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When you hear the name “Glassdoor“, what comes to mind?
Unfiltered opinions on a particular employer.
Where you go to research a job before you accept it.
But, truth be told, the 2016 version of Glassdoor is a whole lot more.
It’s one of the primary places where companies craft “employer brands” online.
It’s a place to showcase your company culture to the world with real-life language from your existing and former employees.
And it has 30 million users. And, it’s still growing.
Up until recently, Glassdoor was a channel most likely managed by HR. Essentially, it’s an employer brand platform.
Except here’s the thing: I think there are huge benefits for communicators as well.
I’m not saying communicators need to get involved in managing the platform (although, in some cases, I believe that would help). What I AM saying is I think there a handful of powerful benefits to communicators paying close attention to Glassdoor on a regular basis.
On the employee communications front, culture is a big piece of the puzzle. We’re constantly seeking to define it. We’re always looking for ways to capture it. And, we’re writing about it in an attempt to align and motivate employees. And sure, we have ideas on what the corporate culture *should* be–what we *want* it to be. But, is that true? Is it accurate? Glassdoor gives you an unfiltered look at how your employees talk about what it’s like to work at your company. In effect, much (all?) of what they say is truly, your company culture. Spend half an hour on your “Reviews” tab and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what employees think of your company culture.
All employee comms team have one big client: The CEO. And, for employee communicators, the CEO is often-times our primary internal spokesperson. We write executives messages from the CEO. We organize Town Halls featuring the CEO. We lead smaller discussion groups with employees and the CEO. But, we’re always wondering if he/she is doing a good job. If they are *effective* at communicating and leading the organization. Now, we do have some inputs here–employee surveys, feedback forms and the like. But, unfiltered employee feedback on Glassdoor should be another input. Your CEO has a “rating” right on your Glassdoor home page. Take a peek at that every quarter and see if it fluctuates based on what’s going on internally. And, look at the specific feedback employees have on your CEO. Is it hitting the mark? And, more importantly, can you do something with that feedback to improve your executive communications efforts?
Sometimes, employees don’t share every piece of feedback in an employee survey. Leary of technology, I think some employees believe they’ll be “discovered” or “identified” if they share negative feedback. But, on Glassdoor? Not so much. I think Glassdoor provides communicators with a tremendous opportunity to hear, first-hand the challenges within your organization. Now, you can choose to ignore that feedback. Or, you can choose to act on it. Up to you, but it’s there for the taking.
Now, many people will tell you Glassdoor is only a place for disgruntled former employees to vent their frustrations. While that may be true in spots, it’s definitely not true across the board. How else do you account for all the positive reviews companies receive on Glassdoor? How do you account for 90%+ CEO ratings on Glassdoor? No, current AND former employees are chiming in on Glassdoor every day.
You can choose to listen to their feedback and act on it.
Or, you can ignore it.
Up to you–but like I said, the information is there for your taking.
The Business Journal has its long-time 40 Under 40 “competition.”
And now, Pollen has its 50 Over 50.
As usual, the Gen Xers are COMPLETELY over-looked.
Figures, too. We’ve been overlooked for years. And yeah, I’m going to play the victim card. And yeah, I’m going to complain about it. And yeah, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek 🙂
So, since ever other age group in existence has its own awards, I figured, it’s high time we have one for us 35-49 year-olds. You know, the people holding the PR world together! (OK, hold on now, you read the “tongue-in-cheek comment above, right?)
In all seriousness, I kinda get why all these lists overlook us Xers. Younger workers often feel overlooked and underpaid. Older workers have already “made it” and don’t need (and in many cases, don’t want) the spotlight. Meanwhile, the 35-49 year-olds are in the prime of their professional lives. These are the folks who are heading up teams and departments. They’re in their prime earning years. Maybe they don’t need recognition–they have everything else!
But, I would beg to differ. There are a whole lot of people in that 35-49 age group that go (and have gone) wildly unnoticed over the last 15-20 years of their working lives. And, it’s time to give them a little spotlight.
So, I give you the first-ever Talking Points 39-between-35-and-49 (use hash tag #39between35and49! And before you fire off 30 questions, no, this is not a scientific process. And yes, I am playing favorites (if you count “favorites” as people I know who I believe are smart, hard-working and fun to work with). So, just keep your questions to yourself and enjoy the list!
Full disclosure: Anna is a (relatively) new client. Another disclosure: I’ve been a fan for a long time. No brainer on a list like this. Also: She’s a previous PRSA president.
Another #client. What I love about Susan isn’t how smart she is when it comes to navigating the world of corporate communications within a large org the size of Andersen (because she’s great at that). It’s how wonderful she is as a person. Any one of us would be lucky to work for Susan Roeder.
