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The Worst Companies to Work For

Nearly 129 million Americans spend at least one-third of their waking life at work.


By Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St.

Nearly 129 million Americans spend at least one-third of their waking life at work. For this reason, job satisfaction can be critical to overall happiness and quality of life -- and some companies appear to prioritize employee satisfaction more than others.

Based on 49 million reviews posted to Glassdoor, an online platform for employees to rate their employer, the average company has a rating of 3.4 out of 5. Scores below 3 are relatively rare, but there are several companies -- many of them customer facing -- with plenty of room for improvement. There are 16 large companies with scores of 2.6 and lower.

24/7 Wall St. used Glassdoor data to identify the worst companies to work for. This is not a Glassdoor commissioned report. We only considered large, U.S.-based companies and excluded government agencies and nonprofits from our analysis.

In a written exchange with 24/7 Wall St., Glassdoor career trends expert Amelia Green-Vamos laid out some of the most common shortcomings of the companies on this list. “Companies with low satisfaction are typically those that struggle with culture and values, visibility and trustworthiness of senior leadership, and career opportunities which we see among very highly rated companies.” To be sure, these same factors are among the most common complaints in employee-submitted reviews for companies on this list. In Contrast, reviews for the best companies to work for frequently express confidence in senior leadership.

Compensation also appears to play a role. The average pay for common positions in many companies on this list is relatively low, and many employees complain about infrequent raises. Many of the positions available at these companies also rank among the 25 lowest paying jobs in America.

Widespread dissatisfaction among employees can also be bad for business. Unhappy employees can undermine the customer experience and ultimately the brand’s reputation. It is likely no coincidence that many of these companies also rank among America’s most hated companies.


16. Steak n Shake


> Glassdoor rating: 2.6/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 29%

> Employees: 10,000+

> Industry: Casual restaurants

> Headquarters: San Antonio, TX

San Antonio-based restaurant chain Steak n Shake operates on the credo: "The more relevant we are to customers, the less relevant the competition becomes." The company's singular focus on customer satisfaction, however, may be coming at the expense of employee morale. Steak n Shake has a Glassdoor company rating of just 2.6 out of 5, well below the 3.4 out of 5 average across all organizations. Only 29% of employees reviewing the company on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend, and 22% of workers who left reviews about the company approve of CEO Sardar Bigari.

Steak n Shake is a franchise business, and as such, employee experience are more likely to vary by location.


15. Charter Communications


> Glassdoor rating: 2.6/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 39%

> Employees: 98,000

> Industry: Cable, internet & telephone providers

> Headquarters: Stamford, CT

Charter Communications is the company behind the Spectrum brand -- the cable, internet, and TV service provider. Workers in the telecom industry are disproportionately unhappy with their employers, and as the second largest cable operator in the United States, Charter Communications is part of the reason why. Negative reviews on Glassdoor frequently point out that the work environment closely resembles that of a call center, and that upper management can be overbearing. A lack of confidence in senior leadership extends all the way to the top. Fewer than half of all Charter employees approve of CEO Thomas Rutledge on Glassdoor.


14. Speedway LLC


> Glassdoor rating: 2.6/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 34%

> Employees: 60,350

> Industry: Gas stations

> Headquarters: Enon, OH

Speedway is a chain of gas stations and convenience stores. Based in Enon, Ohio, Speedway has over 2,700 locations across 22 states in the eastern United States. On its website, Speedway claims to "offer a wealth of opportunities with significant advancement potential." While upward mobility is generally beneficial to employee morale, common criticisms of the company on Glassdoor like a lack of work-life balance, insufficient break time, and a lack of clarity and sympathy from upper management are not. Only about a third of Speedway employees leaving reviews on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.


