Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.

Why Our Employer Reputation Should Matter to Leaders When Hiring via Matt R. Vance

December 18, 2023 Russel Lolacher Episode 120
Why Our Employer Reputation Should Matter to Leaders When Hiring via Matt R. Vance
Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.
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Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.
Why Our Employer Reputation Should Matter to Leaders When Hiring via Matt R. Vance
Dec 18, 2023 Episode 120
Russel Lolacher

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with author and Mobrium co-founder Matt R Vance on our employer reputation, its impact on our hiring and how leaders can be more intentional in improving it.

Matt shares his insights and experience in...

  • Importance of employer reputation.
  • Impact of reviews on company culture and recruitment.
  • Cultural evolution in growing companies.
  • Proactive Review collection.
  • Managing reputation across multiple platforms.
  • Utilizing employee feedback for culture change.

And connect with me for more great content!

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with author and Mobrium co-founder Matt R Vance on our employer reputation, its impact on our hiring and how leaders can be more intentional in improving it.

Matt shares his insights and experience in...

  • Importance of employer reputation.
  • Impact of reviews on company culture and recruitment.
  • Cultural evolution in growing companies.
  • Proactive Review collection.
  • Managing reputation across multiple platforms.
  • Utilizing employee feedback for culture change.

And connect with me for more great content!

Russel Lolacher: On the show today, we have Matt R Vance and here is why he is awesome. He's the co founder and CEO of Mobrium, which helps employers streamline their reputation by understanding their real culture. Before that, he's had more than 15 years of experience helping leading organizations with their company cultures, employee engagement, and reputation management.

He's also the co host of the Culture Profit Podcast, which I was lucky enough to be a guest on not too long ago. Now he is here talking to me. Hello, Matt.

Matt R Vance: Thanks, Russel. Super excited to be here. And this is, you know, an unprecedented show with quite a long history. Really happy to be here.

Russel Lolacher: Thanks. And you know, I had to ask Matt what his middle name was, because if he's going to throw a middle initial in there, I had to ask. Rodolfo, I think. No, no, Riley. It was Riley was your middle name. Correct?

Matt R Vance: Hey, I like Rodolfo, but yeah, Riley's the one that was the assigned to me at birth, So...

Russel Lolacher: Rolls off the tongue. Hey, I'm a Russel with one L. I can't get a key chain, a mug or a pen anywhere, but you enjoy your Matt. All right, let's get into this. Let's let's get into, we're going to talk about employer reputation today. I got some questions. I got some challenging questions for you, Matt. But before we get into that, we have to ask the question I asked all of my guests, which is what is your best or worst employee experience?

Matt R Vance: Okay, I'm gonna go with best, but there's a little bit of worst just kind of sprinkled in there. So, my very first job out of college was a manufacturing business. They made pillows and mattresses and bedsheets and everything to sleep comfortably. And when I started working at this company in 2014, there were, there were about 35 employees.

So pretty small. I was there for about six years. And over that span, it grew to about 1300 employees. So explosive growth throughout this time. We changed buildings. We renovated buildings to fit everyone in. It's a little different now because of COVID and work remote, but there's a story in there of when we were retrofitting the office.

So we had to have more desk space and they had to drill all these holes in the second floor of our building in order to get all the wiring and power in for the area below us. So part of this reconfiguration, it meant that there were holes about an inch diameter that were going straight from the second floor to the first floor.

And the environment at this company is very friendly, very upbeat. One of the company values was make it fun. And so my team had this idea that we would pull a prank, a welcoming game prank on the team that was moving into the floor below us, the sales department, they said, well, how about we, you know, like pour some candy or something like through the hole and it will like sprinkle on their desk.

So we ended up after work that day, I went and I bought about 10 pounds of Skittles. And then the next day, we sorted all the Skittles by color and then we had them in a line through these holes and we went on the intercom, one of the guys walks down the hall of the floor below us with an umbrella.

We came on the intercom and said, taste the rainbow. And you know, that's the Skittles tagline. Then we started pouring all the Skittles down from the second floor to the first floor and Skittles going everywhere. The whole office was in an uproar. Everyone's like, what is going on? And you know what?

Nobody got fired. I guess that's the good part. Cause you know, it was, it was fun. And everyone had a good laugh some pretty.

Russel Lolacher: Except the janitor. I don't know if the janitor would have a good laugh.

