Employees can now share their opinions about employers online. As a result, companies face new reputation risks that can affect their customers and shareholders.
For the third year, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the nation’s worst companies to work for. 24/7 Wall St. analyzed thousands of reviews from jobs and career website Glassdoor.com and selected the 11 companies with the lowest ratings.
Many of the companies on this list continue to be in the retail sector. As a result, complaints tended to focus on wages and hours worked. In many cases, these concerns focused on how difficult it can be for sales employees to meet targets that qualified them for commissions.
In other instances, employees complained more about how they thought a company was mishandling its customers. In the case of the Children’s Place, employees protested the pushy sales tactics. Jos. A. Bank employees wrote that the company’s changing product prices made it hard for them to make sales.
However, employees working in retail are not all unhappy. Scott Dobroski, associate director for corporate communication at Glassdoor.com, suggested that pay plays a big part. “We know that compensation is the number one factor job seekers consider when determining where to work.” Starbucks and Costco are examples of retail companies that offer benefits or pay above the industry average and that employees rate highly.
A significant share of employee grievances was directed at middle management. Workers at these companies were also highly likely to disapprove of their CEO. Chief executives at 10 of the 11 worst companies to work for received positive approval ratings from less than half of their employees. At six of these businesses, less than 30% of workers endorsed the CEO.
In the case of a number of these businesses, such as RadioShack and hhgregg, falling revenues, weak earnings and a sinking stock price may all contribute to lower employee morale and negative perceptions of executive performance.
However, negative employee opinions are not always a direct reflection of a company performance. Dillard’s has been a Wall Street darling. The company’s stock price has risen tenfold in the past five years.
To identify America’s worst companies to work for, 24/7 Wall St. independently examined employee reviews on Glassdoor.com. To be considered, companies had to have a minimum of 300 reviews. Of the more than 500 companies with more than 300 reviews, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 11 publicly traded companies that received the worst scores — 2.4 or lower. Employee totals are from each company’s latest 10-K filing.
These are America’s worst companies to work for:
4. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 317
> CEO approval rating: 24% (R. Neal Black)
> Employees: 6,469
> Industry: Apparel retail
Sales managers at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB) frequently expressed frustration at the number of hours they were required to work. Sales workers often complained as well, with many citing a difficult commission structure and the company’s ever-changing product prices. While many employees said they enjoyed helping customers immensely, others felt customers were often demanding.
But while employees were unhappy with the company, Jos. A. Bank’s former shareholders had reason to be quite pleased. After months of bitter back-and-forth negotiations — which helped to drive up Jos. A. Bank’s share price — the clothing retailer was acquired by Men’s Wearhouse for $1.8 billion in March. The deal formally closed in mid-June. Unlike Jos. A. Bank employees, Men’s Warehouse’s staff has a higher view of their business, with employees awarding their company a 3.3 rating on Glassdoor.com.
3. Frontier Communications
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 306
> CEO approval rating: 27% (Maggie Wilderotter)
> Employees: 13,650
> Industry: Telecom services
Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) is one of the larger communications companies in the United States, known primarily for providing services to rural and smaller American towns and cities. While Frontier Communications has been downsizing its workforce in recent years –headcount dropped by roughly 1,000 between 2012 and 2013 — the company considers its relationship with its employees to be good. Its employees may disagree, however. A number of reviewers seem to think Frontier Communications is no longer on the forefront of communications technology. One current employee explained, “The reason you can’t hire is that no one wants to work on a dinosaur.”
Despite the challenges of providing services to small, remote populations, Frontier has sought to expand its control of the rural market in recent years. The company bought 4.8 million access lines from Verizon in 2009. The company’s revenue, however, declined from $5.2 billion in 2011 to $5.0 billion in 2012 and then to $4.8 billion last year.
2. Express Scripts
> Rating: 2.2
> Number of reviews: 646
> CEO approval rating: 28% (George Paz)
> Employees: 29,975
> Industry: Health care services
Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) is a leading pharmacy benefits manager, facilitating a wide range of pharmaceutical drug operations, including distribution and cost management. Poor work-life balance was one of the most common complaints among Glassdoor.com reviews. One former employee wrote, “work life balance is nonexistent, you are expected to be available to work all the time.” Less than a third of employees approved of Express Scripts’ CEO George Paz.
Unlike several other companies on this list, Express Scripts has grown considerably in recent years. After a merger with Medco Health Solutions in 2012, Some employees expected the company to conduct layoffs. Total employment declined only slightly, however.
> Rating: 2.0
> Number of reviews: 302
> CEO approval rating: 22% (Terry Finley)
> Employees: 5,400
> Industry: Specialty stores
Books-A-Million Inc. (NASDAQ: BAMM) employed roughly 5,400 workers at more than 250 U.S. stores as of the beginning of this year, most of which were part-time. Like many retailers with unhappy employees, Books-A-Million institutes commission-based pay structures. Perhaps as a result, high stress and low pay were common complaints on Glassdoor.com. One employee wrote, “to[o] much stress for the pay, very low pay, low chance of promotion, hours are based on magazine and discount card sales. Even if you’re normally good, if you have a bad week you get cut.”
Just 14% of employees said they would recommend this company to a friend. Books-A-Million’s culture and value were rated just 1.8, the lowest among companies reviewed. CEO Terry Finley is also not popular, with just 22% thinking he is doing a good job. Over the past several years, the company has struggled to keep up with other large retail and online book sellers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com
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