Grand Circle

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Grand Circle Reviews

Updated January 18, 2015
Updated January 18, 2015
54 Reviews
2.1
54 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Alan E. Lewis
27 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Laid back environment, casual dress code, and welcoming of different types of people (in 8 reviews)

  • During my time there, the only pro were the travel benefits (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Open and courageous communication crosses the line more often than it should (in 9 reviews)

  • Employees have to buy into company culture; agree with owners beliefs (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great people to work with, if you are willing to suck up and throw others under the boat.

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

    I have been working at Grand Circle full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Personal growth, good job to have out of college, encourages open communication. Travel benefits are decent.

    Cons

    The values are intense, mandatory overtime, high turnover rate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop giving people the opportunity to work in senior management if they aren't competent.

    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Everything Grand Circle Travel does is borderline illegal

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

    I worked at Grand Circle

    Pros

    The pay is good, if you can keep from being the 40% of the staff that gets fired annually. Travel benefits can be good but you will need to want to take guided tours for your vacations. If you are a favorite, you will have the chance to rise quickly in the ranks and be rewarded, but the odds of this are extremely low.

    Cons

    The real “value” that this company lives by is gaslighting and bullying their employees. I came as a young professional with a lot of work experience from different environments. Though I’ve liked some workplaces better than others in my past, I would call all of them healthy EXCEPT for Grand Circle Travel, which chews its employees up and spits them out when they don’t need them anymore.

    While I was there, my supervisor was hardly around because she was in endless meetings - something that this company delights in doing is having meeting where everyone is supposed to express their ideas for how the company’s processes can work better, in an effort to look as if the leadership is transparent and eschews hierarchy. Though nothing could be further from the truth, these meetings keep team leaders away from their teams and basically the senior team members train/ lead the more junior ones, which is what happened in my case.

    As other reviewers have mentioned, management at this place revolves around verbal abuse and micromanagement. I actually witnessed people being yelled at in public by their supervisors, who apparently think their employees are subhuman slaves instead of professionals who should be treated as competent and valued. This is the company culture. I actually watched an episode of Downton Abbey and thought, “I wish they treated employees at Grand Circle the way they treated their servants on this show.” Keep in mind, servants in the show get almost no breaks and basically live in the basement. If a fictional workplace from the 1920s based on a rigid class system can do better than a real one in 2015, then there is a BIG problem.

    Also, HR (dubiously named “People and Culture) is the secret police which enforces the bizarre rules that the CEO and his wife use to enforce a sense of Stockholm Syndrome in their employees. You will be made to go on a high ropes course trip in New Hampshire, on a large tract of land that the CEO and his wife owns (hey, maybe this isn’t so different from Downton Abbey after all). Instead of being about team building, you are told this trip will be about instilling the company values. The trip is mandatory and your participation is ranked by HR, the results of which go into your employee file and affect your employment at the company. If you do poorly on this trip in the eyes of HR (and not your peers), you will be on the shortlist to get fired. Multiple people I knew confided that they pretended to be afraid of heights just to get a better rank during this weird performance for HR.

    Before this mandatory trip, HR asks you to list any health concerns that might disqualify you from participating, including pregnancy, heart conditions, etc. This is absolutely illegal and I don’t know how they get away with it. The status of one’s health should be confidential and not something that any employer requires you to disclose.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Actually care about your employee's health, physically and mentally. Your business model is not sustainable if you want a functioning company that continues to grow like its competitors. Pick competent HR employees because no one in the building respects the current crew.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Bizarre, ultra-rich, husband and wife owners celebrate fighting, humiliation, and confrontation among employees.

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

    I worked at Grand Circle

    Pros

    Kitchen with unending coffee. Cool new people before they get fired.

    Cons

    Where to begin? Managers get to where they are based upon ability to swallow the dogma of the owners, which includes: Open and honest communication = blame someone else and scold them in public; Thriving in change = We don't know what we're doing, so rip that up and do this right now, despite the lengthy meetings and planning software we've put in already.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dump the Kool-Aid. Run the business like a business, not a social experiment. Employees are people, too.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Worst experience

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

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Very nice people below top few leaders. Trips are well run. Pay is competitive.

    Cons

    CEO is abusive. Horrible culture. Huge turnover

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Not meant for everyone

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Traveler Support Associate in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Traveler Support Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Discounts are decent
    Co-workers are nice
    Decent pay
    Training is informative and fun

    Cons

    Irate callers
    Very monotonous, sitting 8 hrs a day just taking calls after calls
    Monitored breaks
    Getting yelled by callers due to other agents' mistakes

    If you can take being yelled at and like the intense competitive environment then this job is meant for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The call center needs more support from upper management. Also the wait time to contact another department it's absolutely ridiculous.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    GCC is a dynamic place that you can learn from great co-workers and very slick business model

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

    I worked at Grand Circle (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Entrepreneurial environment
    - Fast paced and open communication
    - Always something new going on and you will learn allot
    - You are able to travel and see things

    Cons

    Your status can change hour to hour, seen to many instances where the something didn't work properly and that individual either had their salary impacted or effectively out the door. Real Marketing Strategy is not allowed to run and see results and be able to change with learning's.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    This place made me question the very value of life itself.

