The reviews can offer a macro-level view of a company’s strengths and flaws. And like Yelp reviews, they can also be highly entertaining.
On the employee-review website Glassdoor, users vent and spew venom about incompetent managers, crap pay and corporate leadership principles. Occasionally, former and current employees will offer up five-star reviews and glowing praise, but the one-star bitter kittens out there would just say that those chumps drank the company Kool-Aid.
How useful is this information for job seekers? Glassdoor reviews, particularly when taken together, can offer a macro-level view of a company’s strengths and flaws. And like Yelp reviews, they can also be highly entertaining. A search for reviews of Seattle-area employers turned up some gems we’ll share here, edited for grammar.
“Literally the worst place to work in America,” reads the headline of one reviewer’s take on a local retailer with thousands of reviews on Glassdoor, many of them scathing. A con list follows: “In 1863 Lincoln freed the slaves and in 1995 [this company] found a loophole.” The review ended with “I have worked for some of the most notorious sadists in NYC and none of them hold a candle to the managers that I have encountered during my year at [this company].”
Another disgruntled employee dropped some truth about the brainwashed culture at the company: “You are not supposed to use Powerpoint at meetings. Why? [This company] said so. You are encouraged to rat on everyone else in your team. There is even an official process for that via surveys. The first thing you will learn is how to avoid a lawsuit.”
Amidst all the glowing reviews for a local tech giant, there are a few zingers: “[This company] is like a ‘secret society’ completely made up of phony, two faced people. … There is not a lot of traditional IT/technology camaraderie at [this company]. It’s more like the bucket of crabs analogy, wherein anyone that begins to climb up out of the bucket is pulled down by another crab that wants to use them to better themselves.”
Managers often get slammed the hardest for unprofessional behavior and their tendency to play favorites. The film “Mean Girls” was referenced in reviews for large corporations as well as local nonprofits. From a review for a regional chain of salons/spas: “The managers are never to be seen and when you go looking for them, you’ll find them in the office texting on their phones and snap chatting with their shoes off exposing their toes.” Not only is that annoying, it’s probably a health violation to boot.
Looking on the “bright” side
Not all the comments are negative. The “pros” that are listed are downright … back-handed compliments. “You could go weeks before your boss would figure out you worked there.” And when reviews only tick off free drinks and a dog-friendly office as the benefits, you might want to reconsider your interest in the company.
The sarcasm flows unchecked when it comes to the reasons to work at another online retailer. “If you’re completely incompetent, this is the place for you to be successful, valued and promoted,” said a current employee. Ouch.
Reviews can be helpful for women desiring a female-friendly workplace. “Women, steer clear,” reads one headline for a local games company. The reviewer continues: “I’ve never worked someplace worse for women. Over half the women I knew at the company quit during my time there. … If you’re a white dude looking to fail upwards, it’s an excellent place for that, or would be were it not for the inevitable layoff cycle coming soon.”
Drinking Kool-Aid is mentioned frequently, and not in a good way. A review of another online retailer, “So many meetings you’ll only spend about 28 hours a week doing work. These meetings are where the Kool Aid is dispensed, bring a big cup and a set of blinders so that you only see the things they are telling you.”
Advice to management
These brave souls going out on a limb with their unfiltered reviews are change agents. They are here to improve conditions for those who come after. With sage advice to management like “GET OFF YOUR FAT [BOTTOMS]” and “You all need to leave,” there’s no doubt that change is a-coming because leadership teams love to hear this kind of constructive criticism.
“Stop pretending like your 94 percent attrition rate BEFORE the first year doesn’t exist. … There has to be a handbook of horrible things that you say to your employees because, account after account from colleagues across all teams, everyone has the same things said to them, the same mind games that constantly get played.” Looking on the bright side, at least management is consistent.
“One of your stated principles is ‘customer first’ … and yet you treat your employees like barnyard animals.”
When it comes to Glassdoor, take in the overall rating and the aggregate reviews. One blistering diatribe amidst 99 generally positive reviews is probably not an accurate picture of the company’s employee satisfaction level, but it sure is fun to read.