Have you embraced crowd sourcing to improve your brand
Has Your Company Embraced crowdsourcing to Improve Your Employee Value Proposition?
Crowdsourcing is one of the hottest conversation topics on the web. I predict it will be the most “buzzed word” of 2013.
Companies are starting to pay attention to crowdsourcing as viable, cost effective ways to develop new product lines, new
technologies, solve problems and improve service. Crowdsourcing is also important to HR as it can provide a wealth of
knowledge in understanding employee experience with a company’s employee value proposition and employment brand.
What exactly is crowdsourcing? The term crowdsourcing is mix of the word
“crowd” and “outsourcing” first coined by Jeff Howe in a 2008 Wired
magazine article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” 1. In essence it’s online database
where people can contribute content (written, video, pictures) by posting it in
a public forum which can be viewed and shared by others. Availability on the
internet makes it easier to search and find information. Integration with social
media sites such as Facebook means reviews can be cross-shared to friends.
Apps let you search and review on the go through mobile platforms.
To demonstrate the power and value of crowdsourcing to the business and HR
I thought I would do a comparison from two strategic crowdsourcing sites; TripAdvisor and Glassdoor.
I am an avid and loyal TripAdvisor member. Over the years I have become dependent on TripAdvisor
to help me make informed decisions on what hotels to stay at when I travel. I find the reviews
invaluable and will not make a decision without consulting TripAdvisor first. I also pay it forward by
writing my own reviews, thus sharing my experiences with others.
I was first introduced to Glassdoor through Facebook. I got a few invitations from friends in my network
requesting I join. At first glance I didn’t understand its value. However once I saw there were anonymous reviews providing
real insight into the culture, work, management and environment of an organization, I was hooked.
Sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor are powerful because of their reach. As the stats below reveal, the traffic, membership
and visibility on these sites is enormous. More importantly they are still growing.
• World’s largest travel site 2
• 50M visitors per month
• 20M business visitors per month
• 1.5 Reviews posted every second
• 21M registered users 3
• 260K companies globally
• 5M company reviews
• A new member joins every 7 seconds
Every company has a vested interest in promoting how great they are. They want
to you buy their product and/or attract top talent. Crowdsourced reviews are
powerful because they are authentic. They are reflective of genuine experiences
from a variety of people who have interacted with the company.
90% of consumers trust peer recommendations compared to only 14% from
advertisements 4. This has put pressure on companies to become more authentic in
their brand promise and employment value proposition.
• Reviewers have actually stayed at the
• Reviewers are either current employees or
They have no vested interest in
portraying the hotel as good or bad.
Reviewers write reviews based on their
Anonymity allows for more genuine
feedback without fear of reprisal.
Crowdsourced reviews are powerful because they are transparent about the brand promise. They
help to answer the question, Is the company/employer genuinely delivering what the promise?
• Pictures and videos of hotel rooms,
bathrooms, restaurants, etc. from
reviewers provide real examples of
what is delivered versus what is being
• Potential travellers have more realistic
expectations about the product they
• Viewers have more realistic expectations
about day to day operations, work
environment and management styles.
• Employees rate the employee value
proposition (career progression, growth,
development, compensation, benefits,
etc.) against what they experienced. This
helps set expectations for future
It’s my opinion that companies should be grateful for crowdsourcing through
sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor. Think about it. Customers and employees
at no cost; are providing companies with feedback on what they’re doing well
and what they can improve on. Actionable Feedback. It’s a goldmine of rich
• Reviewers provide suggestions for
• Reviewers provide feedback on what’s
• Reviewers provide suggestions to
Management on areas they can improve.
• Reviewers provide feedback on things that
are working well.
Companies that are focused on continuous
improvements can create action plans to fix
Employers can cross reference engagement
results with reviews. Retention strategies can
be created based on feedback.
Positive feedback can be woven into
marketing and advertising to highlight
positive attributes, making the brand
promise more credible.
Positive feedback can be woven into
employment branding and the employee value
proposition messaging, making them more
If you reviewed two hotels at the same price point and one had predominantly negative reviews and the other had
predominantly positive reviews; which one would you choose?
Crowdsourced reviews are powerful because they influence people’s opinion and ultimately impact their decision.
That has a bottom line impact.
• Positive reviews may yield more sales.
• Negative reviews may result in a loss of
a sale opportunity.
• Positive reviews may attract better talent
to your organization.
• Negative reviews may turn off top talent.
Companies can assess referral ratings
based on reviews.
Employers can assess referral ratings
based on reviews.
Companies cannot ignore crowdsourcing’s impact on the bottom line any longer. Smart companies will acknowledge
suggestions and make improvements to demonstrate they are listening. This willingness to change also builds credibility as
reviews validate changes.
HR departments should be conscious that employee opinions not only have a direct impact
on talent souring strategies, but may also carry over to net promoter scores (NPS), product
sales and customer retention. Dissatisfied employees may not buy your products or
recommend the company to a friend. That impacts the bottom line.
In my opinion, crowdsourcing is a gift. Embrace it as a free resource to listen and improve
the customer and employee experience.
By Ann Barrett- Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy