Should businesses be worried about employer review sites?

By Jo Harley, Managing Director for Purple Cubed

In 2007, three Expedia veterans sat around a table sharing stories. One admitted he had accidentally left the result of the employee survey on the printer while working for the business. Another asked ‘what would have happened if those results were made public?’

So the three hypothesised and concluded that if employee feedback on organisations as an employer was made available to all, and easily, then it would be of service to those looking to make career decisions.

And so, in 2008, company ratings site, Glassdoor, was launched; transforming the recruitment journey forever. Employees are now easily able to rate their employer on their pay, the CEO, whether they would recommend the business to a friend, as well as list their pros and cons of working there.

In just eight years, the review site now features 11 million employee reviews for half a million companies, and increase of 47% in a year. Each month it receives 30 million unique visitors a month; each looking for a snippet of information which will help them decide on where to work.

Glassdoor has become the new career page of organisations across the globe… While much of the focus is still on companies in the US, Glassdoor UK is too experiencing similar growth. So is it something businesses should  be concerned about?

Bob Corlett, Founder of executive search firm Staffing Advisors, believes so. In his column for The Business Journals, he explained: “A year ago, most CEOs I spoke with didn’t seem to know or care about Glassdoor. But now, more than half of those I speak with mention their Glassdoor reviews in our first meeting. They are all suffering from a case of sudden onset “Glassdoor angst” – the kind of public accountability that makes most CEOs profoundly uncomfortable.”

For us this is not a surprise. In our recent research study, ‘Engage, Enable, Empower’, we found that skills and talent shortages, closely followed by retaining talent were the top two concerns of C-Suite professionals  across the UK. And with the first  study of company review sites in the UK conducted last year, concluding  that employer review sites were seen  as more trustworthy sources  of information than career guides  or company information, it’s easy  to see the influence and potential impact this public information can  have on the attraction and retention  of the best people.

So what do we say? If you wouldn’t want your employee experience printed on the front page of The Times then it’s time to clean up your act as employers! The days are gone where an individual only finds out about what it’s like to work for you at their interview. Employees are more empowered and educated than they’ve ever been. The tide has turned; it’s now about them deciding if you are right for them, rather than them right for you.

It is important to remember  Glassdoor is just one of many  avenues for expressing feelings and thoughts connected to employment – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (who remembers the video by Marina Shifrin which went viral when she quit her underpaid and overworked role through interpretive dance?) – all offer employees a voice and a powerful decision making tool. They do their research, visit your organisation ‘undercover’, ask their friends. If your employer brand does not match the reality then they will find out; which  of course impacts upon your attraction as an employer.

It does work the other way too. J.B Kellogg, CEO of digital marketing software provider Madwire, believes  his positive Glassdoor reviews have helped him add to his workforce  with some 20% of hires coming  through Glassdoor.

So just as the hospitality industry has had to accept review sites like Tripadvisor, employers across the  world must accept and work with this new normal; making sure their employer brand stands up to the judgment of their people.


2017-03-09T16:27:13+00:00 March 9th, 2017|