Glassdoor is a digital jobs marketplace, on a mission to help employees everywhere find a job and company they love. So far, so LinkedIn, you might think. However, there is one big difference: Glassdoor invites employees to rate their employers anonymously, providing a fantastically honest resource for job seekers anxious to know about potential employers, ‘warts and all’.
Glassdoor was launched in 2008, and now has over 50 million unique visitors each month. It covers more than one million employers and contains nine million job listings, not to mention 70 million pieces of information from employees about businesses and organisations. These include reviews, salary information and even office photos and other relevant materials useful to potential applicants.
Ratings, reviews and more
Companies are rated on Glassdoor based on user reviews. These rankings are used to determine which companies are the best places to work and why. Glassdoor publishes an annual ‘Best Places to Work’ award. Glassdoor users can also rate and review their CEO as well as the company.
One of Glassdoor’s founding values is transparency. It is designed to enable employees to be completely transparent about their working life and employer, while allowing them to stay anonymous, and therefore not risk their job through their honesty. Like employee surveys, Glassdoor offers users anonymity to share their feelings about the office culture and general work.
Glassdoor sees reviews as personal opinions, and encourages employees to be honest when reviewing their company. Reviews are insights into the work environment but of course what one person finds difficult might not be an issue to another.
Another benefit to transparency is the ability to share salary information. Salaries can be a touchy subject, and many people hold their salary cards close to their chest. However, the anonymity of Glassdoor means that employees are prepared to openly share salary information, enabling them and others to make useful comparisons between businesses, roles and sectors. If knowledge is power, this will certainly provide employees with a stronger hand in any pay negotiations.
You may be wondering how employees can stay anonymous, but still allow salary comparisons with similar roles. The answer is that it is possible to leave out specific identifying details when creating a profile. For employees at a small start-up, whose job title might give away their identity, this is a huge advantage, and is likely to make even employees of very small companies happier to share information.
What’s in it for employers?
There is no question that Glassdoor was originally designed around what employees and potential employees would value. However, it also has value for employers.
First, the reviews give employers insight into what employees value most in their workplace, whether that is more annual leave, free hot lunches, Friday bars, video game breaks, or even an office dog.
Second, in 2010, Glassdoor launched Enhanced Employer Profiles. These profiles are subscription-based, although they start with a freemium offer. Employers can share information about the company, reply to employee reviews, and gain insights into their company profile. The employer profile allows companies to share updates, achievements, and their mission. This is a benefit to employers, but also to employees, because having both sides of the story adds to Glassdoor’s transparency.
Employers are not allowed to remove “bad” reviews, but they can respond to them. This means that they can in turn be honest about whether they have dealt with a particular issue, especially if it has been raised several times. This ability to respond can turn a potential disaster into a recruitment advantage. However, it does mean that HR departments or, in smaller companies, senior managers, must be alert to reviews and open to feedback, rather than becoming defensive. Yes, one person’s struggle could be another’s strength, but if every review mentions a toxic work environment, it is starting to look like you have a problem.
Employers also have access to the Employer Blog, which features articles about the recruitment process, tips for going virtual, employee relations, improving the work environment, or even common traits of the best places to work. Finally, employers can see information about other companies, access hiring and recruiting guides, and attend virtual events via the resource library. This is a huge resource, and one of the most useful aspects of Glassdoor (see table).
Making your profile work for you
Glassdoor provides a huge opportunity for employers to find out exactly what their employees think—and then take action to answer any issues, and address problems. For job seekers and employees alike, it is a valuable channel to express views and seek information.