Solstice Mobile Reviews

Updated July 13, 2015
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4.6
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J Schwan
37 Ratings

41 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great company with awesome culture and coworkers

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

    I have been working at Solstice Mobile

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I remember thinking that Solstice was too good to be true on my first day of work. Everyone was SO friendly, I had ~70 LinkedIn requests in my first four hours there, and I’d been asked to go to lunch by about 5 groups of people. I thought I had stepped into the Stepford Wives of consulting firms. Over a year later, I can now say that Solstice is just as great as I thought it was on my first day. It deserves every “Best Place to Work” and “Awesome Company Culture” award that it has won in recent years. Overall, the culture at Solstice is amazing. I can list activities, events, awards, etc. to describe it, but until you’re in the office, you can’t understand how great it is. Solstice allows everyone to be themselves, and you’ll see everything happening in the office, from guitar playing to beer pong and Magic the Gathering to book club. The culture changes as the employee base grows, but, because most employees actively contribute to the culture and aim to make it better with their presence, it remains something incredibly special. More importantly, the people in the office are damn good at their jobs. I’m not used to being on teams where every member is more brilliant than the next, and all are just good people. Everyone is accountable for their work, and it makes delivering projects easy. Often our teams are thrown into loosely defined projects with difficult clients, but because everyone is so smart, we are able to come out on top. Sometimes a little elbow grease is required, but that extra effort is rewarded—both through recognition from fellow employees and overtime paychecks (which are rare for a consulting firm.) Our weekly company meeting is often taken for granted, but I think it's fantastic that we take a chance once a week to meet as a company and hear what’s been happening around the firm and what’s coming next. The executives are very transparent with the rest of the company about the future of the firm, which is refreshing. I always feel happiest when I’ve just been at the company meeting and looked around at all of the awesome people that I get to work with every day. For those who want a 9-5 job with hour and a half lunch breaks, Solstice is not the place for you--nor, in my opinion, is consulting as an industry. The company rewards those who want to throw themselves into their work, the company and the culture. For some employees, the expectation to work a standard week of billable hours plus some extra hours for internal initiatives seems unreasonable. For me, it’s worth it to work at a place where I truly love coming to work every day.

    Cons

    Most of the cons I can associate with Solstice are symptoms of being a consulting firm: -Difficult, stressful clients (sometimes) -Getting excited about new technology but then working on projects that are not quite as exciting -Pressure to work additional billable hours to make up for company offsites/Express Day -Some growing pains as the company moves from being a start up to an established consulting firm

    Advice to Management

    As we grow, I think that it’s important to focus on finding clients who are going to truly appreciate our company and allow our employees to be happy. Solstice’s consulting services are in high demand, and we don’t need to put up with companies that don’t treat us well. The additional revenue from a new client is great, but not if that company is not a good “culture fit” as a client. In addition, I think our “agile contracts” often put a lot of burden on employees to deliver against something that isn’t well defined. Maybe we can find a better way to engage with our clients to make sure that everyone knows the “definition of done” for a contract (and that this definition may change throughout the course of the engagement).


  2. Tough to Improve Upon

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

    I have been working at Solstice Mobile

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Solstice's business is mobile consulting, from strategy to design to implementation. Some of the benefits include - Truly agile teams - Open communication throughout the company - Lots of career growth potential - $5K annual training budget - Free beer - Team outings - Good work/life balance - Avenues to make the company culture what you want it to be - Annual hackathon - Rooftop deck - Great location - Nice office I really enjoy working at Solstice. It's not all butterflies and rainbows, but the struggles are usually with difficult clients. The challenge for us as consultants is to gain the trust of these clients so that we can make them look good. That's the nature of consulting, and Solstice provides a lot of internal training to help us grow in those areas and many more.

    Cons

    Lots of non-billable work (i.e. unpaid) is asked of employees. It's not forced, but strongly encouraged. You could easily spend 40 hours a week at Solstice doing unpaid work. Sometimes I'm tempted to take PTO to complete the obligations I've agreed to at my company. If the company truly values these contributions, it should compensate for them. It's not really a technology first firm. The CEO is great, and he has an engineering background, but Solstice is consulting first. That means reading and writing a lot about trends rather setting them. Some cool tinkering and R&D goes on at Solstice, but only a lucky few get to participate during their 9-5. As a technologist, know that your paid time will be spent developing mobile applications for large companies that are risk averse. The technologists who advance at Solstice are those who take charge of a situation, not those who are the best programmers.

    Advice to Management

    Reward and praise your programmers! That's the area where the firm has the most turnover as well as the most staffing needs. You can't afford to lose great tech talent. As a programmer myself, I've really enjoyed working at Solstice, but I know that I'd be lauded for my tech chops a lot more elsewhere. Those who jump ship usually go to firms where programmers get their egos stroked a lot more.


