Senior Vice President and GM International for Glassdoor, Mr Russell deals in business’ most transformative asset – transparency. Managing Glassdoor’s international business and growth strategy, Mr Russell has been building sales, marketing and customer service teams throughout Europe.
Collecting and sharing valuable information through distinct rating features, Glassdoor provides employees, past and present, the vehicle to reveal what it is really like to work at over half a million different companies.
Projecting the outward glare emitted by exposing inner workings of company structures, Glassdoor argues, has a gallant purpose. People want to make more informed decisions about where they work.
Transparency, as a resource, dismantles the conventional roadblocks that stand between you and the job you will love.
As one of Glassdoor’s first fifty employees, Mr Russell shares his insights on what it’s like to be in the driver’s seat of Human Relations reform.
1. Your product is transparency. In what ways will it transform business?
Simply put, we help companies and jobseekers avoid hiring mistakes. Mistakes which as anyone who works in HR knows, can be extremely costly. We do this by putting information about what it’s really like to work at a company into the hands of a jobseeker. Like any job site today we have a comprehensive list of all the jobs out there – but alongside that we provide all the information a jobseeker needs to find a job that fits their life. Our mission is to help people everywhere find a job and a company they love – this means advertising jobs, of course, but it also means helping people make good decisions about where to work using the power of people on the inside. This means that when someone searches for a job, they can read reviews of current and former employees to find out if they would be a good fit and if the company offers what they are looking for. They can also research salaries to benchmark their pay, read reviews of the company benefits on offer and even find out what the interview process might be like and practice interview questions posed to previous candidates. This transparency means that Glassdoor candidates understand your culture and have opted into it before they join. There’s less likely to be a mismatch of expectations. Of course it also places your employer “brand” out in the open, with radical implications for the ability of companies to attract and retain the best staff.
2. Glassdoor is in a position to shape the conversation on Human Relations. What do businesses need to do better?
The biggest challenge is accepting that there’s a conversation happening about your organisation and deciding to engage. It’s a fundamental paradigm shift from the idea of “control” to one of “influence”. The key to success in the new world of transparency is to embrace feedback in all its forms, encourage your people to leave reviews and accept that you no longer have total control over your employer brand. Engage in the conversation with your job seekers and employees by responding to reviews. And finally, amplify the conversation on Glassdoor on social media such as Facebook, and most importantly, inside your organisation!
3. Companies are increasingly putting their people at the centre of their business model. How can a successful Human Relations policy distinguish a company from the field?
Well, now you can really differentiate yourself based on your employees due to your ratings and reviews. Glassdoor is a gift to any company that wants to leverage its culture, its mission and its unique attributes to hire the best people and keep them there in the long term. The best part of all of this is that the ratings and reviews are voluntary and anonymous, which means they are more credible to a job seeker. People who are looking for a job are no different to people who want to make a significant purchase as a consumer – they want and expect to hear from “people like them” before making a decision. When aggregated, employee reviews are very powerful. In the words of the CMO from one of our recent ‘Best Places to Work’ winners, Glassdoor acts like a “digital recruiting front door”.
4. Glassdoor cultivates a responsive online community. Why does this change the relationship between an employer and employee?
It shifts the balance of power somewhat in that a recruiter does not hold all the cards. It also means that current employees can constantly check what their market rate salary is, what they could earn in other companies and what employers are hiring and where. Some would say that this might cause employees to jump ship and move around more, but I simply see this as building a smoother efficiency in the labour market. And in fact, savvy employers realise that it can help improve retention by showing that the grass maybe isn’t greener somewhere else. Ultimately, work is becoming a fluid contract between those that supply and demand certain knowledge and skills. Helping to facilitate a good fit between employer and employee can only be a good thing, particularly if employees are not worrying about what is fair pay for their job
5. Crowdsourcing content is a competitive space. What’s next for Glassdoor?
There are no other sites quite like Glassdoor, certainly not with our global reach. In just eight years, we’ve grown to become one of the largest jobs sites in the world and we’re now the second largest jobs site in the US. Over the past 2-3 years we’ve launched local versions in over ten countries, including Australia, India, the UK & France. We also acquired Love Mondays, a company very similar to ours based in Brazil, which gives us a foothold in Latin America. Jobseekers around the world are hungry for the kind of information we provide – the need for support in these important decisions is universal. So expect to see us continuing to grow rapidly and gain share from other job sites around the world as our awareness grows. Outside the US we’re still primarily known as a review employer branding site when the reality is that we’re a comprehensive jobsite with all the information you need to find your next job. So expect to see more from us around how effective we are as a hiring solution as well as an employer branding tool.