The Worst Companies to Work For

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Keeping employees happy can only improve a company’s bottom line. Employee satisfaction can significantly impact the productivity, sales, and reputation of any company. Despite its importance, many companies struggle to keep their employees content. While some companies have policies specifically designed to boost employee morale, others seem to prioritize it far less.

For the fifth consecutive year, 24/7 Wall St. identified the nation’s worst companies to work for. 24/7 Wall St. analyzed thousands of employee reviews from jobs and career website Glassdoor. The site maintains a growing database of more than 8 million employee reviews for more than 540,000 companies worldwide.

The worst rating any U.S. company received is 2.5 stars out of five, significantly lower than the 3.2 average company rating on Glassdoor. Three companies — Family Dollar Stores, Express Scripts and Forever 21 — received this lowest rating and top the list of the worst companies to work for.

Click here to see the worst companies to work for.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Scott Dobroski, a Glassdoor spokesperson, explained that the three leading drivers of long-term employee satisfaction include: “culture and values, career opportunities, and trust in senior leadership.” For Dobroski, any company can improve these features by listening to employee feedback and addressing them in a timely manner.

Many complaints about the companies with the lowest ratings concern the lack of those leading drivers. According to some employee reviews of RadioShack, for example, sales associates believe upper management is out of touch; they see little room for professional growth; and they are unimpressed by the company’s culture.

Many employees at the worst companies to work for also cite poor work-life balance, low pay, and poor leadership as major reasons for their discontent. By contrast, technology companies such as Google and Facebook, which are some of the best rated companies, are notorious for high pay and generous perks.

Tech companies are not the only ones that manage to take care of their employees. Wholesale grocery store Costco, for example, has some of the best employee reviews of any company. There are numerous highly rated companies such as Costco where pay is by no means the only factor in employee satisfaction.

However, most of the worst-rated companies are customer-facing, low-paying businesses with high employee turnover rates. For nine of the 10 companies, the most commonly reported annual compensation on Glassdoor is lower than the national average annual wage of $48,320. The majority of these 10 companies operate in the retail trade sector, which has an above-average turnover rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The high turnover rates at these companies suggest employers treat employees as easily replaceable. With low-skilled workers readily available, employees at some of these companies may indeed be disposable. However, many companies with the lowest employee satisfaction are also not doing especially well financially, which may suggest that low employee satisfaction is but a symptom of poor management overall. The Employment Policy Foundation also estimates it costs a company an average of $15,000 each time a an employee leaves

Just as employee satisfaction can impact profits, a company’s financial performance can impact employee satisfaction. Many major retailers are losing ground to online giants such as Amazon.com, and their in-store sales are falling. As a result, employees working on commission may find it more difficult to earn commission wages. Similarly, as many of these businesses close stores and implement other cost cutting measures, employees may be assigned shorter shifts and consequently earn less. In Kmart, for example, where cashiers frequently complain about the difficulty of working on commission at a failing retailer, all full-time positions were recently switched to part-time.

To identify the 10 worst companies to work for, 24/7 Wall St. independently examined employee reviews on Glassdoor — this is not a Glassdoor.com commissioned report. To be considered, a company needed to have a minimum of 1,500 reviews and be currently operating and headquartered in the United States. Employee counts are from the most recent financial documents for each company. For subsidiaries, head counts are for the parent company.

These are the 10 worst companies to work for.