Dollar Tree (DLTR) has been gaining from solid comps growth and improved margins. Also, it remains on track with its recent integration of Family Dollar.
Authored by Lenore Skenazy & Jonathan Haidt via Jim Quinn's Burning Platform blog, Bad policy and paranoid parenting are making kids too safe to succeed One day last year, a citizen on a prairie path in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst came upon a teen boy chopping wood. Not a body. Just some already-fallen branches. Nonetheless, the onlooker called the cops. Officers interrogated the boy, who said he was trying to build a fort for himself and his friends. A local news site reports the police then “took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy’s parents.” Elsewhere in America, preschoolers at the Learning Collaborative in Charlotte, North Carolina, were thrilled to receive a set of gently used playground equipment. But the kids soon found out they would not be allowed to use it, because it was resting on grass, not wood chips. “It’s a safety issue,” explained a day care spokeswoman. Playing on grass is against local regulations. And then there was the query that ran in Parents magazine a few years back: “Your child’s old enough to stay home briefly, and often does. But is it okay to leave her and her playmate home while you dash to the dry cleaner?” Absolutely not, the magazine averred: “Take the kids with you, or save your errand for another time.” After all, “you want to make sure that no one’s feelings get too hurt if there’s a squabble.” The principle here is simple: This generation of kids must be protected like none other. They can’t use tools, they can’t play on grass, and they certainly can’t be expected to work through a spat with a friend. And this, it could be argued, is why we have “safe spaces” on college campuses and millennials missing adult milestones today. We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe—and they believed us. Safety First We’ve had the best of intentions, of course. But efforts to protect our children may be backfiring. When we raise kids unaccustomed to facing anything on their own, including risk, failure, and hurt feelings, our society and even our economy are threatened. Yet modern child-rearing practices and laws seem all but designed to cultivate this lack of preparedness. There’s the fear that everything children see, do, eat, hear, and lick could hurt them. And there’s a newer belief that has been spreading through higher education that words and ideas themselves can be traumatizing. How did we come to think a generation of kids can’t handle the basic challenges of growing up? Beginning in the 1980s, American childhood changed. For a variety of reasons—including shifts in parenting norms, new academic expectations, increased regulation, technological advances, and especially a heightened fear of abduction (missing kids on milk cartons made it feel as if this exceedingly rare crime was rampant)—children largely lost the experience of having large swaths of unsupervised time to play, explore, and resolve conflicts on their own. This has left them more fragile, more easily offended, and more reliant on others. They have been taught to seek authority figures to solve their problems and shield them from discomfort, a condition sociologists call “moral dependency.” This poses a threat to the kind of open-mindedness and flexibility young people need to thrive at college and beyond. If they arrive at school or start careers unaccustomed to frustration and misunderstandings, we can expect them to be hypersensitive. And if they don’t develop the resources to work through obstacles, molehills come to look like mountains. This magnification of danger and hurt is prevalent on campus today. It no longer matters what a person intended to say, or how a reasonable listener would interpret a statement—what matters is whether any individual feels offended by it. If so, the speaker has committed a “microaggression,” and the offended party’s purely subjective reaction is a sufficient basis for emailing a dean or filing a complaint with the university’s “bias response team.” The net effect is that both professors and students today report that they are walking on eggshells. This interferes with the process of free inquiry and open debate—the active ingredients in a college education. And if that’s the case already, what of the kids still in grammar school, constantly reminded they might accidentally hurt each other with the wrong words? When today’s 8-year-olds become the 18-year-olds starting college, will they still view free speech as worthy of protecting? As Daniel Shuchman, chairman of the free speech-promoting Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), puts it, “How likely are they to consider the First Amendment essential if they start learning in fifth grade that you’re forbidden to say—or even think—certain things, especially at school?” Parents, teachers, and professors are talking about the growing fragility they see. