Monday, July 22, 2013

America's worst companies to work for

1. DISH
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 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.”

3. Dillard’s
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.”

5. RadioShack
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.

6. ADT
Rating: 2.4
Number of reviews: 309
CEO approval rating: 55% (Naren Gursahaney)
Employees: 16,000

ADT is a security company for both residential and business properties with 6.4 million customers. Many of these customers are homeowners who bought an ADT system for as little as $35.99 a month. Much of ADT’s initial contact with customers is handled through its dealers who install ADT security systems. ADT currently has roughly 400. Even with dealers, the burden on the system is considerable. ADT claims it answers 19 million alarm signals a year.

Employees at ADT regularly complained about weak, disorganized management that treated them poorly and micromanaged. Several reviewers complained about the quality of the sales training, noting that the company appeared to expect new employees to figure things out on their own.

Based on the reviews, ADT appears to focus on getting new clients at the expense of both employees and existing customers, with one representative noting that the decision makers “could care less about customers after sale.”

7. Sears Holdings (Sears/KMart)
Rating: 2.5
Number of reviews: 583
CEO approval rating: 19% (Eddie Lampert)
Employees: 274,000

Sears Holdings, which owns both Sears and Kmart, has been effectively run by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert since it was created by a merger in 2005. Over the intervening period, Lampert has gone through several CEOs and made a name for himself as the greatest bumbler in the U.S. retail industry. Impatient after years of failure, he took the CEO job himself.

Lampert has made a great deal of his decision to use technology as a way to track customer needs as well as his closing of stores and brands. Sears Holdings ranked next to last in customer service in ACSI’s retail category, ahead of only Walmart. Kmart has been the weaker of the company’s two divisions based on same-store sales, although each is in a state of hopeless decline.

Employees at Sears and Kmart felt just as poorly about the company’s performance as Wall Street. They noted that the chains have lost their identity and suffer from morale issues. Other common concerns, especially at Sears stores, were the limited availability of work hours and constant pressure to convince customers to open new credit cards. Employees also complained about wages. One employee noted that while the company was updating its technology, raises were extremely rare.

Many employees believed the company would be better off investing more resources in the company’s locations. A recent report by Businessweek highlighted that Sears and Kmart fell well short of their peers in investing in their stores.

8. NCR
Rating: 2.5
Number of reviews: 385
CEO approval rating: 39% (Bill Nuti)
Employees: 25,700

NCR makes self-checkout machines, ATMs, and airport self-service kiosks. NCR claims that its technologies are used in 300 million transactions a day that facilitate everyday transactions and “make your life easier.” Many employees are involved with the sales, installation and repair of relatively low-level tech systems for cinemas, bank deposit machines, retail restaurant terminals, and similar products for the travel, telecom, and department store industries.

Employees noted that much of the technology was out of date, and that the company still required them to carry around cumbersome manuals. Others complained about poor benefits. One of the most common problems was that the company often demanded a full-time commitment. One former data processor noted an “expectation that [employees] are available to work 24/7.”

9. Fiserv
Rating: 2.5
Number of reviews: 440
CEO approval rating: 40% (Jeffery Yabuki)
Employees: 20,000

Fiserv provides information management and e-commerce products to the financial services industry. Fiserv’s primary clients are banks, credit unions, and brokers. Fiserv has completed more than 140 mergers and acquisition transactions since its was founded in 1984, according to Morningstar. It is not so much a company as a collection of assets. This method of building a corporation is often accompanied by a certain number of layoffs and paranoia about job security.

A number of commenters noted that the company provided minimal training for employees and that senior staff was unresponsive to employee concerns on the job. The company is comprised of many different acquisitions, reviewers noted, which has led to factions feuding for resources and attention, which in turn has lowered morale. “Don’t mess with the old school ‘clique’ or you can screw up advancement opportunities,” an employee wrote.

A common theme among many Glassdoor reviews also seems to be that the company is needlessly stingy. Low pay and paltry raises were frequent gripes, and several employees also expressed frustration about less-than-stellar health benefits. Failing to remember the last time they saw a doctor, one reviewer said, “The deductible is so high that they might as well not ever offer it.”

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