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Doesn't RecommendNegative OutlookDisapproves of CEO
- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I worked at Synygy full-time (More than 3 years)
For someone right out of school, Synygy offers a great introduction into the business world. You get exposed to clients right away, and you have the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way very quickly. As you progress in your career, you have plenty of freedom to manage yourself and to seek your own opportunities. Sometimes you need to speak up, but if you are strong, you can really drive your career in the direction you would want it to go. As a client lead, people with only a couple years of experience are entrusted with decisions as important as contracting. Most of the people you will encounter are very intelligent and are happy to help you. Salaries were low but have improved substantially - most people are now making roughly what the market indicates they should (if bonuses are included). You can develop a very close relationship with your clients, and they can develop a high level of trust in you. You can be called upon to make decisions that will affect tens of thousands of people, and in some cases a 20something at Synygy will (rightfully) have the attention of C-level executives at top 50 companies in the world. The opportunity for impact you can have at a young age while at Synygy is virtually unrivaled, in my experience.
Training is non-existent - many have attempted to create formal training programs, but upper management does not see the value in it and has, therefore, never supported it beyond a few "way to go" comments when someone briefly has a successful training program. While pay has gotten better, any time you are given a raise, your new salary is your total (base + bonus), which is usually a fair representation of what you will get. Employees, therefore, take those "bonuses" for granted since they are really just pay deferred until later (quarterly, though earlier this year a monthly bonus program was rolled out). However, we were reminded in 2014 that these bonuses are contingent on Synygy being profitable for the quarter - Mark said that he took out a loan against his home in order to pay bonuses while reminding us of this. I suppose we were supposed to feel grateful to Mark for paying us, but the fact that our bonuses were held over our heads like that made a good number of people more eager to find employment elsewhere. Investment also is non-existent. Synygy relies heavily on technology (recently it has been rebranded as a consulting company, not a software company, but this consulting company relies exlusively on a single, home-grown software solution, which has been rebranded Optymyze), yet the computers provided to employees barely work. At no point in my Synygy career did I use a laptop that was under three years old, and requests for new ones were either ignored or answered with refurbished ones. I once had to go several weeks with a nearly non-functional laptop because the functioning one that was pegged for me was still with someone who had put in their resignation notice - there was never a thought of simply purchasing a new laptop. Synygy brands itself as a sales compensation management company. We specialize in handling complex compensation programs, and when clients outsource their compensation efforts to us, we are responsible for helping them to improve their entire sales operations departments. Synygy's people do a GREAT job of this, which is why clients come back. Unsurprisingly, Synygy has its own incentive compensation program for its employees. However, Synygy has consistent issues with calculating bonuses correctly, with releasing bonus reports on time and with releasing bonus reports that are correct. When confronted about this issue, the response is along the lines of, "Many companies have this same problem - we are not unique." It should not be acceptable for a company whose only business is compensation to fail at compensating its own employees. Staffing is the biggest issue facing employees every day. During my tenure, staffing was always a problem - because there was so much concern about eeking out a profit every quarter, staff levels were kept at or below the levels they needed to be to support the workload on employees. Requests for additional help were met with, "Show where the money is." This shortsighted approach prevented people from getting the support they needed, and when employees would, after being denied support, become overburdened with the workload assigned to them, they would be chastised for not getting help. All of this leads to the core of the problem - upper management. Mark is a mercurial CEO; if he reads something in Harvard Business Review, it can become company policy within days. The entire company is expected to shift focus based on what Mark wants and shoot for a new goal. If profits are not seen within a few weeks, a new strategy is rolled out. In four years I was with Synygy, I saw four fundamental company reorganizations, and every quarter brought a brand new strategy that would take us to the next level. Some strategies were good and some were bad, but none were given enough time to play out. The way it goes is this: Mark says something; upper management says yes; new strategy is unrolled to the rest of the company, with the expectation of it being fully implemented within a few weeks; employees are expected to react and adjust without sacrificing any productivity on their existing projects; employees realize it is likely just a phase, so they keep doing what they had been doing pre-announcement; Mark comes up with a new idea; repeat. And all the while, the rest of upper management basically acts as cheerleaders for whatever the plan is this week.
Advice to Management
A few things... 1. Invest in your company, not just in yourselves. It's okay for the company not to be profitable for a quarter if you have been investing in new technology, new employees, employee well-being. A quick way to make employees lose confidence in their company is by giving them a pay cut, whether that pay cut comes by reducing their pay outright, by reducing healthcare or by eliminating the 401k match. Of course, that means you need to be willing to accept a slight cut to your pay right now in exchange for a healthy reward two to three years down the line. 2. When you lose more than 20% of your US workforce due to attrition in one year, you have a problem. By the end of 2014, senior people were leaving, saying things like, "I don't want to be the last one to turn the lights off." People had started to leave because others were leaving, and upper management fell deafeningly silent until February, when a series of toothless new policies were rolled out in an attempt to stop the proverbial bleeding. In my opinion, it was too little, too late. 3. Mark, find someone you don't know to become an equal partner with you and Walt. Let that person take over operations of Synygy and actually let that person do his or her job without fear of reprisal for doing something you might disagree with. 4. To the EVPs (or whatever your titles are now), stand up against Mark. I know that you disagree with some of his more ridiculous proposals, but the view from the gallery is that you would rather protect your (very healthy) W2s than help actually improve your company.