Harley-Davidson Reviews in Milwaukee, WI

Updated July 26, 2014
Updated July 26, 2014
198 Reviews

3.1
198 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Harley-Davidson President & CEO Keith Wandell
Keith Wandell
119 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • There is a lot of great people working there management is the problem really (in 15 reviews)

  • Leadership communication, work environment, work life balance (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • The work life balance can be imbalanced, depending upon the specific area where you work (in 7 reviews)

  • It is a shame that they stopped listening to the floor personnel and concentrated more on making money for upper management (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

98 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Intern at harley davidson

    Current Employee - Intern  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Current Employee - Intern in Milwaukee, WI

    I have been working at Harley-Davidson as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Very relaxed and results oriented culture

    Cons

    Even high level/high pay positions have to work in cubicles

  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Should be the best place to work but has a long way to go.

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

    I worked at Harley-Davidson full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Best brand, excellent employees, fun product, awesome customers. Lots of focus on the customer experience and differentiating HD brand from others. The brand is so strong and has so much goodwill that employees will put up with many negative experiences, (as will customers), job dissatisfaction and burnout because they want to continue associating with this cool brand and product. Many opportunities for professional development and learning. A few top leaders create glimmers of hope through solid skills, proven performance AND the ability to support and motivate people (but not most). Get to go to fun customer events. Most employees are really dedicated and hard-working but some are very competitive. Comp and benefits are good if money is what motivates you.

    Cons

    Senior leadership is out of touch with employees and many have a "Do as I say not as I do" attitude which constantly erodes trust and teaches middle management that you have to be political to succeed. A few senior leaders whose behavior is so far off the stated values are allowed to bully and intimidate people, and everyone sees it, again killing trust. True employee engagement is a long way off. Lots of politics and competing among top leaders that causes frustration in the organization and lack of clear direction and accountability. There are a few really good senior leaders who get results in constructive ways and who treat people with respect, so I hope they are noticed since they are the exception and only hope of changing the culture. Some areas of the business are so over-stretched they are about to tip over, but people are often seen as expendable because the brand is so strong senior management assumes there will always be someone else to replace those who leave. This should be a great place to work but there needs to be true culture change for that to ever be true. It is a draining place to work for many. Health and wellness programs are designed to cut costs but there is no serious support for being truly well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    See above. Values are only words unless everyone models them and is held accountable for living them. Employees are your link to dealers and customers, so if employees are frustrated, drained, disillusioned or unwell, you will never achieve your performance goals or be truly productive. Senior leadership needs to make sure it is a group of people who have diverse styles, thinking, experience, who challenge each other in a positive way. Right now they all look awfully similar, which is dangerous. People aren't motivated just by money. Inspire them! There is so much potential to be great. In my opinion, management who have been there for the last 10 years are so afraid of the organization becoming complacent of any success (like it was when things got really bad) that they have overcompensated and are now afraid to celebrate successes or give too much positive feedback because employees might not want to improve. This is not true and is demotivating. Every employee, with few exceptions, comes to HD wanting to do a great job and contribute, but they are often treated as numbers rather than humans who need to be led with skill, motivated (not through fear), replenished and appreciated (not just recognized through $$ or hollow words). Bottom line -- trust is low, people do not feel set up for success or cared for and results aren't as good as they could be.

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

    "Mostly great people, amazing product, poor leadership, poor culture."

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

    I have been working at Harley-Davidson full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Developing products that connect the world. Passionate employees, great pay, can be yourself (dress/appearance wise), lots of opportunity for personal development, tuition reimbursement, knowledgeable employees, a rich 110 year history,...

    Cons

    Poor leadership; Lack of genuine vision. A culture of mistrust and fear. Lack of true innovation, due to fear of failing. Bottom-line/shareholder centric, instead of employee centric. Lots of passionate, talented employees have left the company. Lots of non-passionate, cut-rate contractors/new employees replacing them. Too much time spent documenting process and "checking boxes" instead of designing and developing awesome motorcycles. The internal culture does not reflect what Harley-Davidson stands for and projects out to it's customers/the world. It's very hypocritical.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Become employee oriented in everything you do. True leaders inspire, and sacrifice themselves for the group/the family. Your actions should align with the companies values and beliefs. Come down from your ivory tower and get to know us, genuinely. Build trust with us. Harley-Davidson will cease to exist without the passion of the employees. Employees must feel safe, trusted, allowed to fail, happy, respected, and appreciated! Employees should be NUMBER ONE in every decision you make. Everything else is secondary. Stop outsourcing everything! Stop hiring contractors! It's not only about the bottom line.

