The one where the company loses $600M due to a bad review on Glassdoor

By Devon Hennig

Boardroom Confidential is a series of wild-but-true stories from the careers of me and my friends.


IF YOU’RE AN EMPLOYER, YOU PROBABLY HATE GLASSDOOR.

Most employers do.

But executives like to shrug it off. They think it’s 99% ex-employees venting behind anonymous profiles. HR does its best to reply with generic, pre-canned responses straight from the first blog post that popped up when they Googled “how to reply to negative reviews”, but beyond that no one really gives a shit. It’s the name of the game. Employees come, employees go. You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

That’s fine and all until something like the following happens.

I’ve got a friend of a friend who works as a VP at a public company.

This friend had been having problems with a team that was underperforming, so he decided to let them go. He informed the CEO and CTO, both supportive, and then worked with HR to give everybody the news.

That night, one of the ex-employees wrote a negative review on Glassdoor where she said the business was bleeding people and that good folks were getting let go by incompetent management left, right, and center.

No big deal, thought the HR team the next morning. Copy and paste the typical Glassdoor response. Done.

Except this time things weren’t typical.

A prominent industry analyst had been monitoring Glassdoor, and as soon as the review popped up, he contacted the employee for an interview.

Cut to an article coming out the next day on a major news site…

“MASS EXODUS AT COMPANY ABC”

The stock dropped 14% in five hours.

That was $600M in market cap, gone.

Before you could say, “Ahh shit”, the CEO started getting calls from board members asking what the hell was going on with the loose cannon VP. Not fun. It took a year for the stock to recover from that devastating blow caused by one bad review, so remember this: whenever an executive dismisses Glassdoor, share this story and get them to think twice about being kinder to people on the way out for the sake of your reputation — and stock price.

Devon Hennig

Devon Hennig is a writer, marketer, and ex-game show host. He quit his job as a software executive to make a go of it on his own. Follow along as he tries not to go broke.

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