Emergent BioSolutions

www.emergentbiosolutions.com
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Emergent BioSolutions Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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2.5
62 Reviews
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Emergent BioSolutions President & CEO Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi
Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi
33 Ratings

Pros
  • Growing company that is reflected upon an employees ability to grow within the company (in 5 reviews)

  • Good benefits, pay and bonuses, summer hours if you aren't too busy working which you probably will be (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Heavy workload, poor work-life balance, inconsistent management ability (in 5 reviews)

  • Very political; senior management always playing the blame game; (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. The most challenging and rewarding position I had in the industry while working with a dedicated Team

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director in Gaithersburg, MD
    Current Employee - Director in Gaithersburg, MD

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Challenging opportunities requiring out of the box thinking and quick adaptation to changing requirements. Perfect environment to apply industry experience or gain government experience. Culture is trending to a more collaborative approach and application of lessons learned is leading to continual improvements.

    Cons

    It could offer more flexibility with work from home policy and increase health benefits. Consider additional days off during Christmas period.

    Advice to Management

    Continue the interactive approach to better understand and lead culture change across all sites. Continue dialogue on short and long term goals to provide clear guidance and priority on deliverables.

  2. Helpful (4)

    Challenging but Rewarding

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

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (more than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The company is focused on culture, professional development, and continuous improvement. The company offers flexible work schedules and paid time off for volunteering in building. Cafeteria, gym, and nice meeting rooms in new building. Lots of opportunity to work on many different projects.

    Cons

    Archaic processes that are hard to change. We sign up for a lot of work and do not put together realistic timelines. Government is main customer and source of revenue - sales and contracts & grants.

    Advice to Management

    Support middle management. Stay focused on culture. Celebrate our successes.

  3. Fast growing company making great strides

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A lot of opportunities for those who work hard, are positive and advocate positive change. It is a good company for people who want to make positive things happen. A lot of positive culture change in the last 5 years including decisions made at lower levels and a lot less difficulty in getting things done. Competitive pay and benefits. A lot of investment in new technology

    Cons

    Still opportunities for additional positive culture change but headed in the right direction. Management has improved greatly but still a few managers that are not as good as they could be. Still some poltics

    Advice to Management

    Continue with the postiive cutlure change and continue to push deicision making down

  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Great Company

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

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions full-time (more than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Love the work, love the people. Collaborative, team environment

    Cons

    Archaic processes, need to get on with the times and automate more. Work-life balance ridiculously crazy at times.

    Advice to Management

    Senior management is great at communicating, but the middle management needs to be more transperant and not hold on to information. Information is power, but dont take that literally.

  6. Helpful (2)

    Unimpressed, do not work here!

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

    I worked at Emergent BioSolutions full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Descent pay for the area. Had some descent people to work with, however most have been let go due to political agenda or voluntarily left (running). Also, people who have been there longer get the final say whether it is logical or not. This explains a lot of the problems they have had and currently have.

    Cons

    Too much political agenda, poor scientific practices (try the same approach to fix a problem over and over and they wonder why the method does not work). Management is ineffective, deceitful and just bad at their jobs. CEO pretends to care, but as long as the company makes a profit, no effective change from him or senior management.

    Also, I find it amusing the number of positive ratings and vague reviews (i.e. "Fast growing company making great strides" made me laugh out loud) for this company went up soon after management discovered all the negative reviews on Glassdoor.

    Advice to Management

    Does not matter, management gets a lot of good advice, but nothing every really changes at this place. Once you have a major competitor in the anthrax vaccine/treatment department, that will be the end of Emergent BioSolutions.

  7. Helpful (4)

    Excellent talent sprinkled in a sea of political cronyism

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Scientist in Gaithersburg, MD
    Current Employee - Scientist in Gaithersburg, MD

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fast corporate growth, opportunities materialize quickly, relatively competitive salary & bonuses. CEO is actually very good; very dedicated and an excellent communicator. HR is making a conscious effort to change the culture (will take time though).

    Cons

    Cronyism/favoritism across at least half the company. Scientific personnel are stellar but dwindling. Senior management (just below VP levels) for the most part are pathetic - they manage via negative reinforcement/motivation tactics. Problem solving and scientific solutions can ONLY stream from the top down. If the cycle broken, you risk ostracization. Essentially, the political savvy thrive.

