Cree Reviews

Updated August 10, 2015
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Cree Chairman, President, and CEO Chuck Swoboda
Chuck Swoboda
44 Ratings

Pros
  • Excellent and competitive benefits, including ESPP and stock options (in 7 reviews)

  • good benefits and clean enviroment (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is nonexistent (in 17 reviews)

  • compensation is not as good as i thought; no work life balance; push employee to work long hour with large amount of work (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

57 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    shipping

    Former Employee - Shipping Clerk in Racine, WI
    Former Employee - Shipping Clerk in Racine, WI

    I worked at Cree (More than a year)

    Pros

    earning a paycheck, hard work

    Cons

    to much responsibilities for pay, management needs to improve reatly


  2. Helpful (6)

    Cree needs to return to its roots

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Durham, NC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Cree full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Benefits are good; pay is okay

    Cons

    Senior and Executive Management is poor and continue to line their own pockets without regard to the toxic environment within; quality of products have gone downhill; employees are not valued and deemed replaceable. I would never have thought this could happen. Feel bad for Cree and North Carolina.

    Advice to Management

    Let the founders retake control


  3. Helpful (3)

    Worst Place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Led Operator in Durham, NC
    Current Employee - Led Operator in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cree full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    It's a good place if you want to make money working overtime but the pay is cheap if you compare to other companies in the area like Biogen, Merck or Phononic..

    Cons

    Supervisor and Leads are not present and night ...most of the time sleeping. There are sexual harrasment on Cree. I know a supervisor who try to sleep with a couple female coworkers offering favors. At night shift you can see operator kissing behind reactors, the lead saw that. She didn't do anything...there are cameras but nobody see anything. Company is with financial problems, they are shutting down the factory whenever they want it....Cree make to use your PTO/HPTO for those times..so you can not plan vacation... I decide to quit next month...after I get an interview in other company who is going to pay me more than18 dollars for to start working like operator in the same enviroment (Clean Room).

    Advice to Management

    Bad Management. Human Resources doesn't care. People who really works at night deserve to earn more than 5% at least 25%.... There are good manager, supervisor and leads but they are not working at night shift.


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  5. Helpful (7)

    Poor Working Environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Process Technician II in Durham, NC
    Current Employee - Process Technician II in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cree full-time

    Pros

    Met my husband at Cree and hopefully we'll be leaving soon.

    Cons

    Poor bonuses, when we get them; no room for advancement; poor raises; very low moral; poor managers

    Advice to Management

    It would be great if Cree actually hired managers who were qualified to be managers.


  6. Helpful (14)

    Toxic. Unhealthy.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Semiconductor Manufacturing Operator in Durham, NC
    Former Employee - Semiconductor Manufacturing Operator in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cree full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits. The gym is really nice. They offer some tuition assistance after 12 months of employment. The work the company is doing is exciting and the company is big. There are opportunities to make extra money (when overtime is available).

