3 people found this helpful
Pros – Good benefits package. Flexible with scheduling.
Cons – Having worked as a designer for my entire professional life, I can honestly say the marketing efforts at NCH Software are the worst I've ever seen. I was brought in initially to help "build the brand", but that became extremely difficult since the people in charge of making critical marketing and/or design decisions (for retail or otherwise) employed a top down, throw-everything-at-the-wall approach to marketing. It’s was a low standard, by-the-wayside approach that ultimately became a waste of time and money. Furthermore, marketing decisions were based solely on SEO results and revenue generated by ads that were (literally) years old. Because of this, building a brand became nearly impossible as we were always looking backward instead of forward.
Speaking as a creative, It would be hard for me to think of a more sullen environment to work in. I seldom received direction of any kind, and was often reprimanded for not following the direction that was never given in the first place. I was told ridiculous things like, “This new ad campaign should be fresh, but reference the old one and keep the same tag line" or "customers like to see brightly colored animals - it really grabs their attention". You’re also told not to be “too creative” or “too radical” (ie. don’t follow current design trends) - some of the ad concepts I was forced to do in my tenure were outright embarrassing and any other company would have been ashamed. But then again, since the ads were always about the money, management didn't care about intangibles like brand identity (or reproach from the lack thereof) as long as they were getting paid.
As I said, I was hired as a marketing designer and my main job functions were ads and tutorials, but in my time, I did everything from broadcast production to Flash animation to 3D modeling and in the end, was told I wasn't going above and beyond my job duties and therefore was denied a pay raise (despite it being in my employee contract). Performance goals were always a moving traget as the owner wanted employees that could do everything, despite being willing to pay for them. Not once during my employment did I receive a performance review of any kind (positive or negative) - I was never able to gauge the work I was doing or if I was meeting an imaginary standard. In the end, I legitimately felt like a non-essential part of the company.
Overall, employee morale was very low and it was quite a depressing little office to work in. There’s was no employee family unit – everyone seemed very nice, but no one really talked to one another (other than whispering awkward small talk in the hallways). As an employee, you are monitored relentlessly. They monitor your keystrokes, take screen shots of your monitor, check web surfing habits, read your emails…the whole bit. Coupled with the below-average pay, this probably accounted for the large amount of the employee turnover. In my 16 months, I saw 8 people quit outright. I saw new hires quit within 60 days. Some never even showed up.
That’s not to say it was all bad. You do get full benefits and 4 weeks paid vacation. Plus, management is generally very good about being flexible about schedules, etc. and that was nice. But overall, I quit my job voluntarily because of the poor handling of marketing and creative, the low pay, the low employee morale and the overarching themes of “quantity over quality” in nearly every aspect of the company. I would definitely not recommend working at NCH Software.
Advice to Senior Management – "Quantity over Quality" is not a promising direction for the company.
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend
Pros – Reasonable flexibility with working hours.
Cons – Your opinions may be asked for but will probably never be heard or seriously considered. Owner holds the reigns very tightly and rarely will be swayed and often makes what most of the employees would consider "questionable" decisions edicts at best. Communication is poor and somewhat curt and people who can't adapt quickly to the company culture are dropped, making a stressful enviornment with very high turn over
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend
Pros – Nice employees to Skype with (but nobody talks) and a benefits package is included depending on the salary negotiated. Also free coffee.
Cons – Employees have a purveying attitude of resentment and apathy due to atrocious, and at times lacking, management. There is a very high turnover rate, as far as I know there is only one person left in advertising, and this is evident throughout the company in projects employees are tasked with in which they have no clear understanding of how they were created or how to improve on them.
Middle-management does not exist here (they have all been fired); expect instead to be micro-managed by ownership through poorly written, confusing Emails. The running joke is everyone literally dreads clicking on their MS Outlook icon each morning. Worse is the climate of acquiescing to any idea or project given by ownership; even if it will be detrimental to your personal, or company, performance.
Keeping your head down and doing the minimum to stay out of trouble are the norm. The fear of change and investment is ripe here, which is frustrating as the software industry has great growth potential. Most technical help is in the Australia office, good luck coordinating your time zones.
In my opinion, there really isn’t even an advertising department. Mainly because there isn’t a clear strategy other than to throw money at various channels and see what works, but also there are no internal tools for marketing, sales, CRM, etc., with an emphasis to develop basic tools in-house even when it doesn’t make sense to.
The entire company, keep in mind this is a multi-million dollar, international software provider, is run through Excel spreadsheets.
Finally, you will be monitored by invasive timekeeping software created by NCH Software. Every minute you work, are idle, every keystroke, regular screenshots, program statistics, etc.; basically don’t expect any privacy, freedom, or flexibility in your schedule. For most positions the pay is very low. Embarrassingly low.
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company
Pros – As a software developer, you are always directly involved in influencing end products. You make a new feature or update something, it's tested, it gets released.
The schedule is flexible. As long as you meet minimum working hours, they don't care what times you come in to work.
The people I worked with (except senior management) were all very friendly, supportive, professional, and knowledgeable.
No dress code. You don't have to wear a suit, which is nice. I could go to work in jeans and a tshirt.
The business is growing, and often hiring. Easy to get a job if you're qualified.
Cons – Senior management believes in an 'I can do no wrong' approach. On one day, we had a meeting where we were warned "do not make changes to products simply because YOU think it's a good idea - make sure you have good reasons." Sure, that makes sense. But then literally one hour later, we had a design meeting for the project I was working on, and I was told "I think we should totally change this up, because I don't like it the way it is." When I tried to point out we'd been researching and developing the current design for months, I was told he was the boss and therefore I had to do what he said.
They track every single move you make. On every computer, there is a program installed that tracks keystrokes, takes a screenshot every five minutes, and another screenshot every time you open a new window, and counts mouse clicks. If you don't press a key or click the mouse at least once per minute, it logs that you have gone "idle". It was extremely off-putting that I could not google something without senior management potentially being aware of it, and I could not take a five-minute break without my computer logging it. This was even worse because sometimes I would genuinely be working, but not at my computer. For example, in a meeting.
There is little community feel. When I worked there, there was a 'kitchen' facility. It had a microwave, and a fridge. There was no space to sit and relax, or communicate with co-workers. You literally had to converse while sitting at your desk, or standing in a corridor. There was nowhere else to go.
Lunchtime is set to be half an hour as standard. When I started working there, I was unaware of this rule, but was soon informed: "Your lunch hour is half an hour." As such, my agreement to work 9-5 days was obviously thrown out the window. I either had to work 9-5:30, skip half the lunch hour I expected, or eat at my desk while I worked. Most people chose to work and eat at the same time.
The high turnover rate reflects how difficult it is to work there. There are a few employees who have worked there for longer, but even they admit dealing with senior management is difficult. The advice I was given was "just do what he says and once he's satisfied you can fix it."
Advice to Senior Management – Stop micro-managing, follow your own rules, and LISTEN to your employees. You have hired them because they're experts, so let them share their expertise with you!
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company