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  • Karen Zeigler

How Leaders Unlock the Innovation Treasures of Glassdoor Reviews


Listening - a tool for shifting from chaos to calm


Last week I reshared a blog that I had written in the summer of 2020. The world was in chaos with political division, riots in the streets, and C😝VID. It was clear to me then, as it is now, that we could significantly improve our lives and the world if we learned to be better listeners. So I set out to help others by sharing and reminding myself of the process of listening, unpacking the many subtleties and benefits of listening. The result of this introspection and sharing became a 30-day listening challenge. Each day consisted of a post that contained a short story about some aspect of listening and a simple listening awareness prompt to improve your ability to listen with empathy for that day. Specifically, the post I reshared last week was Day 8, about Steve Jobs and the genius he was at listening and observing (even observations "tell" you something). I broke down what I believed to be the three levels of listening that he used so brilliantly it gave the world the iPhone and many other innovations.


Listening, intuition, and seeing the path forward


While the world still has its level of chaos (turn on the news), company leaders have turned inward to examine their internal challenges and turmoil. This shift is an intelligent move, as focusing on our internal locus of control is where progress happens. While considering the risks of outside circumstances is beneficial at times, it often turns into a what-if fest of worry leading to becoming stuck. Focusing internally on the effects of the great resignation, the labor shortage, and how employee experience impacts business performance provides us the opportunity to listen intuitively and begin to see the path forward.


Connecting the dots


First, let me explain the connection between the Steve Jobs blog post and today's post about Glassdoor reviews. How can we use Steve Jobs' three levels of listening to uncover the path forward to improving employee engagement, productivity, and ultimately profits? Here's a summary of the three levels we are tuning in to. The explanation that follows is the 50,000 feet view, so you'll likely want to review Jobs's post after this one if you want to dig deeper. The summary is below. When it comes to listening, it's essential to listen intuitively for:

  1. What was said?

  2. What was unsaid?

  3. What is the need behind what was said and unsaid?

If you'd like to learn about how Steve Jobs used these levels to create the iPhone, be sure to check out the post. If not, you'll get a glimpse of how it works as we look at a few sample company reviews from Glassdoor through the three levels. Below we'll examine the levels of listening for three randomly chosen employee reviews. One each from McKinsey & Co., IDEO, and Gartner.


While there is debate on the accuracy of Glassdoor reviews and whether companies have found a way to pad their reviews, the reviews still show the ability to glean information that leads to greater engagement, productivity, and innovation. Of course, genuinely listening involves many more questions than Glassdoor prompts, but I believe you'll get a taste for the insightful information you can glean through listening.


McKinsey & Company


Below is an image of the Glassdoor review content from a current employee of McKinsey & Co. In using the three levels, you can gain new insights from each statement this current employee noted. For this blog, we will only dig deeper into one of the employee statements.