Bad Blood in the Workplace: Survey of 1096 American Workers


In 2019, most people can hardly choose a restaurant without looking up its star rating on Yelp or Google beforehand. Even when it comes to choosing a coffee shop and making a $5 purchase, everything from ambiance to service matters. 

If that’s true for tiny decisions, when it comes to life-changing ones, how can online reviews impact your business? Arguably the most important part of any company is its human capital, and if the right candidates aren’t applying because of online reviews, your business’s future success can be hindered. 

We wanted to dive deeper into the world of online employer reviews, so we surveyed 1,096 Americans who have left online reviews, positive or negative, about their former employers. Here’s what we learned. 

Why Do Americans Leave Their Jobs? 

First of all, who’s leaving online reviews for businesses? On sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster, you only can leave a review if you’ve worked at the company. 

Why are people leaving their companies in the first place? When it comes to ex-employees, the top reasons people quit were poor management, finding a better opportunity, or low salary. 

For those that were fired, people cited a failure to meet work expectations, taking too much time off, and not following orders as the top three reasons they left the company. 

Leaving Reviews 

It’s been said that timing is everything and that also applies to leaving online reviews. Some ex-employees wait to leave a review to avoid being identified by their ex-colleagues. Most people wait 1-2 weeks to leave a review after leaving a company, but a surprising amount (nearly a third) wait a month before sharing their working experience anonymously. When it comes to regrets, 8 in 10 people have no regrets about the review they left, and, surprisingly, 12% of people wish they were more negative.

What were people most negative about? More people were negative in their online reviews about management practices, their bosses, and employee turnover than anything else. 

Are Online Reviews Truthful?

In our survey of 1,096 Americans that have left an online review of an ex-employer, we found that just over 10% of people admitted to lying or stretching the truth when it comes to online reviews. 

This is good news for employers, because as long as you adhere to fair business practices, your company should speak for itself. Although, 10% is still more than ideal — so, why are people lying?

50% of those who lied said they did so because they wanted to damage their employer’s reputation—scary. Those who lied on an online review of an ex-employer also frequently reported lying about their salary or their boss. 

Five Star Employees

About half of the Americans we surveyed said they are leaving reviews on popular employment website Glassdoor. Of the people we surveyed, over half of Americans reported giving their ex-employer 1 or 2 stars. 22% reported giving their ex-employer 4 or 5 stars. 

We were able to look at demographics as well. Some notable findings: 

  • 39.8% of people who were fired left a 1-star review, as opposed to 20% of those that were laid off and 27% for those who quit. 
  • 51.8% of those that worked at their company for less than one year left a 1-star review. Those that worked at the company 6-9 years were most likely to leave a 5-star review. 
  • Women (33.6%) were more likely to leave a 1-star review than men (26.7%).
  • 12.7% of Baby Boomers left their company a 5-star review, as opposed to only 5.9% of GenX, 5.8% of Millennials, and 5.2% of Gen Z.

How Much Do Reviews Impact Hiring?  

Finally, what does this all mean? A high rating on employment platforms can earn your company some of the most competitive candidates, and a low score can make it difficult to hire exceptional staff. 

84% of Americans we surveyed look at online reviews when making a decision of where to apply and 1 in 3 people have turned down a job offer based on a review they read of the company online. 

Conclusion  

As it turns out, online reviews affect hiring practices more than we previously thought. Working on your company culture, treating employees fairly, and allowing for open communication can go along way for your company—and not just to benefit current employees, but also to attract new ones. 

Methodology & Fair Use Statement

We surveyed 1,096 Americans who have left an online review about an employer they worked for in the past. We asked respondents a series of questions about online workplace reviews. 

From employers to employees, we know this information might be useful to some people. Please feel free to share our work—we’d just like to kindly ask that you link back to this page and credit Fractl accordingly.