Matt R Vance: That's part of the bad part there, Russel. We had to clean it all up. So that was part of it. And somehow, one Skittle cracked somebody's phone.

Russel Lolacher: Wow.

Matt R Vance: Crazy. So we had to pool our money together. And of course it was like a Samsung wraparound phone that was the most expensive screen. So we had to pay for a new phone.

But working somewhere you know, maybe like the pranks, April fools and all that stuff is a little much for some people. And that one, we toned it back a little bit after that, but working somewhere where you feel like you can have a little bit of fun, I think is, is definitely a good thing.

Russel Lolacher: So I have to, I have to ask a question about this is how did you know, as someone that worked at that organization, that you had a culture that would allow for something like that?

Matt R Vance: There had been a lot of other jokes and things like that. I mean, this was in the early days when the company was still relatively small. As it grew, that changed. And I think, you know, that's something that's very difficult to manage is culture change as companies grow, and some people hate it. Some people are anxious for it, but there has to be some level of institutionalizing culture, understanding the best roots to your culture that should be preserved as you grow, and other parts that need to mature, and some things that even need to be phased out.

Russel Lolacher: Yeah. It's a big difference when you go from employee one through 10 to employee 10,007. So having to, you know, figure out what a culture looks like at the beginning. And it's not just the culture that you, I mean, you, it's very hard to have the same culture of 10 people than it is to have 10, 000. I'm obviously just picking a number out of a hat.

Matt R Vance: Yeah,

Russel Lolacher: To establish a tenant of what, I don't even know if I'm using that word properly, establishing a baseline of culture that you're trying to perpetuate. That is a lot of work. It's useful. It's important work, but it is very, very hard and intentional work to maintain that baseline for so long. So I love that, that they tried to do that, but that is, that is some work.

Matt R Vance: Yeah, 100 percent agree.

Russel Lolacher: So we're talking about employer reputation, sir. We're talking about the organization. We're talking about... Well, I guess, you know what, I have to ask you what we're talking about because I really, really need to define things when I start off any topic with my brilliant guests, which you have, you have found yourself one of.

So what is employer reputation and is it the same as things like brand?

Matt R Vance: Those are two really good questions. So the first thing I would define employer reputation and in my perspective is the showcased reflection of company culture. It's the public display of company culture. It's what people see online when they're searching a company. The actual company culture is the experience that employees have inside the company.

And that's mostly internal. But whatever's reflected publicly, that's employer reputation. And branding, you talked about branding. You know, there's regular branding. That's like product brands, you know, Nike as a brand, but employer brand is what's the brand of working here. Like, what's it like to be an employee of this place?

It's like a niche within branding

Russel Lolacher: So for employer reputation, you're talking about websites like Glassdoor and websites that really have the employees being truthful, or at least that's the intent, of their experience working with that organization for the world to see?

Matt R Vance: A hundred percent. Yeah. And there's, there's quite a few other platforms as well. Indeed, the parent company of Indeed actually purchased Glassdoor several years ago. You've got Comparably. InHerSight is one of my favorites. It's almost like Glassdoor, but for female friendliness in the workplace. And then I know up in Canada, you've got Rate My Employer, in the UK, there's one called Kununu and there's about 10 others. But there they start to kind of trail off in size.

Russel Lolacher: So why do we care, Matt? Why do we care about employer reputation? Why is it something an organization should be paying attention to, put effort into, yada, yada, yada?

Matt R Vance: Well, I've got a couple of stats for you, so I'll just go through those. So, I'm not sure how this compares in Canada, but the stat that I have for the U.S. is 92 percent of working Americans consider employee reviews to be important and they look at those when they're referencing where they want to work.

57 percent of job candidates avoid companies with negative, negative employee reviews and a staggering one out of three declined job offers in the U.S. are influenced by negative employer reviews. So in the book that I wrote, The Review Cycle, I talk a lot about consumer behaviors and how we, as humans use reviews as a form of social proof.

To help us in the decision making process, whether that's buying a vacuum on Amazon, whether that's what restaurant we're going to, or what hotel we're going to stay at. We trust reviews. Well, 85 percent of people trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation. So yeah, they're not perfect. Yeah, there's, we can talk in the weeds about how there's review manipulation and things like that. But the truth is, it's actually a pretty small amount of the some reviews online that are suspect. There's a lot of sophisticated and algorithmic policing that happens on every single platform. And we could get off on a tangent that is on that as well. But the main thing to take away is reviews are directly impact to purchase behaviors.

