Through the looking glass (door)

Polly Pearson recently spoke a bit about GlassDoor (indirectly, via “a tech gossip rag” which used GlassDoor’s ratings to classify our satisfaction with our CEO). I’m kind of disappointed nobody else called ValleyRag out on the awful statistics of using reviews from eleven employees to determine the rating of the CEO, but whatever.

What I wanted to do was take a look at GlassDoor and the state of EMC’s corporate picture as painted by GlassDoor’s users, now that the site has been up for a week.

As of the writing of this blog entry, EMC has 40 reviews and 59 salaries (people are more willing to talk money than culture, I guess) posted. The first thing I notice is that it’s impossible to sort the reviews by anything. If I want just the positive or negative reviews, I can’t. I can’t mark a review as helpful (or unhelpful) ala Amazon, either. No way to just get the cream of the crop as far as reviews go.

Right away, this makes the site very frustrating to navigate. I’m glad this is just a beta test, because at this point it’s a pretty but nonfunctional interface. Imagine how this system scales to 500 reviews or more? Wow.

Let’s say I’m curious about EMC’s reputation as regards diversity (going back to Polly’s piece). I can’t search for the word, but since I’m dedicated to getting you the results you want I searched through all 40 reviews. The words “diverse” or “diversity” are mentioned in 4 reviews (on multiple pages since you can’t “view all” or export the full list). Twice it’s a positive, twice a negative. Hard to say what that means.

Any common themes?

  • Corporate bureaucracy seems to be mentioned a lot. I have trouble imagining a big company without that, but it is a concern I share.
  • Work/Life balance comes up a bit — and I’m happy to say that I know EMC is making strides here, but I understand the frustration.
  • Highly skilled people will get ahead (well, I hope so).
  • Everybody loves our internal training (me too!).
  • People like working for a winner.
  • People at non-Hopkinton sites feel left out sometimes (I imagine).

But the real story, as far as I can tell, is more like the diversity point above. The common thread is the differences. Do all these people really work for the same company?

One scathing review talks about how great the money is but how awful your life will become. Another talks about how good the work is but how we aren’t very competitive in compensation. We either have a “very fair” vacation policy or an antiquated awful one. We either value people who work remotely or hate them. We either have tons of churn in management or things are too stagnant (side story: In past 7 years, I’ve had 7 different managers just because of things changing around me, not because of my own movement. In same 7 years, an old-coworker has had just one). We either give you all the right equipment or are stingy with it. Everyone has an office (where do you work!?) versus hating living in a cubicle culture. Either it’s easy to move into management or managers are all people with 20+ years experience. We’re either a cut-throat sweatshop or a low-stress environment.


So let’s just get this out of the way. We are a big company, with lots of different cultures, and lots of different managers. Some of them are probably bad. Some of them are probably awesome. I think there’s more good than bad here, and our annual satisfaction survey results seem to say the same thing. You know what else? I have never met a manager who didn’t want to improve their own little corner of the company. Then again, I’ve never worked in sales, marketing, finance, and who knows where else. Maybe things are really awful in some places. I hope we can fix it if it is.

Some of the information, I wish I could get more details on. An intern reports that if you aren’t a shiny happy person you might not fit in. I’m trying to think of how many shiny happy EMC people I’ve met (outside of, say, VPs of Employment Brand and Strategy Engagement, no offense 😉 ). Intern, meet Storage Anarchist. That should set you up for a while.

My favorite nugget of info? One employee said that the place was so sterile it felt like a dentist’s office at times. Welcome to Corporate America. I feel your pain.


#1 the storage anarchist on 06.19.08 at 10:47 am

Dude – I’m offended!

Nothing says I can’t be a “shiny and happy person” even while being outspoken and controversial.

In fact, challenging the status quo (and the occaisional competitor misrepresentations of the truth) is what MAKES me all shiny and happy…heck, I’ll bet it helps a lot of my readers to be shinier and happier, too!

See – you’re smiling already…

#2 Dave on 06.19.08 at 1:53 pm

My sincere apologies :).

#3 Justin on 06.19.08 at 4:24 pm

I’ve been analyzing the site for sometimes, and just got perplexed…… I mean I’m not sure if corporates are really taking such ratings seriously…. Another portal I’ve come across was . Same is the case there, but are corporates tking this rating as feedback?

#4 Dave on 06.19.08 at 6:24 pm

I think the corporations will have to take this feedback, but I think they have a lot to learn about _how_ to take it. There are a lot of reasons why the feedback at a site like that could be a minefield — disgruntled ex-employees, competitors, anybody with a grudge, etc.

But if the company is trying to grow, and the hiring pool is beginning to notice sites like this, the company HAS to notice sites like this.

#5 Tim A on 06.20.08 at 4:40 pm

Dave – this is Tim A from – great post!

I wanted to let you know that we’re working on the sorts and filters you mentioned and expect to have those for you soon. (Sorry we’re late – I’m sure those features would’ve been helpful while you were pulling together this post).

But even if it was a bit more work, I think your take-away was spot on — even if everyone has a different story to tell, it’s really the themes that matter. And as we collect more and more data, we’ll definitely be adding features to help our community identify those themes. Thanks for checking us out.

#6 Dave on 06.20.08 at 5:14 pm

Tim, thanks so much for dropping by and adding your comments. I really do think that the data the site collects will be highly valuable both to employers and employees, once it’s a bit easier to navigate through :).