Startup GetAGreatBoss fills a gap in the recruitment process

The dearth of systems to rate and recognise great bosses prompted Gavin Symanowitz to create, a rating system that helps job seekers to identify companies that have exceptional leaders.

Symanowitz launched the startup in 2009 from Johannesburg with the belief that “people join companies, but they leave bosses.” The site is not a recruitment portal itself, but rather targets six different groups of people that work in the recruitment field: Career-seekers looking for great bosses, recruiters, online job portals, HR professionals, executive coaches and great bosses themselves.

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According to a Gallup Organisation survey of one million people, ”what most employees want, more than anything else, is a good boss”. The survey highlighted the importance of having only the best individuals in management positions, and emphasised that this is something many companies and recruiters overlook when they try to fill vacancies.

Symanowitz, who previously headed up Strategic Product Development for one of South Africa’s large retail banks, realised that few companies know how to showcase the strength of their management. Even fewer companies use a system to recognise good leadership skills in their management. He wants to use to fix this shortcoming in companies worldwide.

Though the company is a South African startup, professionals from all fields around the world can use the system to search for vacancies. The difference lies in the rating that each boss on the website has. Bosses receive this rating based on feedback that their employees send to Symanowitz explains that “traditionally, managers have been unable to follow up on anonymous feedback from employees, due to the need to protect the identities of the respondents. Our system solves this problem by enabling managers to follow up on any comment or rating by means of a private online text conversation with the employee concerned. The employee remains anonymous throughout these interactions. The tool is very powerful in opening the lines of communication between the manager and his or her staff.”

Most people who join companies do so because of the perceived status, earning potential and networking possibilities that the company offers. Only a small percentage join companies to work with a boss who has earned the respect of their peers.

The ratings that a boss gets depends on the scores they get related to aspects such as leadership skills, character and personality, work skills and strategic thinking, and employee development, among others.

The rating system presents benefits to bosses, employees and recruiters: bosses can use the rating as a selling point in their resumes and employees can use it to find bosses whose leadership skills align with their values. Recruiters can also use the rating when they want to attract a star employee to a position that they are trying to fill.

The startup is an innovator in this particular field: it has no direct competitors – or not yet. But at its core are excellent leaders whose mission it is to bring teams of like-minded people together.

GetAGreaBoss was privately funded but is looking into the possibility of getting external capital, as a way of ”taking the business to the next level”.

This may be realised sooner than they had anticipated: micro-seed fund Seedcamp‘s recognised the potential in Symanowitz’ business concept and selected him to attend Seedcamp Week in London from 13 September to 17 September 2010. They will be competing against other startups from around the world for €50 000 in investment capital.

The potential success of will create innovation in the way companies manage the pool of talent that they have, as well as their ability to attract the talent that they want.

Symanowitz concludes by saying that “In five years time, we would like to see GetAGreatBoss as the “stamp of approval” for great bosses around the world. So every great manager will have a GetAGreatBoss manager review linked to their online profile and resume. And every major online job portal will display the GetAGreatBoss button next to all job vacancies associated with great bosses”.

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