Since coming public at a first-day offer price of $38, shares of social networking site Facebook (FB) have dropped more than $10 in price, losing 32 percent of their value for early investors.
In contrast, Facebook's CEO has gained 14 percentage points in a recent poll of the world's top-rated CEOs.
According to the poll, conducted by jobs and career website Glassdoor, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now the top-rated company chief executive out of all companies polled. Nipping at his heels are, in order:
No. 2-ranked SAP (SAP) co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe
A pair of consulting firm CEOs -- No. 3 Dominic Barton at McKinsey & Co. and No. 4 Jim Turley at Ernst & Young
No. 5: Northwestern Mutual boss John Schlifske.
What puts these CEOs at the top of the heap? Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman, explains: "While anyone can assume a position in leadership, not everyone garners their employees' support for how they lead the company."
And in contrast to many other company-ranking surveys out there, that's exactly what Glassdoor measures: the anonymous opinions of companies' rank-and-file about how their own bosses perform.
Glassdoor gives each voter the chance to pronounce himself "very satisfied," "satisfied," "neutral," "dissatisfied," or "very dissatisfied" with their bosses. In the case of Facebook, for example, out of 423 employees polled, 325 -- that's 77 percent -- say they're very satisfied with Zuckerberg's performance. That's compared to only two disgruntled souls who say they're very unsatisfied.
How to Use the Rankings for Personal Gain
So, after patting the winning CEOs on the back -- and looking with envy at the employees who've lucked into jobs with such wonderful bosses -- what use can you make of Glassdoor's poll data?
Well, from an investor's point of view, there are a couple of key takeaways here. First and foremost, it's unlikely that employees are going to say they're utterly thrilled with the CEO's performance if the firm is going down in flames. Chances are, a company that scores highly in the estimation of its employees is a company you might want to invest in yourself.
While not all of the companies on Glassdoor's list are soaring in the stock market, few have performed quite as poorly as Facebook. And shares of several of the higher-ranked companies -- No. 11-ranked Google (GOOG), No. 13-ranked salesforce.com (CRM), and No. 16-ranked Amazon.com (AMZN), for example -- have all outperformed the S&P 500 quite handily over the past year.
This suggests that while it might not be advisable to just buy shares of any company on Glassdoor's list willy-nilly, the list could serve as a good starting point for researching potential investments.
Another point that suggests itself: Why exactly might it be good for a company to appear on Glassdoor's list?
Well, think about it in business terms -- say, from the perspective of a hiring manager. If your company has a reputation as "one of the top places to work," it's possible you can use that fact to convince a desirable employee to join up -- and in particular, leverage the company's sterling reputation to avoid having to pay a higher salary. Hire enough new employees at below-market salaries, and you begin dropping serious coin to the company's bottom line.
Similarly, happy workers can be expected to stick around longer, reducing employee turnover, and cutting a company's cost to advertise for, recruit, and train replacement employees. Over time, these kinds of HR savings can start to add up -- especially in manpower-intensive operations like software programming (Salesforce and Facebook), retail (Amazon), and consulting (McKinsey and E&Y).
Long story short, if you're looking for your next stock to invest in, it might be work taking a peek through the Glassdoor to see what they have to show you.
Motley Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Facebook, Google, and salesforce.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Facebook, and Google. To find great investments, try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.