Emergent BioSolutions

www.emergentbiosolutions.com
Engaged Employer

Emergent BioSolutions Reviews

Updated March 25, 2015
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Emergent BioSolutions President & CEO Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi
Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi
4 Ratings

Pros
  • Very talented people, and growing company (in 5 reviews)

  • Good benefits, pay and bonuses, summer hours if you aren't too busy working which you probably will be (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Not a lot of consideration for work/life balance (in 5 reviews)

  • Very political; senior management always playing the blame game; (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

12 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (5)

    Excellent talent sprinkled in a sea of political cronyism

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Scientist in Gaithersburg, MD
    Current Employee - Scientist in Gaithersburg, MD

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fast corporate growth, opportunities materialize quickly, relatively competitive salary & bonuses. CEO is actually very good; very dedicated and an excellent communicator. HR is making a conscious effort to change the culture (will take time though).

    Cons

    Cronyism/favoritism across at least half the company. Scientific personnel are stellar but dwindling. Senior management (just below VP levels) for the most part are pathetic - they manage via negative reinforcement/motivation tactics. Problem solving and scientific solutions can ONLY stream from the top down. If the cycle broken, you risk ostracization. Essentially, the political savvy thrive.

    Advice to Management

    Do not be afraid to shake things up. There are many qualified senior managers and directors out there! Take the time to get the most feedback possible, even from the "little people." Yes deadlines may get met, but it really matters HOW they are met. That's how you sustain a solid company and further bolster growth.


  2. Helpful (4)

    Do not relocate to Lansing for this company!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lansing, MI
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lansing, MI

    I worked at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It is a strong company with a devoted customer. As long as there are terrorists out there, the US Gov will be first in line to buy Emergent's biodefense products. The company has made some strong acquisitions lately to move beyond being the Biothrax company. Compensation is good for the area, mediocre for the industry. Benefits are generally what you will find elsewhere and are good. One oddity is the charity match. They only match local charities for the PR they get. If you support a national charity without a Lansing presence, they won't match. There is a strong internal training program for soft skills (team building, public speaking, emotional intelligence, etc) and computer programs. There is also a mentoring program in place, which is really good. They hire a lot of people straight from school (very difficult to recruit talent from other companies) who need the support. The company likes to promote from within, which is can be a positive in growing talent. Management is then fast-tracked for future promotions. It is not uncommon for annual promotions for them. One individual made the jump from supervisor to manager to senior manager within nine months. Not bad considering each promotion adds ~30K in salary. Regular staff are not as lucky. Expect to wait 4-5 years between being considered for promotion. The employees are generally friendly and establish positive teams. Some groups (Validation, Engineering, IT) have strong team-building efforts. Others see their employees as mere assets and don't consider it a good use of time or money.

    Cons

    The culture can be toxic as others have noted. Managers can be adversarial within groups as well as between. Some managers speak negatively of other managers and their groups. An "Us versus Them" attitude is often fostered. The sad thing is they have been trying to improve their culture for 5 years now and in some ways (communication), it's only become worse. Office politics are heavily observed here as well. The company has a staff turn-over problem, roughly 15%. Most of this is driven by finding better opportunities elsewhere, but the site also seems to like to fire people. Every 3-4 weeks someone is being walked off campus. The one positive is they fire everyone from the staff painter to the VP of Operations, no discrimination there. HR is a rubber stamp for management when it comes to personnel decisions. Personnel reviews can not be challenged. If you have a bad relationship with your supervisor, HR will block any transfer attempts. There is never a budget for external trainings, which can be the best route for increasing hard skills. Don't expect to attend conferences or seminars. Also, forget about presenting talks or posters externally as well, it's actively discouraged. Work life balance are merely words at this location. Salary employees are expected to work 50+ hours per week. I've known individuals to work 70-80 hours due to poor manager resource management. Some managers allow time flexing over a 2 week period. Also, time generally only counts while on campus. It doesn't matter if you can do your work remotely, they have trouble recognizing the value for some reason. Once hired, expect your wages to be stagnant. Annual increases are negligible (1% for meeting expectations). They are generous with bonuses (5-10% for the role I was in), but remember the IRS taxes bonuses much higher than standard wages. As mentioned in the title, I strongly advise relocating to this location unless you like to move. The nearest biotech employers are ~1 hour away (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor). It's a long commute.