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

    Avert distrust, look elsewhere.

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

    I have been working at Harley-Davidson full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great people to work with, even up to project managers. Able to wear comfortable attire at all levels. Employee perks are good. Can get some training that will benefit the next employer.

    Cons

    Can not be assured a career with H-D anymore. Their history of not laying off came to an end in 2008 and continues to be tarnished for any career seekers. One may be assured they are doing fine in their position one day, with great reviews, and told the next day they are no longer needed, or that their last day will be x, since it was decided to outsource their job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Oust Wandell and get someone in that is more of a visionary, and not a stock & options puppet. At the rate of the changes going on, H-D is on track to have less than 2,000 US Salary jobs in the next 2 years. That is WAY down from 10 years ago. He may even be adjusting the company to be a nice buyout. The information that has been provided from management to employees gets contradicted in subsequent statements, causing trust to be broken. Work to build trust with the employee base and regain employee customers. As it is many have stopped looking to purchase H-D Merchandise since they don't want to own something they may not be a part of in 6 months.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Great culture - able to be myself!

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

    I have been working at Harley-Davidson full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Though H-D is a large company, it's still "small" enough to have a voice and have visibility to leadership. Though over 110 years old, there still significant opportunity to make an impact on the business. I like the concentration on continuous improvement, leadership development and professional development. My department allows for flexibility in my schedule and it's nice to know its there when I need it.

    Cons

    Feels very hierarchical, some see others as simply as career bands. There are some cumbersome processes which make it a challenging to accomplish something with urgency. Communication could be better cross-functionally.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to communicate transparently; invest in your workforce to make sure the organization is staffed appropriately; continue to support innovation!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Rapidly modernizing heritage company.

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

    I have been working at Harley-Davidson full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    The company has been improving dramatically since the recession.

    Cons

    There are some remnants of old Harley. Success may make the company once again become complacent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Push technology further to make people passionate about what they are doing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Not too bad

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

    I worked at Harley-Davidson full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Fun product
    Most of the people are good

    Cons

    UNIONS are annoying and whiny. They live under a rock and think anything asked of them is a tremendous responsibility.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Too many people are over-worked and one step away from complete melt-down.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Engineer

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

    I worked at Harley-Davidson as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Its a FAMILY working Environment

    Cons

    It's a who you know promotion type of environment.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Decent benefits and a passion for motorcycles keeps me going

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing Project Manager  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Current Employee - Marketing Project Manager in Milwaukee, WI

    I have been working at Harley-Davidson full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    It's an amazing brand recognized around the world - when you say you work for Harley, you'll feel proud . Good 401(k), profit sharing, great maternity/paternity benefits, casual dress... And of course... Motorcycles are awesome.

    Cons

    The arrogant leadership in Marketing doesn't set clear goals which can cause drain on employee engagement. Highly political environment in the Marketing department. Questions around morals arise.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you wish to create higher engagement, do what you say you're going to do. Balance workloads among various teams. Reward employees who are working hard and are over-taxed. Stop the boondoggling. Provide more leadership training for senior leaders - there are very few senior leaders who are truly respected by employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Terrible atmosphere, extremly negative employees.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Production Tech I  in  Menomonee Falls, WI
    Current Employee - Production Tech I in Menomonee Falls, WI

    I have been working at Harley-Davidson as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    None, company does not have any respect for casuals which they hire. No chance for benefits, as some casuals have been employed for over 2 years.

    Cons

    Angry employees, mostly about contract and "casual" employees, making for an hostile work environment. Union members pitted against casuals, making it hard to work or succeed. Employees refuse to train the casuals. Even though casuals are forced to join the union, they have no representation and are often fired for no cause, except for a career employee fabricating information.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Step in and speak up for hard working casual employees who are there to work, not hear gossip and lies.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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