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"Employee" Review Sites
Amazing! If they are accurate...
Employee reviews are one of the best ways to gain insights on what a workplace is like. The truth of this statement is undeniable. In fact, over 90% of job applicants read online "employee" reviews before submitting a resume to a company.
So, what's the problem with "employee" review sites?
In the US, there are companies like Amazing Workplace that rank top rated companies, based on real employee surveys and results. These ranking companies host competitions each year for the best or top 100 company lists at a local, state, and national level.
The requirements for these rankings are strict. Employees are verified. Surveys are in a closed system, without outside influence. Participation levels are very high, averaging well over 50% of employees at most companies, with minimum participation of 10% or more.
We looked at the rankings for these top 100 companies (tens of thousands of them) and compared them to "employee" review sites "star ratings." The results were shocking.
How can "employee" review websites be so inaccurate?
There is no way to verify that an "employee" review is actually from an employee of the company reviewed. Anyone can post a review on Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably, and other "employee" review sites. They can do this for any company, at any time, and with no verification that they actually worked for the company they are reviewing.
Tiny Percentages Equal Inaccurate Results
Most companies on Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably, and other "employee" review sites have about 1% to 5% of their total employees posting reviews. That means that you are getting a score based on less than 5% of people that claim to be employees.
Put another way, 95% or more of real employees have not given you their feedback on this company.
Global Average = About 3 out of 5 Stars? Really?
The global average rating (all reviews from all sites) is right around 3 out of 5 Stars. That is like scoring a 60 on a test at school - that is a failing grade in many high schools. Or, if you are lucky it is a D- (D minus) or the lowest possible score you can receive next to failing.
Take a moment to reflect on this. If you were sitting around with your friends and deciding on a movie to watch, would a 3 Star movie be your top choice? When ordering something on Amazon, does a 3 Star rating inspire confidence in the product? If you wanted pizza, would a 3 Star rating inspire you to order or look for another pizza place?
3 Stars is a bad average rating. Can hundreds of thousands of companies really all be that bad?
Flawed Rating System
5 Star rating systems are great for products and services. They are simple and easy to use and understand. When deciding to eat at a restaurant or watch a movie, they are very helpful.
Rotten Tomatoes is even better; they provide a 100-point score. You can really see where movies fit adjacent to other movies. They also tend to be more accurate because people generally understand the 1-100 scoring system. Most of us had report cards from school based on a 100-point system. They know that a 60 is a bad score and an 80 is good.
Unlike a 100-point scoring system, 5 Star rating systems are not associated with an adjective/description of what is "bad" or "good." Every person has their own opinion of what a "good" rating is; for example, nearly 20% of people we've surveyed have said that a 4 Star rating is the highest they would ever give because nothing deserves 5 Stars.
There are no guidelines or descriptive words connected to each star. Without guidance, ratings are unusable. Worse yet, "employee" review sites simply ask for a 5 Star rating without any survey questions specifically about a company.
Reviews are Not Current
When an applicant is looking for a job, they would prefer to know how things are today. Many companies go from "worst" to "first" over time. Many companies spend years focusing on improving their workplace - and succeed. Without a picture of how a workplace is today, then what's the point of looking at online company reviews? Applicants are not applying for jobs that existed 4 years ago...
Amazing Workplace provides annual certification so that workplaces (and job applicants) have a current score, based on employees that work there today.
"Employee" review sites keep a record of every review going back in time forever. Job applicants have to filter, sort, search for current reviews. The total score does not reflect current reviews, just the entire bucket of reviews forever.