5 Stocks Employees Love to Hate
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If recent history is any guide, nearly 3 million Americans will express that sentiment to bosses this month. While that might sound like a huge number of quits, it's actually a very low figure when compared to healthier job markets. The rate was closer to 4 million fed up workers every August from 2005 – 2007, before the recession depressed those numbers in the years since:
Source: BLS monthly data, unadjusted
If you’re going to tell your boss just what he can do with your job, August is a very popular time to do it. It's consistently the peak quitting month of the year, accounting for more than 10% of the annual total, year after unfulfilling year.
Who’s coming with me?
Employee turnover isn't just expensive for companies who have to constantly hire and train people that will be quitting in a few months. It also hurts morale for the employees that stick around, and can clue investors in to deeper issues at the firm. That's why low turnover is a key factor in Fortune's yearly survey of the best companies to work for, which Google topped this year.
But late August doesn't seem like the time to talk about how much we love our jobs. On that score, 24/7 Wall Street just released a report, based on employee survey responses, of America's worst companies to work for.
Let's take a look at a few companies topping the bad list:
|Company||Ranking||Employees||Why it Ranked So Low|
|HP (NYSE: HPQ)||8||349,600||company strategy, layoffs|
|Dillard's (NYSE: DDS)||2||38,000||CEO approval, high turnover|
|Gamestop (NYSE: GME)||10||17,000||focus on sales over customer service|
|Bank of NY - Mellon (NYSE: BK)||11||48,000||low salary, lack of advancement opportunities|
|Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD)||6||264,000||work environment, management issues|
Source: 24/7 Wall Street and SEC filings
HP made the list this year after the stress of multiple rounds of layoffs and what employees said was a lack of strategic direction at the company. Even though they reported high confidence in CEO Meg Whitman, HP workers were unhappy with the company's poor performance and constantly shifting strategies.
The scenario was just the opposite at Dillards, with employees reporting no confidence in Dillard's CEO despite good company performance. Clocking in at an abysmal approval rating of 21%, CEO William Dillard II was a key reason driving employee dissatisfaction at the retailer. Maybe that had something to do with his outsized compensation package, which nearly tripled last year -- to $12 million -- on flat sales growth.
- Customer service
Lack of focus on customer service was also a theme in this year's list of worst companies. Sears employees, for instance, complained about underinvestment in the retailer's infrastructure, making it harder to deliver customer satisfaction.
Gamestop workers were even less impressed, complaining that the company valued quick sales over providing a great shopping experience. One employee review put it this way:
"Priority is placed on sales instead of games and customers...Business’ models place customers at a disadvantage."
Its a bad sign when front line employees are complaining about your business model treating customers poorly.
Salary complaints were also a fixture in all of the poorest rated companies, with Bank of New York a typical example. BK has put in place stingy pay packages as part of expense reduction efforts.
A low starting salary can be tolerated by most people -- as a starting point. But employees at BK reported dissatisfaction with promotion opportunities, too, solidifying the bank's place on this year's naughty list.
There are a lot of dissatisfied employees out there, particularly after job market softness that has kept quits artificially low for years. Ineffectual or unfocused management, an environment that doesn't put the customer first, and below-market pay are factors making for loads of unhappy workers. And that's bad news for any company. Unsatisfied employees can quickly become ex-employees, especially at this time of year.
SigmaSwan has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dillard's and GameStop. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.