    Advice to Management

    Do not be afraid to shake things up. There are many qualified senior managers and directors out there! Take the time to get the most feedback possible, even from the "little people." Yes deadlines may get met, but it really matters HOW they are met. That's how you sustain a solid company and further bolster growth.

  8. Helpful (2)

    Do not relocate to Lansing for this company!

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It is a strong company with a devoted customer. As long as there are terrorists out there, the US Gov will be first in line to buy Emergent's biodefense products. The company has made some strong acquisitions lately to move beyond being the Biothrax company.

    Compensation is good for the area, mediocre for the industry. Benefits are generally what you will find elsewhere and are good. One oddity is the charity match. They only match local charities for the PR they get. If you support a national charity without a Lansing presence, they won't match.

    There is a strong internal training program for soft skills (team building, public speaking, emotional intelligence, etc) and computer programs. There is also a mentoring program in place, which is really good. They hire a lot of people straight from school (very difficult to recruit talent from other companies) who need the support.

    The company likes to promote from within, which is can be a positive in growing talent. Management is then fast-tracked for future promotions. It is not uncommon for annual promotions for them. One individual made the jump from supervisor to manager to senior manager within nine months. Not bad considering each promotion adds ~30K in salary. Regular staff are not as lucky. Expect to wait 4-5 years between being considered for promotion.

    The employees are generally friendly and establish positive teams. Some groups (Validation, Engineering, IT) have strong team-building efforts. Others see their employees as mere assets and don't consider it a good use of time or money.

    Cons

    The culture can be toxic as others have noted. Managers can be adversarial within groups as well as between. Some managers speak negatively of other managers and their groups. An "Us versus Them" attitude is often fostered. The sad thing is they have been trying to improve their culture for 5 years now and in some ways (communication), it's only become worse. Office politics are heavily observed here as well.

    The company has a staff turn-over problem, roughly 15%. Most of this is driven by finding better opportunities elsewhere, but the site also seems to like to fire people. Every 3-4 weeks someone is being walked off campus. The one positive is they fire everyone from the staff painter to the VP of Operations, no discrimination there.

    HR is a rubber stamp for management when it comes to personnel decisions. Personnel reviews can not be challenged. If you have a bad relationship with your supervisor, HR will block any transfer attempts.

    There is never a budget for external trainings, which can be the best route for increasing hard skills. Don't expect to attend conferences or seminars. Also, forget about presenting talks or posters externally as well, it's actively discouraged.

    Work life balance are merely words at this location. Salary employees are expected to work 50+ hours per week. I've known individuals to work 70-80 hours due to poor manager resource management. Some managers allow time flexing over a 2 week period. Also, time generally only counts while on campus. It doesn't matter if you can do your work remotely, they have trouble recognizing the value for some reason.

    Once hired, expect your wages to be stagnant. Annual increases are negligible (1% for meeting expectations). They are generous with bonuses (5-10% for the role I was in), but remember the IRS taxes bonuses much higher than standard wages.

    As mentioned in the title, I strongly advise relocating to this location unless you like to move. The nearest biotech employers are ~1 hour away (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor). It's a long commute.

    Advice to Management

    Establish an anonymous 360 review process for all management and their reports. Lansing has some poor people leaders. Learn your weak links and then act to improve or replace them.

    Recognize that remote work is reasonable. If an employee has a sick kid (or transportation problems, doctor appointment, etc), but has their work laptop, it doesn't need to be an automatic vacation day for them

    Address the work life balance problems, there is a lot of employees being burned out by the current strategy.

  9. Helpful (1)

    Retaliation is the #1 Core Value

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

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Salary is decent and benefits are good.

