-for-word.

Then I asked for feedback.

Was the review accurate? Do we (as owners) have serious misperceptions about how we are running the company? Do others feel the same way?

Thankfully, not a single person agreed with the feedback. In fact, I was surprised at how angry and upset many people became over the review. And our longer-term team members began to guess as to who (or what company) might be behind the review.

Step 3: Response plan.

As CEO of a company that specializes in social media marketing for the staffing industry, I know that criticism from employees and job candidates happens to everyone, and when you receive a negative review, the best strategy is to respond.

I drafted an initial response to the review, addressing each criticism point-by-point. I tried to be polite, thorough, and even show that I had not lost my sense of humor. But, my team told me that my approach sounded a little too defensive (of course, they were right; I was pretty emotional), and they suggested an alternative approach.

As it turned, out, my business partner wrote her own response at the same time I was writing mine, and the combination of our words did a nice job of addressing the review, expressing our feedback, and allowing us to share the values that provide the foundation for our company culture.

So why am I happy?

Whether true or false, a negative review hurts. And when you truly care about your organization and the people who work on your team, it hurts a lot.

But at the same time, when you’re busy dealing with day-to-day firefighting, it can be easy to take the people around you for granted. You don’t make the time you should to connect with others. You forget to remind people how much they mean to you (personally and professionally). And you don’t take the time to show people how vital they are to your company’s success.

For me, this experience has been an emotional roller-coaster. To put it mildly, being publicly criticized sucked. But the positive words our team shared made me feel very good. Seeing people step up and defend our company, made me feel even better.

The best part of all was the reminder to take time to appreciate everyone on Team Haley. This experience reinforced the importance of getting away from my PC, getting out of my office, and spending more time showing appreciation for the people around me.

So to the person who left the review, thank you. You did us a favor.





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