And when you're talking about the employee use case. That's hiring. And it's also turnover. I mean, you think about someone thinking about where they want to work next. And if you have really, a really poor employer reputation, well, people are looking at the reviews to shape their perceptions of another company.

And if you're sitting at a three star and they see another company with four and a half stars, well, you just lost. You're one and a half stars better than that other company. And it doesn't matter what the, you know, objective facts are about certain elements of the employee experience, because so much is pinned on that number.

And we're trained to use that. Reviews have been around for, a long time. Amazon was the first one. They launched them in 1994. So a long time, almost 30 years.

Russel Lolacher: Well, it's funny that you talk about the manipulation of those numbers, because I can hear in the back of my mind, some executive going, yeah, but they're not real numbers. They're just... but the funny thing is it doesn't matter if they're manipulated a lot or a little bit. It's what the perception is and what is online, regardless of how truthful or not truthful they are.

I mean, look at Rotten Tomatoes. I just listened to a podcast about how easily Rotten Tomatoes are manipulated. And yet movies will be the first ones to post that on a trailer to talk about their 98 percent freshness. So regardless of how manipulative it is or it isn't, it's a number that you can attach to a thing that tells a story.

And that is that perception that people immediately have, whether it works for them, that organization, or it doesn't work for that organization. So we talked about employee retention. That's the, I'm just trying to think about the benefit of having a good reputation on, on one of those websites. Also what hurts them.

So people won't apply for it. People will stay. Like, what are some of the pluses and minuses to this?

Matt R Vance: So that same company, Skittles company, when I was there I started in the marketing and this is going to get directly to your question, but there's a little backstory here. So I started on the marketing side, managing product reviews on Amazon, Overstock, Walmart, all these different e-commerce sites.

And over a few years, I was leading a team of seven people managing 1500 product listings. So I saw a lot of data, a lot of connection between star ratings and sales. And after a while I went to my boss and the CEO of the company, I said, look. I understand how these reviews are impacting our sales. Why don't we open a, an account on Glassdoor and some of these other employer sites, I'm the most qualified.

Our team is the most qualified to do that. Cause it's gotta be about the same. I mean, it's reviews over here. It's reviews over there. So they said yes. We did it. Within two years of using the same principles of optimizing product reviews to get products ranked really well and as best sellers on the respective sites, we did the same thing on Glassdoor. Second year, we ranked number eight in the nation on Glassdoor and that's out of over a million employers. Talk about a perception change overnight. Our applications skyrocketed and the perceptions of employees inside changed. We went from about 20 applications to about a hundred.

So it was about a times five effect that happened. But everyone in the office was like walking around after we had our little celebration surprise meeting. Holy cow! I work for a Top 10 Best Place to Work. This is crazy. It's like it was the same place the day before, but all of a sudden everyone's like this is, man, this place is great, and I don't want to leave, because wherever I go, it can't be the top 10. I mean, there's only 10 of the top 10 and I don't want to move. So, I'm staying here. And so then all of a sudden, engagement went up, productivity went up because people were like, man, everyone's going to start applying here because they see what's happening in the change so I've got to kind of defend my territory a little bit. And we went on and won seven national best place to work awards across some of those different platforms. All of which you become eligible by quantity and quality of reviews. So depending on your company size, the cutoff is a thousand employees to be on the large list.

And if you're below that, you're on the small, medium list. So small, medium list on Glassdoor, you need 30 reviews to be eligible to make that list in the last 12 months and the large list you need 75. And talking about culture change there, Russel. Only, I think it was about 12 or 14 companies, this was a couple of years ago that I looked it up, had ever made the small, medium list.

And successfully kept their company culture intact past that a thousand employee mark on the large list. This company where I worked at, we were able to achieve that. And it happened right after I had left and I got recruited to another company. So that's like one of my, it was one of my target career objectives to be one of the absolute minority companies that can make it on the small, medium list. And the large list from the same organization. And really it's not as hard as you think. If you understand, obviously having a good culture, there's a lot that we could talk about there, but optimizing your employee feedback collection to represent the largest sample size of employee voice, you can.

