Over the last 20 years, Scott Dobroski has fashioned himself as an expert on using creativity in the job market.
After nearly 10 years cultivating his career as a broadcast journalist by making connections, the recession in 2009 forced him to reevaluate his career path.
“I really organically became a student of how to find the right kind of career and job,” says Dobroski, Glassdoor’s VP of corporate communications. After 18 long months of taking online quizzes, evaluating career paths based on hobbies — lawyer, chef and swim coach all made the list at some point — he landed on communications.
Bitner Goodman, a boutique PR firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, took a chance on Dobroski and two years later, he was ready to learn more.
Dobroski's decade-long career at Glassdoor kicked off when he saw a job posting on Twitter one night when he was "feeling sorry" for himself. After applying formally, he contacted the PR alias, heard back within 20 minutes and had an interview the next morning.
"It was a PR 101 position to get that top level brand awareness for Glassdoor, and if there's one thing I’m good at at this point in my career, it’s how to tell a story and make contacts,” he says.
Glassdoor, a platform on which its 55 million users can anonymously review companies, post salaries and apply for jobs, is a two-sided marketplace that helps employees answer the question, "What makes a company a great place to work?"
The answer has become more complicated over the last two years with employees shifting to remote work, diversity initiatives being brought to the forefront after #BlackLivesMatter and #StopAsianHate movements and a mass exodus of women from the workforce.
"In the year ahead, employers are still going to hire aggressively," Dobroski said. He adds that the good news for communications people is there will be plenty of job opportunities, particularly in internal communications. "Employers have figured out they need more communication with remote employees, more distributed workforces and employees now demand more regular updates and transparency."
The Great Resignation
With employees firmly in the driver’s seat, companies are forced to make significant changes to attract talent in a tight labor market such as conducting business online, offering flexible work schedules and ramping up diversity and inclusion efforts.
Having cut his teeth in the communications industry during the Great Recession more than a decade ago, Dobroski was better prepared for the Great Resignation brought on during the pandemic.
Like his research deep dive when he was looking to change career paths, Dobroski applies a data-first approach to support all of Glassdoor’s messaging and keep it “part of the conversation” for job seekers.
In 2014, Dobroski helped build the company’s first economic research team with a chief economist on staff to lend credibility to Glassdoor’s labor market insights. The team now has three economists in the U.S. and one in Europe, helping Dobroski’s team of nine around the world provide users with an accurate picture of the job market.
The economists then meld millions of employee reviews, ratings and salary postings with the trends they are seeing in the market to guide Glassdoor’s comms team.
"Because of the nature of our industry, people are always hungry for the latest workplace trends and information,” he says. “But we sit on this treasure trove of data that are the reviews and ratings, and when we unearth the data, we have infinite stories to tell about Glassdoor.”
The biggest application of data-driven storytelling is Glassdoor’s annual 100 Best Places to Work list, which scours millions of employee reviews that score companies on their career opportunities, compensation, culture, management, work-life balance and other factors.
Tech companies topped Glassdoor’s 2022 list, including graphics chip maker Nvidia, software company HubSpot, Google and Salesforce.
The integrity of Glassdoor's data is a top priority, which also means balanced assessments of companies. Reviewers are asked to share both pros and cons of a company to "paint the full picture" about what's working well and what needs improvement, Dobroski said.
Of the more than 2 million companies reviewed on the site, the average company rating is a 3.7 out of 5. The data shows that 78% of employees report they are satisfied in their jobs.
"Glassdoor is the leading site for workplace transparency and a resource to get the inside scoop on what it's really like to work in a specific job at a specific company," he said. "This means people can not just say what they really love, or what they really don’t like at a company – we strive for a balanced look in our reviews."
What the data showed Dobroski during the pandemic and Great Resignation was a need to focus on transparent communication.
At the start of the pandemic, when layoffs were common, that meant helping employees identify potential opportunities. As the labor market has shifted to a hiring frenzy, employees are more focused on the inner workings of companies.
“One of job seekers’ biggest asks is helping them find out what it’s really like to work not just at a company, but also in a specific role or on a particular team,” Dobroski says. “They want a deeper workplace transparency, which has always been the foundation of why they come to Glassdoor, but now they are not asking but demanding.”
