Glassdoor.com is the brain-child of Robert Hohman (ex President Hotwire), Rich Barton (founder of Expedia) and Tim Besse (also ex Expedia). The website launched in late August following beta trials and inception earlier in the year. The idea emerged in the summer of 2007 after the founders wondered what would happen if someone left an entire company employee survey on a printer and it got posted to the web. The initial idea expanded and the website now offers three things – for free!
The first is that it provides detailed company reviews that encourage employees to highlight the pros and cons of working for a firm with advice for senior management. Perhaps the dichotomy between criticising the company you work for with the potential to damage your own market value vs. the desire to ‘offload’ keeps the feedback honest. Whatever the motivation I didn’t read many ‘hotheaded’ reviews and I really like this idea as it has the potential to provide a canny employer with a no holds barred, finger on the pulse insight in to what employees really think about the company management and strategy at a grass routes level. If not the actual strategy then at least the employees perception of what the strategy is which is perhaps more important feedback.
The second is Employee ratings on workplace factors and leadership. The website asks employees to rate their employee against a range of criteria such as work life balance, benefits and more. They are also requested to provide a CEO approval rating which is shown as a score.
Finally, and perhaps the ‘killer’ piece of the website is that it provides real time salary information by company and by title. So I can see for example, that a Senior Consultant at Deloitte has an average salary of $95,723 and a Senior Manager a salary of £162,140. Quite useful to both employee and employer.
The fact that all the information comes from real employees is the crucial point of differentiation for the website. It is free to use and all the information is ‘anonymised’ so there is no fear of your employer finding out if you say something less than complimentary about them. It is pure genius and surely it won’t be long before it is integrated with job listing sites to give an extra dimension to a recruitment decision.
The use of a “Wisdom of the crowd” approach in business is becoming increasingly documented – I reviewed Gary Hamel’s book ‘The future of Management’ recently and the theme is used as the basis for his ideas. Perhaps the Glassdoor provides a legitimate opportunity for crowd insight toward a companies strategy. I suspect however it will be a while before employers actually use it as they will no doubt dismiss it as only a report on the extremes.