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the overprotection of children and the hypersensitivity of college students could be two sides of the same coin. By trying so hard to protect our kids, we’re making them too safe to succeed. Children on a Leash If you’re over 40, chances are good that you had scads of free time as a child—after school, on weekends, over the summer. And chances are also good that, if you were asked about it now, you’d go on and on about playing in the woods and riding your bike until the streetlights came on. Today many kids are raised like veal. Only 13 percent of them even walk to school. Many who take the bus wait at the stop with parents beside them like bodyguards. For a while, Rhode Island was considering a bill that would prohibit children from getting off the bus in the afternoon if there wasn’t an adult waiting to walk them home. This would have applied until seventh grade. As for summer frolicking, campers don’t just have to take a buddy with them wherever they go, including the bathroom. Some are now required to take two—one to stay with whoever gets hurt, the other to run and get a grown-up. Walking to the john is treated like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. After school, kids no longer come home with a latchkey and roam the neighborhood. Instead, they’re locked into organized, supervised activities. Youth sports are a $15 billion business that has grown by 55 percent since just 2010. Children as young as third grade are joining traveling teams—which means their parents spend a lot of time in the car, too. Or they’re at tutoring. Or they’re at music lessons. And if all else fails, they are in their rooms, online. Even if parents want to shoo their kids outside—and don’t come home till dinner!—it’s not as easy as it once was. Often, there are no other children around to play with. Even more dishearteningly, adults who believe it’s good for young people to run some errands or play kickball down the street have to think twice about letting them, because busybodies, cops, and social workers are primed to equate “unsupervised” with “neglected and in danger.” You may remember the story of the Meitivs in Maryland, investigated twice for letting their kids, 10 and 6, walk home together from the park. Or the Debra Harrell case in South Carolina, where a mom was thrown in jail for allowing her 9-year-old to play at the sprinkler playground while she worked at McDonald’s. Or the 8-year-old Ohio boy who was supposed to get on the bus to Sunday school, but snuck off to the Family Dollar store instead. His dad was arrested for child endangerment. These examples represent a new outlook: the belief that anytime kids are doing anything on their own, they are automatically under threat. But that outlook is wrong. The crime rate in America is back down to what it was in 1963, which means that most of today’s parents grew up playing outside when it was more dangerous than it is today. And it hasn’t gotten safer because we’re hovering over our kids. All violent crime is down, including against adults. Danger Things And yet it doesn’t feel safer. A 2010 study found “kidnapping” to be the top parental fear, despite the fact that merely being a passenger in a car is far more dangerous. Nine kids were kidnapped and murdered by strangers in 2011, while 1,140 died in vehicles that same year. While Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker writes in 2011’s The Better Angels of Our Nature that life in most countries is safer today than at any time in human history, the press keeps pushing paranoia. This makes stepping back feel doubly risky: There’s the fear of child kidnappers and the fear of Child Protective Services. At times, it seems like our culture is conjuring dangers out of thin air, just to have something new to worry about. Thus, the Boulder Public Library in Colorado recently forbade anyone under 12 to enter without an adult, because “children may encounter hazards such as stairs, elevators, doors, furniture, electrical equipment, or other library patrons.” Ah, yes, kids and library furniture. Always a lethal combo. Happily, the library backed off that rule, perhaps thanks to merciless mocking in the media. But saner minds don’t always prevail. At Mesa Elementary School, which also happens to be in Boulder, students got a list of the items they could not bring to the science fair. These included “chemicals,” “plants in soil,” and “organisms (living or dead).” And we wonder why American children score so low on international tests. But perhaps the single best example of how fantastically fearful we’ve become occurred when the city of Richland, Washington, got rid of all the swings on its school playgrounds. The love of swinging is probably older than humanity itself, given our arboreal origins. But as a school district spokesman explained, “Swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground.” You may think your town has avoided such overkill, but is there a merry-go-round at your local park, or a see-saw? Most likely they, too, have gone the way of lawn darts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission even warns parks of “tripping hazards, like…tree stumps and rocks,” a fact unearthed (so to speak) by Philip Howard, author of 2010’s Life Without Lawyers. The problem is that kids learn by doing. Trip over a tree stump and you learn to look down. There’s an old saying: Prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child. We’re doing the opposite. Ironically, there are real health dangers in not walking, or biking, or hopping over that stump. A Johns Hopkins study this summer found that the typical 19-year-old is as sedentary as a 65-year-old. The Army is worried that its recruits don’t know how to skip or do somersaults. But the cost of shielding kids from risks goes well beyond the physical, as a robust body of research has shown. Of Trophies and Traumas A few years ago, Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray was invited by the head of counseling services at a major university to a conference on “the decline in resilience among students.” The organizer said that emergency counseling calls had doubled in the last five years. What’s more, callers were seeking help coping with everyday problems, such as arguments with a roommate. Two students had dialed in because they’d found a mouse in their apartment. They