Harris Reviews in Rochester, NY

Updated September 17, 2014
Updated September 17, 2014
432 Reviews
2.9
432 Reviews
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Harris President & CEO Bill Brown
Bill Brown
164 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The 9/80 work schedule has definitely kept me from leaving the company despite several other offers (in 30 reviews)

  • The project I've been on for 3 years has a great work life balance (in 21 reviews)


Cons
  • The newest slogan is "do more with less" so the work-life balance is skewing (in 7 reviews)

  • Upper Management likes to out source your job once they see that your work is complete (in 11 reviews)

More Highlights

53 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Harris tries to weather the ups and downs of military contracts by keeping a high percentage of contract employees.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Test Engineer  in  Rochester, NY
    Former Employee - Test Engineer in Rochester, NY

    I worked at Harris as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Harris is one of few remaining electronics manufacturers in US. Company is top notch in technology. The manufacturing lines are new, modern and efficient. LabVIEW is used extensively for testing at all stages of production. There are many years of practical experience making test systems. There are few, if any, larger installations where LabVIEW and TestStand are so widly used and relied upon. Testing is a religion and it is practiced very well here.

    Cons

    Contract employees are a fair portion of the workforce. There is a regular up and down of headcount due to the vagaries of production. There are many in town who want to work here. But because of the abundance, or over supply of engineers, they are very selective, and they do not pay very well. For those who manage to get a direct position, a good amount of effort is spent trying to become "indespensible". Thus many people are not open to share their expertise, the one thing that may save them from being in the next round of layoffs. And layoffs are regular.
        The technology is great, but because of time to market pressure, there are not many new designs. Most are repackaged or recombined pieces of prior products. Similarly for their test systems. Take parts of these old systems and make something ready for release by Tuesday.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work more to develop a larger non-military customer base, to keep the company on a even keel during times of sequestration, and other gaps in military spending.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    Enjoyed the people, not the environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineering Co-op  in  Rochester, NY
    Former Employee - Software Engineering Co-op in Rochester, NY

    I worked at Harris as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    The people at Harris are great. My team was really friendly, and I actually still keep in touch with them.
    The work is pretty cool too. I enjoyed working on a radio and they follow pretty standard software practices.
    The pay was excellent considering I was an intern.

    Cons

    The environment just was not for me. Opening my lunch box to show I was not concealing anything got old real quick. There were also a lot of rules for what you could and could not do (I understand this is necessary to ensure security, but can really make the office very boring).

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Ethics on par with that of a used car salesman in a Tactical RF product line

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

    I worked at Harris full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good benefits, nice people, smaller company feel. If you love RF, it’s a good way to earn a living.

    Cons

    The claim to fame is that they pack lots of features into an almost military grade product. Reality is that it is often a quickly and poorly designed product, with performance shortcuts under the hood that the customer doesn’t see when reading the spec sheet, but will experience if and when they use the product. If you can live with that as a company culture, you will survive. Compensation is on PAR for the local Upstate NY area.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you ever want to be bigger or better than you are, the culture will need to change from one of "get along" to one driven by excellence. Hopefully for you, the niche market that you exist in will continue, but you will never be known as a great radio company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    High stress environment; no pay increases

    Current Employee - Engineer  in  Rochester, NY
    Current Employee - Engineer in Rochester, NY

    I have been working at Harris full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Stable income, easy transition from military to private sector, full benefit and relocation packages, put the customer first above everything.

    Cons

    Wrong people in the wrong positions, 1970s mentality, uncertain stability, little to no salary increases, top down innovation, unrealistic employee and business expectations, no recognition for success.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Innovation starts at the bottom thru subject matter experts and customer requirements. Stop setting unrealistic growth goals and then not giving pay increases when the business doesn't meet the impossible goals.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Harris Response

    Aug 21, 2014President

    Occasionally Glassdoor posts to the wrong company. This employee did not work at Harris Communications Honduras

  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Went from great to okay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Account Manager  in  Rochester, NY
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Rochester, NY

    I worked at Harris full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    I worked at Harris PSPC. The pay, medical and retirement benefits were all top notch. So straightforward were they that I was still paid commissions 3 months after quitting.

    Cons

    Absolutely no unified direction. Even when the president says he wants something done too many mid to upper level managers can say no or not cooperate. In addition, and I know this is a common complaint in large organizations, the seemingly endless administrative duties that continue to be added to daily responsibilities stifled any entrepreneurial spirit.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have the courage to go win business. You have the troops to do it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Slow motion train wreck

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer  in  Rochester, NY
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer in Rochester, NY

    I have been working at Harris full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Some assignments are interesting, many are not. Work-life balance can be good when not on long travel assignments.

