Why EAs should normalize using Glassdoor

post by Joey · 2022-06-23T10:56:21.330Z · EA · GW · 10 comments

There are many EA organizations and they often work on pretty similar things. It can be hard for someone to get a real sense of the pros and cons of different organizations and jobs if they haven’t been in the EA movement for a long time, or if they are not highly connected to people who are ingrained in the movement.

Thankfully, the world outside of EA has a solution for this issue. Glassdoor is a widely used website that gives a lot of information about the pros and cons of different organizations through company reviews. Submissions can be anonymous, and many of the larger EA organizations already have profiles and some reviews. 

In general, I think using review services is a good thing to do. It gives people a better sense of whether a workplace is good or bad, and brings some accountability to organizations. This seems equally important within the context of Effective Altruism; often EAs apply for a number of EA jobs and in many cases get multiple offers. When considering which organizations to work for (or even who to apply to in the first place), we ideally want people to be as knowledgeable as possible of the desirable and undesirable attributes of each of the different options. The impact of an EA working in an organization that is the right fit is potentially very high, yet finding this kind of information is difficult. It therefore seems that it would be very high value for people to submit reviews of EA organizations they have previously worked in.

Possible pros

Possible cons

In conclusion: I think it would be highly impactful for EAs to leave thoughtful reviews on a public platform, with special consideration to impact-related factors.

10 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Ula · 2022-06-23T11:32:55.186Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

My only concern with Glassdoor is that their review removal policy is unclear. They have removed mine and my friend's reviews of a nonprofit we worked for. The reviews were nonoffensive, but they were negative, as the experience working for the org was quite bad, and equally, the org was not creating any significant impact. So both things combined made it not a very friendly workspace.

It's not clear to me why the reviews were removed, but I spotted that there is an option to report a review. So I wonder if an org can also game the system by encouraging multiple people to report negative reviews.

I also worry that people with negative experiences are more inclined to leave reviews. So, e.g. an org can have one negative review and zero positive because satisfied employees didn't feel motivated to post (didn't have the urgency to warn others).

So I wonder if there is a healthy way to encourage reviews in general. Probably this post is one since it does not come directly from an employer.

I agree with the rule that this kind of reviews would be beneficial. If I had read my former employer's reviews now, I would not have gone to work with them (I would avoid months of ineffective work in hostile conditions and burnout). Thanks to the org having a sufficient number of reviews on Glassdor now, you can see the inefficiencies at work mentioned, the lack of impact-focus, and not great treatment of employees, which would be a significant warning for me.

Again, positive reviews, talking about hard work, impact focus, kind colleagues (that, at the moment, I would leave for CE if I was leaving the org) would probably encourage me to apply because I care for impact but I also care about working with intelligent and kind people in an ambitious, startup work environment. 

comment by KarolinaSarek · 2022-06-24T14:19:53.661Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Out of curiosity, I looked up a list of EA-related organizations [EA · GW] and checked their Glassdoor reviews:


Infrastructure

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE)- 2.6 (2 reviews)

Charity Entrepreneurship- 5.0 (1 reviews )

 Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA)- 4.1 (10 reviews)

Founders Pledge- 4.8 (8 reviews)

GiveWell- 4.5 (6 reviews)

Open Philanthropy Project- 5.0 ( 3 reviews)

Rethink Charity- 5.0 (1 review) 

The Life You Can Save (TLYCS)- 4.6 (3 reviews) 

 

Animal Advocacy

Albert Schweitzer Foundation- 4.0 ( 1 review) 

Anima International- 4.0 ( 1 review)

Faunalytics- 5.0 (1 review)

The Good Food Institute- 4.9 (41 reviews)

The Humane League- 4.0 (35 reviews)

Wild Animal Initiative- 5.0 (1 review)

 

Global Health and Poverty

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)- 4.1 (206 reviews)

END Fund (deworming programme)- 2.3 (8 reviews)

Evidence Action (Deworm the World Initiative programme)- 3.9 (84 reviews)

GiveDirectly- 4.5(57 reviews)

Helen Keller International (Vitamin A supplementation programme) - 3.8 (71 reviews)

IDInsight- 4.2 (78 reviews)

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)- 3.9 (228 reviews)

Malaria Consortium- 4.1 (36 reviews)

New Incentives- 4.1 (3 reviews)

Sightsavers (deworming programme)- 4.7 (89 reviews)

Suvita- 3.1 (2 reviews)

 

Far Future

Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI)- 4.6 (2 reviews)

________________________________________
No reviews: 


Infrastructure

80,000 Hours 

Animal Advocacy Careers 

Ayuda Efectiva

Doebem 

Donational 

Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF) 