also called the police, who came and set a mousetrap. And that’s not to mention the sensitivity around grades. To some students, a B is the end of the world. (To some parents, too.) Free play has little in common with the “play” we give children today. In organized activities, adults run the show. It’s only when the grown-ups aren’t around that the kids get to take over. Play is training for adulthood. Part of the rise in calls could be attributed to the fact that admitting mental health issues no longer carries the stigma it once did, an undeniably positive development. But it could also be a sign, Gray realized, that failing at basic “adulting” no longer carries the stigma it once did. And that is far more troubling. Is this outcome the apotheosis of participation-trophy culture? It’s easy to scoff at a society that teaches kids that everything they do deserves applause. But more disturbing is the possibility that those trophies taught kids the opposite lesson: that they’re so easily hurt, they can’t handle the sad truth that they’re not the best at something. Not letting your kid climb a tree because he might fall robs him of a classic childhood experience. But being emotionally overprotective takes away something else. “We have raised a generation of young people who have not been given the opportunity to…experience failure and realize they can survive it,” Gray has said. When Lenore’s son came in eighth out of nine teams in a summer camp bowling league, he got an eighth-place trophy. The moral was clear: We don’t think you can cope with the negative emotions of finishing second-to-last. Of course, it’s natural to want to see kids happy. But the real secret to happiness isn’t more high fives; it’s developing emotional resilience. In our mania for physical safety, coupled with our recent tendency to talk about “emotional safety,” we have systematically deprived our children of the thousands of challenging—and sometimes upsetting—experiences that they need in order to learn that resiliency. And in our quest to protect them, we have stolen from children the best resilience training known to man: free play. Play’s the Thing All mammals play. It is a drive installed by Mother Nature. Hippos do backflips in the water. Dogs fetch sticks. And gazelles run around, engaging in a game that looks an awful lot like tag. Why would they do that? They’re wasting valuable calories and exposing themselves to predators. Shouldn’t they just sit quietly next to their mama gazelles, exploring the world through the magic of PBS Kids? It must be because play is even more important to their long-term survival than simply being “safe.” Gray’s main body of research is on the importance of free play, and he stresses that it has little in common with the “play” we give kids today. In organized activities—Little League, for example—adults run the show. It’s only when the grown-ups aren’t around that the kids get to take over. Play is training for adulthood. In free play, ideally with kids of mixed ages, the children decide what to do and how to do it. That’s teamwork, literally. The little kids desperately want to be like the bigger kids, so instead of bawling when they strike out during a sandlot baseball game, they work hard to hold themselves together. This is the foundation of maturity. The older kids, meanwhile, throw the ball more softly to the younger ones. They’re learning empathy. And if someone yells, “Let’s play on just one leg!”—something they couldn’t do at Little League, with championships (and trophies!) on the line—the kids discover what it means to come up with and try out a different way of doing things. In Silicon Valley terms, they “pivot” and adopt a “new business model.” They also learn that they, not just grown-ups, can collectively remake the rules to suit their needs. That’s called participatory democracy. Best of all, without adults intervening, the kids have to do all the problem solving for themselves, from deciding what game to play to making sure the teams are roughly equal. Then, when there’s an argument, they have to resolve it themselves. That’s a tough skill to learn, but the drive to continue playing motivates them to work things out. To get back to having fun, they first have to come up with a solution, so they do. This teaches them that they can disagree, hash it out, and—perhaps with some grumbling—move on. These are the very skills that are suddenly in short supply on college campuses. “Free play is the means by which children learn to make friends, overcome their fears, solve their own problems and generally take control of their own lives,” Gray writes in 2013’s Free to Learn (Basic Books). “Nothing we do, no amount of toys we buy or ‘quality time’ or special training we give our children, can compensate for the freedom we take away. The things that children learn through their own initiatives, in free play, cannot be taught in other ways.” Unstructured, unsupervised time for play is one of the most important things we have to give back to kids if we want them to be strong and happy and resilient. Where Have All the Paperboys Gone? It’s not just that kids aren’t playing much on their own. These days, they’re not doing much of anything on their own. In an article in The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin admits that “when my daughter was 10, my husband and I suddenly realized that in her whole life, she had probably not spent more than 10 minutes unsupervised by an adult.” In earlier generations, this would have seemed a bizarre and wildly overprotective upbringing. Society had certain age-related milestones that most people agreed on. Kids might be trusted to walk to school by first grade. They might get a