(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,
My company's reviews on Glassdoor are very negative but provide a truthful evaluation of the company, company management and company's culture. Now the president is demanding current employees go plant/write positive reviews to outweigh the bad ones. Do I have to do this?
Wow. I bet the company president is the same kind of guy who hires a consultant to tell him what's wrong with his company and then ignores everything the consultant says because the problems are at the top. And then he would probably hire yet another consultant and another until one finally clued and told the guy what he wanted to hear.
Now, with all the standard disclaimers about how I'm not a lawyer, I don't give out legal advice and I stopped watching Law & Order when Jerry Orbach died anyway, my best guess is yes. Your boss can make it a requirement that you write positive things about the company. However, I did speak with Lisa Holden, Employee Engagement Manager at Glassdoor about your dilemma. She said:
Thanks for bringing this to us, we really appreciate the opportunity to respond. Glassdoor takes it data integrity seriously and looks to provide an honest, authentic and balanced look at what it's like to work at particular companies. Anyone can invite others to share an anonymous review however every review on Glassdoor must meet our community guidelines before it gets published -- for example, all reviews require both pros and cons. Approximately 15% of reviews submitted to Glassdoor are rejected as they do not meet community guidelines.
Also worth noting is that anyone can encourage employees to share reviews, but they are not allowed to offer incentives or other perks in exchange for reviews. If someone has offered an incentive for a review, please tell us about it.
In other words, regardless of the legalities of this, it violates Glassdoor policies and a quick email to Glassdoor should put them on the look out for fake reviews. Their business functions only when they can provide good data, so they are highly motivated to keep the reviews honest.
But your problems are bigger than fake Glassdoor reviews. Your company owner is in complete denial about his own ineffectiveness. Now, depending on who you are, your response should be different. If you are an entry level guy, send an email to Glassdoor on your home account warning them about the requirement from the boss to write this, write a sappy review which will get rejected anyway for not having any cons, and get your resume spiffed up to look for a new job. (Because it's easier to find a new job than it is to get bad senior management to change.)
But, if you're someone who reports into the company president, it's time for a face to face chat about how faking the company reviews doesn't solve the problems and, in fact, it would be better to take a look at the reviews and work to fix the problems that employees have laid out. Because when you fix the underlying problems, your Glassdoor reviews will change all on their own.
The reality is, some bosses just do not want to hear real feedback. Oh, they say they do, but they are lying, because all they want to do is hear things that are sunshine and roses. These are people I have low expectations for -- because we cannot get better if we don't know where our faults are.
If you have one employee complaining about X, Y, and Z, you can pretty well dismiss them as being a whiner. But when multiple people are complaining and people are talking anonymously online about the internal problems, you can be pretty darn sure that the problems they speak of are real. Now, it could well be a misunderstanding of what is going on, but even that means that your communication skills stink.
If the company president can't be convinced that this is not the way to turn his company around, you can laugh about the ridiculous nature of it with your friends, but keep your resume ready and network like crazy because if you don't leave voluntarily, you'll be in danger of a layoff due to poor company performance.
Have a workplace dilemma? Send your questions to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.