If you haven’t done so already, you definitely should take a look at www.glassdoor.com. This is an amazing web site, created by some incredibly visionary people (more on that later).
As its name implies, Glassdoor allows you to see inside—of companies. It has anonymous ratings of over 37,000 companies and their CEOs, based on “employee surveys.” (BTW, it also has salary information and the inside scoop on what job interviews are like at companies.)
A look around the Glassdoor site reveals that Southwest Airlines is the top-rated organization (no surprise there), followed by Mary Kay, General Mills and Slalom Consulting.
Here’s a feature I love. Glassdoor names names. At the end of 2009, Glassdoor listed the 25 companies with the lowest ratings (of those that had at least 25 ratings from U.S.-based employees within the past year). Guitar-maker Gibson Guitar was the worst-rated employer, followed by United Airlines (no surprise there) and staffing firm Spherion.
You might wonder why folks take the time to provide ratings of their employers. One of the major incentives that Glassdoor creates for doing so is that you have “to give to get.” In order to get the greatest level of inside detail, you have to provide information (fill out a survey) on your employer (or recent past employer).
Now a bit about Rich Barton, one of the founders of Glassdoor. I had the good fortune of doing a telephone interview with Rich for a book that I am writing (The Worthiness Era, or some such title) with several co-authors. I discovered Rich, who is also the CEO of Zillow, through Glassdoor. Zillow has incredibly high employee ratings, and so I called them up to ask for an interview with Rich. It was promptly and graciously granted, and talking with Rich was a true delight.
[Zillow is also a fascinating web site that you might want to check out, if you haven’t already done so. You can look up your house, or that of a friend or enemy, and get an estimate of its market value—along with square footage, number of bathrooms, etc.]
Rich is and has been a busy guy. In addition to being the Chair of the Board of Glassdoor, and the CEO of Zillow, he was a founder of Expedia. You may be beginning to see a pattern here. Rich’s purpose in life is to use technology to bring “power to the people.” He has the technology, the smarts, the vision, and the capital to do just that.
Transparency is here. It is real, it is unavoidable, and people love it.
Employers may try to resist, but there is no stopping this train. Firms will either learn to adapt and use transparency to their advantage, or not.
As part of our work on The Worthiness Era, we’re developing a quantitative “Worthiness Ranking” system which we expect to apply to every firm in the Fortune 100 (this will allow us to “name names” among our largest corporations, both positively and negatively).
In calculating this score, we’ll evaluate each company’s behavior in five different realms:
- Customer focus
- Absence of greed
Whenever possible, we’re planning to use publicly-available information as the source for each of the five indicators that combine to yield a company’s “Worthiness” score.
In future blog entries, we’ll explore some of the details of each of the five indicators. (In the meantime, let us know if it looks like we’ve missed any major categories.)