A company can become broadly hated if it alienates a large enough group of people. It may frustrate customers with poor service, anger employees with unpleasant working conditions or low pay, and fail shareholders with poor returns. Often, these shortcomings are intertwined and it’s usually enough for a company to antagonize one of these groups for its reputation — and even its operations and finances — to suffer.
Many of the most-hated companies have millions of customers and hundreds of thousands of workers. With this kind of reach, it’s important to keep employees happy in order to maintain decent customer service. Often, poor job satisfaction leads to poor service and low customer satisfaction. McDonald’s and Walmart have risked this most recently as employees and some customers have protested the low wages at these companies — low enough to put workers below the poverty line.
Mass layoffs also contribute to low worker morale. Some of the most-hated companies have significantly reduced their workforces. BlackBerry, for one, has cut a third of its headcount as competitors Apple and Samsung have taken most of its market share. Wall Street has accused BlackBerry’s (NASDAQ: BBRY) management of missing the rapid adoption of consumer-friendly smartphones.
Several organizations have managed to avoid this list by reclaiming some of their reputation in recent months. In 2012, the Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) IPO imploded and the company continued to face backlash because of its shifting privacy policies. In 2013, however, the social network’s share price soared and attention to its privacy issues dropped considerably.