latchkey at 8, take on a newspaper route around 10, start babysitting at 12. But over the past generation or so, those milestones disappeared—buried by fears of kidnapping, the rise of supervised activities, and the pre-eminence of homework. Parents today know all about the academic milestones their kids are supposed to reach, but not about the moments when kids used to start joining the world. It’s not necessarily their fault. Calls to eight newspapers in North Carolina found none that would take anyone under the age of 18 to deliver papers. A police chief in New Albany, Ohio, went on record saying kids shouldn’t be outside on their own till age 16, “the threshold where you see children getting a little bit more freedom.” A study in Britain found that while just under half of all 16- to 17-year-olds had jobs as recently as 1992, today that number is 20 percent. The responsibility expected of kids not so long ago has become almost inconceivable. Published in 1979, the book Your 6-Year-old: Loving and Defiant includes a simple checklist for what a child entering first grade should be able to do: Can he draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored? Can he ride a small two-wheeled bicycle without helper wheels? Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to a store, school, playground, or friend’s home? Hang on. Walk to the store at 6—alone? It’s tempting to blame “helicopter parents” for today’s less resilient kids. But when all the first-graders are walking themselves to school, it’s easy to add yours to the mix. When your child is the only one, it’s harder. And that’s where we are today. Norms have dramatically changed. The kind of freedom that seemed unremarkable a generation ago has become taboo, and in some cases even illegal. A Very Hampered Halloween In Waynesboro, Georgia, “trick or treaters” must be 12 or younger; they must be in a costume; and they must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age. So if you have kids who are 15, 10, and 8, you can’t send them out together. The 15-year-old is not allowed to dress up, yet she won’t be considered old enough to supervise her siblings for another six years. And this is on the one night of the entire year we traditionally let children pretend to be adults. Other schools and community centers now send letters home asking parents not to let their children wear scary costumes. Some even organize “trunk or treats”—cars parked in a circle, trunks open and filled with candy, thus saving the kids from having to walk around the neighborhood or knock on doors. (That would be tiring and terrifying.) If this is childhood, is it any wonder college kids also expect to be micromanaged on Halloween? At Yale in 2015, after 13 college administrators signed a letter outlining appropriate vs. inappropriate costume choices for students, the childhood development expert and campus lecturer Erika Christakis suggested that it would be better to allow kids to think for themselves. After all, Halloween is supposed to be about pushing boundaries. “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little obnoxious…or, yes, offensive?” she wrote. “Have we lost faith in young people’s capacity—your capacity—to ignore or reject things that trouble you?” Apparently, yes. Angry students mobbed her husband, the professor Nicholas Christakis, surrounding him in the courtyard of the residential college where he served as master. They screamed obscenities and demanded he apologize for believing, along with his wife, that college students are in fact capable of handling offensive costumes on Halloween. “Be quiet!” a student shouted at him at one point. “As master, it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students!” She did not take kindly to his response that, to the contrary, he sees it as his job to create a space where students can grow intellectually. As it turns out, Halloween is the perfect Petri dish for observing what we have done to childhood. We didn’t think anything was safe enough for young people. And now we are witnessing the results. No Fun and No Joy When parents curtail their kids’ independence, they’re not just depriving the younglings of childhood fun. They are denying themselves the grown-up joy of seeing their kids do something smart, brave, or kind without parental guidance. It’s the kind of joy described by a Washington Post columnist who answered the phone one day and was shocked to find her 8-year-old son on the other end. He’d accidentally gone home when he was supposed to stay after school. Realizing she wasn’t there, he decided to walk to the store a few blocks away—his first time. The mom raced over, fearing God knows what, and rushed in only to find her son happily helping the shopkeeper stock the shelves with meat. He’d had a snack and done his homework, too. It was an afternoon he’d never forget, and neither would his very proud mother. When we don’t let our kids do anything on their own, we don’t get to see just how competent they can be—and isn’t that, ultimately, the greatest reward of parenting? We need to make it easier for grown-ups to let go while living in a society that keeps warning them not to. And we need to make sure they won’t get arrested for it. What Is To Be Done? By trying to keep children safe from all risks, obstacles, hurt feelings, and fears, our culture has taken away the opportunities they need to become successful adults. In treating them as fragile—emotionally, socially, and physically—society actually makes them so. To combat this problem, we have established a new nonpartisan nonprofit, the Let Grow Foundation. Our goal is to restore resilience by overthrowing the culture of overprotection. We teamed up with