Glassdoor: What Your Employees Think of You

Glassdoor, a social website that lets employees rate and rank previous and current jobs, approval rating of your CEO (much like the presidential approval ratings) as well as share salaries, is slowly getting traction. I login every few weeks to see slow steady growth. If you’re in a management position or are in HR, I highly recommend you read the reviews and ratings that your employees are saying.

If you notice decision, and see a trend of similar complaints, there’s two things to realize: 1) Your internal feedback loop is probably not working, therefore employees are letting grievances air in public to customers, investors, and the board. 2) There are probably some issues that you may want to resolve and fix.

There are a few weaknesses with Glassdoor that we should take into account: 1) There’s still very little data, most companies just have a smattering of reviews, 2) All data is anonymous so it’s very difficult to track –or prove –that someone actually worked at the company. It would be interesting if they were able to anonymously approve accounts in LinkedIn thereby secretly verifying identities. 3) Unhappy employees and happy employees will reflect their attitude –and service– to customers, so be sure to acknowledge one of your most important assets.

Also, if a company is just getting smeared by it’s employees, a company should address these problems, as although you could block the site from work, people will access it at home.

For what it’s worth, I’m making it a rule not to publicly rate my current employer on these types of sites, although I’m likely to rate them after I move on. Instead, I’m more likely to be forth coming in internal discussions, in an effort to improve things, rather that say it in public.

As we move to new jobs, we’ll be looking at the reviews of future companies on Glassdoor (just as we review financials) before I accept a position, but will appropriately weight it depending on age of comments, number of total reviewers, and patterns for trends.

Although Glassdoor shows some data in public, if you’re curious to see what employees think of your company (or how much people make in other companies) you’ll have to register, and complete part of the submission process in order to see details.

Have you peered into the glassdoor? Were you surprised or did you get confirmation?

23 Replies to “Glassdoor: What Your Employees Think of You”

  1. Surely the biggest weakness is the fact that it’s not a representative/random sample of employees, so a company is more likely to either have a very positive or very negative skew.

  2. Those weaknesses you mention are indeed significant if one looks at this site from a researcher’s perspective. However, taking a corporate communicator’s (or even a CEO’s) perspective, those weaknesses are nearly 100 percent irrelevant.

    To compare, there’s nothing to suggest one blogger’s experience with a company is truly representative of the experiences had by the public at large, but that doesn’t stop some individual bloggers or blog posts creating all sorts of online brand management issues for the company.

    So sure, a company could defend itself by saying, “Those complaints represent a microscopic fraction of our employees, so we don’t think it’s…yada yada yada.” But Jeff Jarvis was just a microscopic portion of Dell’s customer base…

  3. I agree Niall, there will definitely be skews… But more importantly, whether the “data” is correct or not, sites like these are indicative of the challenge companies will have in online reputation management as social media progresses. Beyond just in the areas of HR – people draw close to who they can trust (as a company and provider of a service/product).

    Thank you for sharing you insights Jeremiah 🙂

    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  4. Mike/Maria,

    I agree to an extent. I think Jeremiah missed that as one of the key weaknesses, not that it makes the trend in this or any other field insignificant.

  5. After working at my company for a few years I am not surprised. I’d hope that HR will start looking at these kind of sites just as another form of feedback.

    Then again, who are the people who fill out the ratings? Do they fill them out after getting fired…or after getting a big bonus? Who knows…

  6. This type of site has been tried before. Vault was the best known, but there are several others that have tried, including Jobster and several smaller HR consulting sites.

    There’s an entire business built around the lie that is the exit survey ( I remember one employer who tried to get me to sign an agreement saying I’d never witnessed any sexual harassment. I laughed, and then paused, and said, “Really?”).

    Much like the marketing adage that says that a happy customer tells 2 people, an angry customer tells 200, the basic premise of ex-empolyee reviews is flawed. People just aren’t excised about their past work unless they are mad. And smart people (in terms of managing their career) know it’s a bad idea to rant about a company because you may need them in the future.

    It’s one of those ideas that keeps coming up because it sounds good, but there’s actually a negative effect, as the information is so hopefully biased.

    And the final nail? Work experience is localized. A company with a terrible office or a terrible division may be great over 95% of the company. Or vice versa, as one bright spot in a dull corporation gives a false impression.

    It’s far better to use your personal networks for this kind of thing, as it’s the people working, and not the corporation, that matters.

  7. Friends

    If there are a hundreds of reviews from supposed employees, can we still say there’s no trend at stake?

    One of the key points I made in the post is that it’s early days, the sample size is yet too small to deem relevant.

    I do believe that aggregation across hundreds –maybe thousands– of employees in even a large corporation can be indicative of actual sentiment.

    Perhaps what’s MOST important is that these opinions (representative or not) could potentially sway investors, current or future employees.

    If we’re going to examine the opinions from employees, we should also examine Yelp, Cnet, Ebay and other voting tools, which may also suffer from the same trust issues.

  8. well, if a company can use this to address/recify the biggest complaints of the most negative employees & identify/promote the things that make employees most full of praise, having the middle ground represented isn’t as important.

  9. I definitely agree that this type of survey is hardly scientific or printe to bias/abuse. Yeah, it is not the end-all in forming an opinion about a company, but let’s face it, where there is smoke there is frequently a fire. If I was looking for a job right now, this might be a nice place to go to get some insightful *questions* to ask when the interviewer inevitably asks me, usually towards the end of the interview, if I have any questions about their company.

  10. Brian

    Often recruiters like to tell you how great the company and role is, using glassdoor to glean key opposition questions to gain some reality may be very important. (Although the best thing to do is to ask existing customers)

  11. I submitted a report on Glassdoor just out of sheer curiosity. What impressed me most about the website was their word requirement for submissions. Though it may lead to bloated reviews, I believe the overall effect with be more thorough and thought through reviews.

    Like everything that’s user generated, you can’t take it as completely professional and unbiased, but it does give you a sense from many people in the company.

  12. When I was looking at last month I was a bit disappointed to see that only a few businesses were listed to view without signing in.

  13. I just cruised the Oracle page, a sample size is slowly building

    529 Employee Salaries for Oracle
    161 Employee Reviews for Oracle

    If this keeps up, this could continue to grow to a large sample

  14. I am going to check out my employer curious to see if anyone has posted anything on them. This is the age of the internet and blogging what do you expect.

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