  3. Great Company to Work For

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

    I have been working at Solstice Mobile full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Culture: Great, collaborative environment with a lot of fun and intelligent people. Leadership supports innovation through activities like Express Day to embrace everybody's creative side. - Transparent Leadership: The leadership teams at Solstice are very transparent to everybody and generally cares about making Solstice better everyday. - Perks: Beer Fridge, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, personal training budget, cool office, etc. - Freedom and Trust: Micromanaging does not happen at Solstice. Solstice preaches self-managing teams and they back it up by allowing teams to manage their work appropriately but also being supportive when it's needed. - Generally speaking, the hours are very flexible and reasonable

    Cons

    - Promotion Process: There is a lot of grey area in terms of what constitutes a promotion. As Solstice gets bigger, it seems like they're making strides at providing some measurable goals for the promotions, but there is still room for improvement. - Project Shuffling: Often times, it seems like people go from one project to another internally in order to rob Peter, to pay Paul. Some stability as we grow would be nice as that will catch up with the firm long-term. - Extracurricular Involvement: While it's important to keep the culture of Solstice what it is, sometimes it feels like there is too much emphasis on contributing towards extracurricular activities over people that actually spend all of their time executing on our high performing projects. - A lot of the projects are still very short in nature and a lot of POC work. Over time, hopefully that will change.

    Advice to Management

    All in all, Solstice is an awesome place to work. Solstice often steers away from defined processes and things like that, but as the company continues to grow, there is a fine line between not enough process and too much. Providing some clarity to important things like promotion and career path would go a long ways and shouldn’t be avoided.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Innovative & Caring Culture with Exceptional Opportunities

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

    I have been working at Solstice Mobile full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I've worked at Solstice for a while, so I have the unique experience of seeing how Solstice has grown. What I love about working here is that since Day 1, the common threads of culture, servant leadership, and being a team player have stayed true, even as we've grown to 200+. Is Solstice perfect? No. But I know that when I come in to work everyday, the people I work with want the best for me; everyone lends a hand to one another so that we can deliver better products to our clients and be better human beings at and outside of work. Admittedly, I'm writing this review because I'm tired of the reviews highlighting the "beer fridge" and not the exceptional culture that surrounds it. While the beer fridge exists and we joke about it's presence, it stands for much more than throwing a few back at work. It represents the events & meetups that we host at our office; things that any employee can be part of or host. Employees consistently stay after work to play card games, catch up, or watch presentations about their peers' passions (from knitting to Magic the Gathering to mustard making). We celebrate every new employee that comes into this office with new hire activities monthly. There are sports & bachelor brackets, intramural teams, a Women In Tech group. New tech is always available to start tinkering with. People come from all different walks of life, and if this office, we celebrate that. And while yes, we're growing, and not everyone is going to get individualized recognition from the entire firm every time they do something that's great. But we're grown-ups, and we don't need that 24/7 to do great work. And I'll tell ya, when I see an email thread going around about a project's success, with a shout-out to the project team, you can bet that the majority, if not ALL of the executive team will respond to the entire firm with a congratulatory message (in addition to 20+ responses from peers!). Are we the exact same company as we were a few years ago or even one year ago? No we are not. But in my opinion, the grass isn't much greener elsewhere.

    Cons

    Part of our challenge as a company has been operating like a product company (like Google or Facebook) while actually being a consulting company. So when there are great company events that then require some extra work on top of it, there has been some unhappiness. But this is the economics of the business. We are fortunate to not be a part of the majority of consulting firms that work you like a dog, don't care for your career development, and certainly don't offer the types of career-building and personal growth opportunities that Solstice does. In my opinion only, the folks who don't have a great experience at Solstice are the ones who aren't (or are less) engaged with the firm as whole. This isn't really a punch-in and punch-out type firm. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of, and the folks who get the most out of this firm are the ones who put the most in.

    Advice to Management

    I believe in the direction we're going, so my advice is to continue to foster our one-of-a-kind culture. There's much more traveling happening at the executive team level, which is a product of our growth, so one idea is that when you are in the office, try more drive-by's of the project team pods to check-in. People appreciate the visit :)


  6. Great place to work in technology

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

    I have been working at Solstice Mobile full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    There's a ton of perks to Solstice: a generous training budget, working on rewarding projects, an opportunity to bank overtime towards extra PTO, open office, free beverages, mentorship program, and the ability to be involved and grow your own brand. As the company has grown, the culture seems to be maturing. We have 24 hours set aside for a hack-a-thon and the developers are really invested in by the senior team.

    Cons

    The open office can get loud depending on where you are and which teams you are near. A lot of non-mandatory events are after work which is great for networking but tricky if you're coordinating child care. There still seems to be a need to be "seen" by senior management in order to progress your career but that seems to be changing. It still is there though, and the career progression progress and mentorship program while gaining process and oversight, still has room for improvement to make sure people are heard and the feedback is given appropriately.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on maturing our culture so we can continue to grow deeper and innovate. I would hate for Solstice to be the perpetual "24 year old" so to speak.


  7. Helpful (1)

    The people and the culture rock...and the work is pretty phenomenal as well!

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

    I have been working at Solstice Mobile full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    After spending a few years here now, the hands down biggest pro of working here is the culture first mentality. I've never worked for a company that embodies its principles so much and hires people that embody the same principles so that they fit in from day one. With the culture comes the perks that allow you to express yourself whether it's through the various committees we have for philanthropy, wellness or social gatherings or improving yourself using the $5,000 per year training budget that is unheard of at other mid size companies. There are also a variety of ways to be recognized including the weekly, peer-nominated Awesomeness award. One of my favorite parts of the week is getting to read the nomination email on Friday to hear about all the Awesome things that were accomplished that week throughout the entire company.

