Silliker

  www.silliker.com
  www.silliker.com

Silliker Reviews

Updated November 4, 2014
Updated November 4, 2014
65 Reviews
2.6
65 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Jim Miller
10 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You work with some really great people so the immediate environment is tolerable (in 6 reviews)

  • Benefits such as paid time off are pretty good, 401k match is average (in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is not balanced (your life would be your work only (in 8 reviews)

  • Meanwhile, you work really long hours so the overtime helps pay wise (in 11 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    10 year employee

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

    I have been working at Silliker full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    training and experience in the food industry, well respected company in industry

    Cons

    high pressure at times and multi-tasking is a must, good promotional opportunities if you are patient and are a person who puts ideas forward.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    listen to employees and more growth opportunties

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Lab Supervisor - Overworked and no support

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

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

    Pros

    Training is great, SOP well documented, doesn't leave much room for training errors. Highly respected organization in the food industry. 2 or 3 years of work in this facility opens the door for opportunities elsewhere of substantially higher pay for competent employees.

    Cons

    Poor compensation for standards of work expected. You are expected to comply with arbitrary standards that are not written in SOPs or workplace policies e.g. employees were reprimanded for speaking Spanish in laboratory and placed on performance improvement plans citing "communication issues", even though there was no formal English only policy on site . As a supervisor you are expected to accomplish a large workload with less than minimal resources. If your employees go into overtime you are held accountable, while at the same time being held accountable to completing the workload given daily. Many employees are told to take lunch, but drilled to complete the workload which forces employees to swipe out for lunch but work through the lunch time i.e. work for free. Terrible workplace practices, many employees are reprimanded for "not being efficient" with out the adequate resources to help them comply. When suggestions are given, management seldom follows through stating "we're not sure if the resources are being used to their full potential." Laboratory meetings are held periodically to gauge the frustration level of the lab personnel though they never produce substantial results.
         Supervisors are glorified technicians that don't receive compensation for the adequate hours of overtime (14,21 straight days of work are expected by supervisors). Supervisors are used as tools to drill technicians and lab analysts to do more work in less time. If supervisors try to manage responsibly so as not to burn out technicians, upper managements always puts supervisors on performance improvement plans i.e. politically documented termination. Revolving door of employees makes training difficult as older employees are "burnt out" by the time the new technician is fully trained. Workplace friendships are frowned upon, and workplace conversations are severely punished so as to deter people from "being inefficient". Silliker has a policy on data integrity which everyone signs i.e. no falsification of records however management drives technicians to retest values that are out of specification by a client's set specs. For example a technician was told to repeat a test several times and reprimanded as having performed the test wrong because the sample was at a higher value than the client expected, eventually the technician sought employment elsewhere since the complaints to upper management were dismissed and turned against the employee, "how is it that the most recent value was in specification, what did you do differently, did you follow the SOP, it seems maybe you changed something in the procedure and can't be trusted to run this test? It seems highly improbable that the most recent value is in specification and the original points are out, these data just don't agree".
         Compensation is a subpar, Silliker sets forth career bands and compensation scales which it does not comply to e.g. silliker policy states a lab technician should make 15/hr, however most technicians make 11.50/hr or less. For what the company charges the food industry for testing you would expect compensation to be at least to the standards and guidelines set by its own HR department. This point should be the most revealing of the practices instituted at Silliker, the sites do not follow the corporate policy. Vacation is granted to new employees however older employees (+2 year plus) have their vacation micromanaged since they are more crucial to the daily operations. This causes more static with older employees which in turn causes periods of mass exodus by older employees. Corporate culture facilitates a staff of eager recent graduates with high turnover rate and jaded senior employees (+5 years) who do just enough work to stay employed all the while telling new employees to seek employment elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Without a serious culture change, this facility will continue to struggle making turnaround time guarantees to clients, increase market share of 3rd party testing and grow the overall business. Best advice is to hire an adequate amount of technicians to carry the workload of the day. Hire additional lab supervisors to ration out the work and prioritize, and hire additional personnel to work on the quality assurance of the work being done. Technicians are expected to manage the workload without help and improve lab quality in addition to getting the work done. Work should be independently verified and quality systems should be implemented by a team independent of the daily operations.
         Resources are inadequate, and without a serious boost to the personnel Silliker will never reach its goals of improved client relations.
         The root cause of low morality is with the senior employees. This group always creates issues as they are constantly bad talking the company and constantly telling new employees to seek employment away from Silliker. Advice to Silliker would be to place these employees on performance improvement plans and have them removed. At the ground level Silliker is trying to make improvements, however without the support of the upper management nothing will improve. Should look at the culture and atmosphere of the lab to improve moral. Senior employees are a huge distraction.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Chemist

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Chemist in Allentown, PA
    Current Employee - Chemist in Allentown, PA

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

    Pros

    Silliker is a good company to start at when you just graduate college. It provides field experience that other companies require before being hired. The people who work there are friendly and easy to work along side with.

