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I worked at Health Products ResearchDoesn't RecommendNo opinion of CEODoesn't RecommendNo opinion of CEO
Opportunities abound to 'wing-it' on projects and to creatively analyze the data to get the results you want. It's called "getting the job done" and can be very rewarding depending on your personality type. At some point you will also probably have an opportunity to develop other skills - from booking your travel to binding your reports.
You have the opportunity to do the analytics with your own brain, not through some canned process. Even the manager positions are hands-on. Nothing at HPR is canned except the weekly and monthly 'dashboard' products (as you would expect), and even those get manually reviewed thoroughly.
If you need desk space, there is a ton of it. Lots of empty cubes and offices. That will end probably in July when the company moves to a new building maybe a mile away.
Lots of empty desk space available. It's a ghost town.
There is frequently very little direction at HPR, sometimes it is wasteful. You sometimes end up having to 'wing-it' on projects - and then get to do it over because your guess on how to do it was way off, even if your colleagues agreed with your initial guess! Often you must brutally massage analytic results to get the results you want. The people who request (and usually fund) the analytic work are highly unlikely to accept a message that contradicts what they want to hear. At HPR, the customer is effectively your boss, so you pretty much end up telling them what they *want* to hear, even if it means torturing the data to get there. During those times, those who love uncovering the truth might find their morale plummeting.
The company is really hurting (who isn't in the analytics space?). The contracts (through end of 2008) are not coming in fast enough, even after several layoffs have reduced payroll obligations tremendously. (Maybe HPR will need to be absorbed by other inVentiv Health divisions.) Jobs are not secure (big understatement) and non-critical expenditures are nil.
Another potential problem for employees is that the company has nearly always had a culture of "do it now, fix it later". I can't totally blame management. Customers DO sign contracts when you promise prompt and cheap delivery, NOT when you promise to follow a more costly and slower yet more thorough project management process. Project management methods are COMPLETELY absent from HPR. If you want a semblance of structure and process, don't expect it here. Some days, you won't even know who your boss is. On the flip side, it you like the 'Get it done whatever it takes, GO!' environment, you might like it. Most people there are good people, and smart!, but the haphazard work environment requires a certain personality to enjoy it. Completing a slide deck right before you leave for a client's office (or pulling an all-nighter to complete it, or both) is not my idea of how to produce quality output. At HPR, you WILL be in that kind of situation more than you might believe.
Finally, HPR sells services with official names that don't exist. It's a silly game, and most of the customers are on to it. Imagine if I sold you a glass of water and called a magical elixir.
Advice to Management
Fight the urge to over-promise despite the need to grow revenue. Corporate reputations can suffer from rushed work or work that can't possibly offer robust results. Tell the clients a bit more of what they don't want to hear, but earn their respect.
Also, standardize your processes. That should have been done 20 years ago. The wasted programming overhead adds up, especially with tight deadlines.