Russel Lolacher: So let's get into that because that's, as I've seen from, from your presentations and some of the content you put online, it's really about employee reviews are the fuel for you to kind of understanding your employer reputation. It's that canary in a coal mine. You can find out your lean into the good or figure out the bad.

So how do we set up a baseline of understanding of where an organization is right now when it comes to their reputation?

Matt R Vance: So the first thing is you've got to do a reputation audit. That's, that's what we call it. I promise everyone listening, we didn't plan this, but that's what Mobrium does that as kind of a free exploration conversation to help you get a baseline of where you're at. We do a deep dive analysis of your Glassdoor, Indeed comparably, InHerSight and your career page to understand how healthy your reputation is.

And one of the key metrics we look at is employee voice representation. So if your company, you've got 10,000 employees. And you're like, sweet, we have 5,000 reviews. We're set. We don't need any more feedback on Glassdoor. Well, if you're that big, you've probably been on Glassdoor for maybe even a decade and 5,000 reviews is only 50 percent of your employee base once, but you can actually leave a review every single year.

So a strong employee representation would be 5,000 reviews every single year that put you at 50 percent representation, and that would be significantly above average are some of our clients are averaging between 18 and 30% collection of reviews when, when they're asking. But yeah, so 50 percent would be very high.

And the more reviews you can collect, the stronger your rating will be simply because you're getting a more representative sample. In my book, The Review Cycle, I talk about a principle called the law of self selecting extremes. So when you don't collect feedback, all you get is the polarizing extremes.

The people that had a way positive or a way negative experience that are willing to share their experience was so extreme, that is the motive for them to go online, find where to share that feedback and post it. But as you proactively ask for feedback, whether it's for product reviews, hotel reviews, restaurant reviews, employee reviews, doesn't matter. It's the same situation. You proactively ask you lower the barrier to participate and you get a more representative sample. So I've seen this happen with many organizations. As soon as you start proactively asking for reviews, even before you've changed a single thing about the company culture, the ratings start to go up because you unlock this kind of silent, positive majority, the people that are like, Oh yeah, things are good, but why would I, I have so much to do.

I'm not going out of my way to write a review and it's not on my list, but you put an email in their inbox with an easy click to share. And all of a sudden they're taking a couple of minutes to do that. And you captured that public feedback. So that's, that's really what it is, is you have to proactively ask and the companies that do it, do that. And the companies that understand that you can ask once per year, which is a very small minority, those are the ones that have a better chance.

Russel Lolacher: So you're saying, I mean, I'm a big fan of pulse surveys. I'm a big fan of the more you can ask, the more data points you have, the better chance you have an understanding. So what is the sweet spot for employer views? You're saying you're asking for them. How frequently are you asking for them?

Matt R Vance: That's a good question. I would say as frequently as you can manage it. So like take your entire, your workforce, your entire workforce, a thousand employees, divide that number by 52 and whatever that number is, that's how many you should be asking once per week. And so then over a course of a year, you've asked everyone, but you don't want to blast it all at once.

Even though that is completely allowable and it's legal, it's not a best practice. And the reason why is because it looks like manipulation. Like on Glassdoor for example, you go to a company profile, you can see an 18 month history back. You can also easily see the quantity of reviews that are coming through.

And if you saw a spike of 72 reviews that were all posted within one week of each other, and that was six months ago, and there's been radio silence since then. Your BS radar is probably going to go off and you're going to go, what is going on? Like this company is just trying to control things and whether you did it on purpose or you were just trying to be quote efficient with your time by asking everyone at once instead of splitting it up... that will damage your reputation. It puts the seed of doubt in anyone's minds. That's looking at that's pro those profiles, and they may think that you're doing things wrong or, or purposefully wrong. So you have to understand like. People are sophisticated.

There are a lot of tools out there to evaluate the trustworthiness of reviews, like even product reviews. You've got ReviewMeta and Fakespot that people use as plugins to check, do all these additional checks to see if reviews are trustworthy on Amazon, for example. So yeah, people look at that kind of stuff and you can't overlook it.

You need to actually invest in a proactive and very purposeful review request program.

Russel Lolacher: So how are employers getting it wrong? You talk about incentivizing in your, in your book. So that's highly recommended not, not to do. What else are people doing that they shouldn't be doing when it comes to trying to get these reviews, trying to operationalize these reviews when it comes to reputation.

