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Glassdoor Can Learn From Wikipedia

 Back in June, I wrote an initial piece about Glassdoor.com based on a survey conducted by my friends at Software Advice, a company that reviews HR technology, and found what at first seemed like a contradiction in information; According to this report, the typical reviewer for Glassdoor is from the “Millennial” generation.. It’s a quick piece, should take you 2 minutes, tops, to get up to speed.

 

Okay, maybe 4 minutes

Okay, maybe 4 minutes

 

Aaaaaaand, you’re back.

Re-visiting the post, one thing pops off the page. Surprisingly, the identified users of Glassdoor were identified as the 45 and older crowd. Going hand-in-hand with that snippet of information, the most important information on Glassdoor, as identified by these users, is the Comp & Benefits information. That part makes sense – we (yes, I’m 45+) may be less concerned with the development opportunities and culture of an employer; for us, it’s time to make the donuts, so let’s make some money while we’re doing it.

Then, I received a second survey from Software Advice, and found what at first seemed like a contradiction in information. According to this report, the typical reviewer for Glassdoor is from the “Millennial” generation.

How’s that jibe with the first survey? Well, it took me a minute, but then I realized what I was seeing – it’s a matter of trust.

The Gen-Y, Gen-X and Boomer Generations are definitely using Glassdoor, but we aren’t going to engage in the review process. Why? We still don’t believe it.

Millennials are engaging with Glassdoor as a social community, openly sharing information with one another in hopes of benefitting the group as a whole.

Am I right? You tell me:

  • Glassdoor reviewers are predominantly Millennials. Glassdoor users are predominantly 45 and older. One is contributing, one is trolling.
  • The Top 10 Glassdoor companies would not even qualify for something as “old school” as the Fortune Top 100 Companies to work for. Glassdoor features smaller companies, newer companies, mainly focused on technology and business. Even the companies are younger.
  • Almost ¾ of the reviewers on Glassdoor have been with their company for 3 years or less. That illustrates a mindset of fluid communication ~ new to the company, and already we’re sharing information to our peers (and by “we” I mean “you” if you’re in your 20’s and 30’s).
  • “Users” list comp and benefits as the most important data point; “Reviewers” rank both camaraderie and professional development ahead of benefits.
  • California-based companies are the most reviewed. Only young people live in California.

Yes, I realize it may be a reach based on a relatively small sample, but I think I’m on to something.

My theory? The transparency (or implied transparency) of Glassdoor is still a tough pill for my generation to swallow. We’ll use your data, but we don’t have to trust it. And because we don’t trust it, we don’t see the value in adding to the information – garbage in, garbage out.

To check myself a bit, I asked some of the voices on the nation’s most popular LinkedIn discussion group, “HR Hardball” (verification unavailable). I should note the membership is largely dominated by the Gen X and Boomer generation(s), respectively.:

  • It’s a Tool that is used by Generation y to get a Ballpark figure on what they can ask for in terms of salary.” – Thomas Bartlesen, HRBP, Perim
  • I perused it just the other day. I looked at several companies I am familiar with. The comments were both accurate and inaccurate. I would use the tool to help develop my questions of the company.” – Donn Hermann, Hermann Advantage Consulting
  • You cannot trust individual comments on Glassdoor. One needs to read numerous reviews. If a company has enough comments, reoccurring themes (good or bad) can be found.” – John Bickel, Sr. Compensation Consultant, United Healthcare
  • I use Glassdoor all the time to look at company reviews, salary and interview structure. Everything I read there I take with a grain of salt, but I like to see what people have to say.” – Stephanie DeMars, HR Programs, City of Boise
  • The reviews can be created by anyone so that is even more absurd. Anyone could go to their competitor and pretend to be employees and trash them.

The information is one sided and needs to reviewed and analyzed in context. Reading what some disgruntled employees wrote when the employee may have been the problem doesn’t give an accurate or fair portrayal.” – Beth Carvin, President/CEO, Nobscot Corp.

And one comment from the small but vocal Millennial sect:

  • I’ve used it as an employee and former employee to give warning to others, I mean to give an honest opinion of my experiences.” – Jon Chaffen, Student UT-Dallas

Yep, it’s a random sampling. No validation by PWC or anyone else, so take it for what it’s worth. But what I see is a set of reviews that could be juxtaposed with Wikipedia. I’ll read it, even enjoy it, but I’m not going to quote it.

Methodology: In October 2014, Software Advice collected data and reviews for all employers on Glassdoor with a five-star employee rating. A total of 637 reviews were collected, from which a random sample of 240 reviews were selected in order to maintain a 95 percent confidence level and a confidence interval of five

Talent Acquisition Executive, team-builder, and full-time dreamweaver. Creative Director, Content Designer, Writer, Speaker, Entrepreneur, terrible golfer, lover of The Art of War & Texas Hold 'Em.

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  • Lisa Chase
    12/18/2014, 8:39 am

    Not really surprising John. I’m not a big fan of dividing people into generations but in this case there may be some merit. Boomers typically are not early adopters of new methodologies and millennials are still young enough to be idealistic about the work environment. The other point I would make is that people who provide reviews are self-selecting in that they had either a particularly good or bad experience with an employer. Most working people don’t fall into either category. They are the ones that companies are trying to engage.