Alcon

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Alcon Reviews

Updated February 24, 2015
Updated February 24, 2015
283 Reviews
2.7
283 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Alcon Division Head Jeff George
Jeff George
23 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great benefits inclusive of 401k match, pension and good health care coverage (in 16 reviews)

  • Good benefits (if you ever get time to use them) (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • I lost any sort of work life balance when I took this job (in 5 reviews)

  • Novartis moving upper management into Alcon after acquisition (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Plant closured

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineer II in Orlando, FL
    Former Employee - Engineer II in Orlando, FL

    I worked at Alcon

    Pros

    Meh, its not bad. Good people. Good severance oackage.

    Cons

    clock watchers. Politics. Smells of burnt pigs eyes in the labs.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    Excellent working experience. The R&D IT dept was well organized with competent PMs

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

    I worked at Alcon

    Pros

    Good compensation and benefits. Great team work and room for growth

    Cons

    Not enough cohesion between different departments

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote more integration amongst various departments

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Sales in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Alcon

    Pros

    Dominant industry player with great technology

    Cons

    New ownership can be difficult

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep working to improve order. Fulfillment.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Sr. Fin Analyst

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

    I have been working at Alcon

    Pros

    Great benefits, competitive pay, cutting edge products

    Cons

    Management is very short sighted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Let people do their jobs, focus on long term value, not just quarterly goals

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6.  

    Company

    Current Employee - Senior Scientist in Fort Worth, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Scientist in Fort Worth, TX

    I have been working at Alcon full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great place to work, awesome culture, benefits and location

    Cons

    Not many cons, may think about sending employees on training programs

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work

  7. 12 people found this helpful  

    Invasion of the Novartis Body Snatchers

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

    I have been working at Alcon

    Pros

    Outstanding benefits under Alcon; unclear if this will continue with Novartis/Novartis Business Services and their "harmonization" process. That said, for the time being:
    * Excellent 401k matching and retirement account.
    * Once outstanding health insurance now downgraded to "pretty good" thanks to ACA adjustments
    * PTO and holidays are outstanding with an extra week off at end of year(betting we lose this week when "transitioned" to NBS)
    * Decent work/life balance, but that likely depends on the group you are in.
    * Onsite doctor saves time/hassle with minor doctor visits
    * Good-to-outstanding cafeteria, depending on how much Alcon/Novartis micro-manages their menu in the name of keeping us healthy.
    * Excellent on-site gym
    * Easy-to-get-to location if you live in Tarrant county
    * Good mix of people to work with if you aren't a Fort Worth-hating bigot like the idiot in an earlier review who seemed more interested in critiquing Fort Worth than Alcon.

    Cons

    You'd think with all the pros listed above, I wouldn't have anything to complain about, right? Wrong. There's a reason the benefits are so good - they wouldn't be able to keep most of their employees otherwise.

    * Heavily regulated industry creates impenetrable, needless overkill bureaucracy that crushes productivity, innovation, and any possibility of good morale.

    * No career path for non-management positions - either become a PM, or wait for your job to be sent to India.

    * The stagnant career mentioned above also translated into stagnant pay - laughable raises, if any, which do not keep up with the cost of living.

    * Unmet site goals used as an excuse to keep raises at laughable level. One could be the most motivated, productive employee of all time, but if the site you are at doesn't reach some unobtainable goal set by executive leadership, you get the same crappy raise or non-raise as any mediocre performing employee.

    * Constant "moving of the goal posts" when trying to comply with processes and procedures, as everyone seems to have a different interpretation of compliance requirements.

