Being happy at work is an essential part of career fulfillment. Sometimes, it seems we spend more time researching where to eat the best hamburger than where to work. Much like skipping restaurant reviews, failing to research a company can come back to burn you later. The good news is that you no longer have to know someone personally to get the scoop on a company.
There are many employment related websites, including Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com, where current and former employees can leave anonymous reviews about their experiences. If you read the reviews, you’ll often notice patterns. Much like hotel reviews, those who leave reviews are either very happy or very unhappy. Have you ever noticed that many hotel reviews are left by customers who had some kind of awful experience, like bed bugs or dirty sheets? Typically, to be motivated to take the time to leave a review, an employee (much like a hotel guest) must have extreme emotions about the place where they work.
Glassdoor recently released a study on this very topic. They wanted to take a look into how balanced online employer reviews really are. Glassdoor’s study wanted to find out whether their site provides more or less balanced reviews than other review sites. In other words, are all of the company reviews very negative or very positive, like the hotel reviews.
If you’ve used Glassdoor before, you already know this. The site is free. But, in order to use it, Glassdoor requires you to leave some type of feedback on a company where you have worked (past or present). Glassdoor uses what they call a “give to get” policy. In other words, it encourages everyone to leave a review – not just those who are unhappy. As you may have guessed, this policy encourages people to leave reviews that are more neutral in nature.
“This study gives strong evidence that company reviews on Glassdoor are more balanced because of the way they are collected. The policy creates incentive for people to contribute to the site, who may otherwise opt out. It should help quell misconceptions that employees only provide really positive or really negative opinions about companies on Glassdoor. The data show that’s not the case — Glassdoor’s give to get policy creates a more balanced picture of companies,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor chief economist.
Another great feature on both Glassdoor and Indeed is this. Although the websites have a financial relationship with hiring companies (companies pay them to advertise their jobs), the sites don’t allow employers to edit employee reviews. In other words, just because an employer doesn’t care for a particular negative review, Glassdoor and Indeed won’t delete it. The company must face the review and correct the problem directly with the employee.
In order to increase the odds that your next workplace will be a positive one, don’t skip the company reviews. They’re there to help give you a little insight into what it’s really like to work at a particular company.
Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.