Zen Internet Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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2.0
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Richard Tang
7 Ratings

9 Employee Reviews

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  1. Not bad - just a frustrating place to work by the end

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

    I worked at Zen Internet

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

    Pros

    Good on-site facilities, plenty of parking
    Friendly, sociable place to work
    Big enough to support people to move between departments
    Easy-going and laid back. If you're happy to just get your head down, turn up for work and take your wage you might love it

    Cons

    If you have some ambition you probably won't fulfil it here. The flip side of it being laid back is that if you put in 100% you'll get rewarded as much as the people putting in 30%. I've seen recent comments about lazy people here - but that's because they're allowed to coast.The appraisal process needs a serious overhaul.

    Too few internal promotions - I saw very few in almost 7 years. Little recognition of peoples skills and saw too many good people go. Zen preferred to bring in external candidates which would be fine except that they were often poor/a bad fit (or both)

    Little evidence of staff being developed

    Senior management reduced to yes-men to the MD

    Too much talk and not enough action about getting stuff done. A business that's struggled to make the change to being a big company

    Advice to Management

    Be clear on a direction and don't try to be all things to all customers. If you're going to bring in senior managers from outside, bring in good ones and trust them

  2. Helpful (4)

    Any one with an ounce of ambition need not apply......

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Manchester, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Manchester, England (UK)

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Parking, security of the building and surrounding areas

    Cons

    Zen have an L&D team 6 deep - I have and still am struggling to understand what actual value the team add to the company. Zen create fancy and important sounding job titles, luring staff members in to a false sense of security and this is where decent people become trapped until Zen decide it is time to let you go. The internal 'promotions' will not come with a salary increase, and the L&D team will not be utilised to develop you - you will wilt away gaining some knowledge but not the relevant training to gain qualifications which you would benefit from when seeking other employment! This is why you can never leave unless you self fund your training for qualifications and this is why you will never gain the same role elsewhere as potential employers will want you to have the relevant qualifications. Middle/Senior roles are filled by external candidates who already have the qualifications and traning that Zen do not want to pay for so there is actually no realistic scope to develop within Zen.
    I am unsure what value the Product Managers add to the company - they do not develop products or understand them. What they do is have an idea - do a bit of development and before it is finished begin selling the product before the customer facing teams are aware of what it is or how to provision and support it - causing delays in the service to the customer. It truly is appalling and excrutiating to be around when a joke of a 'product' release happens - the Product Managers can hide away from customers but the front line staff can not and end up taking all of the abuse for poor Management!
    Account Managers that are not paid commision! What is that all about? They all get paid the same! So there are 1 maybe 2 Account Managers that actually Account Manage and bring in new custom - the others shy away and enjoy the social aspect of working at Zen having a laugh and a joke in the office - getting paid the same as the couple of AM's who do what they are paid to do but could be earning more!
    There are some truly valuable staff at Zen and it is those people who work in the customer facing teams - that get paid a bean for doing much more than the Management that get paid 4/5 times as much for just turning up for work. Their days must be so incredibly boring but hey it is an easy when earning so much huh?

    Advice to Management

    You all need to work some time on the 'floor' to see how things really are and stop taking advantage of the people who do care and have ambition. Think your happy this and that ethos needs reviewing also....

  3. Helpful (16)

    MIddle management circlejerk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - A Role Within Netoworks and Infrastructure
    Former Employee - A Role Within Netoworks and Infrastructure

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 8 years)

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

    Pros

    When I joined Zen back in the early 2000s it seemed like a wonderful place to work. Sure Rochdale isn't the best of locations, but the staff were well cared for and we had plenty of little perks as mentioned in many of the other reviews here. My skills were recognized and I was offered a couple of early opportunities to progress in my career. I was able to learn a great deal in my time there.
    The company was much smaller then, and it felt like we were part of an extended family, we were able to take pride in the fact that we were honestly striving to be the best ISP in the country.

    Cons

    Working hard? Know your stuff? Have a promotion! We will consider your salary when your next 6 month review comes around. Honestly.. We mean it.
    In fact I personally moved up the ladder 3 times in short order at Zen, and never once received an associated pay rise. In my final position we were continually knocked back by HR on the pay issue, with them stating that the scale was on a par with industry standards. Unfortunately they had no idea what our actual job involved, and had gone purely off the job title when working this out. If however you're applying for a role that has the word "Manager" in the title, you can expect to be well paid for doing nothing of any use to anyone.

    In nearly a decade of working there, everything that made it great crumbled around me. The entire operation is now barely held together by a massively underappreciated and often grossly underpaid technical department, while middle management continually find reasons to hire in yet more middle management. They are effectively working as a team to ensure that they spread what little real work they do between as many people as possible.

