Glassdoor Offers Transparent Company Reviews

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While researching my book about online reputation issues, I was fortunate to speak with executives from several of the top online review sites. (One site wouldn't talk to me, but that's another story.) Glassdoor stands out because it has brought the online review to the workplace. The folks who founded the site realized that while we may spend a few weeks a year traveling and on vacation, we spend 40-50 hours every week during the rest of the year at work.

The site has quickly built strong online authority. A search for nearly any company with the word "jobs" next to it will likely find the company's Glassdoor listing on the first or second page of search results. In some instances, the Glassdoor listing hits above the company site. Amazingly, many major companies have unclaimed profiles on Glassdoor while literally thousands of reviews, interview questions and CEO ratings are being posted.

I spoke with Scott Dobroski, associate director of corporate communications at Glassdoor, and he explained that the site's employees work hard to create a balanced environment. For example, when a person registers on Glassdoor and wants to offer a review, the site takes some actions not seen by other review sites. Dobroski said that Glassdoor welcomes employees to register on the site with a valid email address, which can include their corporate or work email address or their personal email address. He says the company is then able to verify the person is who they claim to be by signing in with a valid email address, or by signing in via Facebook. Though he didn't give precise details, he also said the company, in some cases, does some online cross-referencing to do its best to ensure that reviewers are who they say they are. This represents an authenticity check that is not seen on other review or complaint sites.

In a further commitment to balance, Glassdoor also requires reviewers to include both "pros" and "cons" in their assessments of companies. An employee must include the positives with the negatives in a Glassdoor review. Neither flat out bashing nor one-sided syrupy praise are allowed as the site requires balance.

The average company rating on Glassdoor is 3.2 on a 5.0 scale, so the site translates that to believe that about 71 percent of employees are satisfied with their employer. According to Glassdoor, we are, more or less, O.K. with our jobs. We don't singularly hate our jobs but we aren't 99 percent happy either.

Dobroski offers the following tips for companies interacting with Glassdoor:

The genie is out of the bottle, so sign up
Online review sites have arrived and the transparency they provide for users is being embraced across a wide swath of users. Companies should claim their profiles with a free employer account so that prospective employees get a truer picture of the organization and not one that is exclusively defined by reviews.

Build you profile
Job seekers are embracing employer reviews and looking for engaged companies on sites like Glassdoor. Employers should build their online profile and make sure that contact data and background information is up to date, at a minimum. Employers should also consider adding photos and detailed company information.

Encourage employees to write reviews
Glassdoor wants employees to write reviews, and the site has no issues with employers who encourage employees to submit reviews. Unlike Yelp which wants reviews to happen organically, Glassdoor believes its filters help prevent false reviews, and the site doesn't appear to be worried about ballot box stuffing.

Engage the community
Like most review sites, Glassdoor encourages user engagement. According to the site, 62% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.

Use the free tools
Glassdoor's employer center provides much more than engagement tools. The site's analytics provide metrics on job seekers across a wide range of date points. The tools can be used to measure against competitors or look for areas of improvement.

I believe that Glassdoor is a review site on the rise, and I recommend that business owners claim their profile and begin engaging with the site sooner than later.

More information on Glassdoor and online review sites is available in my book How to Protect (or Destroy) Your Reputation Online -- now available for pre-order.