Honda R & D Americas

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Honda R & D Americas Reviews in Raymond, OH

Updated November 2, 2014
Updated November 2, 2014
95 Reviews
2.5
95 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Frank Paluch
10 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Job security is a company policy, no layoffs of full time associates during recession (in 10 reviews)

  • overtime paid,good benefits, big manufactue (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Work/life balance is more of a work/sleep balance (in 10 reviews)

  • Any "REAL" decisions are still made by the Japanese staff or in the "Mother Land" (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

48 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    A Review With a Little More Perspective...

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

    I have been working at Honda R & D Americas full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    This review is of Honda R&D Americas in Raymond, OH and reflects how the business operates as of Oct. 2014. I was motivated to write this review because I consulted this site prior to accepting a job at Honda R&D in Ohio and was initially scared by all of the negative reviews. The reality of the situation at HRA is not nearly as bleak as painted by the reviews. The truth is this: Honda is a place which will demand a lot of you but it is very much a place that is what you make of it. As a new hire if you wait for instruction or sit by idly hoping someone will tell you what to do you will be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, if you are self-motivated and are passionate, the opportunities within Honda are virtually limitless. No one will hold your hand to help you make changes. Push for the change you wish to see and it can happen.

    The hours can be long, but that is common in the automotive industry as a whole. Where Honda excels is in the their phenomenal benefits plan, overtime pay beyond 40 hours, and extreme flexibility in working hours. Further, while turnover is high among new hires due to the long hours there are also scores of employees who have left Honda only to return a few years later on account of the job security available here.

    One key benefit of working at HRA is that Honda is a very conscientious company and a place most can feel good about working for. The factory in Marysville? Zero waste to landfill. The R&D facility? Same. The transmission plant up the road? Installing wind turbines. Paid time off to do volunteer work? Yes. Company matching of

    The hours are long and the work is not always glamorous, but the possibilities for a positive, motivated engineer at Honda are many. As someone who has worked many places (4) prior to HRA, I can say that I am genuinely pleased with the place and the future looks bright.

    Cons

    Long hours and unpredictable work schedule. Occasional late night meetings with Japanese staff. The Japanese will hurt your feelings when it comes time for design to be reviewed (because it wasn't good enough...).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue the work-life balance initiatives along with the current push for product improvement.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

    Review with years of perspective as opposed to a rookie review

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

    I worked at Honda R & D Americas full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The company treats you well in the beginning. There are also many young people with high ideals. Cafeteria is good and the uniform system removes the whole "what should I wear" dilemma we may face if we work at other companies once we decide to leave Honda.
    The location is quite bucolic, and thus traffic is very nice. No hustle & bustle here! Nice place to live if you like hunting or farming, etc.
    Also, of you want a laid-back work style, this is the place.

    Cons

    Honestly, a person who has only worked at this company for 1 year or less (co-ops included) shouldn't write reviews, nor should they think they know enough to discredit other reviews... oh the naivete! Either that or there's some whitewashing going on despite all the bad news that is leaking out of R&D.

    Honda R&D is basically a place that offers sub-standard pay for the work they require, promotions are very rare and some managers do their darndest to make sure you do not get promoted, and time-off policies are draconian and unnecessarily bureaucratic. There is an amazing level of politics that happen from the upper echleons to the lowest of rungs. You would not see this until you have spent at least three years at the company, so I suggest any reviews from people who spent less than that to be taken with a grain of overly positive salt.

    The place also has a severe lack of diversity. By that, I don't only mean racial / ethnic diversity, gender, or religion, but also a total lack of diversity in terms of the type of engineering and research being conducted. The approach is always extremely conservative and never pro-active. Basically, any new idea gets rejected unless it has already been tried in a number of other major automotive companies. The top management members are generally oblivious to new technology (many of them are former aircraft industry folks who have formed a clique and only seem to promote guys from within that clique) and tend to make strange decisions despite being presented with monumental data stating otherwise (cost is basically the largest deciding factor).

    Politics is quite extreme in this company. There are a surprising number of people with grudges both real and imagined who pull each other's legs and get in the way of completing business. Design an purchasing can never get along as well, but the core problem is a lack of a clear decision-making flow that is endorsed and enforced by top-management. Instead, top management seems to "let it be" and allow inefficiency to exist while at the same time expecting underlings to come up with some magical way to reduce overhead.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think you need to feel a lot more alarmed with the current state of the company. You are way too unprofessional, lazy, and unaware of the automotive industry as a whole. You have forgotten how to make good cars, and that is because you have been complacent and used to having Japanese engineers from HGT paper you and let you take the easy cake way too long. It is time to start doing some actual management and make sure engineers have the right tools to do a good job efficiently. If you can not understand technology, then step aside.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    This was a very rewarding experience for a coop.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Design Coop in Raymond, OH
    Former Employee - Design Coop in Raymond, OH

    I worked at Honda R & D Americas as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Office environment is very friendly and people are willing to help.
    Flexible hours.
    Great perks!

