Covance Reviews in Madison, WI

Updated October 13, 2014
Updated October 13, 2014
303 Reviews
2.7
303 Reviews
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Covance Chairman and CEO Joe Herring
Joe Herring
153 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • there is much more camaraderie at the greenfield site and there is a much better work life balance (in 12 reviews)

  • Covance has good benefits but pays less then most companies (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Work/life balance in the toxicology department is a very unbalanced (in 22 reviews)

  • No work-life balance; office politics (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

54 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Decent but not great

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate in Madison, WI
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate in Madison, WI

    I worked at Covance full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    For those working in the animal pre-clinical toxicology research (generally job title is study technician), you'll get a lot of great animal handling and dosing skills. Working with the animals (mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, monkeys) can be very reqarding and interesting. Most people in the department are recently out of college and there is a lot of hanging out outside of work (it tends to drive people to drink). Pretty good health benefits and PTO (although it can be difficult to schedule the time off due to understaffing).

    Cons

    The amount of overtime is excessive during your first several years working. Typically have to come in at 5am 2-3 times a week (normal hours are 630-330) while staying until 4 or 5 and then having to come back one night a week for late night collections/dosing. They say working weekends will be every three weeks, but can frequently be every other weekend. The late night collections/dosings can be 2-3 nights a week and are required and may be at 8pm or midnight. How rules and procedures are enforced varies by supervisor and manager. Things that will barely get you a talking to in one group will get you fired in another group even though they are technically supposed to be following the same rules/guidelines. Work/life balance in the toxicology department is a very unbalanced. High turnover rate within toxicology department because of the workload. Transferring to other departments early (~2 yrs), but once you've been there longer it is much more difficult. Scheduling can be very uneven between groups. Most perks from previous years have been eliminated. Can be high stress environment. Repetitive motion hand and shoulder injuries are common.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reassess scheduling in toxicology department for better coverage. Invest in reducing turnover rate for department. Actually listen to advice from senior technicians when dealing with problems.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Analytical Chemist

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Analytical Chemist in Madison, WI
    Current Employee - Analytical Chemist in Madison, WI

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

    Pros

    Great benefits: 21 PTO days starting out, low out of pocket dental and medical costs, low insurance monthly insurance costs, tuition reimbursement. Flexible work schedules. For the most part, enjoyable co-workers. I've met some very great people at Covance that I've become good friends with. For the most part, the company is pretty laid-back. Within the lab you are not expected to wear business attire.

    Cons

    As the company seems to grow, their quality seems to diminish. It is sad to see the company value quantity over quality. I am afraid if they continue on this path they will no longer be a top competitor in their field. Work-life balance is not great if you work on the lab side of things. Covance does not seem to value employees lower on the totem pole. At times, in certain departments, it feels as if it is a 'good old boys' club. Also, at times, it feels like I am in a dead end job. Within certain career paths, there is not a lot of room for advancement. Some departments are a bit younger staffed and it can feel as if you are in high school again. Although laid-back, it is not the most professional work environment always.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Value quality over quantity. It will win out in the long run every time.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Eh. People are alright. Very technical. Not a lot of brain usage, feel like a zombie

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Study Technician I in Madison, WI
    Current Employee - Study Technician I in Madison, WI

    I have been working at Covance full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Benefits, people, not bad hours. lots of opportunity for overtime

    Cons

    Not very mentally stimulating, too technical

    Doesn't Recommend
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    When I started, I actually looked forward to Mondays; by the end, the place had become dysfunctional and abusive.

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

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

    Pros

    Decent benefits (although they have been slowly chipping away at these)
    Good colleagues (although most who can leave are)
    Fun science; it's nice to be at the front edge of drug development and to see what different folks are working on.

    Cons

    Poorly executed downsizings have led to drastic overwork of remaining employees.
    Upper middle to lower senior management are almost across the board far more interested in making themselves look good and keeping their jobs than in actually taking care of their employees, their customers, or the overall state of the business.
    There is a lot of lip service given to career development but the reality is that promotions from within are nonexistant for the folks doing the work (they do have numbers that seem to indicate the opposite, but these are really just counting people moving from one department to another, not actually moving up in the structure of the company).
    Nearly all of upper management are of the MBA persuasion rather than from a scientific background. This leads to poor choices regarding the direction of the company (as they don't actually understand what we do as a business) and is probably part of the reason that promotions to senior positions are virtually unheard of (we have "science cooties", apparently).
    While Covance likes to say they are the best (and indeed they were when I started), an almost religious-like focus on cost-cutting combined with a lack of understanding of the business itself by management has caused deterioration to the point that it is dangerous (we actually have to self-insure for workers' comp now because we've had so many folks get hurt due to inadequate training, insufficient staffing, and lack of appropriate equipment that no commercial insurer would cover us any more) and so understaffed and short-supplied that quality really isn't possible any more.
    It was heartbreaking to see the decline at this company I loved; I really felt like I had found my "forever home" when I started there but it turned into quite an abusive relationship by the end.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your line-level employees (operational side and scientific side); they desperately want to do a good job but are being cut down at every turn by incompetent and/or cruel management. Clean house; you have far too many layers of management and a fair number of them have no priority other than self preservation. Give the people doing the actual work the tools and the staff they need or you will not have a quality product.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Good

