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The firms you don’t want to work for

The website, Glassdoor, has a database of millions of company reviews put together by those who know the company best; their employees.

Below are 10 companies, that received a rating of 2.6 out of 5 or lower. Who knows why they didn’t mark out of 10, or even supply a percentage figure? The average rating across the site is 3.3/5.

William Hill – 2.5/5

Bookmaker William Hill has a score of just 2.5/5 on Glassdoor, with both current and former employees criticising the firm for the “long hours” and poor “work/life balance”.

One employee said: “Not receiving breaks is one of the cons you get pretty used to”, while another said: “Unsociable work hours, most of which are spent working alone.”

On the plus side, employees say that the hours can be flexible, and that it is relatively easy to progress to more senior management.

A spokesperson for William Hill said: “William Hill employs 13,500 people in the UK, many of whom tell us they love their jobs – in particular the interaction they have with customers and colleagues.

“There has been a lot of change in the business in the last 12 months which has been supported by many colleagues but which some have found more challenging.”

The Financial Ombudsman – 1.9/5

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has a dismal rating on Glassdoor, with just 1.9 stars out of 5. Employees complain of “challenging” and “stressful” conditions, in which “we simply don’t have enough time to do what’s asked of us”.

On the other hand, employees praised the dispute resolution service for its “good benefits” and “flexible working hours”.

An FOS spokesperson said: “Over the last few years, we’ve been changing the way our organisation works so that we can provide a better and more efficient service to our customers – with ombudsmen on the phone sorting out complaints in days rather than taking months.

“Of course, this has been a major shift for our own people and how they work, and although the overwhelming majority recognise the need for us to change that doesn’t mean it’s easy.”

Holland & Barrett – 2.3/5

With a rating of just 2.3/5, Holland & Barrett falls well below par when it comes to employee satisfaction.

A common complaint among former and current employees was that the roles involved “lone working for substantial periods of time”, while one staff member said there was a “lack of bonuses for store management compared to comparable or even smaller companies out there”.

However, there was general consensus that the 25% staff discount – rising to 50% at Christmas – was a huge perk.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “We are one of the very few high street retailers to invest heavily in regular, in-depth staff training and our A-level equivalent qualification in nutrition, which our store associates have to acquire, can take up to a year and invariably prompts a number of associates to find less challenging roles.

“Some will no doubt report their version of events on websites such as this, although they do have the opportunity to feedback to us directly.”

Mitie – 2.3/5

Strategic outsourcing company, Mitie, has a rating of just 2.3/5 on Glassdoor. Much of the criticism focuses on the “poor communication” between management and staff, with one employee saying that there are “a lot of changes that aren’t always communicated properly”.

Another said: “High staff turnover… and constant change of management.”

But others praised the firm for flexibility “which enables a good work/life balance”, and the fact that there is “room to take on more challenges and experience”.

A spokesperson for Mitie said: “At the Mitie results announcement on 12 June, the new executive leadership team announced that the business will be introducing a Mitie Way of talent management to develop and retain our people and create a winning culture that will make Mitie stand out from our peer group.

“This means that we are increasing investment in our people to make sure that they are engaged and have the skills they need to do their jobs with clear development opportunities to enable them to give their best during their Mitie career.”

JD Sports – 2.6/5

It might not come as much of a surprise to find JD Sports (champions of zero-hour contracts) with a low employee rating, given reports from some workers last year that its Rochdale warehouse conditions were “worse than prison”. At the time, the sportswear giant said that it did not believe the claims were “an accurate reflection of our culture”.

But according to employee feedback on Glassdoor, there are “high demands for minimum wage”, “long hours” and “a lot of pressure”.

On the plus side, employees said there was a “nice and friendly working atmosphere” with a generous 25% staff discount.

Ladbrokes – 2.3/5

Betting firm Ladbrokes has a rating of just 2.3/5, with workers complaining of “lone working” and difficulty dealing with “abusive customers”.

Others lambasted the company over its merger with Coral, which one said had “ruined the company”. The staff member wrote: “I was doing an average 45 hours per week before the changes the merge made. Now doing 30 hours. Have asked to up my contract but cuts cuts cuts to everything. Going down the pan.”

On the other hand, staff members commended the firm for its “flexible working hours” and the fact that there is “a lot of room for progression”.

A Ladbrokes spokesperson said: “Working in the bookmaking industry is not for everyone but we regularly celebrate colleagues who have 10, 20, 30 and 40 years’ service so it does appeal to many.

“The beauty of democracy is free speech and the beauty of social media is freedom to air it, but we don’t think this fairly reflects the brand and would encourage anyone interested to come and experience the job before allowing others to make up your mind for you.”

Caffè Nero – 2.6/5

Caffè Nero’s rating on Glassdoor is a lowly 2.6/5, with staff members complaining of long shifts with only one 20-minute break in that time.

One employee wrote: “You are required to be at the store 20 minutes before your shift starts, otherwise you are marked as late. I was routinely asked to start work immediately upon arrival, so that’s 20 minutes of free labour you never get back.”

However, staff members also praised the company for its friendly working environment, generous food discounts, and unlimited free coffee.

Wyevale Garden Centres – 1.9/5

Wyevale Garden Centres, a garden centre chain with more than 150 stores, has a dire customer satisfaction score on Glassdoor, with just 1.9 stars out of 5.

Employees state that the pay is poor and there is a lack of staff. One staff member wrote: “Personally I do not feel I am going to have an opportunity to excel in anything other than customer service despite showing dedication to the company.”

Others, though, say the atmosphere is friendly and the staff hardworking, with generous benefits and a 30% discount in store.

A spokesperson for Wyevale Garden Centres said: “Colleague engagement is critically important and we actively encourage two-way feedback across the business. We are committed to creating an environment that supports all our employees and recognise the need to get things right for them in order to deliver the best for our customers.”

Laura Ashley – 1.8/5

Laura Ashley has an even poorer rating – scoring 1.8/5 for employee satisfaction.

The homeware and fashion retailer has been criticised by its staff for its low pay, which results in “low morale”. One employee wrote: “Staff turnover is huge; if you are there for more than six months you are considered an old-timer.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the retailer, with staff praising the generous staff discount (40%), and relaxed working environment.

IWG, formerly Regus – 2.5/5

IWG (International Workplace Group), formerly Regus, is the global leader in providing flexible workspace, but it lags behind when it comes to job satisfaction.

With a rating of just 2.5/5, workers say there is “practically no training for new employees” and there is a lack of bonuses or perks.

On the other hand, employees say that the type of work means there is huge networking potential and that there is a “great, professional working environment”.

So what can we learn from from these results?

When faced with criticism, from their own employees, company spokesmen resort to their default mode, which is otherwise known as  gibberish.

These companies also believe that providing employees with a discount is an acceptable alternative to a decent wage, working conditions and hours.

Zero hours contracts are not viable for many people but the trend is growing exponentially as the accountants see opportunities in automation, enabling huge levels of cost-cutting to the detriment of human employees.

Think hard about where you work; you will spend most of your time there and bookies really seem like extremely gloomy places to hang out for eight hours a day.


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