Co-host of the Talking Points Podcast, sure. But, Kevin is on this list because of his role at Mills where he’s one of the most senior folks on staff in the world of social.
I’ve worked with Jamie for three years now–the first two as colleagues on the MIMA board, and the last year as a member of his MIMA programming committee. I’m assuming what I see at MIMA translates into his day job. And if that’s right, Allianz is lucky to have him.
Fellow solo and someone who’s been doing it a lot longer than I have. Melanie is one of those people who quietly goes about her business and flies well under the radar. She’s a former PRSA board member and has run a thriving solo PR business now for 14 years. I’m even willing to put her on this list DESPITE the fact that she’s a Bucky grad!
Another client (sorry–I can’t help it if all my clients are awesome! ;). After seven years at Weber Shandwick, Stephanie has spent the last 10 working in the B2B world. First with BAE Systems and now with Thermo King. She has the skill set and demeanor to excel in the B2B world.
I got to know Nathan a bit better during my time on the MIMA board (when he was serving as president). Always appreciated his pragmatic approach. And, even though I know he hates lists like this, I also know Nathan is exactly the kind of guy who never shows up on lists because he’s busy out there actually DOING THE WORK!
I’ve known Natalie for 20+ years. She’s a college friend. And, I’ll just say this: Natalie is one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. From her generosity to her spirit to the way she manages her work and life and volunteering. Utterly amazing.
EVP at one of the biggest agencies in town. Adjunct prof at the University of Minnesota for 15 years. Board member–Minnesota High Tech Association. I could go on, but I’m not sure I have room in this post for all the titles, jobs and roles Matt has filled in this 20+ years in the business.
Another former client, Kiersten is everything an agency exec should be. Thoughtful. Strategic. Empowering. Had a blast working with Kiersten and her team for the better part of a year. Looking forward to the next time our paths cross.
One of the best former bosses ever. And probably one of my former colleagues I learned the most from in the shortest amount of time.
Have never worked with Molly directly (unless you count her blogger days when I worked with her as part of a client campaign), but Molly is one of those people I’ve always admired from afar. And, goes without saying, she has one of the more high-profile PR jobs in town.
No, I’m not putting Jeff on the list because of his golf prowess (although, his golf prowess is substantial). I’m putting him on the list because I have yet to see someone make the media-to-PR transition better than Jeff. Seven years after leaving the Strib, Jeff has really made a name for himself in the PR industry taking on one of the more senior-level positions in the Best Buy PR department.
Dory and I share a client (Andersen), so I’ve had the good fortune to get to know her a bit better over the last year or so. And, from what I can tell, she’s exactly the kind of person you want running a small agency devoted to clients like Andersen Windows & Doors.
Betsy has been educating the next wave of PR pros here in Minneapolis for the better part of a decade. She now has former students who are ascending to leadership roles with large agencies and companies across town (too many to mention, really). I can’t imagine what that must feel like–to know that you’ve shaped the minds and careers of so many successful people. Amazing.
I only worked with Jill for a quick cup of coffee on the MIMA board, but was instantly impressed with her perspective, demeanor and ability to direct and help shape the vision of an organization. Probably no surprise then that her list of former employers includes 3M, Optum and Rasmussen College. Another person I would jump at the chance to work with/for.
These three make up the triangle of authority (I just like to use that phrase!) at Bellmont Partners–an agency here in Minneapolis that’s grown leaps and bounds over the last few years. And while they’ve won numerous awards recently for their hard work, they’ve flown under the Gen X radar for years.
One of the driving forces behind the success at Fast Horse? Gotta be Scott Broberg. He’s been there since the beginning and as far as I can tell from where I sit, he’s been instrumental to its growth. And, to be honest, I’d love a chance to work with him some day.
Aaron’s one of those guys who’s been around forever doing good work behind the scenes. Now, he’s leading a new agency brand named “Creation.” I’m no HR expert, but I don’t think you give fancy titles and huge roles like that to just anyone.
Current MIMA president, I got to know Ryan better during my time on the MIMA board of directors the last two years. Yet another Gen Xer who flies well under the radar–and most likely the funniest person on this list.
A former client, I’ve always been impressed at how Gabby can “manage a room”–specifically, how she can manage difficult executive personalities. At the level Gabby has been operating for the last 10 years, that’s an absolutely essential skill. Definitely another one of those people who just goes to work, does her job and doesn’t ask for a lot of recognition in return.
Amy has been a solo for 16 years now–longer than all but a handful of other solos (at least the ones I know) in the Twin Cities. That says an awful lot about her: 1) Success as a solo counselor, 2) Staying power in an ever-changing landscape, and 3) Relationships across the board. Definitely one of the solos I look up to.
