06252017

A Meritocratic Workforce: How Yelp, Completed and Glassdoor Are Changing the Way We Do Business

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With the advent of review sites like Yelp, Completed and GlassDoor, everyone in business is now susceptible to reviews, including employees.

How does this affect the way that we do business? Is it good for the workforce? Or has technology gone too far to invade our privacy?

Tech has certainly made our lives easier. More convenient. More fun, even. 

But more important than all that? It’s made us more accountable.

From basic review sites on the web to body cameras worn by law enforcement officers, technology is increasingly holding people (and businesses) more and more responsible for their actions.

While there are certainly drawbacks to this higher level of accountability – deliberately threatening or defamatory Yelp reviews, for example – it ultimately enables a more meritocratic society, one where the best, the most honest, the smartest and the most skilled rise to the top. 

And that’s something all of us can benefit from.

Increasing Accountability

The ways in which tech holds us accountable range from minor to extreme. You’ve got websites like Yelp, CompletedGlassDoor and other review sites that give real, live people the chance to review businesses, services and, in some cases, even other people, thus encouraging better customer service and a more competitive business environment. 

But those sites are only one brick in the wall. As technology gets more and more advanced, the opportunities for transparency are limitless. 

Periscope, Facebook Live and other live streaming tools give unfettered access to people’s lives and activities. Police body cameras hold both officers and the citizens they serve more accountable for their actions (see this recent study on how body cams lower acts of police force). And seemingly innocuous tools like sales analytics software give deep, deep insights into customer activities and buying habits.

It’s a world where anyone, anywhere look into your life and analyze your actions.

The Good, The Bad and The Better

As with anything, this bent toward accountability has its pros and cons. For one, it certainly encourages better behavior – both professionally and personally. Just like with big brother in Aldous Huxley’s 1984, we’re all apt to think twice when we know we’re being watched.

In the case of review sites like Yelp, Google and even the Better Business Bureau, this means a more competitive and service-minded business landscape, one in which companies work to outperform one another and give customers the utmost satisfaction every time. If they don’t, It means a tarnished reputation and less business – something few businesses are willing to risk.

With body cams and other similar tech, it means a safer world. Citizens can be held responsible for their actions (or even prosecuted more easily) when caught on tape, and law enforcement officers are forced to handle situations by the letter of the law while being monitored. It’s a win-win for both parties, seemingly. 

As a whole, a meritocracy also means more reward – at least for the deserving. Those who are better at their jobs, serve their customers more satisfactorily, or act more in line with the law or societal expectations get rewarded with business, promotions, social connections, money and more. 

The cream rises to the top, so to say. 

There are some disadvantages to this more accountable society, though. If you’re not the cream of the crop, a meritocracy might make things a little harder. Less-than-stellar businesses would get ousted by their competitors, and poor performers would get demoted or even replaced by newer, better employees. 

There’s also something to be considered about how that heightened transparency is used. Though it’s nice to think everyone will honestly review a business on the web, the truth is, not everyone has the best of intentions – and that can end up hurting innocent parties. As with anything, there are always a few exceptions who will take advantage of the system.

But the same can be said of all accountability tech; just because the access, transparency and information is there, doesn’t mean everyone will use it properly. Ultimately, though, when it comes to higher accountability, the good far outweighs the bad – and whatever drawbacks there may be, a more transparent, responsible society benefits us all.

A Better World?

Would a meritocracy mean a better world? It depends who you ask. For those dedicated to being better, stronger, smarter, more law-abiding or even just a nicer person or business, the answer’s most definitely “yes.”

What Next?

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