CS Stars

www.csstars.com

CS Stars Reviews

Updated January 16, 2015
Updated January 16, 2015
32 Reviews
2.3
32 Reviews
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Paul Marushka
4 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Things are changing

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

    I have been working at CS Stars full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Instability in leadership over the past 4 years caused the company to lose focus. The new leadership group combined with Marsh leadership, has now identified a path for STARS. There is excitement, and a renewed focus on the product. If the company can stay focused, happy days could be ahead at STARS.
    - Excellent Benefits as part of Marsh
    - Flexible Schedule with WFH options
    - Penny pinching days seem to be behind over
    - Renewed focus on customers
    - Great People, very dedicated

    Cons

    - Extremely Conservative Mother Ship (Marsh)
    - Dreadful Office space and configuration (Chicago, Atlanta & Amarillo)
    - Tied to Marsh IT policies and hardware
    - No defined Career ladder (been working on it for years)
    - Compensation not in-line with industry standards (keep hearing how things are changing)
    - No HR presence. Constant turnover in HR, does speak well for the organization. There are obviously some underlying issues here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you truly want to be a technology company and you want to recruit the best young talent, you need to create your own identify. Remodel the office spaces, and create an inviting, collaborating space that people want to work in. Tear down the walls. Exec Team needs to get out with the people on a daily basis. Work with them, share ideas. Personal Relationships build trust and loyalty with employees. There is lots of talk about changes. It's time to Walk the walk.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    Honest Review of STARS

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Manager in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    Benefits are good as they are provided through Marsh (health, dental, vision, 401K matching, ~10 holidays);
    Locations – offices in most big cities (Chicago, Atlanta, Philly, NYC, LA, San Francisco, Dallas);
    Some flexibility with work-from-home, although this is very much dependent on your manager and role;
    Colleagues are very knowledgeable;
    Product direction is new with the unveiling of STARS|One this year (see press releases Oct 2014)

    Cons

    Management at STARS is comprised of a grp of execs with no industry experience. While they have big resume backgrounds, don’t expect any of them to know a thing about our clients, the use of our products in the industries we serve or our colleagues. The executive leadership team is not cohesive, and this bleeds into the organization at every turn. STARS has had four CEOs in the past 3 years and has an ELT with the longest tenure being 18 mos. – that means nothing more than instability and chaos. The current CEO is a slick orator that can be very convincing thru all-colleague calls and presentations, but has yet to deliver and cannot make a personal connection with a colleague or a client to save his life. In summary, this group looks good on paper but falls short in the real world.

    The sales group is divided into geo zones but these zones are so loosely defined and governed that pretty much anything goes so long as you are putting numbers on the board. Half the zone directors have had their role only about a year, with the others being brand new or vacant, so their is little leadership here. Most of the sales reps are also new, and cannot demo our products or promote our value prop without the support of half the organization. Account Managers are basically responsible for everything related to their book regardless of their ability to control the majority of it – growth, service, product, Marsh, etc. Mgmt in sales cares most about new sales, so good luck if you support existing business. STARS also has the worst commission plan in the industry – don’t expect to be a big earner even if you are a big seller.

    The backbone of STARS is our Professional Services group, and it is in traction. To say that it is a mess is an understatement. This group loses colleagues at an astonishing rate, and the impact to our clients and to STARS is detrimental. Implementations take forever and are riddled with issues. Daily support of our clients suffers as the majority of the skilled system consultants have walked over the last year and the mgmt in this group is clueless on how to attract/retain talent or how to structure a support team. The residual services provided in this group are the most solid, but they are picking up the slack for the others and this is impacting their work product as well. This group needs a major overhaul and the introduction of the human element, for any hope of making real change. The question is will the CEO allow this change to happen, or will he once again send everyone down his rabbit hole.