    Cons

    I'm biased being a member of the management team but it truly is the best company I've ever worked for and look forward to the years ahead. The only Cons are really around the adjustments you make as a company once you grow from being a small to midsize company but if you want to be around technology and high-growth, you will eventually endure some growing pains along the way but as long as the opportunities out pace the pains, you continue to be in a better place.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the focus on the culture as we continue to grow and expand.


  8. Helpful (11)

    A company in need of focus, Ritalin, and a diet

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

    I worked at Solstice Mobile full-time

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Solstice offers a number of perks to make the company enticing: - Several projects for notable clients - Generous training budget - Yearly device policy (phone, tablet, watch, etc.) - Good pay - Company get-togethers and retreats - Free coffee machine - Company subsidized activities (yoga classes, Fooda) - Solstice Express Day (24 hour hack-a-thon) - Knowledge exchange meetings - Awe-ffice/Weekly Awesomeness Award - Ferris Bueller's Day Off (A day off to explore Chicago) - Summer hours There are a lot of good ideas here, which would be ideal if more companies offered these, so work doesn't feel so much like...well, work. Despite all of these perks, Solstice is still a company, which is in the business to make money.

    Cons

    After years of running as a small consulting shop, Solstice finally found a successful niche in catering to the rapidly growing mobile market. "Growing" is the key word for the root of Solstice's problems. Instead of growing organically, Solstice has been ramping up their employee base at an inordinate rate. The problem is that it stretching out faster than that which is comfortable. Classic growing pains, developing stretch marks. The company still wants to think and act like a small, spry company, but it has developed too quickly into a mid-sized business without having gained the proper maturity to match its new size. When the company was smaller, it celebrated their rock stars, which was necessary that everyone needed to always bring their A game for the company to succeed. Even as the company outgrew its shell, it still wanted everyone to be a rock star. This mindset fails in several ways as the company expands. Once past a hundred people, not everyone will know everyone else, so the standard pats on the back will come only from certain select individuals, which creates a game of visibility. If you aren't working with the right people who will be your champion and be the "servant leader" that Solstice claims to create, then you can easily slip through the ever-widening cracks. Every company should strive to have great employees, but if everyone is to become a rock star, the end result will be a cacophony, as everyone is shouting at the top of their lungs for attention. In a smaller company this is feasible, but it is unsustainable in a larger place. The politics will continue, with the most favored rock stars getting the choice projects and promotions while other employees will be sent into a career limbo, floating along on unwanted projects for an indeterminate amount of time or until they mysteriously "disappear". As a previous reviewer mentioned, people would occasionally disappear from time to time, with no mention of where they went. Quite often it tended to be older, more experienced employees who would become an Unperson. Did they go to a new job or were they let go? Who knows?! Don't ask, don't tell. As a company doing mobile development, it practices agile methodologies, which makes good sense, since the older, rigid practice of waterfall principles do not work well with the highly dynamic flow of developing software in an era where platform updates are measured in months, not years. This is good that Solstice is open to new ideas and willing to try new things -- however -- this can be taken to an extreme where a lack of established process and structure can form, which leaves the company without any proper direction, randomly chasing after anything which looks even vaguely interesting. Too much structure is restrictive and stifles creativity and original ideas, yet lack of structure encourages a chaotic environment which is continually shifting gears, even when it is completely unnecessary.

    Advice to Management

    Here's a litmus test to determine if you would be a good candidate for Solstice: If you are young (under 30), single (no kids or spouse), gregarious and like to drink beer (plus an interest in mobile technologies doesn't hurt), then you might be Solstice material. Solstice caters to a young culture which has the time, energy and drive to dedicate all of their resources to the company. This is the type of company which is ideal for a person just starting out their career. However, if you are further along in your life and your career, you would be better served looking for another company to work for. Solstice used to have something special, before it was taken over by the desire to grow and bring in as much money as possible in the process. With the recent buy-out of the company, I see this will only continue to be the expected trajectory for Solstice.


  9. Helpful (2)

    Solstice Mobile can be awesome.

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

    I have been working at Solstice Mobile full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Reserved until I can drum up something for a pro other than beer, liquor, wine and occasional free food.

    Cons

    Reserved until I can delineate the cons.

    Advice to Management

    Reserved until I can construct valuable advice.


  10. Helpful (3)

    Innovative company that offers the ability to learn and grow in the industry!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mobile Product Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Mobile Product Consultant in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Solstice Mobile

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great collaborative teamwork presents the opportunity to learn and grow in your career. Senior management's years of leadership and commitment to excellence provides an environment for every employee to be innovative and expand their knowledge.

    Cons

    None come to my mind.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Excellent company, great innovative thinking and leaders

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

    I worked at Solstice Mobile full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Freedom to dream big, innovate and be a valued member of the organization.

    Cons

    Very few if any at all.

    Advice to Management

    None, keep it up!



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