April 3, 2012
Which American CEOs have what it takes to win their employees' hearts and minds, even in today's tumultuous job market? The results of a new survey may surprise you.
According to a new poll published by job hunting and career review site Glassdoor.com, Apple CEO Tim Cook sports a 97 percent approval rating with his employees, earning him the top spot among the nation's most beloved bosses of 2012. Cook even edged out his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs who earned a 95 percent rating the year before.
GigaOM reported that while the difference between Jobs and Cook is slight -- and that Cook is still in a "honeymoon period" -- it is clear that employees are happy with the changes he has made so far, such as instituting a generous corporate matching program.
"There are likely several reasons that contributed to Cook's high approval rating," Glassdoor spokesperson Samantha Zupan told Forbes. "For one, Apple employees speak about what a great job he and the executive team are doing leading the company. Another reason is that employees had time to adjust to the idea that Cook would eventually take over the reins from iconic tech visionary Steve Jobs. Lastly, many employees speak highly about the company culture, which continues to be fostered under Cook."
Cook's stellar ranking was not the only surprise yielded by Glassdoor's poll: According to the survey, a number of financial executives made the list despite the recent Occupy Wall Street movement and public outcry over bosses' steep salaries and bonuses. U.S. Bank employees gave CEO Richard Davis an 88 percent approval rating, for instance, followed closely by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jaime Dimon at 87 percent. Even Goldman Sachs head Lloyd Blankfein who was recently criticized by former executive Greg Smith in the New York Times earned an 89 percent approval rating, though he lost 8 points over last year's survey.
"With Occupy Wall Street rallies making headlines over the past year, this may definitely come as a surprise to some," Zupan told Forbes. "However, when you look to employee feedback, employees at companies like Goldman Sachs or U.S. Bank point to solid leadership and good industry experience."
Another surprise within the survey results was the 80 percent approval garnered by Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman following her failed California gubernatorial bid. Whitman not only surpassed predecessor Leo Apotheker's 57 percent approval rating last year, but was the only woman to make it into the top 25.
Other notable executives to make the list include: Google's Larry Page, Intel Corporation's Paul S. Otellini, Starbucks's Howard Shultz and Home Depot's Frank Blake. GE's Jeffrey Immelt represents the list's most improved CEO, with his approval rate up from 64 percent to 83 percent year-over-year. A number of military leaders also made the list, including U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh.
Glassdoor reported that its results were based on a survey of more than 280,000 employees nationwide.
Compiled by Aimee Hosler
"America's Favorite Bosses," forbes.com, March 29, 2012, Jacquelyn Smith
"Apple employees rate Cook slightly ahead of Jobs," gigaom.com, March 29, 2012, Erica Ogg
"Top 25 Highest Rated CEOs 2012," glassdoor.com, March 30, 2012