    Cons

    If Executive Management does not like what you say, you will be retaliated against. They ask you to be truthful, they have an open door, spill your guts in these 4 walls, but when you do, they retaliate against you. You can only get ahead if they like you. Does not matter what your performance has been. If you are not on their list or even a man for that matter, you will not go far in this company. Heck, they do not have any females on the CEO Executive team. Only 1 female Board member. HR is not a high performer. They are not there for the employees. They definitely do not do anything for the employees. They listen to what you say, but the Executives are the ones that rule. Still other departments lead by intimidation. The Senior leadership of the department put fear into their employees. You would think you had signed up for the military. This is a very toxic work environment. Not a great place to go everyday and spend 11 to 12 hours of your day. They do not believe in a work / home life balance. If you have a blackberry, you are expected to return emails at all hours of the night. They want to cut expenses, and decide to cut 15 people from the Headquarters location. Yet they will approve people flying all over the place for a 1 day meeting. Departments are having yearly retreats in various places all over the United States. If you sincerely want to cut your expenses you would cut stuff out like that, not lay off the very people who you say are the backbone of your organization. It is very toxic to work here. Everything is political.

    Advice to Management

    Instead of listening to your Executives who are not the people doing the work, start listening to your employees. They are the backbone of the organization. Start living the Core Values that you like to say you have.

  10. Helpful (3)

    IF YOU GET AN OFFER RUN DON'T WALK VERY TOXIC PLACE TO WORK

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrative in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Administrative in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Emergent BioSolutions

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    VERY GOOD BENEFITS AND LOTS OF COFFEE AND SNACKS

    Cons

    The HR department is a total joke. People working in that department don't even treat fellow employees with respect. The person in the employee's relations department constantly humiliates the employees in the company. There is no respect from employee relations whatsoever. Fellow employees from other sites constantly apologize for this person's actions.
    If you are in the "Clicks" you can stay if not they had soon see you go. Better yet they pick and choose who to lay off. It is a man's world there. Recently 12 people were laid off, most were women, some were single family mom's with 1-4 children and a new mom.
    Personally the bullies I felt were the worst. They were constantly humiliating you in front of upper management to the point you wanted to throw in the towel. Some managers have no idea how to manage. They look the other way when there is a problem or go to their bosses and cry for help or to get rid of that person.

    Advice to Management

    Start from the top and regroup. No way can a company survive with two one person telling a very upper management person to get rid of certain people when he couldn't do it himself. They are a company that preach Core Values and have all sorts of Culture Teams but all they do is talk the values are thrown out the window and the Culture Teams are just free lunches. Being a former employee there I found you could not confide in anyone they would just go tell someone else and the ball would go rolling. They are very unprofessional people.
    All upper management should go to some classes on how to treat fellow employees. I recommend offsite classes the ones on site are a waste of time.

  11. Growing and constantly changing company

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

    I have been working at Emergent BioSolutions full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    CEO is trying hard to improve and grow the company. CEO is worth 4 stars in my view.
    Ever changing strategic direction and reorganizations means you get to gain experience in many aspects of existing and new businesses.
    My manager is competent and is doing a good job.

    Cons

    Always changing strategic direction -- company does not seem to know what it wants besides growth in revenues and net income. Frequent re-orgs and exploration of new businesses.

    HR is wedded to strict guidelines on compensation and promotions despite employee's performance. You need X years of experience to get to the next level, but real biotechs like Genentech had a 30-ish years old CFO promoted from within. This is the millennial age -- stop sticking to baby-boomer 1960s HR practices.
    1-2 stars for HR practices.

    I heard not all departments have competent managers, but I'm fortunate not to have worked with them.

    Advice to Management

    Need to figure out the strategic direction of the company. Several years back it was to be a high growth biotech/oncology company, then after failure of several compounds (common in biotech, but may also be due to bad acquisitions) the company tries to increase shareholder value by cutting "wasteful" R&D. Then it became a spec pharma company. Not sure what it will be next.

    Management should figure out what Emergent's strengths are and continue developing them. Is it biodefense? Yet there has not been any new approvals besides expanded indications for BioThrax and hopefully building 55. Surely all that grants and contracts money has to lead to something?

    HR needs to adapt from the 1960s baby boomer management practices to the GenY/millennial practices in 2010+. You can tell that management in HR clings on to outdated practices and has no clue about dealing with Gen Ys/millennials because it appears many of Emergent's employees are baby boomer or gen X age. Some Directors/VPs/SVPs are getting it and I respect them in working to understand the changing times, but HR appears to have no clue. We are competing with other biotechs and tech companies for talent, not mature industrial manufacturing companies with a workforce looking forward to retirement.

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