    Advice to Management

    Establish an anonymous 360 review process for all management and their reports. Lansing has some poor people leaders. Learn your weak links and then act to improve or replace them. Recognize that remote work is reasonable. If an employee has a sick kid (or transportation problems, doctor appointment, etc), but has their work laptop, it doesn't need to be an automatic vacation day for them Address the work life balance problems, there is a lot of employees being burned out by the current strategy.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Think hard before signing on with Emergent

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are competitive, summer work hours is a plus but should be extended to year round

    Cons

    Matrix style of management works poorly as each managers tend to be soloed which causes work assignments and due dates to be unrealistic

    Advice to Management

    Matrix style of management works poorly as each managers tend to be soloed which causes work assignments and due dates to be unrealistic


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  5. Helpful (3)

    Lots of learning opportunities but extremely political

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Competitive pay and benefits Job stability, generally Because of the growth of the company, there are many opportunities to learn new skills A lot of committed and talented people who are hard working and care

    Cons

    Sr. management not qualified. Highly toxic and political. A management culture that promotes bullies and liars. Employees are considered disposable. A lot of propaganda but no real actions. Don't hold bad people accountable. Too much window dressing and fluff. Extremely bureaucratic and risk averse, but pretend to be innovative and

    Advice to Management

    Promote people who are capable and honest. Treat your good people better and get rid of bad apples Walk the talk, not just talk the talk. Focus on true growth, not just CYA Understand the true meaning of innovation, not just to pretend that you can say the word Finally, stick to a strategy for more than 3 months! Don't reorg every 3 months if things are not working.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Lots of Opportunity

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lansing, MI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lansing, MI

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Opportunity for growth and to make a difference.

    Cons

    Heavy workload, poor work-life balance, inconsistent management ability

    Advice to Management

    View employees as #1 asset and make decisions accordingly.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Good place to build industry experience, but a bad place to work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manufacturing in Lansing, MI
    Former Employee - Manufacturing in Lansing, MI

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits and vacation time Professional development training available (7 Habits, Situational Leadership, Toastmasters, etc) Pay not up to national standard, but good for location Deluge of swag (totes, lunchbags, food items, company outings and picnics, etc) Strong GXP maintained: great place to build industry experience

