HR Beware. Secret Dens: The dawn of anonymity in your business

HR Beware. Secret Dens: The dawn of anonymity in your business

Individual anonymity trumps business privacy.

Know the CocaCola Syrup Secret? Got the latest iPhone6 picture? Someone
got a pay rise? Layoffs coming around? New product release scheduled?

Everybody knows already. Business, you don’t have any secrets anymore.

In June on their blog, Secret announced the release of Secret Dens, company specific domains within the Secret ecosystem where employees can share secrets within company walls.

It’s a noble effort to bring teams closer together. But it’s fraught with HR-related issues. What happens when a secret is shared with astats name and it’s impossible to track down the initiator. Welcome to the dawn of digital office bullying. Additionally, apps like Secret have almost completely removed the friction from the old saying ‘loose lips sink ships’. Companies in highly-competitive industries whose advantage comes from timed and critical product releases are now subject to the employee with either the most to gain or lose from seeing a secret, only to replicate this secret on their own account.

I imagine that the folks at Apple and many other companies, who are known for their focus on secrecy, are concerned right now. Alternatively, like with the heart-rate-sensing earphones hoax, businesses could use a war-time mis-information approach. Regardless, there is now a growing, real cost associated with applications like Secret.

For HR professionals, Employer Branding Teams and Campus Recruiters this is yet another disruptive technology that is changing the way that human resources administers as well as maintains relationships with its current employees and prospect talent.

In the past, companies like Glassdoor and Payscale offered new levels of transparency to employees and talent. However the mid-2000’s business models and user interfaces slowed this to only more sophisticated and tech-savvy users.

Let’s look at a comparison: In an article published in 2012 where Glassdoor had been operating for 4 years, CEO Robert Hohman indicated that they had 13 million unique visitors a month with 1 in 10 leaving a confidential review. That’s 15.6 million business ‘secrets’ shared per year.

Compare this to Secret and Whisper who with a combined total of 2.8 years of operations have amassed over 4 Billion page views per month. Both of these apps are personal as well as professional. So if we say, 1 in 100 people post a business secret, that’s conservatively 48 million business secrets shared each year, or 307% more than Glassdoor in 1/2 the time.

There is now a massive tide of possible HR related issues and industrial secrets that can enter the public domain. Secret and Whisper are here. How will respective leaders and HR departments deal with anonymously empowered employees? Are employer brands and business values strong enough to combat the consequence-free sharing app revolution?


About the author



    David Brudenell

David is Univerum’s Global Vice President of Product and Head of Digital for the Americas