Gray, the professor whose research we highlighted above, and FIRE’s Shuchman, a New York investment fund manager who is now our chairman. We are building an organization that seeks to change the social norms, policies, and laws that pressure and intimidate parents, schools, and towns into coddling their kids. We will research the effects of excessive caution, study the link between independence and success, and launch projects to give kids back some free time and free play. Most of all, the Let Grow Foundation will reject the assumption of fragility and promote intellectual, physical, and emotional resilience. Children know that their parents had more freedom to roam than they do, and more unscheduled time to read or tinker or explore. They also realize that older generations were trusted to roll with some punches, at school and beyond. We hope kids today will start demanding that same independence and respect for themselves. It’s their freedom that has been chiseled away, after all. We want them to insist on their right to engage not just with the physical world, but also with the world of ideas. We want them to hear, read, and voice opinions that go against the grain. We want them to be insulted by the assumption that they and their classmates are so easily hurt that arguments must stop before they start. To this end, we hope to encourage their skepticism about the programs and policies that are ostensibly there to “protect” them from discomfort. If this effort is successful, we’ll soon see kids outside again. Common setbacks will be considered “resilience moments” rather than traumas. Children will read widely, express themselves freely, and work through disagreements without automatically calling on authority figures to solve their problems for them. The more adults step back, the more we believe kids will step up, growing brave in the face of risk and just plain happy in their independence. Children today are safer and smarter than this culture gives them credit for. They deserve the freedom we had. The country’s future prosperity and freedom depend on it.
Dollar Tree is gaining from its robust surprise trend backed by strong comps growth and improved margins while volatile consumer trend and high global exposure remain concerns.
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Dollar Tree Inc. (DLTR) broke its negative surprise trend in third-quarter fiscal 2016 as its earnings topped estimates and improved year over year.
A brief dispatch from Charlotte: "We are sick and tired of seeing hashtags, and buttons with our kids' faces on them, and t-shirts that have replaced our children's bodies," said Geneva Reed-Veal, whose daughter was Sandra Bland. Bland, age 28, was found dead in 2015 in a Texas jail cell, in a highly controversial case in which a minor traffic infraction was escalated by police into a major confrontation. A video of the confrontation was viewed by millions on You Tube. Reed-Veal is one of the group known as Mothers of the Movement who are touring swing states to encourage and inspire people to vote for Clinton. Theirs is a club, they say, whose membership they hope won't grow. It includes Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis; Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner; Geneva Reed-Veal, and Maria Hamilton, the mother of Dontre Hamilton. Amongst them, they have plenty to say about America's criminal justice system, racial disparities, lax gun laws, and Clinton's commitment to addressing the violence and deaths caused by an under-regulated firearms market and a rash of racially biased- inflected deaths of unarmed people, for which the police have repeatedly been acquitted. When Mothers of the Movement spoke at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year, "Black Lives Matter" chants erupted. Clinton, they say, cares deeply about these divisive issues. The Clinton platform includes significant racial justice and gun violence prevention initiatives. "We have thousands of people dying from all these guns, it's really bad," said 56-year old Maria Hamilton, whose mentally ill 33-year old son Dontre Hamilton was, his mother says with evident pain, shot fourteen times by a Milwaukee policeman in a park in 2014. She also tells of a 15-year old who was able to obtain an automatic rifle within 45 minutes, pointing out the need for background checks, and closing the online gun sales loophole. Hamilton has been working on police accountability, crisis intervention training for police faced with mentally ill individuals, and other initiatives related to improving police/community relations. North Carolina is a key swing state in the presidential election, with hotly contested Senate and gubernatorial races. Geneva Reed-Veal and Maria Hamilton made a surprise visit to the two dozen volunteers in a makeshift North Charlotte campaign office in a little strip mall near an old police station and a Family Dollar store. They visited on October 21, one day after early voting opened in this state. The volunteers were a diverse and mixed crowd - some local Charlotte residents, a young man from Portugal, a few New Yorkers here to help out for the weekend, a Trinidadian-born woman who'd offered to make chili for twenty of the next weekend's volunteers, and an African-American Arkansan who, she said, had worked in every Clinton election "since they first ran for office in Arkansas". The volunteers stopped making calls to voters to hear the Mothers speak for 20 minutes. "We need someone in office in January who will pass legislation that will actually protect everybody," concluded Hamilton. Then she and Reed-Veal, a duet of tragedy and hope, left for their next inspirational visit, as the volunteers returned to dialing. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
