(5 Minute Read)

5 Companies with cultures that are scaring off talent

After sleep, the workplace, whether a traditional 9 to 5 or a flexible and primarily virtual culture, consumes most of the average person's hours. Naturally, this time has a tremendous impact on people's lives. From the relationships formed with managers and coworkers, to the expectations and accomplishments of the role itself, work culture shapes lives. Employees, today more than ever, want more than just a paycheck. They are on the hunt for an organization that provides them with a culture to be proud of, meaningful relationships, impactful work, and an environment that allows them to grow and thrive. 

Today, there are many tools that allow talent to analyze an organization beyond their offer sheet. From websites like Glassdoor that score companies to increased transparency of metrics like CEO approval rating, to anonymous reviews, it has never been easier for talent to evaluate an organization for cultural fit. So how can an organization build a desirable culture?

There are many ingredients that go into creating a culture that will truly attract and retain the top talent. Organizations need to take a measured and intentional  look into the various dimensions of culture, to identify strengths and weaknesses their culture currently has and come up with a plan of attack to start transforming.

Perhaps the question that comes to mind for many business leaders is this—what am I even trying to create? What cultures attract or drive away employees? Recently, we covered 5 positive cultures that are attracting the best talent and innovating on culture. In this post we will take the inverse approach. Here are 5 examples of cultures that are driving away talent, and if they hit a little too close to home, it may be time to make some changes:

Quick Stats:

Glassdoor Rating: 2.5

CEO approval Rating: 36%

Employees: 60k+

One of the largest chains of discount retail in the nation, Family Dollar boasts over 8,000 stores in 46 different states. In 2015, Family Dollar was acquired by competitor Dollar Tree and new CEO Gary Philbin was put in place. Unfortunately new leadership has done little to create an attractive work culture with a 36% CEO approval rating and ranking among the worst U.S. companies to work for.

Discount retail is often primarily customer service, and this is many employees favorite part of their work. Employee feedback on the culture centers around the fact that managers are often unqualified, work-life balance is poor, and unrealistic expectations abound. Employees often feel unheard by and disconnected from management, and turnover is high both among leaders and field workers. The lack of a positive culture is reflected in the company’s net promotion scores—more people would steer their friends away from the company than recommend it. 

Quick Stats:

Glassdoor rating: 2.5

CEO approval rating: 51%

Employees: 14,000+

One of the largest security solutions providers in the world, with one of the most abysmal ratings from employees in its industry. Employee concerns center around the fact that they are given little opportunity to grow, and that management is chaotic and disorganization is rampant throughout the company, which ends up with employees covering unexpected shifts which sometimes they aren't adequately trained for. 

This seems a major disconnect from the company’s stated values of promoting from within and giving people the opportunity to rise to senior level positions. Employees feel largely unvalued by management and the organization as a whole, which is once again reflected in the company's net promoter score.

Quick Stats:

Glassdoor Rating: 2.9

CEO Approval Rating: 34

Employees: 30,000+

GameStop boasts over 5,500 stores in 14 different countries, focused on selling games and gaming platforms, on top of a newsworthy, social media driven stock price explosion that will likely be in an investing textbook at some point. Unfortunately, despite some perks like a monthly free game,  the organization has consistently had a strained relationship with its employees.

Employees complain about an outdated business model, unrealistic expectations for stores and associates. Things came to a head during the pandemic as the organization resisted calls from their employees to shut down. Whatever the intentions of the organization, employees perceived it as the company taking advantage of the pandemic and the rise in video game purchases. In some cases employees described the business leaders as abusive during the CEO’s initiative to transform stores into online distribution centers. Unfortunately, intense business periods such as the Black Friday holiday revealed the lack of infrastructure that forced massive workloads onto the employees. 

Morale is on the decline in a culture that makes employees feel they have no value to their organization other than creating revenue, and so are their net promoter scores. 

Quick Stats:

Glassdoor Rating: 2.6

CEO Approval Rating: 24%

Employees: 42,000+

It is nearly impossible to walk into a local grocery store without running into the Kraft Heinz company products. This food manufacturer is home to some of the most popular brands in U.S.. 

Kraft, Heinz, Oscar Mayer, Lunchables, Planters Peanuts, the list goes on and on. The company is the result of a 2015 merger, which resulted in substantial layoffs and plant closures. 

Among this adversity, complaints about the company culture have become more and more prevalent. The primary cultural complaint centers around respect and care for employees from management. Employees feel that the company only sees them as a means to make profit, and are willing to sacrifice everything from their wellbeing to their work life balance in the pursuit of a healthy bottom line. While the company has pushed back on this perception and claimed they are pushing the company to become more efficient and competitive, they have as of yet failed to convince the people that matter—their employees. 

Quick Stats:

Glassdoor Rating: 3.0

CEO Approval Rating: 33%

Employees: 10,000+

LA Fitness formed in 1984 and has risen to prominence in the health club world. Today LA Fitness has over 700 clubs across North America and generated over $900 billion in revenue in 2020. With a mission to drive physical well-being for their members, it is unfortunate that employees feel that their well-being has been ignored. 

Between the long hours and low pay, employees indicate complete lack of appreciation from upper management. One employee described their role as “an easy job, but not worth the mental state that it puts you in”. Once again, many of the issues with shifts and work management seem to step from a lack of organization from management. Expectations are high, and accountability is low. On trend with some of the other organizations on this list, employees of LA fitness indicate that a major con of their work was a lack of intentionality when it came to their development, and no real opportunities to advance.

People are an organization's most valuable resource. These 5 cultures have created an environment that not only negatively impacts the lives and productivity of their people, but also turns them from advocates of the business into detractors. They put strain on their employees' lives through mismanagement, they tend to underpay and over expect, and they often fail to listen and connect with their people. Employees have just as much power to turn people away from the company as they do to attract and convince new talent that they should join. Build an environment that empowers employees, gives them a voice, and gives them an abundance of reasons to recommend their company to the next vital hire.