Mercer Reviews in Chicago, IL

Updated October 16, 2014
Updated October 16, 2014
668 Reviews
3.1
668 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Mercer President & CEO Julio A. Portalatin
Julio A. Portalatin
184 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work/life balance and the best benefits ever, as well as an awesome incentive program (in 64 reviews)

  • The ability to work from home when needed is a nice perq (in 18 reviews)


Cons
  • Not enough staff creates stressful environment and NO work/life balance (in 48 reviews)

  • Could benefit from a Senior Management overhaul and restructure (in 33 reviews)

More Highlights

40 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Good Company and room to grow

    Former Employee - Expense Desk Specialist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Expense Desk Specialist in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    Great dental, medical, 401K match and pension. Great people.

    Cons

    So small it's not noteworthy

  2.  

    Recfruiter

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Recruiter in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Recruiter in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Mercer full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Benefits and overall compensation. Solid name brand in the industry.

    Cons

    senior management........they are very silo'ed and make decisions based on short term performance. The company is very concerned with diversity and go about it the wrong way by promoting people into jobs due to ethnicity alone with no experience or skills to back up those moves.

    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Solid company with a great reputation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Mercer full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Easy to tell people where you work and have them instantly have a good association come to mind. Low stress and slow and steady...if you want that.

    Cons

    No upside and little career potential if you want to climb quickly or make $ beyond your salary

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    incentive compensation for sales, even though the big salary is nice.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Disjointed, discombobulated, and disappointing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Client Service Analyst II in Vernon Hills, IL
    Current Employee - Client Service Analyst II in Vernon Hills, IL

    I have been working at Mercer full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Solid benefits package....great flexibility for those with busy families. Overall a solid company with good leadership at the top of the organization.

    Cons

    Complete lack of consideration for their employees as far as taking responsibility for giving them the training they need to execute their roles effectively. It's like a sickness where everyone assumes you'll just "figure it out". The issue is, it creates a team of people that all have vague understandings of how the systems work and all fit together. They learn the steps to complete individual tasks but have no sense of how that task fits in the scheme of the operation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Things have begun to get better but they have to decide the experience they need for an incoming employee and determine what needs to be taught.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not worth it

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

    I have been working at Mercer full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Most of the people who work there are easy going. The ability to work from home when needed is a nice perq.

    Cons

    The pay is awful, expect to be making an entry level salary regardless of getting an advanced degree with several years of experience. Raises hardly keep up with inflation. People are already leaving because there is limited upward mobility and salaries are so low.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your top talent will continue leave until you start paying better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Taken for Granted

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Participant Services Representative in Vernon Hills, IL
    Current Employee - Participant Services Representative in Vernon Hills, IL

    I have been working at Mercer full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    As a call center worker at this company, what I can tell you is that this will become a golden star on your résumé. Depending on your attitude and your willingness to adapt, you can gain skills and character that become indispensable. You learn from supervisors that hold their own during heated calls. And you learn from that. Your colleagues--the ones that brave the same storm you brave--share in learning; they are right there with you and many are happy to help guide you. The callers will make your day if you are efficiently trained. IF you are trained.......:

    Cons

    ......which leads to the cons. Training is really one of the companies broken wheels. They spend so much time on days and days worth of training toward client bases and LOBs that are never guaranteed. I'm lucky to be part of a fixed client base. But sitting next to other PSRs that take on 20+ clients and are forced to be trained on LOBs after only 2 days and to be on the phones after? What a nightmare. What a way to truly de-value an individual. After a year of being here I can tell you there's a lot of politics. And while I mentioned the management is inspiring when they are steering escalated calls, they are completely clumsy in training and reinforcing. There have been so many bright contractors I've seen with their potentials being tapped, but before they are fully realized higher-ups fuzz out that brightness with last minute LOB changes and unhelpful PowerPoint presentations. When a manager says that they are thankful for your work, caution: it really is code for "I've realized your capacity to be taken advantage of. And to tack onto your workload, I expect you to take on more clients with only 2 days training and stay in your stats while juggling redundant out-dated programs that crash all the time" Endurance of incompetence is a hidden gold star.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Support your lowly contractors and do not keep throwing them for a loop. Individually make time for them. This is coming from a full-timer that empathizes for their experience. They are already underpaid and devalued enough.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Strong company, great benefits, nice people, the company tends to run lean.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Marketing Associate in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Marketing Associate in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Mercer full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great people to work with, lots of opportunity for growth if you are lucky enough to have a great manager. Overall the associates are great, collaborative and have a "teamwork" mentality. I think once they get over the few cons below, this company can be A+++

    Cons

    If you are not familiar with the "open office concept" it can be challenging, acoustically. However, they do try to remedy situations for associates that are challenged in a very nice and effective manner.
    There are some business areas with a "silo" mentality and "boys club", company is working on that, but with an organization is making an effort to change this.
    At times, management has inability to make good decisions with regards to associates careers and the strengths they bring to the firm.
    In certain businesses, you feel like a hamster in a wheel due to associate's workload, there does not seem to be much time to focus on processes or efficiencies - until it becomes a serious issue, again, the company is working on remedying this.
    The company communicates fantastic revenue and yet management doesn't seem to have it when the time comes for raises.
    Technology: Company has spent a lot of money on systems and/or software that becomes redundant rather quickly because they do not gather the right people together to study and decide if it makes sense, again I believe running a "lean" organization might be the issue.
    Communication at times seems to be an issue but I believe it is because they are such a large firm, it is to be expected but management tries to handle and clarify when necessary.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please rethink the open office concept, maybe get a task force together to create a communication effort of "how to" work in this type of environment.
    If the company is looking to "roll out" a program, software or process, please take the time to gather the right associates on every level to discuss and work through the issues instead of having to deal with them after the money is spent and it has been rolled out. Also, when it doesn't work, gather to discuss why and use that feedback to grow instead of reinventing the wheel.
    Recognize associates who are adding to the bottom line and leverage their strengths to your advantage.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great environment with friendly employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Client Service Analyst in Vernon Hills, IL
    Current Employee - Client Service Analyst in Vernon Hills, IL