    Cons

    Contents: 1. Lack of Advancement Opportunities 2. Blatant Sexism Against Women in the Workplace 3. Instability 4. Working Night Shift is a Huge Disadvantage --- 1. Lack of Advancement Opportunities From what I observed in my department, people in intermediate positions (such as shift leads) remain in those positions for 10-15+ years and are either unsuitable for advancement or refuse to change positions, clogging up the very few paths of advancement for operators who do wish to try and advance. Departments outside the one you're placed in are extremely unlikely to consider you. Cree appears to try to hire fresh blood from outside the company instead of promoting from within. The only people I saw advance had been trying to do so for close to a decade. They are unwilling to train you and equip you with skills needed for advancement at any, even the smallest, levels, even if you explicitly request such training. I had to fight tooth-and-nail to acquire extra job skills that I used as a vehicle to get out of this awful company. A competitor hired me in a much higher position after Cree refused to consider me for such a position. 2. Blatant Sexism Against Women in the Workplace While the majority of the sex-based discrimination/harassment I encountered came from my lateral peers, the two areas I have first-hand experience with and have decided to stress here have to do with A) management and B) Human Resources. A) Although I cannot speak for the whole company, I personally experienced an extremely sexist work environment during my two years at the company, predominately in my (numerous) male supervisors' responses to my desire and attempts to advance myself within the company. This is especially of concern to women within/considering Cree because your supervisor is the one tasked with conducting approvals for advancement consideration as well as your salary-modifying evaluations. I had supervisors dismiss me from conversations about advancement multiple times with casual sexist statements. One stated very clearly that he only thought I was being considered for a position because the manager was being "flirtatious" with me, another said I didn't need to worry about making more money or advancing because I could "find someone to take care of" me. I had 7+ (all male) supervisors and department heads and most at some point made several offensive sexist remarks throughout my time working with them and clearly did not take women as seriously as men. They showed no signs of realizing how offensive they were being and the other women there tolerated it. Try being a female young professional and going to work at an acclaimed, reputable, technology company and having your boss respond to you with phrases like "it's a man's thing and you wouldn't understand". B) My perception was that HR picked and chose which cases to look into and which to ignore and it seemed very slanted in opposition of women. For example, I reported a piece of verifiable, written proof of sexual harassment to HR and they could have very easily discovered and taken action against the perpetrator. Despite me emphasizing that I felt threatened by the note and following up several times, no actions were taken. But when, around the same time, someone falsely reported to HR that I was sleeping with a manager, they looked into that, subjecting parties to degrading investigations. Other female workers there had similar experiences. HR should focus more on making all areas of Cree a fair place for women to work and less on frivolous fraternization witch hunts. I could list several more examples of unfair and sexist treatment and HR enabling it. I am sharing this because I never want another woman to go through what I went through there. Cree needs to install accountability at all levels (not just the higher ones) to ensure women are being taken just as seriously as their male peers across the board. Hopefully they do that quickly before they have discrimination lawsuits on their hands. 3. Instability My experience at Cree was littered with market forecasting inaccuracies leading to questionable company reactions. We were on double mandatory overtime for almost a year, and then all of a sudden overtime was completely unavailable, there were multiple "shutdowns" (where you're forced to take a weeks vacation, either taking no pay or using your HPTO/PTO) and layoffs of temps due to a "surplus of inventory." I understand the semiconductor market undulates up and down, but how Cree handles the "cyclical changes" affects the jobs and paychecks of real people in drastic ways. A lot of workplace conflicts arise from the hysteria of scared and uneasy workers in response to Cree's knee-jerk reactions to market changes. 4. Working Night Shift is a Huge Disadvantage There is no accountability for management on nights. Many of the employee "perks" cannot apply to night shift nearly as much if at all because they occur during the day. HR is not there at night. If you are an operator you will be put on nights (if not immediately, but eventually) and you will stay there for years (based on "seniority"). Most night shift supervisors are almost never on the floor and are allowed to become very corrupt. Some operators got away with sleeping on the job and goofing off night after night while I was nit-picked, camera-watched, called on the phone and scolded over little things (such as my knee touching the floor while picking up materials in the clean room). Most technicians at night are very absent as their bosses are not present, negatively affecting operator cycle times. I experienced an unfair and toxic working environment, especially on the night shift.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on making this a better place for women to work even at the operator level. Evaluate not just how many women work for the company, but where they are distributed department and career-level-wise. Create a fair workplace environment because I can assure you, it is not. Roll out further education to all employees, especially those in management, on the definitions and negative (and legal) consequences of sex-based discrimination. Make it possible for willing employees to advance.


  7. Helpful (6)

    The Black Hole

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Optical Applications Engineer in Durham, NC
    Current Employee - Optical Applications Engineer in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cree full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Really good people work there, management needs to shape up and fly right. Benefits are OK but better at other companies. Management only helps their selves.

