With the continued cold weather spell, I’ve been thinking about warmer climates. You choose a holiday destination. You find some hotels in your price bracket. You visit Trip Advisor to read the reviews. Overall rating 4.5 out of 5, then you read the first review – shock horror. Is this an one off - someone with really high expectations perhaps. Hours later you’ve read hundreds of reviews to reassure you, you’re making the right decision. Holiday booked, countdown to sunshine.

We’re now in a world of transparency and openness -not just for customers but for colleagues and candidates too. Pretty much every business of a reasonable scale will have at least a handful of frank reviews from its employees on platforms such as Glassdoor and Indeed. As candidates do their research on potential employers, these sites have become a vital calling point, and are now a critical element of your employer brand.

It would be easy for organisations to bury their head in the sand and pretend these review sites don’t exist or ignore the feedback and comments with the cynical view that most reviews are written by former employees who were dissatisfied with their jobs or had an axe to grind. Of course this may be the case, however it could be a powerful tool to get real time feedback from current employees that could enhance the employee experience and your reputation as an employer.

Organisations such as Car Dealer Lookers – which has a 4.4 star rating and 93% CEO approval rating have started using Glassdoor as an employee feedback site. Appearing in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For - Lookers was already recognised as a top employer in the traditional rankings, so it wasn’t perhaps such a bold step to actively encourage employees to share their views and opinions.

Very often it is how an organisation responds to negative feedback rather than the criticism itself. On the theme of holidays - a certain well known airline has the highest customer satisfaction ranking of all airlines, but yet it loses more luggage than anyone else. Why does it then get high customer satisfaction scores – because of its error recovery programme. The luggage is delivered to your home, along with a bottle of wine and bunch of flowers!

So if an employer you can demonstrate to potential candidates and current employees that you are listening and responding to feedback - this will in the long term only help to enhance reputation and the positive sentiment to your employer brand.