    I have been working at Mercer full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Benefits are great. Paid vacation, sick days, holidays. You have the ability to challenge yourself and propose new ideas and your input. Paid overtime that is typically available and encouraged (all voluntarily taken, never required). The people you work around are great and there is a great sense of friendship among everyone.

    Cons

    Salary is a little less than the competitors, but the availability and need for overtime can quickly change that figure drastically. Some tasks can be tedious, but that goes for anywhere. Some processes that are in place don't seem to make sense and it can be bothersome when asked to do something you know could be done better and more efficiently, but you are not the one that can decide how this is done (with stubborn leaders, advice is rarely taken into consideration). The use of some old technology (windows/office) used can often be a pain, but that's been recognized and is hopefully changing quickly.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good for a while but don't stay too long

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

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

    Pros

    - Dental and medical benefits were very comprehensive even for those with serious illnesses, including cancer. Prospective late blooming mothers will find Mercer's medical insurance package pretty supportive of their interests.
    - Even in turbulent economic times, longevity was attainable in the Chicago office - especially for individuals in support staff roles. A number of the administrative assistants had been in the Chicago office for 15-25 years.
    - If you want to settle into a career as an administrative assistant, or if you're a consultant seeking to build a network in a different industry via client relationships, you'll find joining Mercer a good move.
    - Although some of the consultants were ruthless in their pursuit of clients, with the personal lives of analysts and associates often casualties of those pursuits, many consultants demonstrated a high level of compassion and respect for my life outside of work that I've found sorely lacking at almost every other place I've worked.
    - Recruitment's "Big Ten university fetish" means that you'll be in good company if you attended an elite university for college and/or grad school but are seeking work-life balance (which you will not easily find in the Chicago office, but you will surely find people at all levels who are talking about the issue of work-life balance, and can help you figure out how to achieve it either while you're working at Mercer or after you leave).
    - Worthwhile relationships endure long after RIF or resignation. I've been gone almost two years but am still in almost continuous conversation with a plurality of people (admins, consultants, other staff) I met at the company, even those who were cut back in 2008. Although the office may not always be a friendly place, you'll likely begin friendships there.

    Cons

    - When I was there, I always felt that talent management could be a lot better. Some of the people in leadership boasted secretarial staff who'd attended and even graduated from schools such as Penn and the University of Chicago. If the secretarial staff were satisfied in those roles, or if they were being weaned to move into roles that aren't dead-end, this would be okay. Instead, these are very conspicuous and egregious cases of wasting talent. It's to the company's advantage not to allow people who are capable of major contributions to the company to fall through the cracks - no matter how ambivalent some of those people might *appear* to be about progress.
    - Salaries were (sometimes? often?) greatly differentiated, with people who had multiple degrees and many years of experience in roles sometimes making a great deal less than those who'd only graduated college a couple of years earlier or never obtained a degree.
    - Stagnation is a real risk no matter what your role. The company should invest more in training employees to thrive in fluid workplaces through the acquisition of analytical and technological expertise. This would be one way to counter the low morale that overcomes entire LOBs from time to time.
    - RIFs were sometimes handled in ways embarrassing for an HR firm, with some leaders who've since left the office (sometimes involuntarily) loudly debating who should be let go next.
    - Racial diversity among consultants did not become a priority for the office, even after the formation of the Racial & Ethnic Diversity Network.
    - Allocation of only ten vacation days per year for the first five years of employment beget tension between employees obsessed with punctuality and the rules and those who understood the very human need not to be bound to a desk for most of the year. Considering that consultants often advise clients to offer four weeks of vacation or more, Mercer should offer its own employees at least that much to start.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Top talent is walking out

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

    I have been working at Mercer full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great opportunity for developing a solid career experience

    Cons

    The current focus on profitability makes it impossible for Mercer to compete with the other giants in the industry, since they (Aon Hewitt, Towers Watson, etc) have cutting edge technology AND top talent, whereas Mercer's current policies of cost cutting have forced much of the top performers out of the company and this policy also prevents the massive investment in technology necessary to catch up to the competition. The reason why top talent is leaving is because without the proper technology tools the workload doubles and it becomes impossible to achieve the high expectations when co-workers keep leaving and no replacements are hired to take on the workload.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you will not invest in technology, then invest in your people for real and not just as a bullet point in your operational imperatives.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

Mercer Photos

Conference Room
Mercer office at Two Alliance Center
Dallas Park Central Office Building
Lehman Brothers (Photo thanks to Flickr user Canuckistan, available under by-sa/2.0) 1166 Avenue of the Americas (Photo thanks to Flickr user Thomas R. Stegelmann, available under by/2.0)

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