    * If your are in Finance, IT, or HR, have fun worrying about your future in 2015 as you become part of NBS - the new "service company" split off from Novartis under the veil of "enabling Novartis to focus on pharma". Translation - we're going to have more RIFFs, ship even more jobs to India, and probably just outright sell your position off to third party companies, turning you into contractors with little to no benefits. But thank you, former employee for your sacrifice and contribution to the success of Novartis! (They actually had the nerve to say something like this to survivors of the last mass layoff)

    Overall, it isn't horrible if you have no ambition and have the temperament to deal with a suffocating bureaucracy and stagnate career. Benefits are outstanding and it is generally a good place to work - you could do much worse than Alcon. However, the future under Novartis/NBS is unclear.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You do realize that sending out communications doesn't necessarily mean you are communicating, right? Of course you do. You know exactly what you are doing when you send out those ridiculous corporate communication emails filled with executive buzzwords and political double-speak - going through the motions without communicating anything just so you can claim you are communicating. It's become so laughable that many of your employees have turned the reading of your "communication" emails into drinking games. Please stop speaking in code - it's insulting.

    As for the neutral rating of senior management and the CEO below - other than the laughable ways they choose to communicate with the masses, I don't really have a good or bad opinion of them as they are interchangeable talking heads so far up the food chain they are inconsequential - the Alcon talking heads have slowly been replaced with Novaritis/NBS talking heads.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Change Happens

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research in Fort Worth, TX
    Former Employee - Research in Fort Worth, TX

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

    Pros

    Alcon was one of the premier Eye care company. Most employees had worked for the company for a number of years. As happens when you are successful the company was bought by a larger company. Most everyone that was part of what made Alcon the company that it was is gone. The new company culture is very different and it will take time to see if the change will be a positive move for the company. Company executives made a lot of money in the transaction.

    Cons

    After recent acquisition the company has been gutted. It is unclear what will come out of the ashes. Many thousands lost jobs in the merger and many have left on their own. The company is rebuilding and for the right skill set there may be opportunities to be part of the rebuild.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management, you sold your long time employees out for a quick buck. Enjoy the beach. The remaining management needs to figure out if there is anything left of value that can be salvaged and if not what is the quickest path to turning things around.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Was Better Before Novartis Took Over

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

    I have been working at Alcon

    Pros

    The benefits are extremely good (retirement in particular), and there are definitely smart people here too. The salaries are competitive relative to the rest of the market.

    Cons

    The overlords are putting money into the wrong departments (Pharma), and totally shunning medical devices. We have limited budgets now, and it shows. There have been a lot of layoffs recently, and it creates for a bad environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't shun entire departments, and stop with the corporate jargon that spams our emails. I hate hearing phrases like "Innovation is our lifeblood and backbone, blah blah" but then we still get no budgets. Put your money where your mouth is.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good pay and benefits, as a result of every department being understaffed.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Regulatory/Quality in Fort Worth, TX
    Former Employee - Regulatory/Quality in Fort Worth, TX

    I worked at Alcon

    Pros

    Benefits are good, and salaries are usually above the industry average. On-campus amenities are excellent, with a nice cafeteria, a full gym with fitness classes, and a new faux-Starbucks.

    Cons

    High staff turnover compared to the pre-Novartis days. All departments, with the exception of sales, are understaffed and underfunded. Managers are territorial and don't like to work across functions (which led to a massive missed opportunity when the FDA rejected a submission because all of the sections were written separately and did not agree with each other). This is often due to differences in the corporate culture wars between the legacy Alcon folks ("next promotion goes to whoever's been here the longest, regardless of competency") and the newer Novartis hires ("next promotion goes to whoever I like the best, regardless of competency"). The company pipeline has dried up, due to risk-averse management in R&D, and profits have been falling. 2014 R&D goals were literally halved at mid-year so that they could say they were met come year's end. The corporate response has been to increase the sales force, a shortsighted strategy at best. Also, would you like some on the job training? There is none. The internal website has a page trumpeting the company's commitment to training and employee advancement. There's a link to take you to the training opportunities, and it takes you to a nearly blank page.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Performance goals and deadlines are not motivation, and they're also not magic. A human being can only do so much. Also, no one outside of sales cares about sales. Your quarterly webcasts need to address things the employees are actually interested in (like whether or not the company has any promising products in the works, which would be way more comforting than the state of your sales inroads into South America).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    dissappointed

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

    I worked at Alcon

    Pros

    beautiful campus and excellent benefits

    Cons

    Some of the mid level management seem under trained and lack basic skills to manage. Flopping around like fish out of water.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management that have lost interest in the business need to step down or be forced out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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