Matt R Vance: So just hitting a quick note on the incentivization, it's against Glassdoor policy, just using them as an example. It's not illegal, at least in the U.S. but because it's against Glassdoor policy, you can't do it. So that's that. And it's really not a best practice for employer reviews. You can incentivize product reviews and other types of reviews in certain use cases.

If and only if there is a disclosure of material connection, meaning there's a statement in the review that says I received this product for free in exchange for my honest feedback, and it has to be inconspicuous right at the top of the review. So consumers can use that when they're evaluating that piece of content.

So that's the side note, but how most companies are getting it wrong. Number one, they're not asking for reviews at all. That is the absolute most common scenario and almost every company I've ever evaluated, they're living well below their potential because they're just simply not asking. And a lot of leaders think, well, it doesn't matter.

We do our internal engagement surveys. We have all lots of data. And, but, but the problem is you can have the best history of employee engagements, surveys with stellar feedback, and you're using it to make proactive company culture changes, but your ENPS, your Employee Net Promoter Score is not public.

Nobody sees it. And so it does not change behaviors. Online reviews are visible. They're public. People see them and that number changes behaviors. It changes behaviors of the job seekers, whether they're going to apply or not. It changes the behaviors of your employees. If they want to stay or if they want to go, like, do they want their personal brand, their history on LinkedIn tainted by a lemon company that had a horrible culture. Like there's a reason why I say people say on LinkedIn X, Amazon X, Google X, Netflix, because there's prestige there. There is brand value they're gaining to their personal brand. And if you have a really negative, really low employer reputation, you're bringing down the personal brand.

Of all of your workforce. And that's something that will cause them to leave. So that's a big one. We talked a little bit about we need a drip system. We need to ask for reviews on an ongoing basis instead of big review events where we're blasting the whole company. That's a red flag that we want to avoid.

A couple other tips I would say is this is a really big one. Do not focus on only one review site. You may say, well, we're a small HR team. This is all we can do. We're going to just lean into Glassdoor. We're going to optimize Glassdoor. It's going to be great. We're going to collect a lot of feedback, but comparably InHerSight, Indeed, we don't have time for those.

Rate My Employer. We don't have time for that. And you inadvertently introduce one of the largest problems that I see over and over again, and it's called reputation disparity. So you're leaning into Glassdoor. You have great reviews. You're at a 4. 5 star on Glassdoor. Awesome. Well, you're not paying attention to Indeed at all.

And you have a 2. 9 star. So then a job seeker sees both of those side by side. And what do they say? They say, Hmm, well, they must be doing something over here on Glassdoor. They must be only asking the positive people. We're human. We assume negative intent and then we see Indeed. And we say, well, that must be the unbiased unfiltered voice of the employees.

So now I'm going to trust that. So, if you don't diversify your reputation across many sites, you can create this problem of reputation disparity and on accident cause damage to your employer reputation. So like Mobrium, we, that's part of our methodology and that's what I've done for years when I've done it on as a consultant in a kind of a manual setting is we want to systematically, on rotation, ask for reviews across all the different sites and just like there's strength in a financial investment with diversifying your 401k portfolio, there's strength in diversifying your reputation across many review sites.

Russel Lolacher: Are you giving any direction here? From a leadership perspective, if you're going, reaching out to your employees and go, Hey, we want reviews. Obviously we want, we're not going to say, Hey, say something nice. Or do we? Like how much direction, how much nudging should we communicating? Or is it straight up just a, Hey, we'd love more reviews. Could you do some?

Matt R Vance: Yeah, so we definitely do not want to ask for only positive feedback. That can inadvertently invite what I call revenge reviews. You know, someone's like, Oh, well, they're obviously wanting positive feedback and I actually don't like working here. So now I'm in all caps. Thank you very much. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, right?

We don't want that. Like, we just want to encourage everyone to share their truthful honest experience and let the numbers be your insulation. Really, that's what it is. This is a numbers game and I've seen... you go look on Glassdoor right now. The very best companies with the longest standing history. They all have negative reviews, every single one of them.

And the worst companies have five star reviews. It's not an all or nothing. So you have to understand every company will always have some negatives and those negatives actually bring authenticity and trust to your positives. In the book, I talked about this principle called review elasticity. That is kind of a theory that I've come up with over the years, but essentially as ratings go up.

