The Wall Street Journalconducted a study of Glassdoor’s site. Glassdoor is a site that permits employees (current and former, happy and disgruntled, short- and long-term) to post feedback on their companies. Employers can then respond to that feedback. The WSJ found more than 400 employers with “unusually high single-month increases in positive feedback.” In the positive-surge months, the proportion of positive feedback was different from other months. Sarah E. Needleman, “Glassdoor Operating Chief to be CEO,” Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2019, p. B4.
Christian Sutherland-Wong, just promoted to CEO of Glassdoor from his position as head of operations, believes that there is a problem with employers trying to game the system. He says that “bad actors are always trying to find new ways to get around our system and around our rules.” Suffice it to say that this ops guy is on the case.
There is no limit to the human imagination when it comes to finding way to game measurements. In this case, the gaming was dumb. Just going on the Glassdoor site and loading it up with positive comments was not going to go undetected. The move was hardly shrewd. Beyond the data the WSJ collected, there is the intuitive ability to go on to employer sites and spot the fake posts — themes repeat, praise is over the top, and there is a stark contrast with real employee feedback on specific issues. Spelling and grammatical errors are laced throughout the negative employee feedback.
A word of advice for employers on Glassdoor. Forget gaming the system. Post meaningful responses to what employees say. More importantly, look into the issues that they raise. You can’t manipulate earnings, you can’t manipulate patient queues at the VA, you can’t fake finishes at marathons, you can’t make up new bank accounts, and you can’t pay bribes to get your non-athletic child as a special athlete admit into a top university. The list is much longer, but you get the idea. Sooner or later, someone finds the manipulation. Then you are back to the hard work of getting real earnings, taking care of patients, training for marathons, building customer trust, and studying. Also, the hard work tends to avoid fines, penalties, jail time, and disgrace.