Palo Alto Research Center Reviews

Updated March 5, 2015
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3.3
22 Reviews
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Palo Alto Research Center CEO Stephen Hoover
Stephen Hoover
13 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful

    Trying to live up to past accomplishments

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

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center full-time

    Pros

    PARC is an amazing and historical place to work. The researchers here are amazing, and the work they do is increadible. I'm grateful to be able to be part of such an amazing team. The culture of PARC allows for exploration, research, and freedom. PARC has a relaxed culture.

    Cons

    PARC is a small company that while backed by Xerox does not feel like it's growing. The company could be on the cusp of something incredible like most research facilities, however the longer PARC goes without a historical break through the more the employees feel their budgets trimmed, or forced into doing purely commercial work.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. Great for industrial research as an individual contributor.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great work-life balance. The culture promotes collaboration and sharing with coworkers. There were a lot of professional development growth opportunities in your technical area. You will learn a lot about business development, interacting with customers, your and related technical areas, and all of the intricacies between these moving pieces.

    Cons

    Pay is significantly lower than what a good software engineer could get. Promotions and performance reviews beyond an individual contributors are very subjective and political and thus for young researchers it likely you will run into a ceiling.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is room for improving the employee's trust of the system w.r.t. promotions, compensation and project funding.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful

    Not the most exciting or stimulating environment

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

    I worked at Palo Alto Research Center

    Pros

    People are generally nice and smart, the schedule is flexible and there is a good work from home policy. If one is proactive, there is room to learn new things as well as pursue new ideas.

    Cons

    People don't stay long, especially the younger ones. The employee distribution is bimodal: people fresh from PhD with no industry experience, and people who have been there forever and haven't kept up with the latest in their fields. As a result it is difficult to find good people to work with or bounce ideas. In general there is a lack of enthusiasm and passion.

    Funding tends to be unstable and people shift projects and areas way too fast. That makes it difficult to have impactful contributions.

    Management seems confused. On the one hand they claim they like science on the other they think that science can translate to products in a couple of years without productization teams.

    Salaries are low, no promotions, no bonuses if there is no profit, which is almost always the case.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You need to decide whether PARC will be a research center or an innovation center. In the first case you need to provide support for actual research that is beyond the short-term deliverables of Xerox. In the second case you need to bring the right people on board, that is people who are very savvy with the application areas of Xerox, are good engineers, and can iterate fast.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. Excellent, great staff, location, and work ethics

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Research Intern in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Intern - Research Intern in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Palo Alto Research Center as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great work ethic. Variety in areas of work is beyond any I've seen in private sector. People are knowledgeable, amicable, and just generally great to work with.

    Cons

    Older facility. Strong ties to Xerox, which are sometimes useful and sometimes a bit difficult to manage around creatively

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If something is an issue between your employees and yourself, make it known right away.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. Some pros, more cons

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center

    Pros

    Very flexible work hours, Nice people to work with and talk to, Good work/life balance, good benefits

    Cons

    little to no personal growth, low compensation, flat organization, bad management, high stress, low morale at times

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. Legendary place to work, has lost the aura of the past.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Research Intern in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Intern - Research Intern in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great people, great benefits, great location.

    Cons

    Lost the legendary aura of the past.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful

    Ok for a year but then you need to move on.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Member of Research Staff II in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Member of Research Staff II in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    A good brand in some circles. Smart and generally nice people. OK work life balance.

    Cons

    40 years ago great things happened here. The thought leaders were gone by the 1990s. The company is now dominated by a cohort from that time who have built a museum (literally) and live int the past. New people come, stay a year or two, then rotate out.

    The business model is still work in progress. The Xerox endowment is declining with the parent company's market performance. There are large pockets for US Government funding but these directions and levels can turn on a dime. The commercial work plan is not supported by people who can execute and the costs are too high. What corporation is going to pay $50K to come hear a Power Point presentation at "PARC Place" and then pay per researcher head what you could use to fund a startup?

    The financial results are currently bad. Last year was a $4 million loss. This year there were significant RIFs. I don't see a change in that trajectory this year. How long will the parent company back fill these losses.

    Note: the bonus pool only pays out if the company makes a profit.

    Poor cafeteria. Poor gym.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The company is in a death spiral with the retired in place 30 year veteran cohort who are out of touch with the real worl. Bring in some new thought leaders with some real world experience. Close the hardware labs.

    The CEO needs to get buy in across the leadership (down to the Area Manager) level for his strategy. Part of that is replacing them.

    Just when you need to be focussing on rebuilding the future you've gotten distracted with the Webster merger.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful

    Great place for research

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center

    Pros

    Flexible, own schedule, People are really smart and helpful.
    Very good work from home policy.
    Lots of things to learn.

    Cons

    Not well defined strategy
    Since there is not product development at PARC it's difficult to build those skills.
    Funding is not very stable.

  10. Amazing place... great benefits... but limited long term career growth

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Scientist in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Scientist in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent work-life balance, autonomy in work and projects, super smart colleagues - truly 'world experts' in their fields. Can learn something interesting about a new research area from almost everyone here.

    Cons

    Limited long term growth - a fairly flat organization with limited room to move up. Good pay and benefits, but appropriate incentives and rewards for outstanding work are somewhat lacking IMO. Top performers tend to leave frequently for greener pastures - especially with the economy picking up, lots of competitive opportunities out there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Overall a great place to work, but would be good if leadership were to communicate better with employees: high level decisions are made in a seemingly ad-hoc fashion sometimes, and even though company-wide meetings are held to discuss changes and issues, they frequently lack substance and clear communication regarding the decision process.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. world of possibilities with a closed closet of opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Member of Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Member of Staff in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    stunning location overlooking Silicon Valley, smart people to talk to, work with, and learn from every day

    Cons

    no personal growth or career path, braindead management with few clues how to run an innovation organization, spectre of Xerox dying in the shadows as industrial research fades to black

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    get a grip on the 21st century with some fresh talent under 50 yrs of age and new ownership

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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