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Internship in Madison, WI
    Current Employee - Internship in Madison, WI

    I have been working at Covance as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    People are really hard working. The work culture is awesome, it always encourages you to bring out as many ideas as possible.

    Cons

    Scheduling is very bad. People need to be assigned appropriately for their jobs. And there is a lot of communication gap between various departments which needs to be fixed.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good for new grads

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Study Technician in Madison, WI
    Former Employee - Study Technician in Madison, WI

    I worked at Covance full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Pay and benefits are good, with regular raises, sometimes even bonuses based on department performance. Can earn raises when you get certified via AALAS at different levels, which they will reimburse you for. If you're a recent college grad, you'll be working mostly with people your age. You'll learn to work hard. Looks good on a resume if you survive a few years. Solid training program, then you have a "mentor" your first few months who is more experienced to help look out for you and show you the real life ways of the job.

    Cons

    Scheduling is a nightmare. Long days (up to 16 hours) and weeks (up to 14 days in a row), weekend and holiday hours. Also have mandatory overtime, as there is a general problem with understaffing. Breaks are usually nonexistent. They set a "metric" to acccomplish x number of things in x amount of time, and then they'll underschedule you for it. Anything you aren't scheduled time for, you do on overtime. They will work you as much as they can and it burns the good people out. Horrible work-life balance.
    Promotions and praise based more on sucking up to management than the work you are doing - have to play the game and say and do what they want you to do. If you have strong opinions or ideas on something, you might be pushed towards keeping them to yourself, even if they would be a benefit.
    Can be clique-y, remember, all college grads stuffed together...
    Training not based on the individual but instead on monthly/yearly milestones. If you want extra training becasue you're doing well with what you have and it would benefit your team, you'll still probably need to beg for it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop overscheduling and taking on more clients and studies than you have staff to manage. It burns out and drives away all of your good workers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Good benefits, poor leadership

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Security Guard in Madison, WI
    Former Employee - Security Guard in Madison, WI

    I worked at Covance part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    4 weeks of vacation as a new employee, tuition reimbursement, 401k matching

    Cons

    I worked in security and the manager was extremely unprofessional and didn't care about his employees. I was forced to quit because I wanted to go back to college and the manager wasn't willing to work with me in accommodating a slight change in my schedule. Horrible, horrible management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great PTO, which you're going to want to use...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Early Development Chemist in Madison, WI
    Current Employee - Early Development Chemist in Madison, WI

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

    Pros

    Lots of PTO (21 days to start) and good insurance coverage, Madison is a nice city, somewhat easy to move to new jobs internally

    Cons

    Leadership tends to have a pretty solid disconnect from the laboratory techs' everyday jobs, the upward movement of employees seems to be very limited (lateral moves abound)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    0 Stars Should Be An Option

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Toxicology Supervisor in Madison, WI
    Former Employee - Toxicology Supervisor in Madison, WI

    I worked at Covance full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Competitive salary if you don't mind giving up your life.

    Cons

    Short-sighted; profit-driven; revolving door; horrible management; favoritism. When I started there, I thought I would stay until retirement. They brought in new management in the mid-2000's. They were profit-driven, widget-minded, short-sighted scalpers. They focus only on the bottom line.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice would be to replace all of them with people who value people over profits. That is the recipe for long-term success.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Absolutely excellent.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Report Coordinator in Madison, WI
    Former Employee - Report Coordinator in Madison, WI

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

    Pros

    Paid time off, health benefits, quality of employees hired, and general atmosphere are unparalleled. A three hour interview process for all employees was helpful in creating a great team atmosphere.

    Cons

    No cons working at Covance. If you're working at any of the midwest sites it may be a bit cold, but they keep the heat on. Plus you can snowboard.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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