    The direction of STARS is vague. Who are we really and who do we want to be? Are we striving to be the best RIMS in the industry? Do we want to corner the market in data analytics? Are we in the claims business? Do we want more of the healthcare market share, the safety arena, the public sector space? Who knows…But we created this STARS|One product and we think it is going to revolutionize who we are. Maybe, but we should know who we are first before we try to take us to the next level. This identity crisis is a critical factor in the loss of knowledgeable colleagues, good clients and support from the industry. We have had years to figure this out, and haven’t. Is it too late? We have engaged PWC and other external firms to help us here - what about listening to our own people?

    Don’t be fooled, STARS is controlled by Marsh at every turn. We try to say we are own independent company, but the reality is that Marsh tells us what to do and when to do it. It is actually sad these new leaders come into STARS thinking they are going to call the shots, and it is a matter of minutes before they realize this isn’t ever going to happen. And Marsh is a brokerage not a software company, so they impose on us the same goals, limitations, structure, etc. they do on the brokerage. It doesn’t work – like oil and water – and that has proven to be the case for many years. So much so, that all signs indicate that Marsh will be absorbing STARS into their fold within the next 12-18 months. That is obviously concerning to me, both from a long term strategy and job retention perspective – neither looks good.

    Culture has been a big topic here this past year, since most of us have vocalized that it is horrible. Sure there have been some efforts made to address this, but a few happy hours, pizza lunches and trinkets are no substitute for what we lack. This is a sterile place to work, where people simply do not matter to anyone beyond their immediate peers. The family feel from 5+ years ago is gone; the fun times both during work hours and afterwards are virtually non-existent. Our culture reflects the personality of our leadership – cold, stuffy, elitist, dysfunctional, non-empathetic – so colleagues have adapted by withdrawing and developing a heads-down work mentality. There are one or two departments who have created their own mini-culture, but even that has been negatively impacted by the overall organization.

    While, in general our people are the greatest asset, they are also the most fragile. Our attrition rate over the last two years is off the charts. It seems like every day, really good, skilled and knowledgeable people are leaving STARS. Seriously, we hear about departures at least once a week. It used to be people you didn’t know well or that were with the company 1-2 years, but now it is people that are super smart, knowledgeable, experts in their field who are leaving. And we are not replacing them and, if we do, it is with people who lack the industry, market or product experience. Some of it is about compensation – we don’t exactly pay at competitive rates – but mostly it is about job satisfaction and happiness. Our leadership thinks everyone is replaceable, and sure they are, but at what cost? They seem surprised when people leave….publicly bad mouthing and belittling them….but they fail to realize that they are just escaping us. Promotions internally are virtually non-existent. If you do get one, there will likely be no increase in comp or bonus as a result. Most salaried people are expected to work however many hours it takes to get the job done - that is great very once in a while but this is all of the time. We are so understaffed and under-skilled, that the work load on most if crazy. Expect to work nights, weekends, on your vacation just to get an "average" performance rating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For STARS/Marsh: CEO – look in the mirror and ask yourself are you really the best leader for STARS? Can you put your money where your mouth is? Can you influence and empower your leadership to impact significant change at STARS that will attract, retain and motivate talent while making us wildly successful? Can you make this a great place to work and want to stay at? Do you even want to?

    Marsh – Unless what we expect is true and Marsh really wants STARS to succeed as an independent operating company, ditch this leadership team. You may think you need these 6 people but you actually need the 300+ being dragged behind them more. Take a long look at what has happened here over the last 2 years, what talent has left and the gaps that exist and the clients who have left…..all clues to what is horribly broken. These guys do not have the respect or the following from the masses, so it is next to impossible for them to save this ship from sinking.