A Muslim woman says she was the victim of discrimination when a Family Dollar clerk told her to remove her niqab or exit the store. Sarah Safi, 32, was at the store in Gary, Indiana, on Monday buying coals for a barbecue when she says the employee told her that she had to remove her modest Muslim garb or leave. “I might have made it 10 steps into the store and I hear the lady behind the counter say, ‘Ma’am, you need to take that off your face or you need to leave my store,’” Safi told ABC7 in Chicago. A niqab is a veil that some Muslim wear to cover their faces, with an opening for the eyes. Safi took out her cell phone and recorded part of the exchange. “I understand, but you have to understand too this is a high crime area and we get robbed a lot. You need to remove that from your face or remove yourself from the store,” the store employee says in the video. Footage of the incident was shared on the Vision Islam Facebook page, generating nearly 100,000 views. “This is a country where we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech,” Safi is heard telling the employee. “I have a right to wear whatever I want to wear.” But Safi says she was faced with a choice. “Do I wait for the police to come and let my children see this, or do I go head and just go and let Allah handle it how he sees fit?” she recalled. She decided to leave. A spokesman for Dollar Express, which owns and operates several hundred Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores, issued the following statement to The Hufington Post: “We deeply regret the incident that occurred recently at one of our stores in Gary, Indiana, and we are committed to taking steps to ensure that no customer is ever treated this way again. The conduct of the assistant store manager at that location was not in accordance with company policy and we are addressing this matter with her. We are also taking this opportunity to address with our workforce the importance of meeting the needs of a diverse customer base and providing a shopping environment that is respectful to all of our customers.” Despite the difficult incident, Safi still hoped for the opportunity to speak with the store clerk. “I would like to sit with her and speak to her about what I believe in,” she told the ABC station. “Because maybe if she heard and really listened to what I believe it would open her heart.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
This article was originally published on 24/7 Wall St. Keeping employees happy can only improve a company’s bottom line. Employee satisfaction can significantly impact the productivity, sales, and reputation of any company. Despite its importance, many companies struggle to keep their employees content. While some companies have policies specifically designed to boost employee morale, others seem to prioritize it far less. For the fifth consecutive year, 24/7 Wall St. identified the nation’s worst companies to work for. 24/7 Wall St. analyzed thousands of employee reviews from jobs and career website Glassdoor. The site maintains a growing database of more than 8 million employee reviews for more than 540,000 companies worldwide. The worst rating any U.S. company received is 2.5 stars out of five, significantly lower than the 3.2 average company rating on Glassdoor. Three companies — Family Dollar Stores, Express Scripts and Forever 21 — received this lowest rating and top the list of the worst companies to work for. Click here to see the worst companies to work for. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Scott Dobroski, a Glassdoor spokesperson, explained that the three leading drivers of long-term employee satisfaction include: “culture and values, career opportunities, and trust in senior leadership.” For Dobroski, any company can improve these features by listening to employee feedback and addressing them in a timely manner. Many complaints about the companies with the lowest ratings concern the lack of those leading drivers. According to some employee reviews of RadioShack, for example, sales associates believe upper management is out of touch; they see little room for professional growth; and they are unimpressed by the company’s culture. Many employees at the worst companies to work for also cite poor work-life balance, low pay, and poor leadership as major reasons for their discontent. By contrast, technology companies such as Google and Facebook, which are some of the best rated companies, are notorious for high pay and generous perks. Tech companies are not the only ones that manage to take care of their employees. Wholesale grocery store Costco, for example, has some of the best employee reviews of any company. There are numerous highly rated companies such as Costco where pay is by no means the only factor in employee satisfaction. However, most of the worst-rated companies are customer-facing, low-paying businesses with high employee turnover rates. For nine of the 10 companies, the most commonly reported annual compensation on Glassdoor is lower than the national average annual wage of $48,320. The majority of these 10 companies operate in the retail trade sector, which has an above-average turnover rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The high turnover rates at these companies suggest employers treat employees as easily replaceable. With low-skilled workers readily available, employees at some of these companies may indeed be disposable. However, many companies with the lowest employee satisfaction are also not doing especially well financially, which may suggest that low employee satisfaction is but a symptom of poor management