AT&T employee morale is sinking as Warner Media merger shakeups loom

2 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Trends

AT&T ($NYSE:T) has been the subject of a slew of headlines of late, mostly due to shakeups at its media subsidiary Warner Media, LLC. AT&T acquired the company in 2016 for $108.8 billion, but it wasn't until 2018 that the acquisition was confirmed. Right around that time, workplace rankings for AT&T collected via Glassdoor began a very clear descent.

The shakeups at Warner Media haven't been terribly popular. Just last week, well-liked HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced he would be exiting the company after 28 years and with iconic shows like "The Sopranos" and "Game of Thrones" created under his watch.

AT&T's overall workplace rating remained relatively stable throughout 2018 at a 3.4 out of 5 stars. However, going into the new year, this rating appears to be on a bit of a decline, dropping to an average of 3.3.

AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson is generally well liked. In fact, he had an above-average 70% approval rating in 2017. But as 2018 developed and the new Warner Media employees merged with their AT&T colleagues, Stephenson's rating has been in a state of steady decline. As of this week, he's at a below-average 56% approval rating.

AT&T generated consolidated revenues of $170.8 billion in 2018's Q4. Despite this, employees' opinions on the future prospects of the business are tumbling. In October 2017, 62% felt that AT&T's future was bright. As of this week, that rating is at just 56% and appears to be on a downward trajectory. Confusion about executive shakeups and uncertainty about how the media division will be treated is likely part of growing consternation.

Just this week, it was announced that Robert Greenblat would take Plepler's place atop HBO, who it is said will bring with him more "data-based decision-making". Analysts aren't convinced.

“We’ve seen this movie before,” said Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson. “Phone companies have tried to get into media multiple times in the past, and it has always failed in large part because of culture clashes.”

Part of the fallout of sagging culture at AT&T has manifested in a lower "Recommend" rating at Glassdoor. At one time in late 2017, 62% of respondents recommended AT&T as a good place to work. Today, that metric has sunk to just 56%. Common threads on Glassdoor tend to focus on a lack of work-life balance.

On the other hand, AT&T employees seem to appreciate generous benefits, company cars, as well as pay scale. Indeed, the company's "Compensation & Benefits" rating is the only metric on the rise on Glassdoor, having hit a recent high of 3.9 out of 5 just this week, likely in line with pay raises and bonuses.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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