Can unscrupulous managers manipulate Glassdoor?

Can unscrupulous managers manipulate Glassdoor?

Managers are trying to manipulate Glassdoor ratings by coercing their employees into writing favourable reviews, ISL Recruitment Director, Alan Furley, has warned HR Grapevine.

The site, which allows employees to anonymously share the perks and pitfalls of their jobs, requires each person to certify their employee relationship to the company when they post any content.

Glassdoor told HR Grapevine that they remove content if they have evidence that users were incentivised or coerced into leaving content about their employer. The site’s administrators reject around 5-10% of content for not meeting community guidelines and allow users to flag reviews if they deem it to be inappropriate.

However, Furley suggested that unscrupulous managers are trying to game the system.

“I’m not going to name names, but it’s been known for some bosses to tell staff they must give the business good Glassdoor ratings,” he said. “I understand, for example, that in some businesses writing and posting positive Glassdoor reviews is literally part of the promotion criteria - in an unofficial sense, of course.

“Imagine writing a positive review - reluctantly or not - then being told to take it down and write another one until your manager is happy with it. This actually happens.”

Glassdoor said that such reviews have little hope of remaining online for long. “There is no evidence to suggest that employees are being pressured into writing reviews,” a spokesperson for the site told HR Grapevine. “Users of the site can either flag specific reviews to us or they get in touch with us directly, typically on Facebook, Twitter or email. If allegations are made, then any reviews in question would go through an additional moderation process which is designed to catch fraudulent postings. We may then remove content from the site. 

“Our content moderation process is designed to prevent systematic abuse. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that we have a productive and healthy community where people can get straight, untainted talk.”

Furley adds that even attempting to encourage fake reviews is “a sign of weakness and pointless.”

“First, you’re kidding yourself if you think people don’t mind doing it and will not think less of you,” he said.

Even if a fake review managed to slip through Glassdoor’s checks, it would likely do more harm than good to a business. “You’re missing a trick by not understanding your workforce, and in the long run that will cost you in reputation, quality inward recruitment and staff turnover,” said Furley. “Prospective employees will do their due diligence and ask around about a potential employer, and not just rely on online reviews. Most sectors which seem huge to an outsider are frequently quite small in reality, with specialisms smaller again - and word quickly gets around.”

Furley insists that the best employers listen closely to what their staff tell them, and where they need to, appropriate act on it. “This is not done piecemeal, but as a structured part of the business cycle and, again, it’s important your people know that’s the case,” he said.

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Comments (2)

  • Dan The Man
    Dan The Man
    Fri, 2 Mar 2018 10:01am GMT
    LOL! Have you seen your Glassdoor? Even the owner's weighed in
  • Sir
    Wed, 21 Feb 2018 1:34pm GMT
    It strikes me that sites such as Glassdoor are a bit of a pointless 'beauty contest' anyway.
    It's a bit like buying a car and going on-line to read reviews from the public. Home of the disgruntled - you'd never buy another car in your life.
    The employment relationship is too invested for glassdoor-type reviews ever to be genuinely helpful.

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