Ryan Welton

Sports + Digital + Music + Life

Category Archives: communications

How to improve your Glassdoor rating in 4 steps + why Gary Vee is wrong about the platform


Believe me when I tell you that you can improve your Glassdoor rating by nearly a full point in one year. Less even.

I’ve done it. (2.6 to 3.3)

And I’ve done it the right way.

No tricks. No smoke, no mirrors.

Also believe me when I tell you that it’s damned important. I was listening to a Gary Vaynerchuk podcast this week in which he bemoaned his agency’s own Glassdoor rating, and he also downplayed its worth, which surprised me a little.


Because he proclaims himself the head of HR for VaynerMedia.

And because I respect him immensely.

Glassdoor reviews are to picking employers as Yelp is to picking restaurants. They mean the world, and I hope you’ll understand by the end of this post that I don’t merely mean the reviews themselves but how the employer manages its presence on the platform.

In a world where companies compete for the best employees, where it’s truly a dog-eat-dog competition for talent, Glassdoor is often the eliminator or the tiebreaker.

Prospects look at your Glassdoor reviews. Every time.

They might latch onto something that causes them to rule your organization out — or they use the platform to pick one over the other.

It happens.

When I was asked to help my employer (a previous one) to improve its 2.6 Glassdoor rating, I immediately read every company review. Then I formulated a plan based on the best practices of the platform (simple research + we had a strong advertising agency assisting) and with a spirit of empathy, off I went.

Here’s what you do:

1. You’ve got to reply to every review, no matter how awful. And you’ve got to be timely about it.

It’s not about resolving the issue with the single disgruntled employee. It’s about showing the world that you’re listening and you care.

For example, it didn’t bother me so much that VaynerMedia got some poor reviews. What stood out is that there was zero response. Shocking, actually.

I’ve listened to Gary Vee for years. He’s all about empathy, and I truly believe that he’s genuine in that regard. But on Glassdoor, his organization doesn’t show it – and it’s a big deal.

On one hand, prospects want to see how you deal with bad reviews. On the other, prospective Glassdoor reviewers will see that you’re listening — and it makes them more likely to give you a positive review and less likely to leave a scathing one.

If you’ve gone years without responding to anybody, start at the beginning and apologize for not responding. Commit publicly to doing better. You’ll be surprised how much latitude people will show you.

And then make Glassdoor an every day commitment.

2. If your reviews indicate a pattern, recognize that your employees, whether disgruntled or not, might be right.

At my previous company, the prevalent issue was a lack of female managers. At a certain point, I advised my boss (and she agreed) that the problem was real. Thankfully, I worked somewhere that I could be forthcoming and honest.

Not that change happened immediately, but there was problem recognition.

It’s a win. It’s a start.

3. Have a customer service mechanism whether it be a phone number or an email where the person who reviewed (or anybody who sees your response) can call or message you to detail their concerns or complaints further.

Oftentimes, the Glassdoor reviewer will have a very specific complaint, perhaps about alleged discrimination or harassment — and you’ve got to take that seriously and do it publicly, working privately to resolve the issue.

Sometimes, a disgruntled employee is willing to remove a negative post if the company does outreach. It can’t be a quid pro quo scenario.

It has to happen naturally.

But it does sometimes if you work in good faith.

4. Encourage your employees to post their reviews.

You absolutely cannot compel them to do so nor can you compel them to give you a positive review. That can get you kicked off the platform.

However, as part of a feedback strategy, you can let employees know that you value Glassdoor, encouraging them to leave your organization a review.

Most employees who take you up on that offer will leave you positive reviews. In my experience, that ratio is about 70-30.

Over time, with diligence, this four-step Glassdoor rating-improvement process is guaranteed to up your score — and it will lead to recruiting wins.

I’ve executed this process. I’ve seen it happen.

Building your personal brand an ongoing, never-ending lesson


In my professional life, I’m a member of PRSA’s Oklahoma City chapter. During our monthly meeting today, I had the pleasure of meeting a director of placement from the University of Oklahoma and the OU student president of PRSSA.

We discussed a possible opportunity for me to speak on campus in late February, something I’d be honored to do — and I mentioned a possible topic.

Helping public relations professionals build their personal brands.

I believe it’s the most underdeveloped skill in the marketplace, and I’ve been passionate about it since my days in TV news. Frankly, it’s something I’m still learning how to do properly. However, after 22 years in the workplace, post-college, I have a good sense of what my online audience would say about me from consuming my content.

Ryan plays the piano and writes songs. He likes music. Digs jazz, smooth jazz and 80s pop. Loves the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Rangers and occasionally comments about other teams and sports. Loves the Oklahoma City Thunder. Loves Oklahoma in general. Loves Texas, too.

Loves all-things weather. Storms. Snow. Haboobs! (Not really haboobs.)

Ryan also shows pictures of his food. Constantly. Oh, he runs a lot, too, and will post photos of the occasional beer, just to let you know he knows how to relax.

But the question I find myself asking is: Are those the things that define my brand online? That’s what I’m talking about when I say that professionals need to craft a personal brand and cultivate it.

For example, the running: That’s good. I do try to live a healthful lifestyle. I might be better served by morphing some of my food posts into content documenting how I eat more healthfully or drink lots of water. The point is that living a healthful lifestyle is a characteristic I strongly value.

Take the music part of it. That’s also good. I do write and play and do both at more than just a hobby level some of the time. I want to be taken seriously as a musician, but I also don’t take myself too seriously. I just love music, know music and want that to be part of my brand.

And sports will always be part of my world albeit not as much as it once was. I don’t watch it all the time like I did when I was in my 20s and 30s. However, from a personal brand perspective, I’m not sure that I care for it to be too much a part of me. Oh, sure: I’m not so serious about this process that I’d recommend stopping hot sports tweets to maintain focus on a personal brand, but thinking about these things is a vital part of the process.

Super long story short: The personal brand I’m trying to create can be summed up with a handful of words: Healthful, music, some sports, weather, positive. In reference to the last word there, for as long as I can remember, I’ve made it a point to avoid at all costs online confrontation. I haven’t always been successful, but I go out of my way to not be provocative, controversial or ever purposefully unkind.

Alongside a personal branding effort, I recommend that professionals build an online professional brand through various professional organizations and platforms such as LinkedIn. Connect with everybody (esp. on LinkedIn) and create content establishing yourself as expert in your field. I do great with the connection and am only starting to excel at the content, sharing if not creation.

So, why is any of this important? Can’t you just do your job, keep your head down and be content with that? Why the extra work? Well, a resume can only say so much about a person. We all have a public face, and we all have an opportunity to demonstrate expertise and focus. The content speaks to the expertise, and the branding speaks to the focus.

I struggle with audience development. I only have 1,157 Twitter followers because I neither tweet enough nor do I have enough interesting to say. My Instagram audience is struggling because my photos are mostly about me eating or running (ryanwelton2013), and my Snapchat audience (soonerryan2000) is almost nada because I don’t keep up with it.

I have the theory down. Mastered even. I could explain it and the how-to all day long and will delve deeper into it as my blogging adventures continue.

But relative to an opportunity to speak at OU (maybe, fingers crossed) I wouldn’t only be speaking to a group of young professionals about why it’s important, I would be instructing and re-instructing myself about the how-tos of a process that never, ever, ever ends.

Image courtesy of EdgeThreeSixty TM. Link here.



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