    Cons

    Communication barriers can cause some hassle, but most people are patient and understand this concern and check for understanding.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Your Acura NSX prototype burned to the ground

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineering in Raymond, OH
    Current Employee - Engineering in Raymond, OH

    I have been working at Honda R & D Americas full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Marysville is a nice American place

    Cons

    Not very smart to have use people as contractors when they have plenty of experience and skills. It makes for an unsafe environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management is a joke that requires hard working peoples time and opinions to sort out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    I wasted a good chunk of my life here; I only realized this after I quit and am very happy now

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

    I worked at Honda R & D Americas full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Very good name-recognition (for now) and lots of opportunity to get involved in interesting projects (although you will not be recognized for your contribution). Nice cafeteria and easy commute. A good place for newly graduated engineers to boost their career (three years is probably enough though). Also, if you have very little ambition, lack innovation and have no problem sacrificing personal dignity for the sake of job security, this is a great workplace for you-- you will never get fired or laid off even if you produce no output whatsoever! They used to have interesting people (renown scientists, inventors, celebrities...) come to give inspiring speeches, but they stopped this to cut cost. I think Frank Paluch is a generally caring and approachable President.

    Cons

    The power of dreams... or the power of nightmares? One person's dream may be the cause of sleepless nights for another, but the fact is that both are far removed from reality-- and that tends to be the problem at Honda R&D at Raymond, Ohio. This place may seem to be a good place to work and brag about to relatives and friends at tailgate parties despite your total lack of engineering skill or knowledge of up-to-date trends in the industry, but it can have the power to stagnate and waste precious time for your career once you realize how worthless it is to spend more than three years at this poor excuse of a "R&D center" (where very little actual research or development takes place).

    At first, the benefits look wonderful and the facility looks great. The cafeteria seems like you are working for some first-class company with the amount of time HR spends on selecting new colors for the carpet. People seem friendly and there seems to be lots of discussion going on about various projects and new technology. However, I quickly realized how there are unspoken rules on how you should not use benefits too much lest you get black-listed by the euphemically re-labled "talent management" group (former Human Resources). Also, the cafeteria basically cycles the same menu every week so you get bored, and eventlally settle with the pizza, and all the cool discussions are just that-- mere discussion that never materializes beyond a powerpoint presentation.

    In fact, if you want to make a career out of generating powerpoint presentations, this is your haven. Business at Honda R&D is driven by powerpoint presentations and multiple meetings-- often dragging on for entire days to review minute details within presentations. What I always found astounding is how many times technical evaluators will point out problems related to color schemes or the size of the font instead of the actual content. It was actually common to hear comments such as "the color of that arrow is too bright-- try something in a more pastel shade" so some other higher-up won't be too alarmed by the bright colors! If you are good at making slick slides, you are truly set for your fully-paid unproductive bliss. This also means regardless of how many PhDs or MBAs you may have under your belt, you will go nowhere and be considered as having little to no value within this company unless you can make nice powerpoint slides.

    I hinted at the passive agrressive HR folks and some other reviewers point out this fact, but indeed Honda R&D has a fairly large number of "HR professionals" who make odd decisions on which engineers are worth promoting and which candidate should be hired. The hiring manager actually has little say, and even when you have requests to fill an open position for aeons, you find applications piled up and unmoving on some HR member's desk. Despite their often unhelpful application of company rules (which are never clearly announced), they seem to break various rules themselves and keep poor track of personal information (I once found a box-full of old applications sitting in a meeting room in plain view) while having "super ball parties" during company time in their own meeting room. It seems like they either really hate people, or think everyone who works at Honda R&D should be treated as ex-cons because most employees feel intimidated by HR members and either try to pander to them or avoid contact with them at all cost. Oh yes, they also don't like to hire mid-career people, and tend to reel in a lot of graduates right after college. For that reason there is a fairly noticiable talent vacuum in the 30-40 year old age range (because many decide to leave).

