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Transparency II

(July 25, 2006) Who cares whether or not a Fortune 500 company is a great place to work? The fact is that no one works there. The various divisions, companies and departments that make up a large corporation rarely have deep cultural overlaps.

The real action in employment intelligence, branding and recruitment is at the local level. While a big Company logo is a good indicator of financial stability (fewer big guys fail, they just don't grow very much), if you are trying to figure something out about working for Company x, you are really interested in a particular plant or a particular location.

It simply isn't very useful to know about the big picture when you are working on the little one. Well, maybe some background and hints about the real viability of the pension plan and benefits program. But, "what it's like to work here" varies radically within the same company. It's much more a function of who the boss is than what company it is.

In fact, there's some reason to believe that large companies that have high ratings as "Best Places To Work"  are likely to be hell holes for the new employee.

Consider this.

If there is any substance to the idea that a company is a certifiable "Great Place to Work", you'd have to expect very low attrition rates. In fact, you might guess that people really like working there and are prone to staying for a long time. So, when there are job openings, where do you suppose they come from?

Our bet is that there is a disproportionate churn in the departments of bosses who are really bad apples. It makes sense, doesn't it? If it's a great place to work, the openings should be in the places where that isn't true. The absolute only variations in the logic would have to be times of extraordinary growth or plague. (It's a little too early to be totally optimistic about retirement as a big source for job openings.)

The web decentralizes, flattens hierarchies, opens lines of communications, embeds information and, in general, makes everything more transparent. A number of companies are emerging in our space to capitalize on the "datafication" of things (Previsor and Trovix come to mind quickly). Transparency in the job market is an idea that has come to stay.

How can we continue to accept the argument that the single most important financial decision a worker makes has less product information than a bottle of wine?

Expect to see the emergence of a huge number of services that gather and consolidate information about places to work. There's lots of interesting data out there already. Converting it into useful information will be the value created nby the entrepreneurs who serve this emerging niche.

Part 3 of This series will be our contribution to the blogswap.

Here's a Microsoft College Recruiting video.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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