Assume for a moment that you are the nation’s number one employer. You offer the highest compensation for your industry, your benefits are impressive to say the least, and you offer a level of flexibility that the rest of the workforce envies. In addition to work-life balance and cooperation between team members, your company provides upward mobility and an aura of positivity. Casual dress days and luncheons occur weekly or bi-weekly.
Despite this superior setup, one employee refuses to pull his weight. He strolls in late every morning, bickers with his colleagues and superiors, returns projects past the due date, and watches more cat videos than anybody you’ve met. His lunch breaks are long, his work days are short, and his laziness is unending.
So, you decide to rock the boat. You fire him.
He stomps out of your office, slams the door, and packs up his stuff. After yelling a few profanities and kicking a colleague’s chair, the irate defendant storms out.
…And immediately leaves a negative Glassdoor Review. But you saw that coming.
What you couldn’t predict was the blatant mistruth that he placed in his review. Phrases such as “heavy-handed, uncooperative superiors,” “strict schedules,” “low pay,” and “career stagnation” littered the page. Hmm, you think, my other employees don’t seem to have these complaints.
Unfortunately, this is common for the pissed-off employee. While the initial idea behind Glassdoor was to prepare prospective employees for what lies ahead at an organization, it has quickly turned into a playground for complainers. Now it appears as though every organization on the website must have ruined its employees’ lives.
But what if this was reversed? What if pissed-off employers could complain about the employees they fire on a forum such as Glassdoor (We’ll call this “Site X”)?
We went there. And here’s why:
Passing the Word
If one company were to fire somebody for laziness and incompetence, wouldn’t the next organization want to know that before hiring him or her?
Let’s assume that Site X contained the following description regarding Mike, a terminated employee:
Mike cared very little for his job here and spent most of his time avoiding work. He checked his e-mail about twelve times per day, watched Facebook videos for at least an hour and a half, and talked to the receptionist for at least another hour and a half per day. He took two-hour lunch breaks, caused problems with other employees, and hardly made phone calls. His clients often complained about his lazy, apathetic demeanor.
As an employer, would you like to know this information before hiring Mike? Rest assured that this review will not be on his resume, LinkedIn, or application. If Site X doesn’t exist, neither does this potent intelligence.
Furthermore, Mike will not be using his previous employer as a reference. If the previous employer is contacted, they will provide as little information as possible for fear of slander and libel accusations. Good luck finding anything useful from documented sources.
That’s unfair, some might say. That could ruin someone’s career. Just as blatant mistruths on Glassdoor could ruin a company.
Furthermore, Glassdoor was built on the assumption that candidates have a right to know how they will be treated by prospective employers. This logic can be used in reverse: employers have a right to know what type of performance they can expect from their prospective employees.
As far as legality is concerned, terminated employees currently possess the upper hand. While they can freely trash their former employers on Glassdoor (or anywhere!) out of a fit of rage, employers can hardly act as a negative reference without a lawsuit on their shoulders. A terminated employee that stole from the company, cheated, lied, or anything remotely serious can spew misinformation about its previous employer. In return, the employer can do nothing.
While Site X would obviously present legal issues in its own rite, it would also aid in balancing the scales. If employers achieved half the freedoms that terminated employees now possess, progress would have been made.
Correcting the Wrongs
Upon being fired, many employees choose to lash out at their previous employers rather than assessing what they could have done wrong. For example, if an employee was fired for laziness, s/he might blame the employer for “expecting too much.” If the employee was fired for stealing, s/he might blame the employer for “lack of trust.” When emotions run high, accusations fly.
On Glassdoor, employers cannot address these employees directly. Because posts are anonymous, an employer might not even know who has posted the negative review. Forming the appropriate retort is both illegal and impossible.
As for the public, the damage has been done. Without appropriate context, they often believe that the company is in the wrong. Every. Single. Time.
Site X would allow employers to respond:
Katie was terminated for stealing company property and lying about her offense. She has since accused our branch of “lack of trust” in our employees; this actually applies to her only. After all, it is difficulty to trust somebody that you suspect has been stealing for quite some time.
In this way, Site X would provide organizations with a voice that they have been deprived of for quite some time.