BC tip: SAP - Transparency though Glassdoor, but presented opaquely

SAP is embracing Glassdoor as a channel through which to engage with employees and respond to criticism. But oddly it seems reluctant to shout about it.

SAP response to criticism on Glassdoor

SAP response to criticism on Glassdoor

The Feature

We wrote almost two years ago how SAP has established a vibrant presence on Glassdoor, the site where employees can leave reviews of companies as employers.

The company has invested time and money in creating an enhanced employer profile, on which it displays awards and feeds from its other careers-focused social channels such as Twitter and Facebook. It also posts updates directly, and has created other bespoke information on life at SAP.

A closer look reveals that the company responds to both positive and negative employee reviews – the central part of Glassdoor.

For example, on February 4th 2018, the company thanked an employee for a 5-star review, while on March 7th it engaged with an employee who had posted a review titled ‘Trash’ and which complained about sexism, racism and homophobia. The company detailed its efforts at inclusion, apologised to the employee for their experience, and provided an email address for the employee to take matters up with the HR team.

On the SAP website, Glassdoor is not included in the links to social channels in the footer. The company’s Glassdoor profile is advertised on a page at SAP Careers > Who We Are > Social Media Channels, but this page is quite hidden in the site – not in the navigation and only accessible via small links on other pages such as Careers > Who We Are.

Unlike two years ago, there is no advert on the Careers landing page for the Glassdoor presence (only a reference to a Glassdoor award).

The Takeaway

SAP’s activity on Glassdoor shows how employers can engage with employees and show how transparent they are.

There are alternatives to this approach: this recent PR Week article sets out the legal avenues to have posts removed, or prevented in the first place. While these options may be useful in extremis, such as if an employee at the company in question has been identified, it is preferable to demonstrate transparency by facing negative reviews head on.

Given that employees will be posting reviews – both positive and negative – on the site, whether a company has chosen to tailor its presence there or not, it makes sense to respond to criticism and put forward the company’s point of view.

There is evidence to back up the benefits of this approach: a 2016 Glassdoor survey found that 62% of jobseekers said a response to a negative review would improve their perception of a prospective employer.

However SAP’s seeming reluctance – or perhaps it is just oversight - to publicise its engagement on Glassdoor seems odd, and to undermine its efforts there. Other companies such as BNP Paribas do a much better job of showcasing their Glassdoor presence.

BC tip: SAP - Glass half full

A German software giant promotes itself to jobseekers on a candid employer rating site.

The Site

Glassdoor is a US-based website where employees and former employees can post anonymous reviews of their experiences, trade salary information and share gossip about what to expect at interviews.

Many of the world’s largest companies are rated on the site, but SAP, which has accumulated a total of 3,700 reviews, is unusual in sending its own website visitors there. There is a panel promoting Glassdoor at the bottom of the SAP Careers landing page – ‘Candid. Transparent. Honest employee reviews.’

On the Glassdoor page for SAP, before visitors get to the reviews, there are promotional ‘company updates’, and a pitch to jobseekers; a right column runs alongside the reviews with links to SAP’s social media channels, company videos on YouTube, etc.

The Takeaway

Glassdoor has been around since 2008, and has gained traction with jobseekers, especially in the US, for its unvarnished look at potential employers. However, SAP is one of the first large companies we have seen promoting Glassdoor on its own site and posting content there. (A limited amount of company content can be posted for free; for more, there is a fee.)

The fact that many large companies either do not yet publish on Glassdoor (or at least do not promote it in their website careers sections) probably reflects the risks. SAP may have calculated that many of its US-based recruiting pool will be looking anyway, so they might as well engage and try to influence, if not completely control, the message they see.