Keeping up with the ‘Glassdoor generation’

‘Good people, great place’, ‘inconsistent across the organisation’, ‘stale’, ‘great benefits’…

Those are quotes taken from Glassdoor. co.uk’s review page, in a summary of a local authority within the South of England. Websites such as Glassdoor have seen a rise in use since the millennial generation entered the workforce, with jobseekers spending more of their time researching not only the job itself but also the company in detail. Given the immediacy of company information now readily available online, it is more important than ever that appropriate consideration is given to the candidate attraction and on-boarding process.

Local authorities have traditionally struggled to engage millennials when competing with private sector organisations offering huge bonuses or shiny new offices with games rooms and rooftop bars. This said, increasingly new generations are more concerned about issues like corporate social responsibility, health and well-being and a positive working culture, which is where many local authorities could shine. So how could local authorities leverage the transparency of these types of websites to support candidate attraction?

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation conference held in London this month highlighted the importance of understanding the millennial generation and what their drivers are in career terms. A roundtable headed by Helen Durkin, employer brand programme manager at Indeed, discussed the importance of engaging the millennial workforce and the effect this has on employer brand. As this generation are more tuned into online networking of all kinds, websites like Glassdoor cannot be ignored by employers. Helen explained that once a company has started engaging with reviews they are obliged to continue this engagement to ensure they minimise the opportunity for negative candidate experience.

When I joined Solace two years ago I was lucky enough to have the company recommended to me by a trusted recruiter, but during my job search I did rely heavily on the likes of the Glassdoor and Indeed websites. I can’t deny I was heavily influenced by the data and reviews I read online for individual companies and I know many other people of my generation are influenced in the same way.

So what is Glassdoor? Founded in America in 2007, the company sets out to increase workplace transparency and offers not only job listings but also company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports and more. From the outside it seems like a jobseekers dream, but what are the real pros and cons of this culture of transparency?

So, as well as company information, Glassdoor reviews also highlight the interview process, how others found the process, how many people were sat on the panel and how difficult the interview questions were – a dream come true for job seekers who are new to the market or haven’t interviewed in a while.

Reviews available are often both good and bad, so you can really get to know a company, warts and all, before committing. These inside reviews give a perspective you wouldn’t have been able to access readily a few years ago.

As with most things that seem too good to be true, there are drawbacks that need to be considered. How reliable and trustworthy are these reviews? They are anonymous, so this makes it very hard to verify the author. There is always the chance of disgruntled employees who are looking to tarnish the reputation of the business or multiple accounts being made to leave reviews either good or bad. It has to be taken into account that any review left is subjective, you cannot guarantee that one person’s experience is exactly the same as that of someone else. We are all different people with different needs within the workplace.

So how do these types of website affect an organisation? With the rise of social media use, employers should be looking at potential employees as customers and their social media presence as their shop window. One way of leveraging benefit from this type of website would be to use the information in reviews to inform the improvement of the recruitment process and candidate experience, refining the process to ensure positive experiences and making the organisation appear more ‘candidate centric’.

With the attention being on the gender pay gap in recent years, Glassdoor allows organisations to be transparent in both pay and incentives, allowing those companies that are ahead of the game on gender equality to come to the forefront. This transparency works both ways; using Glassdoor allows organisations to learn more about the type of candidate they are attracting with demographic breakdowns, allowing organisations to tweak the way they advertise or sell themselves to attract a more diverse workforce. It also allows candidates to see the breakdown of the company’s demographics ensuring full transparency.

Glassdoor also allows an organisation to access competitor intelligence, to analyse company ratings, good and bad reviews and also salary intel. Again this transparency works both ways so it should provide incentive for employers to ensure their stats and reviews are positive where possible.

So, there are clearly benefits and drawbacks to sites like Glassdoor, for both candidates and employers, but there is no escaping the advancing technological world. With the ‘Glassdoor generation’ in full swing, employers who want to attract the best talent need to be aware of what drives new generations in employment terms and how to use technology and social media to their advantage.

Amy Billington is part of the executive recruitment and assessment team at Solace in Business

Amy B

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