Tech Review: GlassDoor sheds light on employees and salaries

glassdoorreadyWith GlassDoor.com, you can find out what your employees are saying about your company — at least at the big ones like Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and Google. And because entries are anonymous, employees feel comfortable being completely honest about their jobs. (It might also turn into a whining session)

The site also provides room for employees to make suggestions to management, working like an electronic version of the suggestion box you find in College cafeterias (alas, my cries for more Buffalo Chicken Wraps at my alma mater went unfulfilled).

Oftentimes in journalism, it takes a little bit of undercover work to really find out the truth. That’s because, in most cases, employees are scared to make comments that could hurt their job security. That’s why reporters often get information from “Sources within the organization.” If the reporters directly quoted employees, it could mean a pink slip. Companies don’t like their workers giving out information, especially if it’s anything but a glowing review of the company’s image.

That’s precisely the idea behind GlassDoor.com.

With GlassDoor.com, you can find out what your employees are saying about your company — at least at the big ones like Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and Google.

And because entries are anonymous, employees feel comfortable being completely honest about their jobs. (It might also turn into a whining session)

The site also provides room for employees to make suggestions to management, working like an electronic version of the suggestion box you find in College cafeterias (alas, my cries for more Buffalo Chicken Wraps at my alma mater went unfulfilled).

It really is an ingenious system. For the bigger companies, you’re getting hundreds of reviews, so you can trust that the average rating for the employer is correct.

Microsoft, for example, has 552 reviews, with an average rating of 3.7 out of 5, meaning employees are satisfied under GlassDoor’s rating system. Yahoo has an average rating of 3.4, based on 194 reviews, meaning employees are neutral. Google, on the other hand, has a rating of 4.1.

Further, each company has an approval rating for their top brass. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a 42% approval rating, while Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang has a 37% approval rating. Google CEO Eric Shmidt sits at 87%, one of the highest approval ratings on the site.

For smaller companies, there are fewer reviews. Still, the information is useful and entertaining. I did a search for Media General, and found only one review. The employee gave them a rating of 4, and had mostly positive things to say about the Richmond publishing company.

I also looked at reviews for Gannett, the newspaper publisher based in McClean, VA. They have an average rating of 2.5 based on 32 reviews, and even worse, their CEO Craig Dubow has a dismal approval rating of 16%. To quote one Gannett employee, “Working for Gannett feels like you’re on the lower class levels of the Titanic.”

It’s really interesting to see what workers have to say about their employers. GlassDoor utilizes a “Give-to-get” system, where you need to post a review of your company in order to access the full scope of reviews found on the site.

If you don’t post a review, you’re limited to reading one full review per employer. Even then, you can see snippets from the other reviews, and you can still view approval ratings for CEOs and average ratings for companies.

GlassDoor.com is still growing, and it will continue to pick up more employees, employers and reviews as time goes on. Right now, it’s a cool system for understanding the true inner-workings of some of the bigger companies in the U.S. In time, it could become a one-stop source for reviews of thousands of companies all over the globe.

But for now, GlassDoor is still in its infancy. It was launched in 2007, and has just recently begun to pick up steam.

GlassDoor may just be getting started, but it employs a sound system of checks and balances based on honest reviews. Because of that, I am giving it a grade of B+. The only thing keeping it from an A is a lack of smaller companies and businesses, but as time goes on, I’m confident these businesses will start to pop up. For now, though, it hasn’t reached its full potential.

BizSense Grade: B+

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