If you follow the space of workplaces and the employee experience, you've heard of Glassdoor - a portal where employees and former employees can provide feedback regarding their experience at your company - good or bad. Of course, that generally means that the memorable pieces of feedback are the ranting, negative reviews of your company. I've been wary of this type of review site (who hasn't seen the ranting employee who wouldn't take accountability for their own actions, right?), but I'm slowly coming around.
Transparency is good, and that ranting employee that you had to let go for all the right reasons? Turns out that candidates (the people who really check out a site like glassdoor to get the reputation of your company) have a natural filter when it comes to the big negative rant. They read the super negative review, then naturally discount and look for reviews that provide balanced feedback. Why? Because balanced feedback is more credible. Willing to share the good things as well as the bad? Your willingness to share what was good just opened my ears to your view of what needs work at that company.
So, I'm at a better place when it comes to sites like Glassdoor. But I can't help but think of Yelp when I think of Glassdoor. And vice versa...
For those of you not in the know, Yelp is a site that allows consumer patrons to rate their experience with a service provider (among other things). Yelp is similar in many ways to the concept of Glassdoor - but the primary users of the site aren't employees, they're restaurant customers, etc.
So why is Glassdoor in danger of going the way of Yelp? Because Yelp is entangled in lawsuits alleging that they've offered to remove negative reviews and provide preferred site placement to businesses that buy advertising. More from the New York Times:
"Two law firms filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday against Yelp, the Web site that lets users post reviews and recommendations for small businesses and restaurants. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Los Angeles, alleges unfair business practices and accuses Yelp of running an “extortion scheme.”
The suit claims that Yelp’s employees “call businesses demanding monthly payments, in the guise of ‘advertising contracts,’ in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews appearing on the Web site.”
The suit was filed on behalf of a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, Calif., who asked Yelp to remove what it called a “false and defamatory review” from its site. The lawsuit says Yelp refused and instead demanded “roughly $300 per month” in exchange for Yelp hiding or completely removing the review in question. The filing of the suit was first reportedby TechCrunch."
So, why the comparison between Yelp and Glassdoor? Employers are starting to report that Glassdoor is directly contacting them. Polly Pearson of EMC recently wrote a post indicating that Glassdoor had reached out to her regarding services for employers. See the connection?
Sites like Glassdoor are built on the concept of transparency related to the employee experience at your company. It's next to impossible to be credible in that regard AND work with employers at the same time.
Just ask Yelp. If you've got salespeople calling on the target of your product, even the perception of a conflict is a problem, and those salespeople are under pressure to make quota, to talk to potential advertisers, etc...
It'll be interesting to see Glassdoor's approach as they seek to develop the holy grail - multiple streams of revenue - out of their basic business plan - which is a good idea.
They won't be able to dance on both sides (employees and company) of the aisle without eroding their primary mission - corporate transparency.