Comparing a Few of America’s ‘Worst Companies to Work For’

Employer brand may seem like an abstract concept until you look at the catastrophic consequences some companies deal with when they’re dubbed one of America’s worst companies to work for. Get smart and learn about how companies are qualified as the worst to work for. 


There are a number of organizations that rank these companies and their criteria for making the decisions may vary, but regardless of why you’ve earned a spot on that list whether it’s from a news outlet like Fox Business or the Huffington Post, it’s undoubtedly difficult to recover and damaging to your entire brand.

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Let’s look at a few of the companies that have received this painful distinction, and uncover what they may have in common:

  1. Express Scripts: This is one of America’s largest providers of prescription drug service management. The company bought Medco Health Solutions in 2011, after which it began making big layoffs.This is a company that not only ranks poorly in terms of employee perception, but it also tends to score behind most competitors when it comes to customer service and satisfaction. So what are the complaints on the part of employees? One of the biggest issues seems to be that employees feel like they face an incredible amount of pressure to meet metrics and business leaders give the impression the numbers are more important than employees providing great customer service. Employees also felt that meeting certain numbers was certainly above employee satisfaction, and there’s a widespread feeling of being overworked amongst the team at Express Scripts.
  1. Dillard’s: Dillard’s is a department store operated by the Dillard family. There are stores in about 29 states, yet the company is failing to remain competitive with both other brick-and-mortar retailers as well as online competition. There are a couple of different factors that seem to have played into this ranking. Namely, employees felt they were forced to try and meet unreasonable sales targets which placed them in an unhealthy competition with coworkers and also led them to feel unappreciated and overworked. Employees also say the sales-per-hour targets at the store aren’t conducive to providing great service and working toward customer loyalty—they’re instead all about closing the sale quickly. Employees also tend to have a gripe when it comes to the CEO and company leaders. The company’s CEO William Dillard II had an approval rating of only 22% and while the company is failing to see growth, the company leaders continue to see rising salaries.
  1. ADT: ADT provides security services for residential and commercial customers and they have a client base totaling more than six million. The business model of the company relies on dealers who provide installation services to customers. As a result of the model, many of the employees of the company had complaints about the disorganized management they experienced. They also felt management either didn’t treat them well at all, or micromanaged them. There is also a big problem when it comes to sales training according to employees, and many employees felt as if they were left out on their own when it came to figuring out what to do and how to do it. The approach to customers seems to be similar, with employees reporting ADT only cares about securing new customers and once they do that there’s little focus on servicing them.

These are just three of the U.S. companies that have had a hard time combating a negative employer brand in the past couple of years.

It’s interesting to note that each of these companies has a number of things in common, especially when it comes to how they treat employees that then bleed over into their customer service. It’s an insightful study in the concept that how you treat your employees has a direct and measurable relationship to how your customers feel they’re treated. What do you think about the companies taking the top spots?

December 10, 2014   Updated :March 20, 2015      

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