    Bureaucracy is rife, the middle management circlejerk has done an excellent job of making it as hard as possible for staff to do anything productive without endless meetings and paperwork. Project meetings frequently consist entirely of people why have no idea why they are even in a meeting. When a manager really want something to happen though, you will be told to just do it regardless of policy / change control / the laws of physics / common sense. Senior management only listen to middle management, and middle management do not listen to their staff.

    Many of the perks have gone, you can still get a free cuppa but that's about it.

    Product management consists almost entirely of people who know nothing about the product they're apparently supposed to manage. Heaven forbid that you might find a document rigidly defining what a product includes or how it should be set up.

    The catering on site is atrocious. It wasn't so bad when they moved into the current building, but they quickly got rid of the incumbent catering company and hired in Baxter Storey. Suddenly, instead of large quantities of good simple food at a reasonable price, we're offered fairly sub-standard food in bitesize quantities, labeled with a name intended to make it sound more fancy than it is, at prices that really don't seem to reflect the fact that it is subsidized by the company. Receipt of the weekly lunch menu was often the highlight of a Monday morning, much fun could be derived from trying to work out what the hell the latest ridiculous menu item actually was. These people really are on an entirely different plane of reality.

    When management perceive a problem with the general performance of a department, or in some cases seemingly when they're just bored, they restructure. Cue lots of moving teams around, splitting and joining of teams, moving people to new desks, etc etc. Everyone ends up doing the same job but with a whole new set of issues to get in their way.

    As much as Richard Tang always seemed like a nice enough guy, and indeed in the few times I directly interacted with him it seemed like he was a man with some common sense and intelligence, I feel as though towards the end of my time there he was losing touch with the majority of his employees though. I'm sure it's difficult to maintain as a company grows, but with senior management filtering everything that reaches him now, I doubt he has the slightest idea that many of his most valuable staff are utterly fed up.

    Last but not least, it's in Rochdale. I've never been back there since I left Zen, it's rubbish.

    Advice to Management

    Quit. Find an actual skill. Get a real job.

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  5. Helpful (3)

    What job did I apply for again?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Sales in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I have been working at Zen Internet 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

    Most of the staff are good to get on with - but they employ far to many and its difficult to see what some people do.
    Free fruit & coffee - but you have to be quick off the mark to get any before the stampede.
    Nice offices - but beginning to feel overcrowded.

    Cons

    If you are ambitious... don't come to Zen Internet. Opportunities are non existent. They will go external!
    If you want a good salary... don't come to Zen Internet. No commission payable in sales !?!?!?
    If you want to progress your career... don't come to Zen Internet. The job you apply for will Inevitably not match the one you will end up doing.

    That said, Zen Internet really is the easiest job you could wish for! No pressure to perform and hit targets, and no repercussions if you don't. You really could sit around and do nothing for a week - I've seen it done!

    Advice to Management

    Happy staff - If you are happy to just stay in the same role and pick up a basic salary, regardless of the job you actually end up with, 9-5, you couldn't ask for a better company to work for.

    Happy customers - Zen Internet are always behind their competitors, so its their customer base that suffers.

    Happy suppliers - Zen Internet pay all bills on time, but have no 'weight' with their main suppliers BT & Vodafone. I'd be happy with Zen Internet as a customer - a push over.

  6. Helpful (3)

    Promising start, but too many things are wrong

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    I worked in various different technical roles during my time at Zen starting in tech support, and generally speaking enjoyed my time there. There are a lot of issues with redundant staff (mostly managers), and quality of the systems used however.

    There is opportunity to move through the company if you want to. I had three different roles within 7 years.

    Reasonable priced canteen, although the food is not always the best quality. Free fruit, coffee etc.

    Good place to commute to. Right on the motorway, so you don't need to journey into deepest darkest Rochdale.

    Cons

    There are a lot of people who managed to get paid for doing very little

    The salary is a joke. 6 month reviews, although don't expect anything more than a 1.5% pay rise if you're lucky. Also no salary increase for changing roles.

    People's ability to park in the car park is dire, not helped by the old faded white lines. Management have refused to get them repainted to make them more obvious.

    All training I was given was 'soft skill' training. Nothing directly job related.

    There is a lot of talk of following the defined processes as set out as part of ISO 9001. Not everyone follows them however, and management actively encourage forgetting about them when they get in the way. Surely fixing the process to work for you is the correct way to go? (Regularly reviewing the processes is actually a part of ISO 9001)

    Lots of manual repetitive tasks in the 'NOC', who should be responsible for maintaining and upgrading the network, however are actually responsible for provisioning leased lines. There was a lot of talk about streamlining the process, and the systems development team did a lot of work to 'improve' things. This boiled down to getting the systems to automatically send emails between teams instead of a human. Effort would have been better focused on working out how to automatically provision this stuff onto the network which would have cut down on hours of unneeded work, and reduce staffing costs.