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

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Tremendous travel benefits are really the only perk here: You can get unbelievably awesome deals on travel package tours. Mind you, they are designed for senior citizens (um, "mature Americans" in company parlance), so they aren't the way most employees (um, "associates" in company parlance) would normally travel, but heck, they're so dang cheap.

    Compensation and benefits are adequate, hardly stellar, but you can do worse. Of course, the HR staff gave me incorrect policy information when they hired me, so I made decisions based on their mistakes, so who knows: Maybe I could have done better.

    Cons

    How much time do you have? The company "culture" that the higher ups and HR drones prattle on about endlessly is a hollow sham designed to offer superficial placation to employees deeply distraught by the inhumane environment, callow and inept leadership, and ever-changing party line. It's corrosive and tiresome. Despite their stated preference for "mavericks," the folks who get ahead are sycophants who slurp the proverbial Kool-Aid and play ball by whatever rules the CEO sets up this week.

    Speaking of CEOs, wanna know something hilarious? I worked there for about three years, and we changed CEOS SIX TIMES during that span! Can you believe it? Usually I'd define "poor leadership" as a qualitative judgement, but in this case, it's QUANTITATIVE. It can literally be quantified how shady, shifty, and unstable this environment is!

    Vacation time is minimal, ironic considering the one decent perk is AWESOME VACATIONS. Chew on that, wage-slave!

    Working here can become your life. You need to put strict limits on your time and your involvement: Don't work overtime, don't go the extra mile, because it won't make any difference. Treat them like a bank, and walk away at your first opportunity.

    Perhaps the biggest con is seeing good employees slowly become sad, bitter, disillusioned people when faced with Grand Circle's impenetrable wall of dysfunction.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    How's about GET SOME MANAGEMENT and STICK WITH IT. The revolving-door CEO thing is laugh-out-loud stupid. Also, quit using your so-called values to defend your terrible behavior and decisions.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Torture...

    Former Employee - Personal Travel Counselor in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Personal Travel Counselor in Boston, MA

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Talking about travel every day. Discounts

    Cons

    Phone center was like being in jail

  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Company too focused on reacting quickly to plan ahead

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

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent coworkers - generally speaking, the people who work alongside you will always have your back. Company culture can be fun.

    Cons

    So fast-paced that there's no preplanning, and every project is completed at break-neck pace; no opportunities for good work to be created if you're always on a "due-five-minutes-ago" mentality. The C-Level management is a revolving door, and the company values are used as an excuse for poor treatment or to justify bad practices. (It's not 'mean' - it's 'open and honest communication!' It's not 'added at the last minute' - it's 'thriving in change!') The fun aspects of the company culture are undermined by the forced nature of it. I've seen another review that says the call center employees are treated like second-class citizens - this is absolutely true. Marketing strategists are frequently promoted from within with little formal marketing education, leading to a lot of choices being made based on gut reactions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I don't feel like there's much hope for change, honestly. The entire foundation of the marketing strategy is direct mail, which leads to the marketing portion of the company feeling like a junk mail factory. Please stop hiring and firing executive-level employees without giving them a chance to actually effect change.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    The culture and environment is strange and demoralizing

    Former Employee - Traveler Support Associate in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Traveler Support Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    •great training
    • colleagues are very nice
    • if you can last at least a year you can work in customer support anywhere
    •great way to get foot in door for Customer service and sales for travel industry/hospitality

    Cons

    •the image of grand circle travel as having a great culture that boasts about giving back to the community is misrepresented in a few ways: they use their culture and values to manipulate their call center employees' behavior in a way that only benefits them and exploits their employees. They measure their employees performed almost completely on customer satisfaction surveys and every single customer gets a survey. Of the surveys, if less than 89.9 percent is excellent you could lose your job. I have never heard of this as being one of the sole determinants, and at my current and past jobs the surveys are not so heavily weighted.Their turnover rate is very high and they are constantly hiring and training new people because their treatment of employees' is terrible and unfair. Favoritism, and their cult-like obsession with their company's values drives people away. As does their strange practice of promoting employees after 3 months while the veterans who do put in their time and work hard are ignored. Their 3 to 5 hours of mandatory overtime is made worse by them constantly changing and making employee metrics harder to meet, and then forcing employees to behave by the values of the company and writing a quarterly report on how they displayed the values. Last but not least is the constant change in management, I has 3 different supervisors in the span of 18 months!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The trick to keeping employees is keeping them happy. Increasing the stress level with harder metrics to meet, then making them work mandatory overtime, while demanding they do extra work to prove they are showing the values does not make people happy, it burns them out. Don't try to manipulate employees behavior by having them try to prove they live by the values. This is insulting, manipulative and makes this place appear cult-like. Promotions should be done based on people who know the most, work the hardest, and have put in their time... Not simply on Customer surveys and meeting metrics as the people with the highest scores don't necessarily know the most but tell customers what they want to hear and ask veterans for help.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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