overall. The Employment Policy Foundation also estimates it costs a company an average of $15,000 each time a an employee leaves Just as employee satisfaction can impact profits, a company’s financial performance can impact employee satisfaction. Many major retailers are losing ground to online giants such as Amazon.com, and their in-store sales are falling. As a result, employees working on commission may find it more difficult to earn commission wages. Similarly, as many of these businesses close stores and implement other cost cutting measures, employees may be assigned shorter shifts and consequently earn less. In Kmart, for example, where cashiers frequently complain about the difficulty of working on commission at a failing retailer, all full-time positions were recently switched to part-time. To identify the 10 worst companies to work for, 24/7 Wall St. independently examined employee reviews on Glassdoor — this is not a Glassdoor.com commissioned report. To be considered, a company needed to have a minimum of 1,500 reviews and be currently operating and headquartered in the United States. Employee counts are from the most recent financial documents for each company. For subsidiaries, head counts are for the parent company. These are the 10 worst companies to work for. 10. Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ: KHC) >Rating: 2.6> CEO approval rating: 24%> Employees: 42,000> Industry: Food manufacturer Kraft Heinz produces some of the most popular consumer brands in the country, including Kraft, Heinz, Oscar Mayer, Jell-O, Planters, and Lunchables. The company was formed in 2015 as the result of a merger between Kraft Foods Group and H.J Heinz Holding Corporation. Many employees cite the merger as having had a negative impact on the company’s culture. The merger resulted in numerous layoffs and plant closures across the United States. Employees also commonly complain about the company’s cost cutting measures and their difficulty in maintaining work-life balance. One former employee from Pennsylvania echoed many other complaints by writing “corporate leaders don’t truly respect or care about their employees. They only care about making money off of them.” The average employee rating of Kraft Heinz is 2.6 stars out of five, tied for the second lowest rating of any U.S. company. 9. Dillard’s (NYSE: DDS) > Rating: 2.6> CEO approval rating: 37%> Employees: 40,000> Industry: Department stores Founded in 1938 by William T. Dillard, Dillard’s department store chain has nearly 300 locations across 29 states. Despite going public in 1969, Dillard’s is still something of a family business. Currently, four of CEO Bill Dillard II’s siblings work as company executive officers, and William Dillard III, the CEO’s son, is a senior vice president. While the Dillard family may be happy with their jobs, the typical Dillard’s employee is not. With a 2.6 job satisfaction rating on Glassdoor, for the fifth consecutive year, Dillard’s ranks among the worst companies to work for. Dissatisfied workers frequently cite unrealistic sales quotas and poor management practices. Not only is employee morale suffering at Dillard’s, but it seems business is as well. In keeping with a nationwide trend among department stores, profits are down. The company posted net income of $269.4 million in its fiscal 2015, down from $331.9 million the previous year. 8. RadioShack > Rating: 2.6> CEO approval rating: 40%> Employees: N/A> Industry: Consumer electronics retail After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2015, RadioShack announced plans to close about half of its stores and lay off thousands of employees. Many complaints about the company are the result of its decline. As in-store sales fell over the past few years, numerous sales associates found it more difficult to earn commission. Many employees have reported working shifts without a single customer entering the store. Employees frequently cite low pay and incompetent upper management as major drawbacks of working at the company. After the bankruptcy, most of RadioShack’s stores were salvaged through a deal to co-brand locations with cellular phone provider Sprint. While the deal saved thousands of jobs, however, it has not meaningfully improved employee satisfaction. One of the most common complaints from employees is the heavy pressure to sell cell phones. 7. DISH (NASDAQ: DISH) > Rating: 2.6> CEO approval rating: 42%> Employees: 18,000> Industry: CATV systems As is the case with many of the worst companies to work for, a large share of jobs at DISH are customer service oriented. Also similar to many companies on the list, dissatisfied employees at the company regularly cite long hours and poor work-life balance as the reason for their discontent. The subscription television service industry is notorious for poor customer relations. The customer experience of DISH’s 13 million-plus subscribers is not likely helped by low employee morale. Low employee morale may also be having an impact on the company’s bottom line as well as investor relations. The company’s stock price has fallen by roughly 25% in the past year, significantly underperforming the market. In addition, net income is down to $769.3 million in 2015 from $928.9 million the previous year. 6. Kmart (NASDAQ: SHLD) > Rating: 2.6> CEO approval rating: 20%> Employees: 178,000 (including Sears employees)> Industry: Department stores Kmart is another retailer with declining sales and low employee satisfaction. The chain is owned by Sears Holdings Corporation, which also owns Sears — also among the worst companies to work for. Kmart’s sales have fallen drastically over the past decade and a half, and lower sales mean lower wages for cashiers working on commission. On Glassdoor, employees often complain about low pay, long hours, and out of touch management. Like many other department stores, Kmart is hurting, and the number of store locations is dwindling. The number of U.S. Kmart locations fell from 1,152 at the end of fiscal 2013 to 941 at the end of fiscal 2015. 