Demand goes up. And that's for a product, for a restaurant, and for an employer. But there's an anomaly. Once you get too close to five stars, sales demands, job applications, they actually go down and it's because it's believed to be faked, manipulated, or too good to be true. So you're actually optimized with some negative. Four and a half stars is the best place to be.

And that's where you're most likely to end up. It will not, not, not always. If you have legitimate issues, you're not going to get there. But if you're a really good company, you care about your people. Chances are you can get to four and a half stars. You just need to proactively ask for reviews.

Russel Lolacher: Who owns this, Matt? Because I mean, I'm hearing a lot of marketing, but I'm also hearing a lot of HR here. And traditionally, most organizations don't blend those two departments. So who owns reputation that they're the ones that are driving this? Is it executive? Who?

Matt R Vance: Typically, I see it live in either the HR side or the marketing side. The best case scenario is when there's a collaboration between those two groups. They typically operate a little bit differently, look at problems a little bit differently. But really this is a blend between HR and marketing. It is employer branding that is employer branding.

It's marketing the employee experience and to have only the HR team or only the marketing team manage it, you're going to sacrifice some perspective that I think is really valuable. So the best case scenario is a collaboration between HR and marketing.

Russel Lolacher: So you've got the information, Matt, you've got the Glassdoor of it all, the indeed of it all. You're in the toilet or you're the best you've ever been. What do you do with that information? How do you communicate it back to your organization to go let's double down, or we have some areas to fix?

Matt R Vance: Man, you're just asking all the right questions. It's like you've done a hundred episodes of this or something.

Russel Lolacher: Almost or something. It's almost like I do this.

Matt R Vance: Thanks, Russel. So here, here's what I would say to that question. Yes, we need to use the data that we're collecting from employee reviews to inform proactive company culture change. Now, if this is a completely new topic to you, but you care about employee feedback, you've likely used some software or some type of survey service to collect employee feedback internally with poll surveys or an engagement survey or a suggestion box.

All of those things are really important and those data sets are what like we need them. Okay, but we also want the employee review data set and we want to actually compare them side by side. And in the best case scenario for the same time frame. Now in the book, The Review Cycle, I'm referring a lot to that because that's like we're.

All the things that I've learned throughout the years is recorded, but I came up with a process called the perception matrix. So you've probably heard of a SWOT analysis. It's very simple strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is very similar. It's a four grid comparison. You've got positive, and negative experience drivers. The things people like, and the things people don't like. That's your, your top and bottom rows.

But then across the top, you have perceived and legitimate. So we're contrasting two data sets of perceived and legitimate. Legitimate, that's your internal data. That's your ENPS score. That's all the employee surveys that you're doing. Typically, you're going to have more representation in that data set.

I've seen as high as, you know, 85, even 90 percent participation on an engagement survey. So you've got a large degree of employee sharing and you can count that as legitimate feedback. On the other side, you've got perceived data. Employees are likely talking about a lot of the same topics, but the difference is all this is public facing and people can read it online.

And so you need to contrast the two and a lot of the times you'll see a disparity where one thing is overrepresented like maybe people are hitting on PTO like really hard and they're saying our PTO is horrible but then you go look at the legitimate data from your you know, your employee survey and then and also your actual handbook that lists the PTO, and you can say, objectively, we are above average on PTO.

Why are people saying that it's so horrible? Well, you just discovered an expectation management opportunity. If you can better manage the expectations around PTO and talk differently to your employees, and educate them on how you compare to a benchmark and how you're actually above average, then you'll see those negative reviews diminish talking about PTO. And so there's a lot of value in researching and understanding your feedback, but I love the comparison against the perceived data set that that's found in employee reviews and internal data.

Russel Lolacher: So I got to call you out Acronym King there where PTO you're talking about paid time off. Is that what you mean?

Matt R Vance: Paid time off vacation days, sick days. Yeah.

Russel Lolacher: We don't use the same language in every country. So I just want to make, we're clear about a few things. The other one is ENPS. And for those who don't know, you did say it was employee net promoter score, but what that is is traditionally, it is one question that is around, would you recommend this place for others?

From friends and family to work here. It's usually a, if it's, what is it? 10, nine, eight, it's good. Anything below that's crap. So that's generally, generally just to clarify some of the words you've been using, fancy boy. So I just want to make sure. It's all good. So you work in this space, you live in this space around employer reputation and employee reviews.