Glassdoor needed a new edge to inform job seekers about the market, and that edge came with the company’s September 2021 acquisition of Fishbowl, an app that allows users to have anonymous, candid conversations about workplace topics.
Since its inception in 2016, the app has grown into a platform where workers share sometimes scathingly honest feedback about employers and colleagues and is particularly popular in the advertising and marketing industries.
“Fishbowl is this amazing workplace community where people can have real-time conversations, connect with people they may or may not know in their peer groups, ask questions and find out these details that you can’t get within just the ratings and reviews currently on Glassdoor,” Dobrosky continues.
While Dobroski says the specifics of how Fishbowl will be integrated into Glassdoor's platform are still being worked out, the app is another step in the company’s continued dedication to finding the things that keep employees satisfied long term.
The diversity quotient
One of the biggest indicators that now factor into the desirability of a company as a workplace is diversity, equity and inclusion.
Glassdoor’s anonymous rating and review function has always been a tool in hearing minority voices at a company, but since the more recent amplification and urgency of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Dobroski knew more could still be done.
The platform added a variety of DE&I ratings and reviews, which now make it possible to find reviews based on gender, ethnicity, LGBTQ+ status or as a working parent.
The system not only helps potential employees, but employers who want to be viewed as diverse and equitable, Dobroski says.
"If you have a workplace factor rating that’s a 4.3 among your white employees, but a 3.3 among your Black employees, that lets job seekers know but also the company that there’s a problem,” he says.
Salary transparency is another tool in promoting equality in the workplace. Glassdoor supports policies like the New York City's approved legislation mandating employers publish salary ranges with every job posting.
"We believe workplace transparency and salary transparency is good for both the job seeker and the employer so we already do this, and we encourage all employers to embrace salary transparency," Dobroski said.
Dobroski upholds these standards at Glassdoor as well. The company publicly publishes pay ranges for all of its job titles, including on the Glassdoor corporate communications team regardless of where the jobs are based.
Dobroski takes these learnings and applies them to Glassdoor’s internal communications as well.
Just as other companies that were hit hard by the pandemic, Glassdoor was forced to lay off 300 employees in May 2020 – nearly 30% of its workforce — because of the overall decrease in hiring and recruiting.
Once again, transparency is key for Dobroski. But he admits it’s easier said than done.
“It sounds so simple, but it's not, especially in this year of COVID where there are tough business decisions being made when there’s uncertainty or ambiguity about what will happen next,” he says.
Many internal communicators struggled with getting the right message through the right channel at the right time. Dobroski’s overall internal communications strategy focuses instead on being helpful.
“We’re constantly being bombarded with requisitions for internal communications because everything seems important from every stakeholder, whether its total rewards, open enrollment or surveys,” he says. “I truly think with any piece of communication, each employee is thinking, ‘How is this helping me do my job? Why do I need to know this?’”
On the diversity front, Glassdoor set representation goals and implemented new DE&I training and programs to evaluate hiring and promoting processes. The company also now publishes an annual DE&I transparency report to stay accountable in its plans to be a more equitable workplace.
“We have a front row seat into what you should be doing as a top-notch employer where employees want to work,” he says. “So by doing it here at Glassdoor, our aspiration is if we can do it, we can show companies how to do it too.”
After spending the last decade entrenched in the job market, Dobroski has learned which rules are meant to be broken. Dobroski’s biggest job-application rule to break? The rule of not emailing the company after you apply.
Many companies tell applicants not to email after they’ve applied through a company website or job forum. But with several jobs Dobrinski has landed — including his first position at Glassdoor — he found the right person on his desired team to reach out and did so via email.
“You want to say, ‘Here are your biggest problems and here’s how I can solve your biggest problems,’” he suggests, which resonates more than reminding the person you applied to a job and would be a good fit.
While Dobroski has sent plenty of those emails and received no responses, it’s worked to his advantage as well. It’s all about proving you can be a solutions provider.
“There are certain individuals who really empathize with someone who is going above and beyond showing commitment and passion,” he says, adding he knows several leaders at large companies who appreciate this. “I like to hire people like that, and my boss did, too.”