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Five Companies With Negative Social Impact -- Within Their Own Ranks

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



Five Companies With Negative Social Impact -- Within Their Own Ranks

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Marc Epstein's latest book discusses how companies and organizations can measure and improve their social impact. While this is a very noble pursuit, there are many companies who are actively having negative social impact by not only infuriating their partners and customers but their very own employees!

Here are five companies where the organization's actions upon its own employees has had a very negative social impact:

1. Dish Network (35,000 employees): Not only does this satellite television company have a record number of customer complaints and the lowest customer satisfaction rates in the entire industry, Businessweek called it "The Meanest Company in America." In reviews at Glassdoor the employees complain consistently about the poor pay and benefits. "The benefits are pitiful and the salaries are not current with industry -- I should know as I work in a department that sees the salaries," said one manager. In 2013, Dish Network was named by PRNewser as the worst place to work in America.

2. Express Scripts (30,215 employees): One of America's largest managers of prescription drugs services, this company fills over 1.4 billion prescriptions a year. A major workforce consolidation in 2012 led to Walgreen's breaking their agreement with them as partners because of the number of complaints received from pharmacists and customers alike (see their Consumer Affairs ranking here). Employees are also dissatisfied with the company and complain that the entire company is run on metrics and number-related goals with no attention given to customer service or employee well-being.

3. Dillard's (27,740 employees): Dillard's is a chain of about 300 department stores in 29 states that remains in tight competition with Macy's and Kohl's. While the company's profits are non-existent, the three family members that run the company (Mike, Bill, and Alex Dillard) have pulled in a total of $54 million in salary over the last three years. Dillard's employees are especially unhappy about their hours and pay as well as their sales targets which are not based on daily sales but hourly. The CEO of the company has an approval rating of just 23%.

4. Radio Shack(34,500 employees): You may have seen the Superbowl ad this year by RadioShack where they insist they are going to break out of their 80s image. The problem is that while they pay their executives well and even sponsor a Tour de France team, their employees are paid below industry standards, according to anonymous postings and interviews. In addition to low pay, the hours are strenuous and irregular and supposedly middle-and-upper-level management likes to play favorites with store managers and assign seemingly arbitrary sales quotas.

5. Sears (274,000 employees): Sears Holdings, which owns both Sears and Kmart has been pretty much run by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert since a merger in 2005. Over the last few years, they've gone through a number of CEOs before Lampert decided to be CEO himself. Lampert currently enjoys a 19% approval rating among employees -- one of the lowest ever for a major company. The company ranks next to last in customer service (which isn't that great if you consider that the company in last place is Kmart, which they also own). Morale among employees is considered almost nonexistent as complaints about the availability of work hours and the constant pressure to have customers open new credit cards mount. It is widely believed that Sears may not be standing in 2015.