How have you seen, the tipping point for an executive who was like, you know what? We don't need to do this, but you told them that one story or you nudged them in that one direction that we're like, yeah, this is something we need to pay attention to. What's the tipping point that executives need to hear to take this more seriously.

Matt R Vance: Well, if you're trying to get buy in from your executive team, one thing you can do is, you can go the ego play route and appeal to their ego and say, Hey, your CEO score on Glassdoor is 62 percent and platform average is 79. So, do you want us to care about this?

Russel Lolacher: I like the tone you're using right now too. I love that. That's, I love the tone. You're like, do you, do you want to, do you want to care about this?

Matt R Vance: Yeah, I mean, that, that can be kind of a personal conversation, definitely, probably not on an email chain. I, you know, your people better, but that's one, but you also need to make the connection of how employer reputation impacts recruiting. We talked about that. A lot of people don't want to even apply if you have subpar reputation, but then also how it's impacting the behaviors and minds, the perceptions of your employees on the inside. One of my favorite things to talk about with, you know, the Skittles company is after we became a best place to work, it changed everyone's mindsets and everyone started being better. And like, it was like this collaborative movement that happened inside of the organization to become that best place of work, best place to work, that we were named.

And so caring about your employer reputation is one of the most efficient strategies in my perspective to instigate company culture change. It's changing it from the outside in. It's leading with perceptions and creating a self fulfilling prophecy.

Russel Lolacher: And I think taking it one step further. I think it's that consistency that will make this impactful because you can convince an executive to do it. But if you don't continue telling that story of since we were purposeful, since we had intention in this, look at this number, look at that number, like tying it back to that retention, tying it back and tying it again and tying it again and using monthly updates to sort of make it almost a story that becomes boring to them because it just becomes operational.

Matt R Vance: Yeah.

Russel Lolacher: I think that's where the needle shifts.

Matt R Vance: A hundred percent. And I'm glad that you mentioned that Russel, because there's one other really big point that I would make is you can only ask employees for reviews so long without doing something about it before they drop off and they stop participating. Like if it is a feedback loop, it's a public feedback loop, but it is still a feedback loop.

And if you don't loop back to the employees by, you know, returning and reporting what you've learned and what you're doing with it to benefit them, then there's not anything in it for them. And they'll stop sharing. And then you lose your value proposition of strengthening your employer reputation and, and it, the cycle goes down.

And so you have to showcase internally back to your employees what you've done with what they've shared. And as you do that, you get trust, you get patience. Like one company that I helped, they had a very bad reputation for lots of different reasons, but we found probably a list of about 10 significant issues that needed to be addressed.

To strengthen the culture and instead of trying to tackle all of them, we addressed the top two and we talked about it publicly to the employees in a town hall, company wide meeting. And what that did is it, it bought some time. People said, Oh, look, they're actually doing something. And the problem that I have is number four on the list.

They're not doing a single thing with that, but they're doing something on number one and number two. So I kind of want to see what they do with three and four. And so, yeah, you need to report back to your employees with what you're doing.

Russel Lolacher: I think something even more people should pay attention to is if you don't do anything, you're giving employees even more ammunition of things to write on Glassdoor. And Indeed, if you don't make change based on the feedback their providing

Matt R Vance: Yeah.

Russel Lolacher: They're not going to be quiet. They're going to be louder.

Matt R Vance: Yep. Yep. There's a lot of, there's a lot of value to be harvested from doing this the right way. And there's, you know, there's lots of ways to do it, right. Lots of ways to do it wrong, but if you're really trying and you're dedicating resources and time, then you'll get more benefit than, than not. For sure.

Russel Lolacher: It's been great, Matt. I got to wrap it up with the last question I ask all of my guests, which is what's one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Matt R Vance: I would say go check all of your employer reputation profiles, make sure they're claimed that you, someone admin access and at least clean them up, like make sure the right info is on there and decide. If you have the bandwidth to really lean into this. And who can, who can be the owner of employer reputation just by getting that far determining that one person or one team is in charge of this, then that's going to instigate some positive change.

Russel Lolacher: That is Matt R for Riley Vance. He's the co founder and CEO of Mobrium and the co host of the Culture Profit Podcast. Thanks for being here, Matt.

Matt R Vance: Hey, thanks Russel.