5. Xerox (NYSE: XRX) > Rating: 2.6> CEO approval rating: 36%> Employees: 143,600> Industry: Information technology services Xerox employees are far more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs than employees at most other major U.S. companies. Frequent employee complaints include stagnant pay and poor management. CEO Ursula Burns, who worked her way up from an intern position with the company 36 years ago and is the first African American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, is approved of by only 36% of employees. In addition to low employee morale and a lack of confidence in company leadership among employees, Xerox sales have declined in recent years. Annual revenue is down to $18.0 billion from $19.5 billion the year before and from $20.0 billion in 2013. Earlier this year, Xerox announced it would split into two distinct companies, one for business processes, including accounting and customer care, and another for document processing. The split is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016, and has already spurred thousands of layoffs. 4. Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD) > Rating: 2.6> CEO approval rating: 19%> Employees: 178,000 (including Kmart employees)> Industry: Department stores A large share of Sears Holdings Corporation’s 178,000 employees work at one of 705 Sears department store locations spread across all 50 states. For the second year in a row, department store chain Sears ranks as one of the worst companies to work for. A disproportionate number of company workers complain about earning minimum wage and frequently declining commission rates. The company’s CEO, Edward Lampert, is also among the least popular in the country. Less than one in five Sears employees approve of Lampert — and likely with good reason. The company has posted a net loss of at least $1.1 billion every year since he took over in 2013. Low employee morale is likely affecting customers’ shopping experience. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Sears ranks as the second worst department store for customer satisfaction. Sears Holdings also owns Kmart, an equally unpopular company to work for. 3. Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO) > Rating: 2.5> CEO approval rating: 36%> Employees: 60,000> Industry: Discount stores With 8,042 stores in 46 states, Family Dollar is nearly ubiquitous across the nation. It also ranks among the worst U.S. companies to work for. The majority of positions at the company are in customer service, which many employees cite as the best part of their job. The customer service aspect of working at Family Dollar is also often part of negative employee reviews, however. Unqualified managers and poor work-life balance are the most commonly cited complaints on Glassdoor. One Family Dollar worker in Michigan complained succinctly, “low pay, long hours, unrealistic expectations.” Family Dollar was acquired by its former competitor Dollar Tree in July 2015. After the transaction, Gary Philbin was named CEO of Family Dollar, replacing Howard Levine. So far Philbin has not made a great impression on his employees, receiving an approval rating of just 36% on Glassdoor. 2. Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX) > Rating: 2.5> CEO approval rating: 79%> Employees: 25,900> Industry: Health care plans Express Scripts is a third-party administrator of prescription drugs for various commercial and government health plans, and is the largest pharmacy benefit management company in the country. The average employee rating of Express Scripts is 2.5 stars out of five, tied for the lowest rating of any U.S. company. Employees commonly cite incompetent management, difficulty maintaining work-life balance, and long hours as major drawbacks for working at the company. Many employees report working 10-hour days. Though this is not the first time Express Scripts has ranked among the worst companies to work for, the company may be trying to turn things around. Earlier this year, Tim Wentworth took over as CEO. Chief executives can have an outsized impact on company culture, and some negative employee sentiment may have left with former CEO George Paz. 1. Forever 21 > Rating: 2.5> CEO approval rating: 30%> Employees: 30,000> Industry: Retail apparel The average employee rating of Forever 21 is just 2.5 stars out of five, tied for the lowest rating of any company based in the United States. Many employees cite inadequate benefits and strict company policies as drawbacks to working at Forever 21. Over the years, the store has been hit with several high profile lawsuits, including several filed by employees. In 2012, five Forever 21 employees filed a class action lawsuit against the company. The plaintiffs claimed that they and their co-workers were routinely detained in the store during lunch breaks and after their shifts without overtime pay so managers could search their bags for stolen merchandise — a part of the company’s former loss-prevention policy. Indeed, many employees on Glassdoor complain of not getting to leave the store until 2:00 a.m. or later, hours after the stores close, often receiving no overtime pay for the extra hours. By Evan Comen, Samuel Stebbins and Thomas C. Frohlich -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Dollar Tree (DLTR) bounced back with solid first-quarter fiscal 2016 results.