    Cons

    Working at Silliker you will definitely work long days. It is difficult to have a life outside of work or do anything of the sort.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
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  5.  

    Not a bad place to get experience, but nothing more than that.

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

    I have been working at Silliker full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Benefits such as paid time off are pretty good, 401k match is average. always plenty of hours.

    Cons

    Lowest paying job for new graduates, no respect from supervisors, work you into the ground.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay employees so they don't leave for other companies.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Multiple opportunities to provide feedback and grow my career.

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

    I have been working at Silliker full-time

    Pros

    Great PTO policy, compensation pay bands are public to promote fairness in job function, if willing to put in effort advancement is possible, once in a Supervisory role there are continuous opportunities for courses and learning, supervisors are open to employee feedback and try to implement changes as business needs change, company is transparent in budget/success/failures, company sets clear goals for the labs to work toward.

    Cons

    Work-life balance can be challenging especially at entry level since the lab is open every day of the year. Compensation is comparable to other food testing laboratories but is not as high as a pharmaceutical laboratory.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to communicate business information to employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work, terrible staff management

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

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

    Pros

    There is some chance for growth and the company encourages you to learn new skills. I have learned so many new things in the two years that I've worked for the company so far. The start time is flexible (within reason and with prior approval). There is also a small chance for growth, but it's usually only if someone higher up leaves.

    Cons

    The leadership is hesitant to make actual changes to improve the workplace. Concerns and complaints about employees not following SOP are ignored as long as the employees still get decent results. Gossipers get rewarded while people who mind their own business get ignored. So many great and valuable employees have left because of these very reasons.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When there is obvious tension between employees in a department, intervene before it's too late. It tears the department apart and it ruins company morale. A bad attitude is infectious and will destroy a company from the inside.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Get the Experience...Then RUN

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

    I worked at Silliker full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great place to gain experience, plus your co-workers are amazing. Silliker is a ideal place for a recent graduate struggling to find employment in the science industry. If you display promise and a great work ethic, you will be able to gain experience with multiple techniques.

    Cons

    The hours are long....Extremely long. Your schedule is not set. You never know what time you are leaving at night. This is the largest downfall with the company. They really need set shifts with on-calls. Upper management also does not include you company knowledge. We were never told of how we did during the quarter or finical growths.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More employee appreciation is needed at this location, and give everyone a raise!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Demanding Job, inexperience lab director

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Microbiologist in Madison, WI
    Current Employee - Microbiologist in Madison, WI

    I have been working at Silliker full-time

    Pros

    This company hires without experience and starts PTO right away, insurance and 401 K start on day 61.

    Cons

    No work-life balance, days are at least 10 hours most are closer 12 hours. Upper management is letting people go, most often unable to give the team a reason, and still expects everything to run smoothly. The lab is managed by some great people that care about the employees, can't believe that upper management would let one of them go just as things were starting to improve and give no reason.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management - get off your cell phone and pay attention to what is going on in your lab, also maybe learn a little about how to run a business or at least learn something about your own lab. Talk with your employees, be visible to them, hiding in your office doesn't help anyone. Quit letting people go unless it is necessary or at least discover if your thoughts are the same as others, again you don't know much when you are always in your office on your cell phone.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Enjoyed getting some experience, but HORRIBLE MANAGEMENT.

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

    I worked at Silliker full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Got experience of working in a lab.
    Enjoyed meeting other chemists, some will be life long friendships.

    Cons

    Not a family oriented business, they want to get as much done as possible and say they want it done ethically but some of management's philosophies are if you can "make" the numbers work it is okay.
    Management does not care about employees, just how much work can get done in the least amount of time.
    Do not even provide coffee, but expect extreme hours (we did not get coffee because they said employees were too messy) Really?!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to talk to your employees, they deserve your respect and to be spoken to as you would expect to be spoken to. Learn how to ask not just tell, it goes a long ways.
    If you say you are going to promote from within, do it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Laboratory Management

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

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

    Pros

    Silliker is an excellent place to work - fantastic people and fast-paced environment. Highly respected organization in the food industry. Excellent leadership training. Ability to learn and grow within the organization. The culture is one where people work with the highest level of integrity.

    Cons

    It's a service provider, so hours can be long and the work can be demanding. The labs run everyday to meet customers needs, but vacation time supplements.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to improve the rewards and recognition programs as well as OMD activities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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