An Interview with Taylor Meadows, Head Strategist, Employer Brand at Glassdoor


From Onboarding to Offboarding (and the Time in Between), Guide Positive Employee Interactions to Favorably Shape Your Reputation

Employee experience is no longer a secret. Thanks to platforms like Glassdoor, potential candidates have unprecedented access to authentic feedback about your company culture, compensation and more. But how do you ensure your company’s reputation reflects reality? In this interview with Taylor Meadows, Head Strategist for Employer Brand at Glassdoor, we explore the impact of employee experience (both positive and negative) on sentiment and reputation, and how to leverage tools and programs to your advantage to build a thriving employer brand. 

Q: What role does a company review site such as Glassdoor play in a company’s overall employer reputation and brand?

Meadows: “Glassdoor’s unique value proposition lies within its ability to advertise employer brands through two lenses; the story the company crafts for the world, and the lived experiences of its employees. It’s a trusted career companion for knowledge workers who invest ample time in researching company insights before they apply to a new role; it’s one of the best places to attract informed talent and influence their decision to apply. We believe in offering transparent insights to allow candidates a more seamless, less stressful job search experience.”

Q: Regarding a company’s overall employer reputation management and brand, who are the “players” that impact this (e.g. employees, management, executives, specific departments, recruitment marketers, etc.)? Does this vary by industry?

Meadows: “Employees are the most critical players in a company’s overall reputation because their experiences speak for themselves. They either validate or invalidate the story the company puts forth, making whichever team who manages employer brand the second most valuable player (depending on company structure, we’ve seen employer branding handled by social, talent, recruiting, marketing and even corporate communication teams). Leadership has a notable opportunity to positively influence their company’s reputation as well, particularly by responding to reviews. In a 2023 Glassdoor survey, 71% of employees and job seekers say that their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.”

Q: Some would argue that an employer brand is built upon the company’s reputation with those that could work for you, those that do work for you, and those that have left. From your perspective, which segment most impacts an employer’s reputation, and how?

Meadows: “This is an insightful question because the answer is yes, employer brand is shaped by current, former and potential employees. The best employer brands will attract new talent to the business, validate the experience (and pride!) of existing employees and reflect the actual experience departing employees had during their tenure. It may even inspire a boomerang candidate back to the business if it tells an authentic story. On Glassdoor, there will be reviews from current and former employees, with the ability for current employees to leave one review per calendar year for their employer.”

Q: Is there a way for companies to build their reputation and employer brand on experiences from former employees who have left on good terms? What are your recommendations for employers here? How can an employer turn a challenging departure into a situation where employees feel good about their former employer (possibly even enough to share positive sentiment about that former employer)?

Meadows: “One idea here would be to establish an Alumni Resource Group, potentially by creating a Bowl on Glassdoor (new community threads designed for work and life conversations). This group could act as a celebration for departing employees moving onto bigger or better opportunities, sharing knowledge or wisdom from their tenure. This would be ideal for any employee having left on good terms and would like to stay connected to their former colleagues. 

In a situation where an employee leaves on a challenging circumstance, the best strategy would be to create a pathway for feedback and demonstrate how it would be actioned on. From a Glassdoor perspective, the forum that would likely host this sentiment would be an employee review. If a review publishes and it speaks to a negative experience, responding quickly and empathetically is a great approach; acknowledge the concern, validate and own a solution, and be specific about how this feedback will help future employees/candidates. Warm, compassionate and actionable language has the ability to publicly demonstrate that employees are cared for even after they depart, even if their experience wasn’t great. It may signal to job seekers that it was an isolated experience and not reflective of everyone else’s.” 

Q: Onboarding vs. offboarding: employers put a lot of time and resources into onboarding. Do you feel that employers focus as much as they should on offboarding, and what is the impact on reputation and employer brand of that?

Meadows: “A thoughtful offboarding experience is a strategic employer brand play — it is potentially the last formal interaction an employee has with a brand (and it could influence how they talk about their experience at the company overall). I wouldn’t suggest that an offboarding experience needs to be as extensive or complex as onboarding, but I do think it showcases tact and care. Offboarding may also vary by the type of departure an employee experiences. If it’s a voluntary leave, perhaps offboarding includes a celebratory farewell and invitation to leave a Glassdoor review. If it’s involuntary, it will need additional attention to accommodate the tone of the situation. Either way, intentional offboarding will not only leave your departing employee feeling taken care of, it will also show remaining employees the testament of character of their employer should they ever find themselves in the same place.”

