Published July 24, 2013
| 24/7 Wall St.
In order to identify America’s worst companies to work for, 24/7 Wall St. examined employee reviews at Glassdoor. To be considered, companies had to have a minimum of 300 reviews. Of the more than 300 companies with more than 300 comments, 24/7 Wall St. identified the nine publicly traded companies that received the worst scores — 2.5 or lower. This year, Sears Holdings and subsidiary Kmart made the cut independently — both scores are included.
These are America’s worst companies to work for.
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 831
> CEO approval rating: 40% (Joseph Clayton)
> Employees: 35,000
DISH has the unfortunate distinction of topping the list for the second year in a row. DISH shares many of the hallmarks of companies despised by their workers. With 14 million subscribers in a market with a great deal of competition, the number of customer complaints is large. Consumer surveys demonstrate the magnitude of the problem. DISH ranked behind AT&T’s U-verse, direct competitor DirecTV, and Verizon Fios in the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index.
DISH’s management is regarded as so inconsiderate to employees, customers, and shareholders that Businessweek recently called it “The Meanest Company In America” and blamed long-time chief Charlie Ergen as the primary cause.
In reviews at Glassdoor, employees regularly complained about very poor pay despite their difficult work in unpleasant conditions. By far, the most common criticisms were the low salaries relative to the type of work and very poor benefits. One manager on Glassdoor said that he had never seen employees treated so poorly. “The benefits are pitiful and the salaries are not current with industry — I should know as I work in a [department] that sees the salaries.”
2. Express Scripts
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 312
> CEO approval rating: 36% (George Paz)
> Employees: 30,215
Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ: ESRX) is one of America’s largest managers of prescription drugs services, with tens of millions of customers and thousands of clients. And after buying Medco Health Solutions last year, the company fills over 1.4 billion prescriptions per year, as of 2012. Express Scripts began a major workforce consolidation that included layoffs after it closed the deal in early 2012. Customer relations were roiled when Walgreen stopped accepting Express Scripts’ prescription plan.
In the most recent JD Power rating of online pharmacies, Express Scripts ranked fifth behind Kaiser Permanente, Aetna Rx, Caremark, and Cigna Home Delivery, with the Medco branded service even further down the list. Both Express Scripts and the Medco brand showed particular weaknesses in prescription delivery and customer service.
Like consumers, employees were also dissatisfied with the company. They felt pressured to reach key metrics and often complained that reaching these numbers was more important to the business than adequate customer service, or employee well-being. As a result, many employees felt overworked, and a too-heavy workload was the most common complaint. One aggrieved employee wrote that the company gives “the appearance of a work/life balance … but the truth is everyone is overworked.”
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 560
> CEO approval rating: 23% (Bill Dillard II)
> Employees: 27,740
Dillard’s Department Stores is run and controlled by the Dillard family. Dillard’s has about 300 stores in 29 states. It operates in a highly competitive environment, which includes Kohl’s, Macy’s and J.C. Penney. In the last quarter, Dillard’s sales did not grow at all. Dillard’s is not only competing with larger retailers but also with Amazon.com, which has already driven several companies out of existence. In the meantime, Mike, William, and Alex Dillard receive large salaries — a total of $54 million over the course of the last three years.
Many Dillard’s employees griped about their hours and pay. They also complained about sales-per-hour targets. These targets, employees said, were unreasonable and led to intense competition among co-workers. “Lower level employees are faceless numbers to many members of upper management and are treated like pawns in a chess game,” one commenter wrote.
4. Dollar General
> Rating: 2.4
> Number of reviews: 375
> CEO approval rating: 43% (Rick Dreiling)
> Employees: 90,500
Dollar General, a discount retailer, calls itself the nation’s “largest small box retailer” with over 10,000 stores. However, that does not keep it safe from competition from huge big box companies, particularly Walmart and Target. Like other mid-sized retailers, Dollar General has struggled to prop up its bottom line, with net income virtually flat in its last reported quarter. In the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, Dollar General ranked behind Nordstrom, Kohl’s, and even the struggling J.C. Penney.
Workers at Dollar General regularly complained they were unable to work the hours they desired, while many store managers were overworked. Yet, as one former worker noted, many employees “are expected to have full availability, even out of season, meaning NO second jobs.”
In addition to complaints about the limited hours, many reviewers mentioned the problem of theft. Some workers stated that employees steal, while others highlighted customer theft as a major concern. One sales associate noted that stores are targeted for theft, but “Dollar General believes its ‘shrink’ is caused mostly by employees.”
> Rating: 2.4
> Number of reviews: 868
> CEO approval rating: 38% (Joseph Magnacca)
> Employees: 34,500
In yet another turnaround attempt by ancient consumer electronics retailer RadioShack, new CEO Joe Magnacca said he wants to revamp stores and change the merchandising strategy. It is hard to work for a company that is generally considered to be without prospects. RadioShack has just over 4,700 stores. The company also sponsors the RadioShack Leopard bicycle team, which has recently participated in the Tour de France. That sponsorship money might have gone to low-paid RadioShack retail employees.
“Radioshack constantly changes their focus because they are a struggling company,” one commenter wrote. “Basically you’ll be fighting real hard for one sales aspect and get told a month later that it doesn’t matter anymore and that everyone is a failure.” Recent reviewers have pointed out that management is placing intense pressure on employees to sell mobile phones. An assistant manager noted that this results in “having to foist services onto customers that realistically would not benefit from them.”
The company’s middle- and upper-level management was a target for many of the complaints. Reviewers noted that district and regional managers come up with sales quotas that seem arbitrary. Another frequent complaint was that managers play favorites among associates and store managers. Comments about Radio Shack also include complaints about pay below competitors, and strenuous and irregular hours.