13. CDK Global


> Glassdoor rating: 2.6/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 36%

> Employees: 8,500

> Industry: Computer hardware & software

> Headquarters: Hoffman Estates, IL

CDK Global is a technology company that provides software and business services to 30,000 automotive, truck, boat, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealerships across five continents. The company employs sales representatives, software engineers, and implementation workers, many of whom are unhappy with the company. Negative Glassdoor reviews frequently point to understaffing and the ever-looming possibility of being laid off.

Compensation is also relatively low. Software engineers with the company earn an average of about $89,000 a year, on the lower end of the income spectrum for the profession.


12. The Children's Place


> Glassdoor rating: 2.6/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 31%

> Employees: 18,700

> Industry: Clothing stores

> Headquarters: Secaucus, NJ

The Children's Place, a Secaucus, New Jersey-based childrens' clothing chain, is one of several customer-facing retailers to rank among the worst companies to work for. Employee complaints posted on Glassdoor frequently reference low pay -- minimum wage for sales associates -- and pressure to promote the store credit card to customers. CEO Jane Elfers, who took the helm in 2010, has a 33% approval rating on Glassdoor. Additionally, only 31% of those who work at The Children's Place and who left reviews on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.


11. CompuCom


> Glassdoor rating: 2.6/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 33%

> Employees: 9,000

> Industry: IT services

> Headquarters: Fort Mill, SC

A subsidiary of office supply retailer Office Depot, IT services company CompuCom offers a range of software products and services to its clients. Though CompuCom says on its website that its associates "are the heart and soul of our company and the value we deliver to clients," many employees do not feel they are treated as such. Employees regularly complain that pay is low, raises are infrequent, and that there is little room for professional growth and promotion. Only 35% of CompuCom employees reviewing the company on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.


10. Regal


> Glassdoor rating: 2.6/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 35%

> Employees: 26,047

> Industry: Movie theaters

> Headquarters: Knoxville, TN

Employees of the Knoxville-based movie theater chain Regal are offered free admission to movies and discounted concessions. These perks are not enough to offset the job's weaknesses, however. Regal employees regularly complain of low pay, understaffing, and unreliable coworkers.

Several reviews mention that worker conditions have declined considerably since the company was bought by U.K.-based Cineworld Group. Upon the February 2018 acquisition, all members of Regal's board of directors resigned.


9. LA Fitness


> Glassdoor rating: 2.6/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 33%

> Employees: 10,000+

> Industry: Fitness centers

> Headquarters: Irvine, CA

LA Fitness is an Irvine, California-based fitness center chain with 675 locations across the United States and Canada as of 2017. The company is one of many customer-facing organizations to rank among the worst places to work. Reviews on Glassdoor frequently mention low pay, long hours, and a disconnected upper management. CEO Louis Welch has just a 27% approval rating on Glassdoor, and only 34% of LA Fitness employees leaving reviews on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.


8. U.S. Security Associates


> Glassdoor rating: 2.5/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 34%

> Employees: 50,000+

> Industry: Security services

> Headquarters: Roswell, GA

U.S. Security Associates offers security services to its clients. The Roswell, Georgia-based company employs over 50,000 staff, many of whom are less than satisfied with the company. As is the case with many companies on this list, Security Associates employees regularly complain about low pay, infrequent raises, and limited support from upper management. Security guards employed by the company earn an average of just $11 an hour.

U.S. Security Associates was acquired in 2018 by facility services company Allied Universal, the subject of an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by supervisors.


7. Genesis HealthCare


> Glassdoor rating: 2.5/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 31%

> Employees: 10,000+

> Industry: Health care services

> Headquarters: Kennett Square, PA

Genesis HealthCare is a Pennsylvania-based health care service provider, offering both long- and short-term living options for patients across more than 400 locations nationwide. Services include senior living facilities and rehabilitation therapy. Based on Glassdoor reviews, employee morale appears to be low. Genesis employees regularly mention limited upward mobility, infrequent raises, short-staffing, and inflexible upper management. CEO George Hager has a 31% approval rating on Glassdoor, and only 32% of Genesis employees reviewing the company would recommend a job at the company to a friend.