    Cons

    Ominous gloom of declining defense industry looms. Layoffs have occurred the past two years. Each year benefits and perks are slowly whittled away. Salary is not competitive and neither are raises. Corporate reduces bonuses and benefits, while boosting shareholder dividends. On going corporate attacks on employee compensation is destroying talent base. Communications with management is poor to minimal. Management pays lip service to employee career development. High turnover has been a result.

    Long-term travel mostly to the middle east is not uncommon. You have to wait your turn, or make the right friends, for compensation and advancement. Don't expect high performance to play a significant role. Rampant nepotism. Key roles and assignments largely determined by the right friendships. An uphill battle for a new hire. Vested interests are well entrenched.

    Management indifference and incompetence foster a toxic work environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Replace engineering leadership. Communicate with your employees. Place greater emphasis on employee career development. Improve advancement and compensation system to greater reward performance and key skill sets. Get better sales people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer II  in  Rochester, NY
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer II in Rochester, NY

    I have been working at Harris full-time

    Pros

    Flexible schedules. Freedom to work on projects as you see fit. Opportunities to travel.

    Cons

    Support is sometimes needed and not there. Status as an employee is based more on pieces of paper then on skill set.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Industry leading products, no vision, moderate/poor growth prospects.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Level V  in  Rochester, NY
    Former Employee - Level V in Rochester, NY

    I worked at Harris full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good products, high quality. Good work/life balance. Future vision is all around improvements in internal operating efficiency, not a man on the staff can tell you a vision for the future though. But they can tell you their cash flow improvements in 2018 and beyond.

    Cons

    Closely held and healthy division management. No hope for a new executive or high level employee to advance. A "dead man's shoes" advancement pace that is slow based on the mid-50's age and excellent fitness level of Sr management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start smoking; or grow the business by entering new markets rather than buying your own stock back. Create some opportunities for middle management to grow their careers.

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

    Good people, outdated processes and management style - in need of a culture change!

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

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

    Pros

    There are many excellent employees working here, passionate about meeting customer needs.

    Cons

    The management and processes are very outdated - old boys club at the top with limited new perspectives, focus on development or modernizing. The company is in desperate need for a culture change, and the current CEO and leadership don't seem to be interested in providing it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn modern management techniques, promote new and younger minds - get diversity in perspectives at the top vs. the same people who have managed within the company for over 30 years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 15 people found this helpful  

    Company Going Through Great Change and Cost Cutting Despite Market Leadership and Awesome Revenue

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

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

    Pros

    When I was brought on board at Harris after 9/11, the atmosphere was super optimistic among engineers, managers, and even factory workers. The company was growing quickly and people felt very appreciated and part of a team. Everyone felt empowered to pitch in at any capacity necessary to get a sell, make a customer happy, and create outstanding products. Contributions were evaluated on the basis of merit and many times great ideas were proposed and implemented through the efforts of factory workers and even janitorial staff. At the same time, engineers and other professionals did not hesitate to empty trash cans, clean lab space, etc., if needed for a customer visit. Employees regularly worked significantly more than 40 hours per week and were extremely excited about doing so. Harris was largely a vertically integrated company where skills were put to use at the most effect place. The atmosphere was electrifying.

    Cons

    All of that started changing about 4 years ago. Despite continued growth in revenues, employees started being told that times were extremely tough and that the company had to take extraordinary measures to survive. Every 3 to 6 months, employees began losing benefits and salary. Layoffs have become a yearly occurrence and, as a result, delivery schedule and quality of products have suffered tremendously. For example,

    * The average engineering compensation has been decreased more than 10% over the past 4 years - not including adjustment for inflation.

    * Tuition reimbursement has been reimbursed to less than 1/3 of what it was.

    * The vacation days between Christmas and New Years have been eliminated.

    * Medical premiums have doubled and deductibles have quadrupled.

    In addition, over the past 6 months or so, Harris has been bidding on contracts with such limited staff and turn-around time that costs for significant (> $10M) contracts are being bid at firm fixed prices without more than cursory analysis.

    The funny thing is that senior management has acknowledged all of these things and has told employees that these kinds of measures will continue. For example, there will be no raises for employees in 2014.

    The general feeling among employees is that the company is for sale and that senior management is trying to pump the stock price before dumping the company on an unsuspecting buyer.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper management has been very honest with employees regarding their perception of the results of their policies. I cannot imagine that upper management could read this review and disagree. But, why? My advise is to reverse the steps taken above. After all, Harris has very few serious competitors in its markets and revenues do not necessitate such actions. -- Otherwise, sell the company ASAP before the brand equity is destroyed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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