Skip to main content

Negative Employee Reviews: 5 Steps for Responding

By August 3, 2022July 26th, 2023Finding Talent - Recruiting

Best-selling author Robin Sharma once said, “Negative feedback can make us bitter or better.” In this modern era, companies must be more prudent when responding to criticism from employees. Although the initial reaction may be to act defensively, it is vital that companies be considerate and thoughtful when responding to negative employee reviews. Plus, on many platforms, you only get one chance to respond so you need to make sure it is a well crafted response.  Because these comments are public, companies should consider how potential clients and potential candidates may view their responses. Companies taking responsibility for their actions or negative employee experiences can often be helpful in promoting an authentic and progressive workplace.  In this blog post, we suggest five simple steps you can follow to successfully write a response to negative employee reviews.

Why Respond to Employee Reviews

There are several reasons you should carefully respond to reviews. One, candidates will see the negative complaint and how the employer responds could impact their decision to apply, especially if there is no response.  Two, your response to negative reviews can be used to show that the company truly cares for its employees’ input and reflects its company values. job seekers can use employee reviews on Indeed and Glassdoor as deciding factors during their job search

In recent interviews, our recruiting team experienced candidates mentioning how impressed they were with our client’s responses to employee reviews (which we helped them write!). By following the steps below, you will be well prepared to construct similar effective responses to negative employee reviews.

How to Respond to Negative Employee Reviews

By following the steps below, you will be well prepared to construct effective responses to negative employee reviews.

Step One: Thank the Employee

Thank the employee for taking the time to write a comment. By opening the review with a thank you, you are acknowledging the employee and showing that the company values their opinion, even when it’s negative.


  • Thank you for taking the time to share your experience…
  • Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention… 
  • Thank you for sharing your feedback…

Step Two: Apologize

Apologize for the negative experience that the employee addresses in their review. By doing this, the company not only shows how it values its employees but also its willingness to own up to its mistakes in an authentic manner. key steps to replying to negative employee reviews are thanking the commenter and apologizing for the negative experience


  • We are sorry for the inconvenience caused…
  • We are sorry that we failed to meet your expectations…
  • On behalf of [name of company], I am sorry you have had such a negative experience…

Step Three: Address the Issue

Acknowledge the employee’s complaint. By doing so, the company shows that they care enough to investigate the issue. Even if a company responds to an old employee review, they can address the issue and explain where the company went wrong during the time the comment was written. 


  • We appreciate your input on… 
  • We value the opinion of our employees and are sorry you experienced… 
  • During [year comment was posted], [company name] was going through a transition, and I am sorry we failed in…

Step Four: Provide Solutions

Provide a solution to the issue. By stating a solution, the company conveys its dedication to employees and the company culture. As mentioned previously, even if you are responding to old reviews, you can take the opportunity to discuss how the company has improved since the review was written.


  • The company has recently gone through a transition and has since been working on initiatives to better the company’s… 
  • We take your input seriously when shaping company policy and have made changes to [the issue] to ensure employee satisfaction. Again, we apologize for your negative experience and have implemented strategies to avoid this in the future. 
  •  We will use your feedback to make us better by [explain the initiative in response to the complaint] 
  • Since [year comment was posted], our company has implemented [solution to issue] to better our culture and employee experience. 

Replying to negative employee reviews onlinen often requires moving the conversation elsewhere

Step Five: Take the Conversation Offline (if necessary)

Lastly, if the comment was recently posted and you believe it necessary to discuss the topic offline, this last stage is letting the employee know that you are willing to further discuss and solve the issue. By doing this, you are resolving the problem and supporting the fact that you value your employee’s input. 


  • If you would like to discuss this further, please call or email me at… 
  • If you have any more complaints, feel free to call at…

Moving Forward with Employee Reviews

By following these five steps, you will be prepared to write an effective and successful response and hopefully turn that negative review into a positive! One of the most important things to keep in mind as you write your response is to always take the opportunity to learn and grow, show this in your response. By considering employee input and owning up to mistakes that may have occurred, or the negative employee experience, potential candidates or clients will have an even higher regard for your company.

Interested in having some help locating and responding to employee reviews? Contact our team to learn more about our Recruiting Refresh Audit!

BOOK A FREE Discovery Call To learn more about our HR & Recruiting services!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: