The Worst Companies to Work For

June 5, 2017 by Mike Sauter

Source: Thinkstock
A satisfied workforce can lead to greater productivity, lower turnover, and happier customers. Still, at some corporations, employee contentment does not appear to be a priority.

For the sixth consecutive year, 24/7 Wall St. identified the nation’s worst companies to work for. We analyzed thousands of employee reviews on jobs and career website Glassdoor. This report was not commissioned by Glassdoor.

The worst rating any large U.S.-based company receives is just 2.4 stars out of 5.0, much lower than the 3.3 average company rating on Glassdoor. The companies that perform the worst operate in different sectors and face unique obstacles to keeping workers happy, but their employees often complain about the same problems.

Click here to see the worst companies to work for.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: RGIS

19. RGIS
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 43%
> Employees: 34,000
> Industry: Inventory management

RGIS, an inventory management company based in Michigan, is one of the worst large companies to work for, based on more than 1,000 employee-submitted reviews on Glassdoor. Current and former workers give the company an average score of just 2.6 out of 5. The average company reviewed on Glassdoor receives a 3.3. Only 43% of RGIS’s reviewers said they would recommend the company to a friend. Common complaints among employees include long hours and a lack of benefits.

[in-text-ad]

18. Jo-Ann Stores
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 29%
> Employees: 23,000
> Industry: Fabrics

Jo-Ann Stores, a specialty chain selling fabrics and crafting supplies, has 23,000 employees working at more than 850 stores 49 states. Many of those employees seem to dislike their company and its management. Less than a third of workers submitting reviews on Glassdoor approved of the management style of CEO Jill Soltau, and less than a third said they would recommend the company to a friend. Pay alone does not determine employee satisfaction, but a common complaint among Jo-Ann employees was low, often minimum-wage pay.

17. Frontier Communications
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 38%
> Employees: 28,000
> Industry: Telecommunications

Frontier Communications, the Norwalk, Connecticut-based cable and internet service provider, receives an average rating of just 2.6 among employees, one of the worst ratings of any company. Employees frequently complain about poor management, unhappy customers, and the company’s uncertain trajectory. The company lost close to $600 million in the most recent fiscal year.

It is believed that an unhappy employee base can lead to poor customer service, and this may be the case at Frontier. The company’s internet services receive a score of 56 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. This is the worst rating of any company in the industry, and the second worst rating across all industries, out of more than 200 companies.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

16. Genesis HealthCare
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 36%
> Employees: 80,000
> Industry: Health care

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania-based Genesis HealthCare operates more than 450 skilled nursing centers and assisted/senior living communities in 30 states. It also operates Genesis Rehab Services division that provides therapy at to about 1,700 locations in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Of the over 1,000 current and former Genesis employees who submitted reviews on Glassdoor, just 36% approve of CEO George Hager Jr.’s management. The same share say they would recommend the job to a friend. Employees frequently complain about senior management caring for little besides profits, and low pay is frequently a concern.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Mike Mozart / Flickr

15. The Children’s Place
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 36%
> Employees: 15,500
> Industry: Apparel

Children’s Place, based in Secaucus, New Jersey, is one of the largest children’s specialty chains in North America, with 1,033 stores. Current and former Children’s Place workers generally have negative reviews of the retailer, citing out-of-touch and uncaring management. While the average company CEO on Glassdoor has an 67% approval rating, Jane Elfers, who has held the position at Children’s Place since 2010, has just a 28% approval rating.

Source: lafitness.com

14. L.A. Fitness
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 33%
> Employees: 10,000+
> Industry: Fitness clubs

One of the nation’s largest providers of fitness clubs, L.A. Fitness was founded in 1984. It has since expanded to over 690 locations, more than doubling in scope over the last eight years. Generally speaking, the company’s more than 10,000 employees tend to dislike their jobs. The company receives an average employee experience review of 2.6 stars out of 5. Only 33% of of the 1,500 employees who submitted a review on the site said they would recommend the job to a friend, and only 31% approve of CEO Louis Welch’s management.

[in-text-ad]

Source: JeffreyJohnsonTP / Wikimedia Commons

13. Teleperformance
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 44%
> Employees: 216,657
> Industry: Customer service

Teleperformance is an over 200,000 employee call center company, providing customer support for other corporations. While the company’s workers are held responsible for keeping other businesses’ customers happy, dealing with unhappy customers all day is notoriously unpleasant work. Teleperformance has among the least happy employees of any large U.S.-based business. A minority of the 2,600 current and former employees submitting reviews through Glassdoor said they would recommend the company to a friend or approved of the company’s CEO. Common complaints on the site include difficult customers, poor pay, and inconsistent or uncaring management.

Source: Thinkstock

12. Brookdale Senior Living
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 41%
> Employees: 77,600
> Industry: Retirement homes

Brookdale Senior Living owns and operates senior retirement homes and assisted living facilities in the United States. The company manages over 1,000 senior living facilities in all but three U.S. states, with a clientele of over 100,000. Based on reviews on Glassdoor, the company has some of the least satisfied employees in the country. Workers who do not feel their company has a bright future are often less happy as they are concerned about their own job security and advancement — and employees at Brookdale are likely worried. The company reported a net loss in each of the last three fiscal years and shares plunged over 60% in the last two years.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

11. Dillard’s
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 38%
> Employees: 40,000
> Industry: Department stores

Dillard’s, a department store with over 900 locations around the United States, has the most unhappy employees of any major company in its field, earning an average score of just 2.6 out of 5.0. Barely over a third of employees say they would recommend a job at the company to a friend, and only 40% approve of the management of Bill Dillard, who has been CEO since 1998. By far the most common complaints among workers were the unrealistic sales quotas set by management on staff as well as harsh response if quotas are not met.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Xerox
> Rating: 2.6
> Pct. employees would recommend: 35%
> Employees: 37,600
> Industry: Technology

Ursula Burns stepped down as CEO of Xerox at the beginning of this year, just after the company spun off its business services operations. Xerox’s slimmer form and new management — Jeff Jacobson took over for Burns — helped push shares higher. It remains to be seen, however, whether the changes will improve the company’s standing in the eyes of its employees. As of now, Xerox receives just a 2.6 out of 5.0 in Glassdoor reviews, and just 35% of respondents say they would recommend a job at the company to a friend.

Source: M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons

9. Rent-A-Center
> Rating: 2.5
> Pct. employees would recommend: 30%
> Employees: 20,100
> Industry: Home furnishings rentals

Rent-A-Center offers rental deals for items such as furniture, computers and appliances. The Plano, Texas-based company operates around 4,300 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. The company also appears to be one of the worst in the U.S. to work for. Less than a third of the current and former workers reviewing the company on Glassdoor say they would recommend a job at RAC to a friend. The average across all Glassdoor companies is 50%. One of the most common complaints about the organization is a poor work-life balance, as well as low pay. Just 27% of those submitting reviews approve of CEO Robert Davis’ management.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

8. Hertz
> Rating: 2.5
> Pct. employees would recommend: 33%
> Employees: 36,000
> Industry: Car rental

Car rental company Hertz is one of the biggest players in the car rental business. Hertz also owns the Dollar and Thrifty brands and is second only to Enterprise Holdings in fleet size. While employees rank Enterprise a 3.4 out of 5.0 on Glassdoor, Hertz ranks at just 2.5, compared to an average of 3.3. Two out of every three employees say they would not recommend a job at the company to a friend. Common complaints submitted by employees include poor, inconsistent hours or being required to work late. Employees also commonly cite low pay and inattentive, unavailable management as issues.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Forever 21
> Rating: 2.5
> Pct. employees would recommend: 32%
> Employees: 35,000
> Industry: Retail

Forever 21 is a retailer with about 600 U.S. locations, many of which are located in malls, and 35,000 employees. The company claims it is the fifth largest specialty retailer in the country. Forever 21 employees reviewing the company on Glassdoor complain of a too-small employee discount, low pay, and extremely high expectations from managers. Just 30% of those submitting reviews approve of the management style of company founder and CEO Don Chang.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. Dish
> Rating: 2.5
> Pct. employees would recommend: 32%
> Employees: 16,000
> Industry: Subscription television

Like many of the worst companies to work for, a significant portion of Dish’s workforce is engaged in customer service. Also similar to many companies on this list, but especially companies in the subscription television service industry, dissatisfied employees frequently report poor communication and lack of transparency from upper management.

Low employee satisfaction, which can lead to poor customer satisfaction, may help explain the company’s declining subscriber counts in recent years. The Fortune 200 company lost 226,000 customers in 2016 and ended the year with just under 13.7 million pay-TV customers. By March 2017 Dish had 13.53 million pay-TV subscribers.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Wikimedia Commons

5. Sears Holdings
> Rating: 2.5
> Pct. employees would recommend: 29%
> Employees: 140,000
> Industry: Department stores

Sears, once an American icon known for changing the way Americans shopped with its Sears catalog, is now at the brink of collapse. Sears, which merged with Kmart in 2004, has lost money each year for a decade. Over the 12 months through January, Sears Holdings posted a net loss of $2.22 billion, surpassing its net losses in each of the previous two fiscal years.

Employees, feeling insecure in their jobs and seeing little future prospects have not been happy at Sears during its decline. And low employee morale certainly has not helped the company. Low pay, poor work-life balance, and excessive pressure to sell credit cards are among the most common complaints among former and current Sears employees.

Source: Miosotis Jade / Wikimedia Commons

4. The Fresh Market
> Rating: 2.4
> Pct. employees would recommend: 30%
> Employees: 10,000+
> Industry: Grocery stores

The Fresh Market was founded in North Carolina in 1982 and has grown to more than 170 stores in 24 states. The company has faced stiff competition from companies like Whole Foods and was acquired last year by Apollo Global Management for $1.36 billion. New ownership may result in some much-needed improvement in the way the company is perceived by its employees. Fresh Market is one of just a few major corporations with less than a 2.5 out of 5 average review on Glassdoor.

[in-text-ad]

Source: pinterest.com

3. CompuCom
> Rating: 2.4
> Pct. employees would recommend: 28%
> Employees: 11,500
> Industry: Information technology

CompuCom has more than 100 sales and service locations in North America, Latin America and India. Founded in 1987, the privately held company whose U.S. headquarters is in Plano, Texas, says it had revenue of $1.15 billion in 2016. While many of the companies on this list are in the service or manufacturing industry, CompuCom workers tend to be better paid better than service sector workers. CompuCom current and former employees using Glassdoor frequently complain about a lack of career advancement and raises.

Source: Kraft Foods Incorporated / Wikimedia Commons

2. Kraft Heinz Company
> Rating: 2.4
> Pct. employees would recommend: 27%
> Employees: 41,000
> Industry: Food products

The worst-reviewed major public U.S.-based corporation, current and former employees of Kraft Heinz rank the company at just 2.4 out of 5.0. Only 27% say they would recommend the job to a friend. Common complaints about the Pittsburgh and Chicago-based company include mentions of long hours, high turnover, a hostile environment, and poor management. Less than one in four reviewers approve of the management of CEO Bernardo Hees, who has held the position since 2015.

Source: alorica.com

1. Alorica
> Rating: 2.3
> Pct. employees would recommend: 34%
> Employees: >100,000
> Industry: Customer service

Alorica makes billions providing customer support for large companies that prefer to outsource customer interactions. The company is the worst rated on employee review website Glassdoor among those with at least 1,500 reviews.

While Alorica likely aims to provide its customers — large companies — with optimal service, its employees are left to deal with those companies’ customers. The challenge of patiently and courteously providing helpful service for often irate customers — a challenge Alorica employees experience in large doses daily — could help explain the high level of dissatisfaction. Although, not all call center companies have such high levels of employee dissatisfaction. In addition, Alorica call center workers tend to earn relatively low wages. The average wage based on hundreds of reports from Alorica customer service representatives is less than $10 per hour.

Detailed Findings

Scott Dobroski, a Glassdoor spokesperson, identified three components in employee reviews that tend to relate most directly to long-term employee satisfaction. These include a positive company culture, good career opportunities, and trust in senior management. Workers at companies that have the most dissatisfied employees indeed tend to complain about an absence of these benefits.

For example, while the average CEO has a 67% employee approval rating on Glassdoor, most of the CEOs of the 19 companies on this list have a worse than 40% approval rating.

The important question employers must address when developing a management and pay structure is how much resources the company should devote to keeping employees happy. While spending more money on pay, training, and benefits can improve employee experiences and therefore potentially lead to greater productivity and happier customers, it can affect the bottom line in the short term. Most corporations must determine the minimum they can give up to maintain stable productivity and minimize turnover.

Glassdoor and other parties have conducted research that conclusively demonstrates that there is at least a relationship between happy employees and successful businesses, at least in part because it often contributes to happier clientele. “We know that when employees are engaged and more satisfied in their work that can lead to greater productivity, greater collaboration, and greater creativity,” Dobroski said. “When employees embody some of those attributes, they trickle down to their customer base.”

Two of the companies on this list, Alorica and Teleperformance, each primarily serves as call centers for other companies. The presence of these two companies on this list suggests that in some businesses, it is likely far more difficult to maintain happy employees. Call center workers must spend their entire day dealing with dissatisfied, often angry or abusive customers.

Most of the companies on this list, in fact, are customer-facing organizations. The difficulties of dealing with customers likely partially contribute to the composition of this list. However, as Dobroski noted, many customer-facing corporations have generally satisfied employees. Dobroski suggested that companies in any industry can improve employee satisfaction by listening to employee feedback and seeking to foster a better relationship with workers.

While Glassdoor generally cautions that pay is not necessarily the most important driving factor in the customer experience, it should be noted that the companies on this list generally tend to pay their workers less. At nearly all of these 19 companies, the most commonly reported annual compensation on Glassdoor is lower than the national average annual wage of $49,630.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article erroneously the logo for Genesis Healthcare System in the summary about Genesis Healthcare. These are two separate companies — the error has been corrected.

Methodology

To identify the 19 worst companies to work for, 24/7 Wall St. independently examined employee reviews on Glassdoor — this is not a Glassdoor commissioned report. To be considered, a company had to have a minimum of 1,000 reviews on Glassdoor and be currently operating and headquartered in the United States. Some corporations were excluded when major corporate changes took place affecting the structure of a company, so that it would be unfair to use reviews of what was effectively a different company. Employee counts and net income data refer to each company’s most recent annual financial report, when available. Employee counts in some instances refer to the parent company’s workforce.