Cycling Sports Group
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“Wish I had never heard of them. Short sighted and solely about the profits. Understaffed (Madison Office) ”
- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Cycling Sports Group full-time (more than an year)Pros
Cycling Sports Group, who also has a division called Pacific Cycle (Pacific posts jobs under Cycling Sports Group), is a very casual office. Casual dress code is taken to the extremes with some directors wearing biking jerseys/shorts to customer meetings.
Office culture is very entrepreneurial (I'll get to that more in 'cons'). You will get to work on major brands such as Schwinn, Mongoose, and Kid-Trax.
Very well liked office outside of product development. A recent corporate wide employee engagement survey stated that 75% of higher of employees outside of product development/marketing/graphics/sales loved their job. On the other hand, 80% of employees within product development/marketing/graphics were planning on leaving, or searching for a new job in the next 6 months (many of those employees have left already).
PTO time is 4 weeks (some people have negotiated for 5 weeks). You can come in at 8:30am, work out/bike for an 1:30 at lunch, and leave at 5pm and no one really says anything.
Lots of travel to Asia (fly 16 hours by coach, stay in cheap hotels, very basic basic accommodations).
Good, enthusiastic people at the Director (L2) level and below.
You can develop whatever products you'd like because the company doesn't have a long term strategy and is unaware of the term 'product roadmap'. The company has a direct relationship with Walmart, Target, and Toys 'R Us, so you will have lots of face time with those accounts (more on that in cons).
Sugoi discounts are great, Cannondale discounts OK at best. Schwinn and Mongoose bikes aren't worth the money you'll spend on them.
You will get a lot of experience at this job in a short amount of time. If you're coming in at the junior level, that's another story (more in 'cons').
They just built a new onsite gym with some new equipment (a set of free weights, 2 treadmills, an elliptical, and a generic weight machine from a sporting goods store). This was done so employees would no longer be reimbursed for a real gym membership.
When do you get to travel on the company, alcohol is permitted to be expensed and there is no real maximum on corporate dinners, provided an executive team member is not with you.
If you obsess over bikes and the limited opportunities that come with this industry, then this isn't an awful place to work (you'd do better working at cross town rival Trek or Saris).
Madison is a beautiful city with lots of activities and great restaurants. This could be a good foot in the door for you to get in the city and find a better place to work.
Employees are given an average of a $10,000 lump sum for relocation, so if you'd like to move cheap and keep the cash, it's up to you. FYI with this lump sum you are required to work for the company for a year. Many employees have put in their two week notice exactly on that one year anniversary (that is a HUGE red flag about the organization).
Alice Tillett the former CSG/Pacific-Cycle president left in May, which is extremely positive for the organization as she provided no value and served as only a cost controller. The current CFO is running the organization as acting president. Cannondale/Dorel Rec and Leisure's CEO, Bob Baird was fired along with the rest of his staff and anyone associated with him in early 2014. This led to a massive shakeup in the organization and removal of any long term vision. The former Cannondale CFO is also running the organization.Cons
Where to start...
This organization is on a huge downslide. People are leaving at a rapid rate because of the company's lack of future vision and executive management. Some teams have lost all of their employees in less than a year. The businesses have lost almost 10-20% market share over the last 24 months. The company had a massive corporate wide layoff in 2013 due to a 'bad weather year'. That should tell you quite a bit that if you get a bad winter your job is in danger.
I will describe the company's setup from a product development aspect so you can understand how executives think about the business:
Basically there are business units for Bikes (with (8) product managers and a director), Kid Trax electric ride ons (1 director, 1 product manager, and a temporary intern), and Parts and Accessories (1 eccentric director, who in less than a year's time span, has driven out all 3 of his direct report product managers. At this time only a jr. product manager and an intern remain). The bike group churns out 1000's of bikes a year with basically graphics and color refreshes. No organic product development. The Kid Trax group is the only group that is doing organic development but have an incredibly small team (smaller than everyone else at a lean organization which says something). The company throws all other products in the 'dump bin' category that is Parts and Accessories. Anything from helmets to jogging strollers to consumer electronics is thrown into this category and over 600 SKUs are managed by the small group I described above).