    The fact that HR has so much control over Honda R&D also points to the biggest problem -- management.
    The top level (executives such as the president and VPs) is a continuously rotating door of various folks often being sent from Japan on 2-3 year assignments to boost their career and give them some "I used to bark orders at Americans" pizazz, which has the unfortunate effect of making it impossible to have any long-term strategy for the company. This environment has also cultivated, in the last two decades, a strata of barely-changing middle-management who has honed their ability to change their minds quickly with the arrival of new top management members. Naturally there are cliques (all large companies have them), and you can never expect any future within the company unless you can kiss-up to your boss in exchange for your dignity (the merit evaluation system is basically a sham which is common with many other companies, too).

    As you can imagine based on the above, very little decisions are actually made at Honda R&D. Even when they seem to be made, the next incomming executive will reverse course, and as a result we end up having to use the same old design, etc. because that is the only way to meet our production schedule and cost target.

    Incidentally, the current President, Frank Paluch, is a good guy. However, he is too nice to shake-up the staus quo to bring really needed change to the organization. Being a President is not a popularity contest-- I have often though Frank should be more direct with middle-managers, especially in terms of taking responsbility. Poorly performing managers are only given a slap-on-the-wrist for not performing up to expectation, and are given perpetual second chances when they are sent to manage some other group where they have zero expertise. I hope Frank can put an end to that strange practice so younger engineers can start populating middle management, and unqualified and non-performing managers tossed out. I like him as a person but as a President he has been disappointing (stop surrounding yourself with yes-men and engage folks who bring up tough issues).

    The other problem with management is their surprising lack of knowledge about the industry in general. You have engineering managers who have never heard about technology that has been out there for a couple years, and in worst cases they are unaware of stuff that already exsits in our competition's vehicles. Executives seem blissfully unaware of industry trends or the doings of executives in other automotive companies. Honda R&D is a strange place where we live in a opaque bubble of ignorance, and it seems many managers try their darndest to maintain that status quo (which is why we seem to settle with extremely conservative design changes). Some managers will become defensive and angry when you point out their lack of awareness, and for that reason it is sometimes necessary to make sure you bring up such subjects in a gentle, non-offending manner (I am not making up this stuff, and I know some of you reading this and are still working there are rolling around the floor, laughing). Many engineers give up and never bother to make suggestions for improvements (and end up leaving).

    In the end I realized spending any more time here would provide zero growth for me (they actually have no real system for professional growth). I think anybody that spends more tha 5 years here is wasting their life. If you have spent more than 15 years here? I think you have seriously wasted a huge chunk of your time, producing nothing. Seriously... most of the engineering at Honda R&D in Ohio is done in Japan. Most important projects are first brought close to final stage in Japan, and then brought over to the US -- then the project is handed over to an "American." Then the "American" is sent to Detroit or some auto show for photos as a meager attempt to give the public the idea that Honda cars are developed by American engineers. Take a realistic look at projects that were truly home-bred and look at how much sales those models generated, and then the result is fairly obvious.

    So, in closing, if you are someone who enjoys blissful and unproductive ignorance or fictitious glamour based on hard work done across the Pacific, this is your place of dreams. For true engineers with a vision, this is a nightmarish place, not worth spending more than three years. Soichiro Honda was a great engineer and one heck of a guy, but unfortunately Honda R&D shares little or no value let alone a single nanogram of the same innovative spirit. That is why I left. How about you? (All of you still living inside those white uniforms? And yes, the grass IS greener outside...)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think you should know more about how cars work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 6 people found this helpful  

    An adequate place to make a living if you can tolerate the Japanese culture & language BS.

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

    I have been working at Honda R & D Americas full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Comfortable and newly constructed work environment. Internationally well respected company & products. Challenging & interesting responsibilities (in some cases). Decent pay for the area (Central OH with low cost of living)

    Cons

    Japanese culture is difficult to deal with at times. Any "REAL" decisions are still made by the Japanese staff or in the "Mother Land". Many documents and higher level meetings conducted in Japanese. A dual culture exists within the company. Kind of "Us vs Them" feeling at times. Many higher level Americans are just puppets of their Japanese superiors. Have you seen the movie "Gun g H o"? It's spot-on.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Purge the non-performers at all levels and bring in or promote people who are respected. It's VERY destructive to the motivation of competent people to be "lead" by incompetent boobs, whether they be Japanese or American staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Avoid, at all costs! Look at Tesla, Ford, BMW, or Mercedes...they innovate! You'll wonder why so many are at HRA!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research/Test Engineer II in Raymond, OH
    Former Employee - Research/Test Engineer II in Raymond, OH

    I worked at Honda R & D Americas full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    At HRA, you will have excitement, you will see amazing cars not made by Honda, and you will be in a honeymoon phase...it wears off quickly. There is lots of work to be done (engineers love to be busy), decent food in the cafeteria (or tons of microwaves), and good perks (car leases, discount on parts, etc.)...PLEASE READ ON!

