Do you know who is talking about your company? It’s not just consumers, it is current employees, past employees, and recent job candidates too! That’s right, and they are not just talking about your products. They are serving up uncensored commentary about what it is really like to work at your company.
As a result of new websites that offer self publishing tools, employees and candidates have an anonymous forum to vent. I recently explored two such websites (Glassdoor and Jobvent) that offer user generated reviews of employers. You can check out the websites at: Glassdoor (www.glassdoor.com) and JobVent (www.jobvent.com).
These sites allow the user to type in a company name to research reviews, salaries, and interview questions. This means that a potential candidate can see what current and past employees as well as job candidates have posted anonymously about what they think of your company. Here are some excerpts on two large outdoor industry companies that I researched:
“Systems are outdated-Lotus Notes for mail”
“Managers not qualified for their positions”
“Employees don’t have a voice”
“A company that lives its values only in words”
“Tremendous brand with great values “
“Lots of room for entrepreneurial endeavors”
“Little turnover and slow growth philosophy make it challenging to move up in the company and grow”
Which company would you rather work for if given a choice? Glassdoor even allows the user to offer anonymous advice to the “Senior Management” and ranks the CEO with an “Approval Rating”. While this information is intended to be objective, it is important to recognize that these sites can make it easy for a disgruntled employee to communicate dissatisfaction.
While you might be able to find some stuff online about your employment brand, the majority of the information is passed around by word-of-mouth stories told by current employees, past employees, and candidates who have had interaction with the company. With as much connectivity and communication as there is these days, it does not take much to develop a soiled reputation. These word-of-mouth warning sirens can easily scare off top talent even if the stories are taken out of context or not fully accurate representations. Companies that earn notoriety for being a dreadful place to work often can only attract employees who need a job bad enough to overlook the potential downsides of a toxic environment. Ultimately, this perpetuates the situation and leads to ongoing turnover and turmoil.
Most HR Mangers and Hiring Executives that I have surveyed state that they believe their “employment brand” to be “better than average” as compared to “average” or “below average”. Unfortunately, I have found that the internal perception often does not mirror the external feedback that I receive when I survey the market. As you might expect, companies generally have a more positive perception than what is often heard on the street. In some cases, companies with a strong consumer brand often falsely assume that the employment brand is a reflection of the consumer brand. Often, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.