Effective Giving UK/Netherlands 

Effektiv-Spenden.org

Generation Pledge

GiEffektivt.No 

Giving Multiplier.org-

Giving What We Can (GWWC) 

Global Priorities Institute (GPI) 

High Impact Athletes

Let's Fund 

One for the World

Raising for Effective Giving (REG) 

Rethink Priorities

SoGive 

 

Animal Advocacy

Animal Ask 

Animal Ethics 

Aquatic Life Institute 

Credence Institute

Farmed Animal Funders

Fish Welfare Initiative 

 

Global Health and Poverty 

Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) 

Canopie 

Family Empowerment Media (FEM) 

Fortify Health 

Happier Lives Institute (HLI) 

Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP) 

Policy Entrepreneurship Network 

SCI Foundation 

 

Far Future 

Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) 

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Future Generations 

Alpenglow 

Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative (BERI)

Centre for Human-Compatible AI (CHAI) 

Centre on Long-term Risk (CLR)

Centre for the Study of Existential Risks (CSER) 

Future of Humanity Institute (FHI)

Future of Life Institute (FLI)

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (GCRI)

Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI)

Projekt Framtid 

Sentience Institute 

The Centre for Election Science (CES) 

The Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research 

 

Other

Centre for Applied Rationality (CFAR) 

Centre for Enabling EA Learning and Research (CEEALAR) 

Giving Green 

High Impact Careers in Government (HIPE) 

Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS) 

Our World in Data 

Qualia Research Institute (QRI) 

Sentience Politics 

SparkWave 

The Legal Priorities Project 

WANBAM

comment by Holly Morgan (Holly) · 2022-06-23T16:10:33.949Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Nice solution.

In a similar vein, I'd like to see more people asking "Can anyone DM me a quick review of [EA org] as a place to work / service provider [EA · GW]?"

Replies from: Ula
comment by Ula · 2022-06-24T10:13:20.591Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't think this is such a good idea for job reviews, given that you will not be anonymous. When I left a bad workplace for a year or more I was scared to say anything negative about them publically. Glassdoor allows anonymity - which has its good and bad sides. But DM - I can see people who are positive about the workplace messaging you, but not the people that have some criticism at hand. We should not even do that, because we don't know how are you connected to our previous employee, and maybe whatever we share with you - like a warning - will be later used for litigation? I just feel like DMs will only bias a person in the positive direction, not giving a broader view from multiple perspectives?
Just a thought. 

Replies from: jpaddison, Lorenzo Buonanno
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-06-24T11:53:19.932Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I feel like being worried about litigation for being honest in a DM would put that org in the bottom 5% (1%?). It does seem useful to have strategies that add signal for most cases. Though it does seem useful to know that in the worst orgs people might not speak openly.

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-06-26T22:48:25.297Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I've been informed that non-disparagement clauses are more common than I believed. Those clauses might be a reason that someone would feel bound to keep their mouth shut. I still think that it would be hard to have non-disparagement clauses with all of an org's ex employees, but you might be missing out of the views of the most disgruntled 1% of employees across a wider swath of orgs.

comment by Lorenzo (Lorenzo Buonanno) · 2022-06-24T16:20:21.768Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think that sending something generic like "I'm not optimistic about [org] impact", or even a very neutral review, can give some information without a significant litigation risk.

On the other hand, I would consider an extremely positive review a useful positive signal, especially by ex-employees or ex-volunteers.

I think I would personally find it much more informative than a glassdoor review, after hearing a lot of very negative stories about Glassdoor (including yours).

comment by PeterSlattery (Peterslattery) · 2022-06-24T05:40:20.260Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for sharing! This strikes me as a good idea. 

I am considering applying to a few organisations. I hadn't realised that there is a better way to get information about working at them than by talking to former or current employees. 

Reading reviews would be much more efficient. I wonder if having a link directory of all reviews (of working at) EA organisation is a worthwhile small project for someone - maybe it could be in the wiki.

Maybe worth having people at the organisation who are happy to chat about their role listed also (related to Holly's point below).

comment by Linch · 2022-06-23T21:55:49.893Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think an ideal social norm would be only reviewing an organization after you are no longer working with them and thus can review the full experience.

This implies that a nontrivial fraction of employees would leave, which seems true of some EA orgs and not others (and I think the difference is non-random for pretty obvious reasons).

Replies from: jpaddison
comment by JP Addison (jpaddison) · 2022-06-24T11:46:55.151Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I expect employees who leave to be a pretty biased sample, and the bias to have different strengths depending on the org.

Now, maybe that bias is weaker than the bias to try to make your own org look good. I'd be more optimistic about a central group sending a survey to a sample of employees and telling them to take it seriously for the benefit of the world. Probably reduces much of the bias of a CEO sending out a link in slack and asking everyone to review.