    Cons

    * You will end up being pigeon-holed, so your first few years, your skills will broaden...then it hits a roadblock.
    * Your work is not trusted by Japanese staff. I delivered multiple thorough presentations detailing problems, steps taken to alleviate them, and your work is taken as speculative and not factual. (This is the Japanese mindset: Americans are second-rate engineers compared to Japanese staff.)
    * Initially you feel like you can topple the world, but your role will eventually turn into this, undoubtedly: You will create PowerPoint documents, you will write e-mails back and forth, you will babysit suppliers, and then you will present your PowerPoint documents that contain no work that you did to solve problems (that is the work of a supplier, solving problems), and then you will get no commendation or you will be chided for not meeting deadlines. (HRA's statement of being "The Power of Dreams" should properly read, "Where Japanese Dreams Live, and Americans Dreams Die".)
         - I was privileged to work on great projects, but truly, you will see this.
    * MORALE: It may seem like I'm a bad apple here, but take heed of the following: What ties people together at Honda is the sad reality that, people here don't like their jobs. I outlined a lot of it before, but gathering a general consensus among new engineers was the same upon my departure...you have a common bond with your fellow engineers: they all dislike their job.
    * Management politics: If you don't serve your time (5+ years), innovative ideas cannot be pursued by you. If you are smart, ambitious, or creative...HRA is not the place for you!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I pitched my research idea, it got approved, and then I booked. What plagues Honda is doing the business the same as every other manufacturer...long development, rigid structure and not allowing modular design, and COMPLETE DISRESPECT FOR AMERICAN ENGINEERS. I cannot hammer home that last idea better than being in all-caps. I have had exposure to HGT, HRI, ITR-SV, and indirect exposure to HGN -- the experience is the same -- they continually attempt to undermine any creativity or actual "expert" authority from American engineers. I have a patent going in, and my research is currently being pursued...but what made Honda lose a great engineer was not pay, but was the respect and the relegation to being a mindless-robot to execute work the Japanese could not finish. I know Erik Berkman made a big hoopla about pay and bringing everything close to market value, but that doesn't attract or keep engineers. If you want to be able to recruit and keep talent, you need to do one of the following: allow for meaningful work, allow for creative research, and empower the American engineers to do great work.

    I can go further, but I doubt this will be read. I left because of moral problems with fail-safe countermeasures being applied, and I will be there to testify when the problem arises in mass-production. I will soon be working for a different automotive OEM, one notorious for taking all of Honda's talent, and will be working for much less money under much higher scrutiny, and for longer hours because they address the items closing out the previous paragraph.

    One other bit of advice: talk with your creative engineers. I had multiple departments know of the research I performed over my duration at Honda, but managers present for over 10 years did not blink an eye. These smart engineers aren't going to be at Honda long, and I hope will never go to Honda because I fear they will become accustomed to the environment and become lazy, therefore losing their creativity that can impact the world.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful  

    Please look at other options before you take a position here.

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

    I have been working at Honda R & D Americas full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Use of company cars
    Flexibility in job
    Actual job function isn't bad

    Cons

    You can only fail up here, your work is not based on actual merit but only perception by certain people

    In engine group, documents are the only thing that anyone judges. Actual work output means nothing.

    Recently we changed management and things seemed to be getting better but it is going downhill again, I can't say I have hope for this organization.

    The fortune top 100 goal is a joke. Honda couldn't make this list if they gave everyone a free car.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get some outside experience. Stop thinking the honda way is the only way. We aren't the best and our employee retention rate shows this.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Contractors are treated as third class.

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

    I worked at Honda R & D Americas as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Depending on what contract the Honda R&D ISD is using, very good money.

    Cons

    The Honda ISD Persons In Charge (PIC) treat the Tier 1 & 2 contractors like objects that can be replaced at any time. This has been the attitude for the past three years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire dedicated corporate professionals instead of segregation of blame to contractors (fuses).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    stable but not exciting.

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

    I have been working at Honda R & D Americas as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    pays contractors well, stable, easy workloads. As another engineer told me while I was working there, "i do work that pertains to my projects for about 50% of my day, the rest of the day I am doing whatever else I want to do"

    Cons

    not much room for advancement, not an exciting job for an engineer, and the division between contractors and direct-hire employees is HUGE. If you are a contractor in the powersports division, you are treated as an outsider that doesn't really belong there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    communication between management and contractors is basically zero, this should be improved.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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