Special Report

America's Worst Companies to Work For

8. hhgregg
> Rating: 2.4
> Number of reviews: 397
> CEO approval rating: 36% (Dennis L. May)
> Employees: 6,100
> Industry: Electronics retail

hhgregg Inc. (NYSE: HGG) is a 58-year old electronics and home furniture retailer with 6,100 total employees and 228 stores as of March. Employees largely had negative views of the company, often criticizing its commission-based compensation model. Former and current sales staff also indicated that the commission structure, which rewarded employees for selling highly profitable items, often felt arbitrary or unfair. One employee noted that, “they make you do a lot of operational work and since you are on commission you don’t get paid for that work.”

hhgregg has failed to impress shareholders as well. The company has struggled with declining sales and earnings of in recent years. Its shares fell more than 40% in the past year alone, even as the broader stock market has risen substantially in that time.

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7. ADT
> Rating: 2.4
> Number of reviews: 561
> CEO approval rating: 48% (Naren Gursahaney)
> Employees: 17,000
> Industry: Security and alarm services

Home and business security systems company ADT Corp. (NYSE: ADT) is the largest company of its kind in North America. It currently serves more than 6 million customers, but its popularity does not mean employees are satisfied. Sales representatives, who pitch the company’s security package door-to-door or over the phone, were among the most likely to give the company a poor review. Employees complained of stressful commission-based pay structures.

In addition to criticisms from employees, ADT has also been scrutinized by regulators. The company has come under criticism for secretly paying experts to endorse its systems on TV shows and in interviews. ADT has recently reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission on the matter.

6. Dillard’s
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 913
> CEO approval rating: 24% (Bill Dillard II)
> Employees: 40,000
> Industry: Department stores

Founded in 1938, Dillard’s Inc. (NYSE: DDS) is currently among the largest clothing and home furnishings retailers in the nation. The company owned and operated nearly 300 stores nationwide as of the beginning of this year, and employed roughly 40,000 workers, just less than half of which were part-time workers. Like many other entry-level retail positions, sales jobs at Dillard’s tend to involve penalties for unmet sales goals. While these pay structures offer higher wages for high achievers, employees reported poor job security and unreliable work schedules.

While employees appear unhappy, customers are relatively satisfied with Dillard’s. Americans are more satisfied with Dillard’s than with most department stores. Customer satisfaction, as measured by its American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score, rose 2.5% last year. Investors, too, are likely happy with Dillard’s. Shares have risen by more than 1,100% in the past five years.

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5. Brookdale Senior Living
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 322
> CEO approval rating: 51% (T. Andrew Smith)
> Employees: 49,000
> Industry: Senior living facilities

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (NYSE: BKD) is an operator of assisted-living communities. Employees of the company are among the most miserable. Numerous current and former employees reported poor management, understaffing and high turnover. A large proportion of the company’s nearly 49,000 employees are considered part-time. Yet, several reviews cited hours well in excess of traditional part-time schedules. Some employees have expressed concern over the company’s increased focus on profits. “They’ve lost sight of their values — the bottom line comes first and the residents are last,” one reviewer said on Glassdoor.com. Despite these complaints, however, CEO Andrew Smith had a better approval rating than his counterparts at any of the other companies on this list, at 51%.

Brookdale recently announced it would merge with Emeritus Corporation, another senior living company. The companies said that after the merger, 6.5 million Americans 80 years of age and older will live in relative proximity to one of the two companies’ facilities.

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