    Cons

    MANUFACTURING NIGHT SHIFT = NO ESCAPE Horrific work/life balance, particularly for 6PM-6AM night shift employees. High turnover rate. Manufacturing is the least-respected department on Emergent's campus. This is not due to some general lack of respect for manufacturing positions in general, but because of the young and often unprofessional people (often referred to informally on campus as "the kids") that make up this department. You'll find that most people in manufacturing are blissfully ignorant of this opinion, as they so rarely interact with the campus at large and have an inflated sense of self-importance ("we're the building where the money comes out"). When drawing the manufacturing night shift short straw, make clear your interest in moving to the day shift or another department immediately upon full-time hire. Be warned that without a minimum of three years of employment under your belt it's unlikely to happen anytime soon (if ever), even if you're willing to take a lesser position/pay. The high turnover, particularly among those assigned to the incredible stress of a 12 hour night shift, means that those who are capable of tolerating said shift are kept there at all costs. High rate of unprofessional negative interactions among shift teams, shift members and shift management, and between multiple shifts. Immature mean-spirited "drama" is common, as most of manufacturing is composed of recent small town college grads in their first "professional" environment. Bullying and exclusion are common on insular manufacturing teams. Night shift positions are bruited about as being dumping grounds for personalities the company doesn't want on days. This may or may not be true. True or not, the night shift environment has repeatedly proven an effective incubator for more toxic personalities to achieve their full disturbing potential, particularly among middle manufacturing management. CONSISTENT delays and DELIBERATE misinformation concerning annual and merit raises, which are consistently poor. Effort requisite to achieve a measly 5% is ridiculous. Look at your pay, consider expectations, do the math. Check your paystub. ALWAYS check your paystub. Errors are VERY common around raise time. Opportunities for advancement seem present, but in reality are bogged down by the company manipulating training systems and pay raise guidelines to bolster their bottom line. No, not just quality or compliance. Their bottom line. You may very well find yourself stuck in a positional repple-depple after all requisite training paperwork has been signed off. Not uncommon: signed off and "promoted", yet doing the work of that next level position for many months under your current pay. Not uncommon: as they change training systems, whether testing new systems for quality/compliance or in service of their bottom line, you'll likely find yourself stuck in one training area for twice/three times as long as projected. Standard Issue HR Sucks Disclaimer: Human Resources at Emergent is known as "Human Capital" and (among all the Catbert-ridden corporations I've worked for) actually stands out for their general lack of responsibility, responsiveness, and the incredibly low opinion they've earned with company employees. Not respecting or bothering to show up to appointments on time or even at all is a specialty. That's right. Have a scheduled appointment after 2PM? (If you're on the nightshift, this'll be your only functional option) Your best bet may very well be to get there early and head them off on their way to their car if camping out in front of their office an hour or more in advance doesn't appeal to you. Truly terrible.

    Advice to Management

    Take employee evaluations of toxic team leads seriously. These people are contributing to your appalling turnover rate and the general dissatisfaction of both your new and established workforce, significantly lowering productivity.This is occurring in tandem to a toxic team lead displaying behavior that is modeled and perpetuated by the impressionable, compounding the problem. Bullying of and unprofessional behavior with subordinates should NOT be acceptable and tolerated at Emergent BioSolutions, no matter what said team lead's current "success rate" might happen to be.


  8. Helpful (4)

    No movement except for those who are already at the top.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    They have decent benefits/401(k).... and a summer hours program that's nice, unfortunately not all groups are able to take advantage of it.

    Cons

    Impossible to move up in the company when you've entered as a technician (with a bachelors degree mind you)


  9. Helpful (5)

    Good Benefits but they do not outweigh BAD management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Emergent BioSolutions full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits Good employees but they will eventually leave due to poor management

    Cons

    Extremely poor management Treat non-management employees like disposables Low pay for the area No growth potential Must know your place to mentally survive and you will be repeatedly reminded of your place HR is there to protect the company not the employees

    Advice to Management

    Teach your managers some skills to manage down. They know how to manage up very well.


  10. Helpful (3)

    Decent compensation, stagnant career environment.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manufacturing in Lansing, MI
    Former Employee - Manufacturing in Lansing, MI

    I worked at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The job was easy, the compensation decent, and most coworkers wonderful to work with. It is a good job for someone fresh out of school with no experience.

    Cons

    Career growth is nonexistent, even discouraged. Do yourself a favor and don't even try to advance. After receiving three raises totaling less than a dollar an hour, I tried to advance to a decent position only to be told that it would take 10 months to go through. Transferring into other departments is rare. Getting off the night shift is based on luck of the draw, not merit nor experience. If you get a job in manufacturing, expect to stay at the bottom for a while. It's not worth the bother to try to advance. Develop an exit strategy and make a career somewhere else.

    Advice to Management

    Take your employees at the bottom more seriously. Provide actual merit compensation and advancement opportunities. Until that happens, there will always be a turnover problem.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Upper management forced me to resign.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lansing, MI
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lansing, MI

    I worked at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great co-workers (only field employess and a few managers)

    Cons

    Is like working on the fire department, everything is high priority.

    Advice to Management

    Decision from Upper management always push field employees to work long hard shifts. Too many change in decisions. Many departments have a too heavy load and there is not enough personel.



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