It's very difficult to get anyone from SunEdison to talk on the record about their experiences at the struggling company. But in background conversations, current and former employees describe a chaotic and desperate situation at the solar developer, which is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy after a devastating collapse of its stock price.
Without a clear on-record narrative coming from within SunEdison, we turn to the most public option we currently have: Glassdoor.
Glassdoor is a website that allows employees to anonymously rate and review the companies they work for. A year ago, we dissected the best and worst Glassdoor reviews of America's top residential solar installers. With SunEdison shedding projects, employees and entire business units, now seems like a good time to gauge how the company's employees are feeling. Can we actually see sentiment shift after its stock-price collapse?
It's important not to place too much significance on anonymous reviews. But after looking through all 270 reviews and ratings, it's possible to sketch a rough picture of employee sentiment at the company. As expected, sentiment has worsened.
First, we looked at all the ratings and compared them against SunEdison's stock price. Before the peak last July, SunEdison's average rating was 3.64 (slightly higher than the site-wide average of 3.4). Since the crash, the average rating is 2.78.
Here's another way to look at it: Before the crash, 20 percent of SunEdison's ratings were 2 or less. Since the crash, 47 percent are 2 or less. We mapped it out below.
We read through all the reviews too. There are plenty of positive comments about salary levels, benefits and an entrepreneurial structure. But even some of the best reviews featured strong complaints about disorganization, constantly shifting strategies, and a lack of transparency. (Some of those positive-yet-critical reviews were the most insightful.)
A few other takeaways after sifting through all the reviews:
- Employees dislike management -- and have for a while. The top reviews often feature highly negative things about leadership. A lot of people are angry that more top execs, including CEO Ahmad Chatila, weren't ousted sooner: "Whoever takes over this company after Chapter 11, you must clean house!"
- Chaos is a problem. This was the second-most common complaint: no clear plan for execution on growth strategy. "As a large company with major goals for renewable energy dominance, there is a huge disconnect within the various departments to effectively execute such goals within such a short timeline."
- SunEdison talks a big game about diversity. But a number of people complained about sexism and an insulated promotion culture. "The company is basically run by men so harder for women to grow within the company."
One former sales analyst summed up the sentiment from a growing number of employees since the company's stock price collapse. "How does Ahmad still have a job? If I failed 95% my task, I would be axed. Show your strength and recommend change starting from the very top."
As long as the reader understands these reviews are anonymous (both the glowing ones and the bad ones), they offer up some insight into the turmoil and angst that employees are dealing with inside SunEdison.
Author's note: the first paragraph was changed to include "reportedly" when referring to the Wall Street Journal's story on SunEdison's potential bankruptcy.