Monday, November 15, 2004

Airing Your Dirty Laundry

Did you know that there is a website where employee satisfaction surveys are made public?

I can only imagine what would happen to me if Nobscot's clients' exit interviews were made public. (I'm thinking something like public flogging or maybe root canal without anesthesia.)

Meanwhile over at the Vault.com, ironically named with the tag line "the most trusted name in career information," the results of employee surveys on specific employers are available for an individual membership fee of $3.95/month.

At the moment, satisfaction surveys from Verizon employees and ex-employees appear to be free of charge. I wonder if the head of HR and the executive team over at Verizon know about this?

The problem with this kind of information being made public is that it is taken out of context. The surveys are completed by a small percentage of the employee population and I would assume more so by the disgruntled than the engaged. A well planned in-house survey or exit interview program is conducted with a random sampling and significant number of employees. The results of such surveys are then organized, tabulated and viewed by those who have a full understanding of the context of the issues involved. There are, of course, two sides to every story and even more so when dealing with workplace situations.

I am a fan of opinion and rating sites such as e-pinions but when you are dealing with human resources, the issues are much more complicated than when you are purchasing a dishwasher. I'm afraid that these surveys have the huge possibility of misinforming prospective applicants/employees, investors, customers and the general public.

In the past, I've warned about a website that encourages employees to send in private internal memos for publication. At that time I encouraged any company affected to seek a legal stop to the publishing of private documents. This time, I have asked attorney George from George's Employment Blawg for his opinion. I'm hoping he can share with us if there is anything a company should do to protect themselves if they are included in the Vault's surveys. According to the Vault's website, they have employee surveys on nearly 3000 companies.

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