By Kristine Campbell, Founder, Rankfull
In today’s age of anonymous online sharing, platforms that show what employees really think about a company are bringing new levels of workplace transparency. Job seekers can learn if a company matches their workplace needs. Employees can voice their thoughts both securely and anonymously. And employers can keep a pulse on employee sentiments about everything from advancement opportunities to the company culture. To meet these needs, traditional platforms such as Glassdoor have long relied, at least partially, on anonymous comments.
Unfortunately, the recent court ruling against Glassdoor has called into question the protection afforded to users who share anonymous comments. In a November 2017 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals required Glassdoor to disclose the identifying information of eight users who posted anonymous reviews about a company on its website.
This may sound problematic, but there are ways to review employers without the use of comments—while obtaining a highly accurate picture of what employees really think.
So how can this be achieved? And what should people look for in an employment engagement platform? Here are five questions to consider:
- Are the reviews truly anonymous? By choosing a review site that uses “yes” or “no” survey questions to capture how verified employees feel about the company, they can express their opinions without fear of being identified by their writing style. At the same time, employers can learn what employees really think, without the fear of potentially defamatory comments.
- Does the site verify the identity of employees? Many sites don’t verify the identity of employees who leave comments. Therefore, it’s impossible to know whether one employee is leaving multiple comments, or if the person leaving the comment actually works or has worked for the company. Employment engagement platforms like Rankfull compare employees’ registrations with their company e-mail addresses or Google, Facebook, LinkedIn profiles—offering a proven process for confirming employee identities.
- Does the site accurately capture what employees really think? With traditional sites, a few disgruntled employees can harm a company’s reputation—even when the majority are satisfied with the company. Ninety-five percent of people may like the company they work for, but the remaining 5 percent can leave multiple bad comments that create a negative impression disproportionate to their numbers. Conversely, the majority of employees may be dissatisfied, with a handful of managers leaving multiple positive comments. Either way, the site fails to capture what employees really think. A comment-free site that surveys employees and aggregates their responses can give HR executives a true picture of employee attitudes and see how their company compares to competitors across the industry.
- Does the site offer a full snapshot of the company? Sites that allow comments tend to capture a skewed view of the company based on the information employees feel passionate about sharing. For example, employees may focus their comments on the CEO, while failing to say whether they like their direct manager or whether the company offers a defined career path. By choosing an employment engagement platform that asks employees a defined spectrum of questions, job seekers get a more complete picture about the company. Likewise, HR executives obtain a more comprehensive view of what their employees think, enabling them to take the steps needed to improve the culture.
- Do the comments reflect employee’s current attitudes? A major frustration for many HR executives is outdated employee comments that remain on employer review sites long after the company has implemented changes. Oftentimes, companies must pay the site to respond to negative comments. Sites that allow employees to update their responses and then aggregate that information in real-time offer a more accurate and timely picture of the company at any given point in time. HR executives can see how employees are responding to cultural changes. At the same time, job seekers have the most current information upon which to base their job decisions. Both benefit from more precise, real-time information.
In an era where anonymous comments may no longer serve the needs of job seekers and employers alike, these considerations may help all parties gain trusted information. Job seekers want reliable, verified information to make better decisions, while employers seek a well-rounded snapshot of their employees —without the risk of potentially defamatory comments. Now is the time to give employers and employees better tools to make workplace decisions.
Kristine Campbell is the founder of Rankfull, the trusted employment platform for employees to review employers anonymously, free of comments. Prior, Campbell served in director capacities at Microsoft, Nike and Avalara and has worked in finance, law, healthcare, retail and consulting. She is a graduate of University of Washington.