    Their in-house CRM is awful. Most fields are free form, with no validation, which allows you to enter things like 'bert' for a customers telephone number. This makes automating things almost impossible. They have a mountain to climb if they actually want to streamline the business, but nobody seems keep to actually start.

    Advice to Management

    Ditch zebra. The data in there is terrible quality which makes it impossible to actually create new products.

  7. Helpful (6)

    Happy Staff - OR ELSE!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manager in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Manager in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Free Fruit and coffee. Good Canteen. Flexible Hours. Nice Office Environment. Some nice people work there.

    Cons

    Having a mission of 'Happy Staff' you would think that Zen would encourage staff to be happy. In fact the opposite is true. Its a case of 'You WILL appear to be happy OR ELSE!'

    The senior management team give the impression that everything is all relaxed, allowing you to do things at your own pace, and giving the impression that they about you. The reality is a ruthless demanding regime where you must deliver miracles immediately or they will get rid of you.

    Everyone seams to be just left to wallow, without any direction or real support. If you are struggling a little with your job, don't extect any sympathy. This is seen as an intolerable weekness, and you will be shown the door. HR won't help you, they will put the boot in and fast-track the exit process.

    There are some very sneaky back-stabbing people in Zen. Crawling along to your manager, instead of having the guts to talk to you directly.

    It used to be a good place to work, but recently some 'little hitlers' have been recruited who are the usual self centred aggressive corporate, hire and fire, my way or the highway types - intent on making life a misery for everyone.

    Really not a pleasant place to work in any more.

    Advice to Management

    Stop recruiting idiots, and be more supportive to existing staff. Give people a chance.

  8. Helpful (5)

    Beaten wife syndrome - "I'm only doing this for your own good, honey"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I have been working at Zen Internet full-time (less than a year)

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

    Pros

    Free fruits and monthly 15 min massage - a novelty
    Salary isn't too bad - if you can tolerate middle managers and team leaders

    Cons

    Richard Tang seems to be a decent CEO.

    However, the day-to-day running of the organisation is left to middle management. I have worked for a number of larger organisations prior to this, and in comparison, middle management and team leaders are very amateurish, lack competence and professionalism.

    They are usually hired internally from those who have put in the years and can be brought into the "buddies" circle. They lack any kind of people management skills and think that the "big brother" approach together with micro management tactics gets the best out of people, while constantly reassuring the employee that this is all for their own good.

    The sad part is some of the new recruits and especially the new graduates actually believe that; because they don't know better.

    HR actually provide new middle managers with internal training on people management. Talk about blind leading the blind! You only have to meet a few of the HR people to know what I mean.

    Advice to Management

    To middle management and HR - Stop posting these positive reviews. Reading between the lines (and any intelligent person can see) that the comments are not made by a genuine and happy employee.

  9. Helpful (3)

    Once a truly great company, sadly no longer

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

    I have been working at Zen Internet full-time

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

    Pros

    Most of the people here are quite nice and easy to get along with. Free coffee and orange juice. Richard Tang is a great MD to work for.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, red tape, bad internal politics/power struggles. Senior management detached from the 'front line' and teams that provide services to customers. Basic focus on excellent customer service that once made Zens name now seems irrelevant to many internally, which customers seem to be noticing. Problems go unresolved. Very limited opportunites to progress for staff. Too many managers. And yes, the positive reviews on here were written by Zen human resources...

    Advice to Management

    Get back to basics and the mission statement.

  10. Helpful (1)

    Trying to be a big company and not really succeeding.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I worked at Zen Internet

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There is a very relaxed atmosphere if you're in the right department in Zen. If you are than you can pretty much sit round doing nothing and get away with it.

    If you can stand working there for a year then they'll never fire you unless you really screw up badly.

    Most of the people there are nice people.

    Cons

    Pay is average for Manchester but because the company is based in Rochdale management thinks it's really high.

    Most days are spent in pointless meetings meaning very little actual works get done.

    The office is in Rochdale, which is basically a slum. Most people live elsewhere and complain about the amount of time they have to commute. There have been cases of people getting beaten up just down the road from the office.

    There is little training - "I learned everything from a book so you can too". On top of that they use nothing but trailing edge technology. This isn't the place to boost your CV.

    The answer to "becoming a big company" has been to get more levels of management which has slowed the company to a crawl.

    If you're in the wrong department then you're pretty much guaranteed to have a bad time.

    Advice to Management

    Accept the company isn't large, shift down a gear and concentrate on what the company does well.
    Focus on getting one produce to the point where it's the best available (like things were with DSL) rather than trying to do too many things at once. The people on the phones are the public face of the company and should be looked after.

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