I found the company culture to be positive. Many of us kept to ourselves due to the nature of the job, having to focus primarily on assisting the customer, but many friendships were fostered and encouraged by myself and those around me. We were encouraged to work together and support one another, and I think the management succeeded in that regard. There were some flaws, primarily in preparing new employees for work, which will be explained in the following section under "Support From Management."
Support from management
The management of this company tries their hardest to be supportive and helpful, and it is this reviewer's firm belief they largely succeed, with one exception--I find the training to be the weakest part of the experience of the new workers. This is not solely the fault of management--it is just that the nature of the workplace resulted in a sort of trial by fire, and as comprehensive as the training atttempts to be (usually a course three to five days long, with an additional grace period for new workers while they learn the ropes) there is much that is not covered, even with the provision of materials like a worker's handbook and instructional handouts, I would have to say between a quarter to half of work is learned by experience or trial and error. Luckily, the management is also very forgiving about this, so it works out in the end. Overall I would rate it positively as such in spite of the aforementioned flaw. THeir goals, however, are very clearly stated--to provide the best customer experience possible, and they succeed in this as well. Work is challenging but not overly difficult once one settles in, and the management asks the opinion of employees in their attempts to improve the workplace.
Teamwork was overall healthy and encouraging to see. Many coworkers helped newer workers, camaraderie was clearly established at least at my level of work, with many workers having conversations, making friends and having a generally positive time. I did hear some murmurs of discontent about coworkers on occasion, and I bore witness to one argument, that was to my knowledge resolved by management. I made several good friends as well, and were it not for an early departure, I think I may have gotten to know them much better.
Freedom to work independently
While it is true we were monitored, with certain things like Internet browsing and mobile phone usage subject to restriction and discouraged (this was primarily due to the secure nature of transactions we were responsible for. Even with this, we were granted a certain level of freedom. We were not greatly pressured to work and stay on task as long as our numbers remained satisfactory, and most workers that I could see achieved this. We were also subject to quality assurance assessments to make sure we followed our scripts set out, but the management was very forgiving of error as long as it was not a consistent occurrence. A worker might find themselves disciplined if this occurred and monitored more strictly, but it would be rescinded if numbers and customer service improved.
As I elaborated in the Support From Management section, I believe that while the amount of information granted to us in training was "acceptable" they could have done better. This has been and remains even after I have left my primary concern with the company as a whole. The management attempts to keep us informed of developments in the company and changes in work requirements, but these can be spotty or late. We may receive updates about one change but not another. This may be in part due to the nature of the company being an establishment open 24/7, and so some shifts are better informed than others--conjecture on my part. THey do however let us know when we do well and reward us accordingly--there were celebratory company events and such.
I saw no evidence of gender discrimination from management whatsoever. Women occupied all but the very highest levels of management--in fact, I would say there were far more female managers than male managers for the most part. The owner, CEO and CFO as far as I could tell were all men, but as the company is only a few years old I am not going to assume that it will remain that way. I did see a few acts I saw as untoward by men towards female coworkers, but I did not see them rebuffed or overt discomfort either, so it may have just been tolerated affection. It is not my place to say for certain as I did not experience it.
Attitude towards older colleagues
Most of the workforce was between 20 and 35 by my guess, but there were some older than that and they were not discredited, ignored or belittled. I did not see anyone around or near senior age, so I cannot say anything about benefits for seniors. It seems to me that those of any age who apply that can demonstrate the requirements for the job--politeness towards customers, ability to handle pressured situations and an aptitude for typing, one could be hired.
The highly varied nature of the work allowed for me to develop a number of skills I had not previously possessed--these I believe will allow me to expand my horizons as a worker. As I worked for several different accounts, all with different specializations, requirements and responsibilities, I feel it helped me become more well-rounded and prepared for different kinds of work outside of customer service. Professional advancement was open and available to any applicant so long as they could meet the proper prerequisites, and several of my coworkers advanced to higher jobs throughout my career.
Overall compensation for your work
I found the pay to be satisfactory, at least for the first half of my job. When I worked for the first account I was on, we were paid by merit--the higher our numbers, the greater our bonus at that time. However, that company withdrew its account and we were switched to a flatter pay rate that was grandfathered based on how well we did at the former account, and thus I continued to receive a paycheck I found acceptable biweekly. When I first started, our company had no additional benefits, though later in the year such benefits were introduced. They were all right, but not as supportive as I personally needed them to be--still, they got the job done, and prices for my healthcare needs did not go up although they were not reduced. As mentioned previously, there was also a generous paid vacation granted to me, and we were also given the Christmas holiday off in the last year I worked there. So there is room for improvement, but it was off to a good start.
Office / Work Environment
I found the work environment to be largely comfortable, but with some caveats. Lighting was low, though not so much that it caused me eye strain or discomfort. There was a brief period where I had severe back pain, but I am not conclusively able to assert it was due to the work chairs, which I found to be comfortable and ergonomically supportive. It could get a little chilly in the winter, but not horribly so, and we were not forbidden from wearing coats or jackets in side. Summer was not so bad either, the air conditions worked well enough. There was also one single power outage in the whole of my time there, and it only lasted a moment due to a backup generator being present, and no work was lost by it.
I give this a lower review because while I found the amount of waste comparatively low, I did not see much evidence of concern or awareness for the environment. I do not give them much fault for this, they are a developing customer service program that is probably focusing more on growth. I believe there may have been a recycling basket at the cafeteria, but I am not entirely certain. To my knowledge, waste management was otherwise properly handled.
I found the work-life balance to be healthy for my personal experience. I believe it may have been different for those above me such as section managers and account managers and those higher still, but for a standard employee there was little pressure outside of work. I was only called in once or twice, hours were very generous and could be changed on request as needed, and I was given great leeway in taking work off for personal illness, as well as given a generous paid vacation time for only a year of work.
I feel that yes, despite the flaws I illustrated, it was overall a good company and a good experience.
We did not have a great many handicapped workers, but there were a few, and they were given wheelchairs or crutches as needed to work, and there were handicap parking spaces as well. I am uncertain if I saw handicap ramps at the curb or not, and the smoking area also did not have a ramp that I recall. So there is again room for improvement, but I would not consider it overly hostile. I myself have some special needs and was accomodated in a manner I found satisfactory while I worked there.
I thought the working environment was safe overall. There is not a great deal of heavy labor or working with dangerous machinery involved, but wiring was kept up and away from flammable surfaces and all electronics were surge protected as far as I could see. There was not training to *prevent* accidents in the workplace, but there was a support protocol in place to call for aid if ever it was required.
Work was indeed challenging, and satisfying when done well. It could be repetitive, but the variable nature of customer interaction kept it interesting.
Inclusive / Diverse
It is a highly diverse workforce, at least at my level. We had a colorful and large workforce, that came from many parts of the globe--my coworkers included Pakistanis, Indians, Somalians, African-Americans, and Latinos. Input was valued from all employees as far as I could tell. I did hear something from a worker that I interpreted as racist, however, I did not see them acting out towards their coworkers in this manner, nor did I hear anything of the sort afterward. I will make a point to mention however that most of the management beyond the sectional level was white, with a few exceptions here and there. Overall, aside from the grievances I have mentioned, I found it to be diverse--certainly the most diverse workplace I have been in.
Suggestions for improvement
- Please attempt to improve on your communication skills with your employees.
What I like about the company
I liked my coworkers, the workload, the emotional support and patience of the management.
What I dislike about the company
Primarily the weakness of communication, especially in training and changes to the company.