I’ve known Dave now for at least 10 years. And, in those 10 years it’s been fun to see him grow and take on new challenges (like leading an entire PR agency!). He’s also been a big PRSA supporter over the years, going back to 2006 when I worked on the programming committee with him.
Most recently the former president of MN PRSA and leader of Risdall PR, Joel has been a fixture in the local PR community for years. He’s also one of the lucky winners of the prestigious Donald G. Padilla Distinguished Practitioner Award (is “distinguished” code for old? I’ll let you decide :).
One of my early mentors, Rose has always been someone I’ve looked up to and admired (and I’m not alone). In addition to helping found two PR firms in recent years, she’s also a PRSA Fellow (no small task), a former MN PRSA president and a long-time adjunct prof at Metropolitan State University.
Recent client, I’ve gotten to know Branden much better the last year via our corporate communicator mastermind group I run. And, I’ve discovered our interests (golf) and approaches align in many different ways. People like Branden get to where they are by doing great work, sure, but by also knowing how to navigate the processes, politics and relationships within an organization the size of Toro.
Another friend who served on the MIMA board with me (and still is, leading MIMA Summit again this year!). One thing I’ve really learned to appreciate about Bryan over the years is his level-headed, even-keeled approach to pretty much everything (save Green Bay Packer football–don’t get him started). That mentality most certainly has come in handy at UHG where I’m sure process and diplomacy rule the day.
Had the pleasure of working with Anne at Fairview years ago. And, I served with her (briefly) on the PRSA board of directors. In both cases, I walked away a better person and counselor for it. Target is lucky to have her now.
Anna is another long-time PRSA friend and another person I very much see eye-to-eye with on many issues in our industry. What I think is amazing about Anna is her ability to juggle: 1) A full-time job, 2) A family–two kids/husband, and 3) Serving as a member of the National Guard. She also somehow found time to volunteer for PRSA all those year and recently served as its president.
Dave’s been podcasting and blogging more than just about anyone in the Twin Cities. And, he’s been putting his skills to good use for Tunheim, New School Communications, and now Karwoski & Courage for the better part of the last 20 years.
Curtis is one of those guys almost everyone in town over the age of 30 here in Minneapolis knows. That’s because: 1) He’s a smart, fun guy to work with, 2) He’s worked with a number of the larger agencies in town, and 3) He’s been a pretty connected guy for a long time.
Brooke was one of the first people I met when I joined PRSA almost 15 years ago. We co-chaired our first committee together. We (essentially) joined the board together. But, that’s probably where the comparisons end. Brooke is far more successful than I will ever be–serving as SVP of Weber’s financial services practices here in Minneapolis. And, I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about her. And even though I haven’t seen or talked to Brooke for years, I can tell you this: Brooke’s the kind of leader most of us want to be.
Another former client. Another smart guy. So smart, MIMA decided to take him on its board of directors late last year. And, I’m glad they did. They’re a better organization for it.
Since I’ve known (or known *about* Blois), he’s always been a mover-and-shaker. Started his own agency in his mid-20s, and recently reinvented himself again as the founder of Fluence Media and Morning Take (part e-newsletter, part podcast/radio show). I wouldn’t say Blois “flies under the radar”, but I also don’t think he gets the spotlight enough either.
Mike may be THE most connected PR counselor in St. Paul. In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and give him that label. An alum of Goff Public and a one-time advisor to Norm Coleman, Mike is doing his own thing these days. And, from what I hear, realizing pretty darn good results.
From what I remember, Jen doesn’t love lists like this. But I’ll be damned if I’m not going to put the best speaker in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (bare NONE) on this list. Plus, she’s been at the solo thing now for 15+ years. Must be doing something right.
Have to include my partner-in-crime who helped me start the MN Blogger Conference all those years back! She’s also a former client. Nowadays, she’s playing a lead role in social over at WCG working with companies like Medtronic, Pfizer and Harley-Davidson.
Today, I just have to rant.
And I know it’s a rant we’ve heard before.
But, it’s a rant worth repeating.
Earlier this week, I was out visiting a friend at one of the bigger Fortune 100 companies here in Minneapolis. In the lobby, I usually come across a potpourri (I just wanted to say “potpourri” in a blog post) of agency vendors. Most, given the organization, will be dressed in suits, dresses, pant suits or a jacket and jeans (this is the dress code I take on a pretty regular basis).
But, every once in a while I’ll run into a few agency “creatives”, pitching a few ideas to a client at this company.
And earlier this week, I ran into two such creatives.
And guess what they were wearing? Hoodies, untucked shirts, jeans and Nikes.
I hope they weren’t meeting with the CMO.
Is this where we’re at with today’s business dress code for agency partners?
Jeans, hoodies and tennis shoes on a client visit?
