In the News, Reviews

US Auto Manufacturer Company And CEO Report Card

It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for the big 3 US auto manufacturers. Between the government bailouts, CEO changes and rough economy, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.  But as we watch from the outside, it’s those on the inside – the employees – who have been faced with the challenge of helping their respective employer ride out the recession. So how do employees at Ford, General Motors and Chrysler feel their automaker employer and top boss (or bosses in some cases) are performing? reports¹.

Are employees satisfied with how their CEOs are leading the company?

When employees of these three automakers responded to: “do you approve of how your CEO is leading the company?”, Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally topped approval ratings. In the automaker company analysis, which looks at how these CEOs and companies compare this past year compared to the year prior, Mulally receives a 96% approval rating between mid- August 2009 and mid-August 2010, up from 86% the same time frame a year before.

GM’s now former CEO, Ed Whitacre, who stepped down today, was also an employee favorite with a 90% approval rating. The company has seen three CEOs in the last two years alone and previous CEO, Fritz Henderson, did not fare as well with employees as Whitacre – he teetered between a 67% approval rating in early 2009 and a 52% approval rating later the same year. Henderson’s predecessor, Rick Waggoner Jr., was ousted from office by President Obama and held a 55% approval rating during his tenure between Summer 2008 and Spring 2009.

Chrysler has also seen shifting in leadership over the past two years. Bob Nardelli, who stepped down in April 2009 following public scrutiny, received a 31% approval rating. Sergio Marchionne, the current Chrysler CEO has started to improve the relationship with employees, and has a 56% approval rating since August 2009.

Note: Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli stepped down April 2009; He was replaced by Sergio Marchionne in June 2009. General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner Jr. stepped down March 2009; He was replaced by Fritz Henderson. Fritz Henderson stepped down December 2009; He was replaced by Ed Whitacre who stepped down September 2010. Whitacre has been replaced by Daniel Akerson)

How satisfied are employees with jobs and companies?

Based on employee reviews, Ford has made the greatest strides in the past year, earning a 3.6 company rating compared to a 3.0 rating at the same time last year. Chrysler has also taken a step forward according to employees, earning a 3.1 rating up from 2.7 the year before. However, General Motors has fallen slightly – this year the company received a 2.9 rating, down from 3.0 the year before.

When we take a deeper look into the company satisfaction ratings, there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. For example, Chrysler improved or held steady across all of the eight workplace factors evaluated in the Glassdoor online survey, like career opportunities or compensation & benefits. Employees at Ford reported greater satisfaction in all but one of the eight workplace factors; in this past year, employee morale and senior leadership showed the most improvement.  General Motors saw workplace ratings fall in three categories, including recognition & feedback, work/life balance and fairness & respect.

What is in store this next year for automakers is anyone’s guess.  While news has been heating up with stories of demand for energy efficient vehicles and increased hiring, it’s countered with recalls and quarterly earnings losses. But, if employee sentiment is any indication of future success, Ford is looking the most optimistic.

¹ Report evaluates company and CEO approval ratings submitted between 8/16/2008 to 8/15/2009 and 8/16/2009 and 8/15/2010. Company and CEO approval ratings in this report are based on at least 20 employee ratings per year; Note, both Sergio Marchionne and Ed Whitacre received less than 20 approval ratings between 8/16/2009 and 8/15/2010.