    Cons

    No work life balance, management needs to train their people. Too much overworked people benefits are OK but better at other places. Top management does not care at all about the workers but how much money they can put in their pockets.

    Advice to Management

    Get a life and a new job some where else, go back to our values that were started in the beginning, this is not Texas Instruments.


  8. Helpful (6)

    Avoid

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - NorthCarolina in Durham, NC
    Former Employee - NorthCarolina in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cree full-time

    Pros

    none, except a paycheck that cannot pay your bills every 2 weeks

    Cons

    no living wage, long hours company shoves people to one job , then another. discriminates against certain ages and races

    Advice to Management

    pay your employees a living wage-treat your bread winners better.


  9. Helpful (7)

    Dogged the layoff!!!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Durham, NC
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Durham, NC
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I Still have a paycheck.

    Cons

    Still have to work at Cree to get it.

    Advice to Management

    None. They don't want it.


  10. Helpful (8)

    CEO is poor

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Executive Staff in Durham, NC
    Current Employee - Executive Staff in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cree full-time

    Pros

    Good people work there, good vacation program, plenty of parking with good lighting, potential future if we get a new CEO.

    Cons

    CEO is the key person behind the recent $85M restructureing charge that went out on June 24th. If you research his record, you will find that under the CEO's tenure, there has not been any growth in market capitalization of the company in his 14 years. CEO authorized $200M in new fab that was not needed despite feedback from some staff members that there was no shortage of product that justified a new fab. The company is organizationally backwards and managers lack clear ownership of problems. Too many people can say no to a project and almost no one can say yes. No real IT infrastructure and systems to manage the size of the business. The company has a history of burning through people. An example was that in 2014, they put the fab workers on double mandatory overtime and didn't bother to think about their lives. EVP management has been a revolving door with everyone except the CEO. Think before you interview.

    Advice to Management

    Kick out the CEO and restructure.


  11. Helpful (10)

    Flee from Cree

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Process Technician in Fuquay-Varina, NC
    Current Employee - Process Technician in Fuquay-Varina, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cree full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Resume filler, the opportunity to learn something new about the LED industry. Consistent paycheck, sometimes meaning being forced to take PTO to match other departments that temporarily shut down. People like the benefits, however they're only mediocre and not worth the stress. Fitness test are even required now for a lower cost health insurance.

    Cons

    Everything. Cree is a terrible place to work. Management has no idea what they are doing and they're quick to use employees to enact they're political schemes. Small raises with a guarantee that they'll find any way possible to pay you as little as possible. They search mostly for college graduates with no prior employment so they can hire them on board at a cheap rate. They expect you to invest one-hundred percent of your life into Cree with no rewards beyond a small couple percentile raise each year usually smaller than inflation itself. They hate to hear any mentions of unions and pretend to care until any effort to form one stops. High stress with very long hours. Operators, Technicians, and Engineers alike are all treated with as little care as possible. Upper management has little to no contact with they're lower tiered employees. CEO meetings are not even held in person anymore. This company exists in the US and overseas but wants very hard to operate at the cost of it's foreign counterparts. It's a good job to have for no longer than one year. Go, learn, and LEAVE fast. It only gets worse. Everything is designed to benefit only the 9-5 upper-management. Fitness Center, Cafeteria, Work Schedule, Benefits, Compensation, and Priority all benefit and work in favor to the regular scheduled upper management. And don't expect to ever change departments or promote beyond a Technician or Operator anymore at CREE it's impossible unless you suck up to someone higher or get a higher education.

    Advice to Management

    Manage and if you can't do that then quit. Give your positions to people who actually know how to manage. Stop trying to screw over all of your employees. Take the time to actually understand who and what you are managing. Make an effort to actually build a viable team. You have many intelligent and skilled employees who work for you. Reward your employees. Listen to your employees. Quit giving people the run-around when they ask direct questions. Quit taking away small benefits that helped employees get through their long shifts. Stop creating stress and devaluing employees who once enjoyed working at CREE.



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