6. Conduent


> Glassdoor rating: 2.5/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 34%

> Employees: 82,000

> Industry: Business services

> Headquarters: Florham Park, NJ

Conduent is a New Jersey-based business services company that manages a range of tasks for its clients, including digital payments, claims processing, regulatory compliance, and benefit administration. Dissatisfaction with the company among its employees seems to stem largely from a lack of raises, too infrequent performance reviews, and lack of communication from upper management. Many negative reviews on Glassdoor also mention low pay and a call center-like work environment. Only 35% of Conduent employees leaving reviews on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.


5. Family Dollar Stores


> Glassdoor rating: 2.5/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 27%

> Employees: 60,000

> Industry: Discount stores

> Headquarters: Matthews, NC

Family Dollar is a national chain of over 8,000 discount stores. According to the company website, Family Dollar Stores operates under the credo: "The customers are the boss, and you need to keep them happy." Customer happiness, however, may be coming at the expense of employee satisfaction.

Family Dollar employees frequently complain of long hours, understaffing, and poor relationships and insufficient communication between store managers and upper management. Only 27% of Family Dollar employees leaving reviews on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.


4. Alorica


> Glassdoor rating: 2.5/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 36%

> Employees: 100,000

> Industry: Outsourcing and business services

> Headquarters: Irvine, CA

Alorica is one of several outsourcing and business services companies to rank on this list. The company manages a range of functions for its clients, including customer service, sales, back office support, and relationship management. Headquartered in Irvine, California, the company employs over 100,000 people across 14 countries -- and many of them are dissatisfied with their employer.

Negative reviews on Glassdoor frequently reference the call center environment, a lack of adequate communication from upper management, and infrequent raises. Only 36% of Alorica employees leaving reviews on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.


3. Union Pacific


> Glassdoor rating: 2.4/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 26%

> Employees: 42,000

> Industry: Transportation

> Headquarters: Omaha, NE

Union Pacific, a railroad company that operates in 23 states in the western U.S., is the only transportation company to rank on this list. According to Glassdoor reviews, dissatisfaction often stems from a lack of work-life balance, long hours on call, and a rigid structure based on seniority. Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz has held the top job for over four years and has a dismal 13% employee approval rating on Glassdoor.


2. Frontier Communications


> Glassdoor rating: 2.4/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 23%

> Employees: 21,200

> Industry: Cable, internet & telephone providers

> Headquarters: Norwalk, CT

Telecom companies frequently struggle with employee dissatisfaction, but none as much as Frontier Communications. The company's 21,000 employees work across a number of departments, including sales, customer service, corporate, and engineering. Job dissatisfaction at Frontier often stems from poor relationships with upper management, a call center environment, and lack of a work-life balance, according to the reviews. Only 17% of Frontier employees leaving reviews on Glassdoor approve of CEO Dan McCarthy, and fewer than one-in-four would recommend a job at the company to a friend.


1. The Fresh Market


> Glassdoor rating: 2.2/5

> Employees who would recommend working at company: 25%

> Employees: 10,000+

> Industry: Grocery Stores & Supermarkets

> Headquarters: Greensboro, NC

With a Glassdoor score of 2.2 out of 5, supermarket chain The Fresh Market ranks as the worst company to work for. Founded in 1982, the North Carolina-based chain has now over 160 locations across 22 states. According to Glassdoor research, trust in senior leadership is critical to employee satisfaction, and dissatisfaction with upper management is the most common complaint in Glassdoor reviews about the company. Other reviews also mention insufficient training and inexperienced department managers. Fresh Market CEO Larry Appel has a 28% approval rating among reviewers, and only 24% of employees leaving reviews on Glassdoor would recommend a job with the company to a friend.

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Career Magazine: The Worst Companies to Work For
The Worst Companies to Work For
Nearly 129 million Americans spend at least one-third of their waking life at work.
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