Happy New Year! We’re back.
You may have heard about rateyourbossnz.com, a new Kiwi website that launched just before Christmas. The site provides people with an opportunity to anonymously comment on and rate, in a public domain, their past or current managers. It provides job searchers with another tool for assessing a potential future employer (see the previous Engage Blog post What’s it like to work for you? New websites that give job seekers the inside scoop for similar initiatives).
This type of rate-your-boss site is not new in a global context. There are even a number of sites (with all sorts of rude words used in their domain names) where one can visit with the express purpose of venting about or commenting in a negative way about a boss. In New Zealand, ratemyteachers.co.nz arrived on the scene in 2006.
I like the concept of rateyourbossnz.com but I maintain my previously-stated reservations around anonymous posting – I’m sure a lot of bosses will provide glowing comments about themselves. Though there are some caustic, unfair bosses out there, there are lots of very capable bosses that could get a bad rap from current or existing under-performing employees. There is a mix of good and negative ratings and comments on this site. Maybe bosses (and their teams) should receive therapy or coaching prior to seeing any ratings or comments about them. Are the bosses that have a firm-but-fair approach going to be rated more harshly than those who socialise and are matey with their staff? A good manager wears many hats, they set and communicate a vision, provide a motivational work environment for people to perform, recognise positive behaviour, tackle under-performance issues etc. I find a lot of the comments on rateyourbossnz.com only scrape the surface and are nowhere near as behavioural or specific as a properly designed and administered, criteria-based upwards or 360-degree feedback process.
A possible positive outcome of such a site may be to alert organisations of bullying in the workplace that has not been recognised or addressed. As a result, an organisation may need to look at its policies and practices to see if they are up to date, implemented and effective. HR has a key role in addressing complaints from employees before they escalate and are discussed in a public forum. If an employee has major concerns about their manager I strongly recommend they speak to HR or senior management in the first instance. It helps if the employee provides specific examples of the inappropriate behaviour.
Could these types of sites in reality be getyourselfsacked.co.nz sites? It appears possible for an organisation to get a court order to trace any defamatory, rude or just plain negative comments. To deal with those really bad days at work, maybe we Kiwis should instead consider the concept of this Chinese bar where you can really take out your frustrations, and even punch the staff!
I feel rateyourbossnz.com needs some refinement, as I found it hard to navigate around and found many of the instructions and fields to be somewhat ambiguous. I would also like to see an ‘About Us’ section on these types of websites, because I want to know who runs them.
I look forward to the launches of rateyourspouse, rateyourparent, rateyourchild, rateyourdog, rateyourbutcher, rateyourdoctor, rateyourrecruitmentconsultant etc.