50% of the CEO
Pros – Some of the best people I have ever worked with. Very laid back atmosphere and filled with people that care for each other and the work they do. Benefits are top tier. You won't find another company of this size that will pay 100% of health and dental insurance in the city of Tucson. Meals are often brought in, and the fridge is always stocked. Management cares about employees, and does right by them.
Cons – Very few. The business laid off some staff, so morale was lacking when that happened. Hard to find bad things to say.
Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company
1 person found this helpful
Pros – Great benefits - Fully paid, solid healthcare.
The telecommute policy - Work where you like, make your own schedule.
Young staff - You are surrounded by people who are your own age.
Cons – Terrible compensation - The pay is dismal. There are no compensation reviews or raises.
No career path - Once you work at SE, there's nowhere to go but elsewhere.
Poor leadership - An absent CEO, no vision for the future, frequent layoffs, management by scare tactics
Wasted potential - The company used to have a great startup vibe, and people were excited to come to work. That's long gone.
Toxic environment - Paranoia, confusion, and resentment abound.
2 people found this helpful
Pros – Student Experts seems to have begun with a great vision--one that aimed to foster college students' transition from the world of academia to the professional world. For a while, it was good. The company took the idea of an "open door" policy and ran with it, creating an environment where employees felt like they were a part of something meaningful, and more than just cogs in a machine. The company gave qualified students an opportunity to build experience, develop skills, make a living wage, and work in a company that was the model of what every startup wants to be.
One of Student Experts biggest strengths is the lax atmosphere within its walls. With ample space, flexible hours, a kitchen stocked with gourmet food, craft beer, and plenty of coffee and beverage options, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable work atmosphere. The office is beautiful, well-lit, has a lovely view of the mountains, and somehow makes cubical life comfortable.
A notable strength that must be underscored at Student Experts is the healthcare offered to every salaried employee. You don't pay a dime out of pocket, and this is a luxury offered by few companies these days. The plan is more than suitable for the young crowd of employees at SE, and is one thing that will keep you there long after you may wish to move on with your professional life.
Starting compensation for full-time staff is very reasonable considering skill expectations. The editors do a lot of the heavy lifting, and key writers who have been with the company for years are capable of keeping the workload in check most days. This leaves more room for the company to test new writers, who with a decent comprehension of grammar, tone, and research (as well as the ability to follow a style guide) can easily make it onto the staff. However, if you can't take feedback (and you shouldn't consider yourself a writer if you can't), this isn't the right career path for you.
Cons – The biggest problem with this company lies within the inability of the management to see its own missteps, miscalculations, and wastefulness. Beyond this, there is a strong culture of favoritism in which some employees have been hired not based on merit and skill, but because they know the management or rubbed someone the right way despite lacking applicable experience.
While this approach to hiring may create a staff of brand and management loyalists--certainly a strength in the early stages of a company--it has led Student Experts into a pit of inter-employee resentment, wasteful spending, and dysfunction. Definition of roles, responsibilities, and expectations should have happened years ago.
Compensation is another area of discontent. What appears to be an across-the-board freeze on raises has been in place for entirely too long, and its end has been defined by vague parameters the company may never reach. It is difficult to defend such a freeze when "chosen" staff receives compensation beyond its worth while other employees the company depends on to generate revenue continue to meet resistance any time the topic of compensation is raised.
One of the key problems at Student Experts fueling the fire of unhappiness is that the management does not understand these issues and is unwilling to entertain the possibility that failure (at least with the existing staff) is a very real possibility if these problems are not addressed.
Student Experts is not the hip, casual, and kindhearted company it once was, and is instead transforming into an out-of-touch machine that overlooks talent, sets morale-crushing expectations, and seems to fires at will without justification.
Advice to Senior Management – Listen to your employees and understand that if you continue to expect writers and editors to think like business majors, you will never reach the goals for which you are aiming. There are left-brained people, right-brained people, and those in between... Writers are a very special breed of person that can operate with both hemispheres, but there is a definite bias toward creative and abstract thinking, which inevitably conflicts with a metric-driven approach to business.
Accept that you do not fully comprehend the process required for content creation. Understand that creativity ebbs and flows, and that when you ask a writer/editor to quantify or mechanize her writing processes, you are asking her to use unrelated skills she may not possess.
In sum, open a dialogue with your team. Don't give outrageous, oftentimes comical metric-driven expectations, because they will only earn you silent laughter and frustration. Ask your staff if the goals you are setting are within their reach. They will be honest. Accept that your team is made up of humans who have lives that exist outside of work, and that until SE can pay editors, designers, and staff writers in accordance with industry standards, it is unfair to expect anyone to work overtime on a regular basis.
This isn't corporate America, and it isn't Silicon Valley; it's Tucson.
3 people found this helpful
Pros – Great experience for a resume
Cons – Unrealistic (and borderline delusional) productivity expectations
Way too much favoritism
Zero job security for full-timers - little interest in keeping them for more than 90 days (when they become eligible for benefits)
Full-time offers are really just bait to get people to sign up and get scammed
Some editors miss 2nd-grade grammar and punctuation mistakes
Editing guidelines are not consistently enforced - a mistake that's "no big deal" one day puts you on the chopping block the next
Incompetent, unprofessional and unpredictable senior management
Advice to Senior Management – Don't try to boost short-term productivity with scare tactics. Either find a way to ensure job security for all or close the doors. You keep letting people go a few days before their benefits kick in, and now everyone's starting to see a pattern. Many of the people you let go are young college grads who are excited about getting their first full-time jobs, only to get let go for no reason and suddenly find themselves jobless, with a termination on their employment record that they have to live with. To do that to a recent graduate in this economy is just cruel.
1 person found this helpful
Pros – Easy work with a flexible work environment. The youthful feel of the offices can be fun and stress-free. IF they keep you on as promised the benefits are great... the pay is also solid for what the work entails.
Cons – They're quick to hire, just as quick to lay off. The company clearly needs help forecasting their staffing needs. It feels like employees are bated with the promise of FT work and great benefits, but the follow through is clearly not there. While the company is young and relies on a younger work force, you can give up structure and professional behavior. The people you hire, while young, have lives that are greatly affected when you hire and lay off nearly immediately. It feels more like a college newspaper than a fully functioning business.
Advice to Senior Management – Don't hire tons of people without properly looking into your company's needs. Communication & feedback are something that the workplace lacks. It seems as if many people were hired despite the fact that the need for additional workers wasn't clear. Don't bate people with full time, salary, and benefits when you clearly prefer the less costly contracted workers. It's bad business. Words spreads fast about work environments that are so buddy buddy. The company lacks professionalism and favoritism is a big problem.
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend
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