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The Corporate

…and the Survey Says!

Now that I defined the origin of the name of this business model in the previous article, it’s time to put some proof in this pudding.  Every once in awhile I come across surveys listing the Worst Places to Work For.  This is a good starting point because it highlights the activities contributing to this business model as they are more prevalent in these places establishing a baseline of support.  There are plenty of complaint sites out there but the problem with them is that more people go there to complain than praise.  SiteJabber is one of the better ones because some companies do have good ratings.  It is a great place to check out Gig Economy companies like Uber, Lyft, SiteJabber, AirBnB, etc but for this Glassdoor was used because they initially created this survey which was then passed on after just 2 years of publications.

The Worst Companies to Work For and Why (2013-2017)

An article on The Balance describes how the origin of this list started; “Few organizations are brave enough to release “worst” lists.  We can only imagine the backlash that happens when a multi-billion dollar retailing company is identified as the “worst” in any way. However, Glassdoor.com is one organization that dared to compile and make public a “Worst Companies to Work For” list beginning in 2008, based on voluntary employee surveys that evaluate eight workplace factors:

  • Senior Leadership
  • Communication
  • Employee Morale
  • Career Opportunities
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Recognition and Feedback
  • Fairness and Respect

Glassdoor stopped publishing its “worst employers” list after 2009, but using the data available on the Glassdoor website, 24/7 Wall St. has been creating its own Worst Workplaces list since 2012, based on its research and analysis of the ratings, rankings, and comments which are publicly available on Glassdoor.com.”

The majority of the names listed below come from 24/7 Wall St.’s 2013-2017 reports yet I also discovered one 2009 report which would be the second and final one from Glassdoor.  The Balance article goes from 2008 to 2015 but focused solely on retail and all employers is the focus of this Business Model so it’s included in the references for review.  Interestingly, I’ve worked for two of these companies.  One as an employee for over 6 years and the other as a contractor for 6 months until Corporate Budgeting cancelled it without informing my manager.

24/7 Wall St. Worst Places to Work For (2013-2017)

ADT*, AECOM, Alorica, AutoZone, Bank of New York Mellon, Books-A-Million, Brookdale Senior Living*, Broomfield, The Children’s Place*, CompuCom, Computer Services Corp, CVS, Dilliard’s**, DHL, DISH**, Dollar General*, Dominion Enterprises, Express Scripts**, Family Dollar*, Fiserv, Forever 21**, The Fresh Market, Frontier Communications*, Gamestop, Hertz, Genesis Healthcare, Gibson Guitar, Hewlett-Packard, hhgregg, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jo-Ann Stores, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Kmart*, Kraft/Heinz*, L.A. Fitness, NCR, OfficeMax, RadioShack*, Rain Bird, Rent-A-Center, RGIS, Rite Aid, Ross, Robert Half International, Sears**, Spherion, Teleperformance, United Airlines, and Xerox**

*appeared in two of the four years
**appeared in 3 or more years

I went through each company summary of the complaints and aggregated them into a list.  It actually didn’t take that long before they became redundant indicating the same problems are happening regardless of employer type.

  • Layoffs and plant/store closures due to cost cutting measures and/or mergers (eroding or threatening Job Security and morale)
  • Long work days/weeks; No Work-Life Balance with some having to be available 24/7
  • Unrealistic expectations such as sales quotas or performance targets
  • Low or stagnant wages, long hours and out of touch and/or unsympathetic management and/or micromanaged with poor benefits of high deductible and/or high contribution levels.
  • Management Cliques resulting in Favoritism
  • Management Bullying
  • Management out of touch with employees
  • Unacceptable work environment such as too hot or cold with no response to complaints
  • Illegal activities the results of which impact employees in a variety of ways including layoffs, attrition, and pay cuts as the results of fines or other enforced restrictions.

Here are a few highlights of 24/7 Wall St. comments about these reports: Continue reading

The More I Explored, the More I Found

One of the ways to truly understand the impact of the oncoming Gig Economy is to look at what’s driving it.  I have touched down on some of these elements such asThe Cold Sweeping Hand” or “The Race to the Bottom”.  Another thing I come across frequently is that workers are voluntarily leaving to seek other opportunities – escaping many of the traps that exist in the workplace.  I decided to start digging around to see what I could find about the overall American work experience especially in light of some of the crappy things I’ve witnessed or have been through personally.  If you take a moment to think about it, this topic is not short on subject matter.  At first it seemed like a fairly simple task to start with a survey I’ve seen before, “Worst Places to Work, expecting it to highlight the issues – in general – and then proceed to looking at some alternative solutions.  It’s those “out of the blue” ones you stumble upon in email newsletters or side bar news where you didn’t expect to discover additional research resources that began to open this up more.  Little-by-little a larger picture emerged that has now evolved into a series of articles exploring various dimensions of this topic.  At first it may seem all a tad negative because that is the most prevalent, plus more are likely to complain than praise. Yet there are good companies out there as well, begging the question of ratios as I’m certain the Bad Ones outweigh the Good Ones.

