Roka Bioscience Reviews

Updated August 29, 2015
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Paul G. Thomas
6 Ratings

11 Employee Reviews

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  1. Good for an in-between job, NOT a long term company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Co-workers were nice and friendly, but terrible company.

    Cons

    VERY Inconsistent management, terrible laboratory practices, expects employees to work weekends without overtime pay.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Unappreciated Worker

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Roka Bioscience full-time

    Pros

    While employed at Roka, I met and worked with some cool and fine people in R&D. Occasional company paid small meals on Fridays, though, not too often. The benefits were fine and typical of a small company of this size.

    Cons

    No common ground nor understanding between corporate office and san diego location. Senior management too heavy for such a small company. Needs thinning out.

    Advice to Management

    None that would matter or be noticed.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Research and Development

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Company's technology is solid and built upon Gen-Probe's TMA and instrument platform. Provides the food testing industry the opportunity to improve food safety.

    Cons

    Company has offices on both coasts, which makes working together difficult and inefficient. Communication is strained by time difference.

    Advice to Management

    Hub of operation should be on west coast to build better working relationships between all departments. Number of sick days (3) given is unrealistic and promotes people coming to work when infectious.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    A House Divided

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Roka Bioscience full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The R&D team in San Diego is staffed by a great group of individuals. There are a lot of talented and experienced folks working to develop the assays that I would gladly work with again under a different roof.

    Cons

    As the title suggests, Roka is a house divided. This didn't occur over its 6 year lifespan but from the very beginning when the company was spun-off from Gen-Probe. Half of the company is located in San Diego where R&D, manufacturing, and some administration takes place. The other half is located on the other side of the country in Warren, New Jersey where marketing, an applications lab, all of HR and management of Roka reside. It is this separation that has contributed to the tribal knowledge, lack of accountability, and finger-pointing that has eroded the morale of its employees and the confidence they had in management. Roka is the byproduct of a medical diagnostic company (Gen-Probe). The talent that designed the technology and formulated the assay come from that diagnostic background. The food industry, however, does not operate like a diagnostic lab. Food testing labs are often staffed by individuals that may lack a college degree operating under intense schedules in environments that are not always sterile. These conditions lead to increased instances of cross-contamination between samples that result in false positives for Roka’s Atlas instrument. Proper maintenance procedures and guidelines for the Atlas go largely ignored no matter how many times the FSAs train and retrain technicians. The biggest failing by the marketing department was failing to understand how their customers operated from the very beginning. As a result competitors like Dupont’s BAX system have the edge over the Atlas despite its features. Late last year Roka experienced a severe layoff with the axe falling hardest in San Diego. The company had failed to meet its milestone for the quarter of placing a certain number of Atlas instruments with prospective customers. Much of the talent in the San Diego was lost and the workload increased dramatically for those that remained. The San Diego office was also left without an HR representative and still does not have one as of this review. The New Jersey office where the CEO and CFO are located were mostly left intact. The leadership of the marketing team which failed to understand and anticipate the food testing industry as the instrument and assay were being developed are still with the company as of this review. The future of the company is in question. Many of the employees are waiting for the announcement of the Q2 results this July to determine if they will still have a job at the end of the year. New applicants at Roka should expect short-term employment.

    Advice to Management

    At this point any advice I provide is not going to improve things at Roka even if it was to be implemented. Instead I can tell management what to expect over the next few months: brain drain in the San Diego office. No amount of bagels or bowling parties are going to retain the staff while they are overworked and underpaid. An exodus of employees to other companies has already started. Any goodwill the staff had with the company was lost after the reverse stock split and layoffs from last year.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Ignorance on Fire

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Roka Bioscience full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Easy job and good pay

    Cons

    CEO is clueless, ignorant and provides no guidance R&D department has failed to deliver a solid product and their activities go unchecked None of the executive staff know anything about the food safety industry and their concerns

    Advice to Management

    Face reality, quit blaming the client for their products failures. Enrich, Transfer, Automate it's that easy, but then a technicians mishandling of a bag contaminates their assay-why not the competitors-cause it isn't the handling it's the bad assay.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Roka not so much

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Roka Bioscience full-time

    Pros

    They have an office with indoor plumbing

    Cons

    3.5 mil in sales and -30 mil in income, the top ten people in the company are paid more than the gross revenue, kind of ridiculous if you ask me. This company is headed for the pink sheets. Very top heavy company with everyone looking for there come up. No real culture to speak of. Alot of egos, most are from smaller companies but act like they are the boss of a big hedge fund. If Bill Ackman new about this company he would have shorted it to zero.

    Advice to Management

    Don't screw people over and be arrogrant. Set your ego aside and try to work with people. Realize the value you have and use it. Stop paying yourself so much until you make a profit. All your doing is burniing through the money from the VCs.


  8. Helpful (1)

    A little too late for Roka

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Roka Bioscience full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexible schedule Office and lab areas are nice Decent co-workers in R&D

    Cons

    Morale is declining fast. There's no rhyme or reason as to how promotions work. The low pay, combined with feeling dispensable and receiving no recognition, tells us our hard work isn't valued. This company has thrown talented people into mundane roles and unqualified people into larger roles.

    Advice to Management

    Place higher value on scientists' inputs on product development. Work on retaining the dedicated workers and weed out the lazy. Remove bad decision makers from management positions. Be more transparent and stop hiding important information (whether good or bad) from the employees. Have customer-related workers trained adequately on product. Don't dodge, but own up to the mistakes so we can learn and begin fresh.


  9. Helpful (2)

    Roka, the little company that tries

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Roka Bioscience full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Vacation time Pay is just inches away from being competitive

    Cons

    Praise is not often given No real company culture Information is not free flowing and often trickles down

    Advice to Management

    Roka is a nice company to work for but often times no one really knows what is going on. Information about current projects and company health are usually found second hand. The culture of the company really needs help in order to make everyone who works there feel like they are all playing for the same team. Having an after hours social and tipping back a beer or two would go miles to help bond the company and improve morale. We keep losing good talented people, but told that we didn't really need them, and then told to row faster. But I will say this about the company, it's a start up and some of the bad things I listed is to be expected. Until Roka is profitable it can't do some of the things a bigger company can. It can't hand out huge merit increases, it can't have elaborate parties, and most of all it can't take chances on people who are "unhappy." But the day the company goes public, and is profitable, is the day it may need to be ready to pay the bill to those rowing the boat at breakneck speed.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Underpaid, underappreciated

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Research Associate in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Roka Bioscience full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Managers can be a hit-or-miss: some are willing to work with you, while others may carry a reputation of getting their subordinates fired. Work scheduling was fair - starting work late and/or leaving early was an option provided you did your task/duties promptly.

    Cons

    Pay and benefits are not made, nor readjusted to keep the employees content. RAs are underappreciated, and often considered dispensable. Antagonistic work environment where individuals in higher positions had the tendency to look down/detract the worth of other co-workers. The trend during my tenure at Roka was that they often looked for the small window of making a mistake to get employees in trouble/fired.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Dissatisfied employees, little upward mobility

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Roka Bioscience full-time

    Pros

    Decent benefits, including 15 days vacation time and sick days

    Cons

    In general, employees were dissatisfied. There was little opportunity for growth, even for those employees that actively sought it. Only employees with connections to upper management or the CEO were able to move upward and receive promotions. Employees did not feel confidence in upper management or their decisions. Upper management did not allow much input from employees regarding projects. Salary was low.



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