Here’s what every company needs — a new place on the Internet where employees can tear apart their managers and co-workers without fear of reprisal.
It’s Unvarnished, and it could turn out to be the Web’s greatest example of just how hateful people can be when they’re hiding behind a screen name.
The concept: Instead of reviewing service providers or restaurants, Unvarnished offers Internet users a chance to review people in the workplace: their colleagues, superiors, the temp who’s filling in while the exec admin’s out on maternity leave.
The sticking point: The reviews are anonymous.
Let the slander — and the HR nightmare — begin.
No way out
Evelyn Rusli, writing on TechCrunch, called Unvarnished “a clean well-lighted place for defamation.” Its creator says it’s not.
Founder Peter Kazanjy told ITWorld.com the site’s designed to be a forum where professionals receive objective — “unvarnished” — evaluations from the people they interact with on a regular basis.
Seems fair enough — until you learn that once a review is on the site, it’s there to stay. The “reviewee” can post a rebuttal, but the original comment remains, no matter how negative (or inaccurate) it might be.
One final scary thought: Unvarnished members can add anybody they please to the site’s database — in other words, say whatever they want about whomever they want. And if you’re in the database, there’s no way to get out.
All in all, it sounds like an HR nightmare. If you’re a manager who discovers that somebody in your department has just roasted you on the Internet — anonymously — what’s the effect on your overall trust level?
And what happens when employees find out what their peers are saying behind their back — to the entire digital universe?
Finally, how’re you going to handle this kind of thing in your Internet use policy? You can certainly issue an edict banning anonymous Internet postings about your company or employees. But if employees use their home computers to post nasty stuff about their co-workers, how will you enforce it?