Do Your Employees Like You?

Employees feel CEOs who communicate openly are the most admired ones

January 30 2009 by Fayazuddin A. Shirazi


If CEOs wonder how their employees would rate them given a choice, a recent survey makes a prompt disclosure about the same. In a rare of its kind survey, employees from a host of companies vent their views on what they think about their company heads. While some of them rated their CEOs based on what the company offers them in terms of career growth, social benefits, perks and sabbaticals, others ranked their bosses based on how frequently or effectively they communicate with the employees down the company hierarchy.

A survey of Nice and Naughty CEOs by Glassdoor.com, a Sausalito, CA based career and workplace community which hosts employee reviews of their companies, bosses and works, revealed employees prefer such companies which guarantees them a good job profile alongside a friendly management-employee relationship. They rate high about those CEOs who are extroverts, indiscreet and communicate openly with their employees. The survey took responses from at least 50 employees from each company for grading the CEOs as nice and naughty. However, the survey fails to identify the number of companies it took as sample. Additionally, the survey doesn’t comment on the methodology or the process of generating the survey results.

Leading biotech company, Genentech’s Art Levinson was chosen as nicest CEO in the survey, with 92 percent of the surveyed employees granting him approval as the best CEO, while Office Depot’s Steve Odland was marked as the least popular CEO with the highest disapproval rating of 80 percent. The naughty list is synonymous with Glassdoor’s “Watch List” – a term they coined for the CEOs with the highest disapproval ratings (with at least 50 reviews) and are at risk of being ousted.

Nice CEOs

Company

Company
Rating

CEO

CEO Approval
Rating (%)

Genentech

 3.8

Art Levinson

93

Apple

 3.8

Steve Jobs

90

Goldman Sach

 3.8

Lloyd C. Blankfein

88

Google

 4.0

Eric E. Schmidt

88

Procter & Gamble

 4.0

A.G. Lafley

88

McKinsey & Company

 4.0

Ian Davis

86

American Express

 3.6

Ken Chenault

80

NVIDIT

 3.4

Jen-Hsun Huang

80

Adobe

 4.2

Shantanu Narayen

79

NetApp

 3.9 

Dan Warmenhoven

78

Glassdoor believes Genentech employees are contented with the transparent polices of the company and the cordial relationship between the employees and the management. One of the respondents from Genentech said – in a comment posted alongside their ratings – that the company values their employees a lot and takes good care of them.  “Genentech has a great product line; it employs smart people who are clearly valued by the company. It has some great perks for its employees and a lovely campus too.” 

Another employee from the same company also believed that Genentech has an employee centric approach and working with the company is an experience to cherish. He says the company promotes a friendly environment, where employees are encouraged to take time off to be able to loosen up. While another of his fellow mate felt that the company lays strong emphasis on internal communication and effectively interacts with its employees – even with those at the lowest levels of hierarchy. “Every six years, a six week sabbatical in addition to the five weeks of vacation that can be accrued for a total of 11 weeks of off is something remarkable, “said the respondent in his comments on why he or she thinks his or her CEO is the best.

Coming in at second place after Art Levinson, is Apple’s Steve Jobs with a 90 percent approval rating. And despite a volatile year for the financial industry, four out of five Goldman Sachs’ employees approve of the job Lloyd Blankfein is doing. 

Commenting on why the employees think that Steve Odland is a worst CEO, a Home Depot manager based out of Dallas remarked: “There’s absolutely no communication between the corporate office and the retail stores. No feedback of any kind is ever sought or requested from the retail stores. Failed business plans and marketing campaigns such as Market Basket, TIPS, X-Pert, Stop the walk, 10X12, Rewards, and just about everything else are continuously pursued. Good work is never recognized; slackers and underachievers are valued on par with performers and achievers.”

In his advisory comments to Home Depot’s senior management, the disgruntled manager, who is currently working with the company (as per the disclosure), calls for immediate removal of Steve Odland as the CEO in the very interest of the company. “Fire Odland and kill these ridiculous programs and marketing campaigns. People at the corporate office in Delray Beach, FL are truly incompetent. This company will fail, if you do not get back to basics,” the employee noted in his comments.

Other CEOs who made to the worst CEOs list include CSAA Inter-Insurance Bureau’s James R. Pouliot with 62 percent of disapproval ratings, Amgen’s Kevin Sharer with 54 percent disapprovals, Sun Microsystem’s Jonathan Schwartz with 50 percent disapprovals and eBay’s John Donahoe with 49 percent disapproval ratings.

Naughty CEOs

Company

Company
Rating

CEO

CEO Approval
Rating (%)

CEO Disapproval
Rating (%)

Office Depot

 2.2

Steve Odland

4

80

Rain Bird

 2.1

Anthony LaFetra

9

75

AOL

 2.7

Randy Falco

13

68

Motorola

 2.6

Greg Brown

10

66

EDS

 2.6

Ron Rittenmeyer

12

65

CSAA Inter-Insurance Bureau

 2.2

James R. Pouliot

12

62

Amgen

 3.2

Kevin W. Sharer

15

54

Affiliated Computer Services

 2.4

Lynn R. Blodgett

10

53

Sun Microsystem

 3.2

Jonathan I. Schwartz

26

50

eBay

 2.8 

John J. Donahoe

20

49