Special Report

America’s Worst Companies to Work For

11. Bank of New York Mellon
> Rating: 2.7
> Number of reviews: 307
> CEO approval rating: 63% for Gerald Hassell
> One-year stock price change: up 7%
> Employees: 47,800

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) was formed by a 2007 merger between Mellon Financial Corporation and The Bank of New York Company. The financial firm controls $27.1 trillion in assets under custody or administration and $1.3 trillion under management. The bank laid off 1,500 people last year as part of expense reductions that have hit most large national financial firms.

Of course, one of the bank’s major concerns has to be customer satisfaction, so employee satisfaction is critical. According to Morningstar, “Client retention has been excellent so far following the merger. But client dissatisfaction can take time to build, and BNY Mellon could face an exodus if it loses its focus on customer satisfaction.”

Reviews describe Mellon as a sleepy bank. While you can work “9:45am to 4:45pm job with 1 hour lunch break,” salary is described as “well below street levels.” Limited advancement or recognition for a job well done was regularly referenced. If you “don’t like salary hikes and bonuses and promotions on merit and hard work this is the perfect place for you,” quipped one reviewer.

10. GameStop
> Rating:
> Number of reviews: 416
> CEO approval rating: 32% for J. Paul Raines
> One-year price change: down 21%
> Employees: 17,000

GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) has 6,683 company-operated stores in 15 countries around the world. The company primarily sells used video game hardware and software. But its business model has come under pressure as more and more of these products are delivered over broadband or fast wireless. Like Blockbuster before it, GameStop has a huge number of bricks-and-mortar locations to maintain in an industry that has moved substantially to digital platforms. And GameStop’s own digital game distribution platform is small compared to the balance of its operations.

Employees appear to regularly complain that the company privileges sales above customer service. According to one review, “Priority is placed on sales instead of games and customers, pushing people to pre-order games can place them in a situation where they spend good money on a bad game with no possibility of a refund, business’ models place customers at a disadvantage.” It may also be the reason why the video game retailer made the Consumer Report’s annual “naughty” list for bad customer service in 2011. Likely adding to poor customer service, reviews point to high turnover.

9. Rite Aid
> Rating: 2.7
> Number of reviews: 328
> CEO approval rating: 31% for John T. Standley
> One-year stock price change: up 3%
> Employees: about 91,000

The mammoth drugstore chain, which operates about 4,700 stores in 31 states, was built in part through a series of mergers and consolidations, including Thrifty PayLess and Brooks/Eckerd Stores. The integration process was messy and cost the company money, and probably some good will among its employees. Worker animosity likely was compounded by claims by employees in California who brought a class action lawsuit against the company for failure to pay overtime. The suit was settled in 2009 for $6.9 million.

Reviews suggest that employees think Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) remains poorly run. Reviewers repeatedly suggested that managers did not know what they were doing because they are not “given clear directions on what they should be doing.” Reviewers also consistently objected to “mandatory overtime” and “working holidays.”

8. Hewlett-Packard
> Rating: 2.7
> Number of reviews: 4,112
> CEO approval rating: 82% for Meg Whitman
> One-year stock change: down 38%
> Employees: 349,600

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) has been through more management turmoil than any large company in the United States over the past two years. In 2010, former CEO Mark Hurd was forced out after an inappropriate relationship with an HP contractor. He was replaced by Leo Apotheker who lasted only 11 months. Meg Whitman, highly regarded from her time as CEO of eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), is the new chief executive. And based on the Glassdoor CEO rating, Whitman is well-regarded. This may be because of her sterling reputation and the belief that she can get one of the world’s largest tech companies back on track. In the meantime, the human cost of the turnaround is high. Whitman said HP would eliminate 27,000 jobs.

Given the company’s track record, it’s not surprising that employees are fed up. Reviewers consistently pointed to the company’s poor performance and management’s failings. One review simply read, “Advice to Senior Management — Please make up your mind what we want to do, where we want to compete.” Reviews also complained that layoffs will not solve the company’s problems.

Also Read: Nine Great American Companies That Will Never Recover

7. Robert Half International
> Rating: 2.7
> Number of reviews: 349
> CEO approval rating: 55% for Max Messmer Jr.
> One-year stock price change: up 18%
> Employees: 11,300 full-time

Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI) is made up of seven divisions, including Accountemps and Robert Half Management Resources, which supply a full-time and part-time works and consultants to businesses. It is possible that with such a large number of employees “coming and going” as part of the company’s operations the opinions of these workers would be different from those at corporations that are not in the temporary work sector. Robert Half does stand out among the companies on the “worst places to work” list. It is neither a retailer nor a tech provider. The extent to which its temp business affects worker opinion is hard to say, but it cannot be ignored as a factor.

Reviewers suggested that the amount temps are paid is undercut by the amount Robert Half takes out of each paycheck. “Pay is below what you can earn in similar sales roles, considering how much you are charging your clients. They want to make a huge margin making it impossible to be competitive with pay for placements.” A number of reviewers also said that the company’s focus on “activity metrics” and “growth expectations” over “team morale” created a “hostile work environment.”

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