Organizations in the age of transparency

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Often when I have presented to HR teams that information they believe is confidential – specially “internal information/knowhow” – is not so, and I present information about the company that is present on Glassdoor, Mouthshut or JobBuzz (from TimesJobs)

And then the penny drops.

Salaries. Ratings of company culture/work/benefits/CEO. Interview process. Career growth. Everything is out there.

That is not the only thing. Prospective employees are reaching out to current employees via public platforms like Twitter or more private channels like LinkedIn, and getting to know the inside reality of work in a specific business unit/function or even how the prospective boss is like.

So on the one hand, individuals are finding their information, and on top of that reviewing sites are acting as aggregators for the crowd’s views.

There are two things organizations and HR people can do.

  1. Ignore it. Pretend it doesn’t matter. Justify that the vast majority of their hires do not do such background checks. As of yet. And say that it is anyway skewed as people only vent negative views on such sites.
  2. Or accept it. As a trend that is a sign of the times to come and is only going to grow bigger. Also understand that in the age of transparency the culture of the organization is employer’s brand. They also understand that they need to tell positive stories and encourage their advocates to also share thier stories. Listen to conversations, and engage to tell their side of the story.

Yes, it is a new normal. And the companies that will benefit the most would be the ones to embrace the change and be the pioneers. And part of that change is understanding that organizational culture is more important than ever – and however HR labels is “Employee Value Proposition” or “Employer Branding” improving internally and sharing that externally is the way to go. As someone said “Social does not change the culture, it makes it public and transparent”

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