Q: When are current or former employees most likely to post a review or share their perception about a company?

Meadows: “Review behavior is usually activated by situational experiences, if left to the individual to decide when they leave a review. Perhaps they get promoted or highly praised on a project and they want to share their experience. Or, maybe a company restructuring has caused employees concern that prompts a negative review. Best-in-class employers, however, don’t rely on these situational experiences. They invite employees to leave reviews throughout the entire year; perhaps included in a happy birthday note, a digital work anniversary card or company milestone touchpoint. Balanced reviews that include honest, detailed experiences are best.”

Q: What are the catalysts that drive those who are heavy promoters vs. detractors to share their opinions on their time with a company, and to rate the company? Is this mostly happening online (or how much happens through word-of-mouth)?

Meadows: “The same answer applies here regarding situational activators for leaving reviews. What’s important to add here is that leaving a review on a site like Glassdoor is entirely anonymous and always will be. When people have the added protection of anonymity, they feel more inclined to be authentic and truthful (positive, negative and medial reviews). While word-of-mouth sentiment is expected, it certainly doesn’t have the same reach as a published online review. That’s why it’s so important to have a strategic review response strategy in place. How many times have you still purchased a product with a mediocre review because the company responded to a concern and addressed it personally? I certainly have.”

Q: Where or how do departing employees most place blame following a termination / layoff? How can a company help them cope, and how does that impact employer brand and reputation?

Meadows: “Departing employees are going to feel a multitude of emotions if they’re affected by a reduction; and rightfully so. We need to remember how personal it would feel to be a part of a layoff; fear of reduced career mobility, income and maybe even a sense of purpose. Leadership teams are often held responsible for these tough calls, even if they come from a Board of Directors or governing body of a parent company. Still, Senior Leadership at the company level is expected to assume responsibility, deliver the news with radical care and empathy and go out of their way to offer support tools to departing employees. It’s also critical to be as transparent as possible. Leadership transparency may answer (most) questions, provide clarity into why the decision was made and also reduce worry or concern an employee may develop about their own performance or capabilities.

Also remember to care for your remaining employees. They too are experiencing grief, sadness and uncertainty. My recommendation is to give these remaining employees time to process; maybe that’s a day off, or reduced meetings/deliverable expectations that week. Layoffs are disruptive to everyone involved, but do provide an opportunity for leadership to show up human-first, transparent and authentic.”

Q: Sentiment about an employer and time spent at that employer may be heavily influenced with how the employer makes people feel when they are leaving. What advice would you give to employers to help people going through terminations / layoffs leave with dignity?

Meadows: “An involuntary termination, like a layoff or workforce reduction, is a gut punch for most; and not by any fault of their own. Being said, in addition to a generous severance package, assembling resource packs that include job search assistance and mental health support are table stakes. Best-in-class employers offer outplacement services that shepherd employees towards new experiences. I’ll also note that leadership communication is key in delivering news of a reduction; the tone and delivery of bad news has the ability to impact the legacy that a company’s reputation has. The idea is to communicate delicately and thoughtfully so that both the departing employees’ experience, and the company’s employer brand, are serviced and protected.”

Q: What can a company do in order to protect the employer brand following terminations / layoffs? What best practices have you seen (communications, benefits, how they take care of their departing people, etc.)? Is there any guidance that you or Glassdoor would provide?

Meadows: “In addition to many of the recommendations already mentioned, a thoughtful employer brand move may be a public announcement (memo, blog/social post), that announced and acknowledges the layoff and all the ways in which the company is providing resources for transitioning employees. Prospective and future employees will pay close attention to how a company handled a reduction event; this is your opportunity to be open and transparent, claim ownership where possible and showcase the desire to help people land on their feet. The fastest way to relieve uncertainty or fear is to expose it early and balance empathy with compassion; the two are not mutually exclusive.”


Taylor Meadows is Head Strategist, Employment Brand at Glassdoor. Meadows has designed and launched Indeed’s Employer Brand Activation Workshop, helping clients define and market their EVP. In addition to being a keynote speaker and presenter, Meadows has made numerous expert appearances and has been cited through multiple national publications.