Disgruntled employees spill the beans online

by Brett Henebery02 May 2017
Former employees have dished dirt on their companies in a series of videos that are getting hundreds of thousands of views online.

The ‘Why I left’ videos are part of a new trend in which disgruntled employees are taking to the social media channel YouTube to vent their grievances about their former workplace.

Organisations targeted include Google, Starbucks, Emirates Airlines and even YouTube itself.

The most viewed ‘Why I left’ videos have been uploaded by former employees of news website, BuzzFeed. One video received more than 8 million views in less than a month.

Former Buzzfeed producer, Safiya Nygaard, said she left the company in January 2017 because of what she perceived to be a lack of transparency on her company’s part.

“I’m not trying to speak for anyone else but myself. I’m also not here to trash BuzzFeed or nit-pick everything I don’t like about the company,” she explained at the beginning of the video.

“The overarching reason why I left BuzzFeed is to have independence,” she said, pointing out that she did not like the fact that she was not allowed communicate with her viewers via YouTube.

Nygaard referred to the practice of being able to engage with viewers in the comments section, which she said could be useful when clarifying certain queries that her audience might have.

Other ex-employees added their own grievances, such as not being able to work outside of the organisation, an increase in advertising on the website and a desire to create more quality content with less pressure to get clicks.

However, not all ‘Why I left’ videos are negative.

Some employees admitted they left jobs to have more time to themselves, start a family or seek career progression elsewhere.

According to professor, Paula McDonald from the QUT Business School, employees should be careful when venting about their workplace in the public domain.

“The biggest risk is a prospective employer profiling the person and discovering that they’ve spoken negatively about their former employer and you might do the same thing in the future,” McDonald told The New Daily.

There could also be consequences for the colleagues these employees leave behind, he pointed out.

“What a lot of companies would do in that situation is to respond by creating more detailed and constrained social media policy for current employees,” McDonald said.

“It’s definitely an expanding concern for both employers and employees.”

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