Executive management (Product Development, HR.) are extremely disconnected from this structure. They make decisions on what they think is going on in the organization yet in actuality they have no clue. Directors request additional head count and are denied or delayed until the next quarter. Things are run on shoestring budgets with as little head count as possible (this is partially driven from the corporate level to run an extremely lean business and focus solely on the profits for shareholders). Executives provide no vision for the organization and only provide distractions, criticism and then when problems arise, magically take no responsibility.
HR is the most unprofessional group I have ever dealt with in my career. HR executive team is bipolar at best, making promises to recruit employees and do whatever you can to get them in the door and lock them down with a 1 year contract. Then once you are in the door and bring up these promises that were made during the interview process, you are taken offsite to a coffee shop, threatened to be fired, and an 'intervention' is held with your manager and HR. Ridiculous. Anything that you bring to HR's attention is spread throughout the organization by open hallway gossip and told directly to the president and executive staff. HR openly makes statements in public forums that they "don't like [insert name] employee".
Hiring practices are predatory and at times illegal. Employees are required to write their own job descriptions after coming in the company. Potential candidates are dragged through the process with no talk of salary, benefits, or vacation. Often they will drag a candidate for a product manager position that has been a director or have 20 years experience at other organizations where product manager means something different, through the interview process only to tell them at the end that this is an entry level product manager position with average of $60,000 salary with zero opportunity to advance. Since the organization is so lean and you are expected to do the role of 5-10 people minimum, there isn't any ability to advance despite what they will tell you in the interview. One eccentric director recruited for a product manager position and only would hire a female because 'there were too many males in the department'. HR complied and only female candidates were responded to/interviewed and eventually hired. THIS IS ILLEGAL!!!
Head count is controlled by Dorel Corporate. If an employee leaves with a $70,000 salary, you cannot replace them with 2 $35,000 salary JR positions. Corporate has mandated 'you can shuffle the deck but you can't add to it'. HR and management enforce this with no exceptions despite business needs.
Compensation is ok at best. No bonus program for product managers which is unheard of in the consumer products industry. No bonus program whatsoever except for director level and above (which hasn't been paid out in a while).
Sales is managed by an individual who was attached at the hip to the former president. They are complacent and only care about Walmart and Target. Organic growth is a foreign concept to this organization. If you can't sell it in the Walmart or Target bike aisle, don't develop or talk about it. They have one individual as the sales lead and calling on Walmart, Target and Toys'R'Us, 80% of the companies business. Talk about conflict of interest. When one of those accounts finds out that the same individual is managing all 3 accounts, they will lose millions of dollars in sales and there will be a massive layoff. This is coming and some signs have already presented themselves. Sales will do anything to make a dollar, despite running the beloved Schwinn brand into the ground as an entry level bike at Walmart ($99). These are not true Schwinn bikes but merely Chinese bikes they have slapped the Schwinn label on.
Travel is heavily scrutinized. You will travel to Asia a few times a year in product development but fly coach in the process. Travel requests will be denied by senior management up until the very last day before your trip because they don't want to incur the expense despite it being budgeted. This leads to a great deal of personal stress because you can't plan or have advanced notice to leave the country for up to 3 weeks at a time. Domestic travel is non-existent. Anything you budget for the year for travel will still have to be individually approved by the product development management. This travel is only approved around 10% of the time.
Overall this is an organization that you want to avoid like the plague. The problems stem from a clueless executive management team, a corporate structure that only cares about profits not stability of the brand, employees, or accounts, and shady at best hiring practices.
My advice- don't even accept an interview there. The huge employee attrition and sales declines are happening for a reason.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Executive management needs to be completely removed, especially HR. They are driving the business into the ground. Dorel Corporate needs to focus on long term vision vs solely on quarterly share holder reports and reducing costs.Doesn't RecommendNegative OutlookDisapproves of CEO