I get that young people operate a little differently. I know the Millennials play by a different set of rules. I get that Zuck and Google have changed everything when it comes to corporate culture.
But, as a consultant (and an employee on the corporate side in the past), I have to take issue.
I’m calling for the abolishment of hoodies at client meetings.
As a consultant, your appearance says a lot about who you are, and who you represent. Whether you like it or not.
Let me give you one scenario: You’re meeting with a younger client. He/she has commented on the fact that he/she is jealous of your agency dress code. So, you wear your hoodie. In fact, you wear it proudly.
But, what if during your meeting with that younger client, you get pulled into a last-minute meeting with his/her boss which is the SVP of marketing? Still think the hoodie is going to play in *that* meeting?
Also: What about the fact that you’re walking around a Fortune 100 company where most everyone else is wearing what I would consider “business dress” and you’re wearing a hoodie, jeans and tennis shoes?
Again: People are judging you on what you wear, whether you like it or not. Back at the agency ranch–hoodie plays fine. When meeting with one of your larger clients? Not so much.
Like I said, as a consultant, I have strong feelings on this issue. Here’s my thinking:
Again: I’m not debating the desire to be comfortable at work. What do you think I wear when I’m working from home each day? But, meetings with clients? That’s when the game face (and dress) comes out. Different days require different dress.
Thoughts? I know you have them.
Note: photo courtesy of LoboStudio Hamburg.
I want to start by making one thing clear: This is not a post designed to bash PRSA or the APR.
I was a PRSA member, committee member and board member for years. I earned by APR years ago. I might not be a current member, but I’m a huge PRSA supporter.
And, I earned my APR years ago. While it was stripped from me when I let my PRSA membership lapse (we’ll get to that in a moment), I am a big supporter of the APR, too.
But, I do have a beef with the APR rules.
My concerns revolve around two key areas:
Let’s tackle those one at a time:
Found this one out the hard way about 7 years ago when I decided not to re-up my PRSA membership. The current MN PRSA president (I’ll leave names out of this) gave me a call. She said someone had called and said I needed to remove my APR designation from my web site and marketing materials. I wondered why–she said once you are no longer a member, you lose your APR.
I’m still a little surprised this is the policy of an organization that prides itself on advancing the PR profession.
Here’s what I don’t get:
I understand a professional organization like PRSA needs members to survive. But, I also understand that membership doesn’t work for everyone at all points of their lives.
Let me throw out an example. A fellow solo here in Minnesota (again, leaving names out of this) is a friend, former client and a recent APR. She’s a big advocate of the APR and I believe she heads up the APR committee here in Minnesota. And, like I said, she is also a #SoloPR. What if, down the road, business dries up for her (hypothetical)? What if revenue comes to a halt. What if she had to cancel her PRSA membership as a result? She would then lose her APR. Is this person any less of a PRSA supporter? No. Does she still embody the qualities of an APR? Yep. Will she still advocate for the APR? My guess–yep. This scenario is a very real one and could easily play out for any number of people across the industry. And, it highlights perfectly why this rule should change.
I know this has been a point of contention for a long time within MN PRSA circles. And, I know there are a fair amount of people that agree with me–that you shouldn’t need an APR to sit on the board.
The pro-APR folks will tell you that we need APR candidates because they’re typically more senior, it shows their commitment to the industry, and it shows their commitment to PRSA.
I tend to think, if you use that logic, you’re going to miss out on a whole bunch of more-than-qualified people who could be leading MN PRSA in the next 5 to 10 to 20 years. In fact, here is just a short list of people I think would be OUTSTANDING board members down the road, but people who don’t currently have their APR (and therefore would not be considered): Sarah Reckard, Crystal Schweim, Mike Keliher, Alyssa Ebel and Maggie Habashy.
Now, I realize not everyone wants to sit on the PRSA board, but why not widen the net a bit? Having sat on the board years ago, I know how shallow the pool of local APRs is. So, why wouldn’t you open it up to all folks? Consider the facts:
1) You have a professional organization struggling to find qualified people to sit on its board
2) You have an opportunity to extend the PRSA brand further into the PR community
3) Fewer people are getting their APRs (this was true years ago, guessing it’s probably true now as well)–meaning the pipeline isn’t exactly full for MN PRSA.
I don’t know, seems like a pretty easy decision to me.
I want to close this post by saying again, I don’t write this to attack PRSA. I write it because I want good things for PRSA and the people who are a part of it. And, I think these are two of the more odd rules I’ve seen instituted across PRSA that, over the years, have impacted the reputation of the organization. And, I think both represent opportunities to make PRSA a better organization in the future.
Time for a change PRSA. Ease up on the APR rules. It’ll benefit us all–and, more importantly, the PR profession–in the long run.