What We All Want

If money makes the world go round which is then used for the exchanges of life’s goods and services et al, then it’s not much of a stretch to add that happiness be involved with this in that all any of us want is to at least slightly enjoy what you do (preferably more), earn a sustainable living per your life’s goals, have a family if you choose, a social life, etc.…all part and parcel of living a good and decent life.  Life isn’t life without its ups and downs and bumps and grinds requiring an ever growing ability to adapt to the consistency of these engaging challenges; some may refer to this as stress.  Yet when I look around at today’s work environment, this is not what the Status Quo is.  Job Security is said to be eroding but in reality it’s a long ago thing of the past kept alive by old “Leave It to Beaver” ideals of “The Great American Way of Life”.  What came out of this and other elements such as the eroding Middle Class resulting in greater challenges of Upward Mobility, is that some even go so far as to say “The American Dream is Dead” because you have to be asleep to believe in it; that’s why it’s called a dream.  Yet the majority of us continue to plod along in an ever eroding employment environment never realizing the degree to which we adhere to these outmoded versions of a Stylized Working Life.  Until one day, out of the nowhere, the eroding American Dream is suddenly interjected in our lives Continue reading

As a result of my extensive experience as a Metrics and Reporting Specialist I’ve come to understand or at least seriously question something about CEO’s.  I would discuss this confusion with friends and perhaps associates yet I had never given it a name.   I’m now calling it “The CEO Conundrum”.  This may come as a surprise or even be shocking once I get into it and perhaps even irritate those in executive positions yet once I explain how it is I eventually came to this awareness it will be clear that I’m correct in what I’m saying at least from what I’ve experienced.  Much of this comes from the fact that the higher you go up the corporate ladder the more accountable you are to multitude of various functions of the company with each level having some element of Direct Reports taking care of details at that level which the leader of that level cannot personally keep in touch with and therefore depends on those various direct reports to attend to those details.

How This Conundrum Unfolded

United Airlines Cargo was my first corporate job to support a monthly book for cargo service performance which eventually evolved into me creating the first weekly report in an effort to get the reporting closer to when the actual performance had occurred.  Monthly and quarterly reports ensued.  I was eventually tasked to build a reduced version of these metrics as guided by my manager. Other metrics from the division were added such as some financials.  This was to be included in a distribution package that was used for meetings with the C-Suite.  As I became more involved with reporting on the various levels of the division and then to the company at large, the higher up they went, the simpler they got.  None of the upper level metrics included a lot of data.  They had to be more simply expressed as meeting or not meeting a target and nothing else.  This is where I came up with the phrase “Look and Go” in relation to these upper management metrics realizing if the person had to spend time analyzing what it said it was either ignored or rejected flat out.  My first exposure to “metrics manipulation” happened here.  The director of cargo would at times come to me with “recalculations” of the goals that were also used in the C-Suite report in order to assist them in meeting their goals so as to not be called out (aka embarrassed) for any lackluster performance in these round table meetings of all of the divisions of the company.   Although the data reported was always very accurate, these “recalculations” were at times very creative as it was an attempt to avoid the embarrassment with peers.  One in particular was where he asked me to remove the goal lines in the C-Suite version.  I had to submit them to someone who aggregated them all into a single package.  An hour later I received a call saying that the Senior VP who reported to the CEO noticed they were gone and requested them to be immediately reinstated.  The director happened to pass by just as I got off of the phone and when I informed him of it his response rhymed with yuck.

My next Metrics and Reporting role was at Allstate Insurance in their application development division with the initial task of rebuilding a massive quarterly division report containing a lot of different metrics from financial to people to various ITIL based metrics.  Upon completion the next task was to develop weekly and monthly reporting for the department.  As I worked with the various departmental stakeholders I again noticed that these contained not just more metrics but also more detail than the executive quarterly report.  I also worked on a variety of other reporting that depending on the audience would depend on the detail of the results.

The reports I created at my next role at Caremark were very similar to the Allstate metrics.  I designed and created metrics that reported the same pattern of detail at the department level, less at the Director level and even more consolidated for the Vice President. Continue reading