Facebook falls from 1st place in Glassdoor rankings amid 'challenging time'
- Facebook is the 7th-best place to work among companies rated by job ratings site Glassdoor, dropping six spots since earning first place on the site's 2018 list. The company has an average rating of 4.5 on a 5-point scale, higher than the average for all Glassdoor-rated companies (3.4).
- The updated rankings, based on the input and feedback of anonymous employees, were released the same day as a report from BuzzFeed News documenting internal tensions at the company amid several ongoing controversies. Following a separate BuzzFeed News report that found Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg requested research on billionaire George Soros, the company is now dealing with the after-effects of a U.K. politician's decision to publicly post hundreds of pages worth of internal documents detailing its past data-sharing practices, according to a Motherboard report.
- Internally, Facebook employees have split into three camps, BuzzFeed News reports: those loyal to senior leadership, those who see the scandals as signs of a "larger corporate meltdown" and those who decry "biased media attacks," the report said. A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the situation amounted to "a challenging time" for the company, adding that, "[w]e are more determined than ever to continue making progress on the issues we've faced."
HR leaders can take away any of several points from Facebook's troubles, but perhaps the most poignant is the very public way in which the company's struggles are playing out.
Volumes have been written about Facebook's challenges in the past year; the company is fighting fires on several fronts. Concerns about its handling of user data, the role it played in U.S. elections and its treatment of free speech have only grown going into 2019. What's more, those concerns have spilled over internally, according to reports. A recent memo from a former black manager slammed the company for its treatment of black employees and allegedly unresponsive HR department.
Glassdoor, however, doesn't make mention of Facebook's controversies, pointing instead to highlights like "great work-life balance" and "amazing benefits for full-time employees." Glassdoor reviews of Facebook include those venting frustration over "negative press," something also expressed by Facebook employees using anonymous chat platform Blind, according to BuzzFeed News. Other accounts on both platforms note room for improvement, with criticisms specifically targeted at senior leaders like Sandberg and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Employees generally are laying out wide-ranging criticisms, stories and defenses not by word-of-mouth, but in increasingly public, yet anonymous, forums — not the least of which is Glassdoor itself. Worker factions are moving online and — in cases outside of Facebook — even staging offline protest. This is most notably occurring at tech companies like Google, where a recent walkout resulted in a global movement.
Online ratings can have a positive effect on an organization's HR-relevant goals. Experts who've previously spoken to HR Dive have pointed, for example, to the value of authentic reviews from employees in helping lift an organization's employer brand. But transparency is a double-edged sword and, in the tech industry, platforms like Blind have only amplified narratives on diversity, inclusion and culture, both favorable and unfavorable.
All the while, HR can't lose sight of interacting with employees on the front lines — a piece of advice given by Sandberg herself to HR professionals during the Society of Human Resource Management's annual conference in June. Making progress, and the right impression online, may require HR to have a bigger voice and a more objective lens when evaluating organizational risk and reputation.
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