    For Job Seekers: Ask a lot of questions when looking at employment here. For sales, ask to see the incentive plan, get insight into the pipeline, talk to existing salespeople, call upon employees and clients who have left (check LinkedIn). For Professional Services, get insight into the pipeline and project back-log, get a copy of a current project plan, talk to existing colleagues in your same role in addition to account managers, data analysts, project managers, systems consultants, and call upon those who have left. Same for someone looking to join Product, but also ask about tools used, processes, off-shoring, and strategy. Everyone should demand a training plan, clear goals and measurements and a career path outline before they start. Get everything in writing.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Bad and getting worse

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

    I have been working at CS Stars

    Pros

    Not much here. No raises for years. Benefits had been good, but going downhill

    Cons

    Compensation is poor. Limited education. Limited growth. Limited mobility within the company (unless you know someone )

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I hear what you say, I wish I worked at the same company you do!!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Disappointing

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

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

    Pros

    Great colleagues to work with, you will really learn alot. They also offer good benefits thanks to Marsh.

    Cons

    I haven't worked there for more than a year now, but from I can see more people have left, and more were let go. The company I new 4 years ago is no longer there. The CEO really micro manages his people, and processes. They promised a lot that was never delivered. You felt you were operating in the dark most of the time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You hired bright individuals, let them shine. Deliver what you promised, and start to concentrate on your employees, they have NEVER been treated as if the really were your most important asset.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great colleagues and work environment. Unstable leadership and comparatively low pay.

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

    I worked at CS Stars full-time

    Pros

    Smart, hard-working, talented development and IT teams. Industry leader. Flexible work schedule. Excellent benefits.

    Cons

    Constant leadership changes. Not client focused.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on talent retention by offering competitive salary and stable, creative culture.

    Negative Outlook
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    No One Minding the Store

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at CS Stars full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Bright staff, some team players but many not.

    Cons

    While the staff is bright, they lack business experience. During my tenure, the leadership (leadership being a euphemism) acted without any strategic thinking. Worse still, in a company so small, the right hand didn't know what the left was doing. Sales people were selling what the company terms "custom solutions" when there was a four month backlog to even begin development work on anything custom. Since sales didn't know this, they misled clients (unintentionally) sometimes resulting in client demands for a letter of intent to prove that contracted work would in fact be executed. Given the critically of the outage, the management team should have issued letters of intent to all clients explaining the backlog. Instead, project teams were strictly instructed NOT to inform clients and to basically string clients along until the work could be executed. Naturally, this put tremendous strain on project teams. It really was amateur hour.

  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Building Castles On Sand

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Systems Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Systems Consultant in Chicago, IL

    I worked at CS Stars full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Smart, ambitious coworkers. Great opportunity to get experience using a wide variety of applications and programming/database languages. Great resume enhancer. Generous PTO and benefits through Marsh.

    Cons

    Extremely long hours. Employees are constantly asked to take on a significantly heavier workload with no additional compensation. Lower level employees are virtually anonymous, unrecognized and unappreciated. Consequently, all their big plans are built on a foundation with extremely low morale.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start acknowledging the rank and file employees actually PUTTING FORTH the effort, not the middle managers "spearheading" the effort.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great people in a company that lacks direction.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Solutions Architect in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Solutions Architect in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    You work with really smart people. Vacation time and benefits at Marsh are tops. You can learn a lot.

    Cons

    Company strategy vacillates and as a result it puts a lot of pressure on employees. Product design is unfocused and leads to trying to please too many clients on the sales side. Project management is lacking and you end up putting a lot of time in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Come up with a clear direction for your product and company growth strategy. Incorporate employee career plans into this strategy. The people here are great and don't mind working hard when they know it's leading to a goal that benefits the company and their personal career growth.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Organizational Dysfunction

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Technical Consultant in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    The colleagues are smart, reputable and agile. The compensation is better than average.

    Cons

    Employee turnover is very high. Management structure is confusing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider the employee with more empathy.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great company with potential, but fails to correct inefficiencies and hold people accountable.

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

    I worked at CS Stars

    Pros

    Ability to work from home.
    Great benefits

    Cons

    Workload is overwhelming
    Compensation year after year is small.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Compensate your employees.
    Replace management positions with in-house employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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