Zen Internet Reviews

Updated March 26, 2015
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2.5
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Richard Tang
23 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. A Current Employee (and one who still likes it - It's not all doom and gloom here as some posts may have you think)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)

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

    Pros

    To begin with I want to put that at the time of writing this, I am an Active Zen Employee and I have been working here for 8 years (not long enough to say I’m fully “Old School” but I feel I’ve been here long enough to go through some of the changes that Zen has gone through).

    I work in one of the Operations teams (so I’m not an engineer or someone at the core of Zen’s networks). I have had 4 roles since I started at Zen and feel I have always been supported in my career development. I wanted to progress and develop myself, and I feel I have had the help needed with this. Yes, not all of the training and learning has come from within Zen directly (i.e. I have undertaken things myself outside of work), but I have been able to learn a vast array of new skills which have helped me to progress from my first role to where I am now.

    The vast majority of people that I work with are great. I have seen many staff who have been here for a long time start to lose their happiness with their role. Whether this is down to their inability to progress roles (either through lack of positions or lack of ownership over their own development), or if it has been down to not liking changes that have happened within the company. I am a believer that I will stay with a company whilst I am happy – and I’m still here! I believe that a lot of people who were not happy will leave and it does seem that a lot of reviews on here have the same complaints (which from a guess I’d say are from similar areas of the company). That said, I work with a lot of people who do like their job. Obviously I don’t speak for everyone, but there are some of us here that still like it!

    Cons

    I can only speak for my own experiences with Zen and obviously I can’t sell you the whole picture. My own experiences don’t echo those of everyone.

    Career Progression: Although opportunities for development are here, there are not always guaranteed positions for you if you have been working on moving up in your career. I have seen multiple occasions where someone has not been promoted from within because the decision was made to take on an external candidate (on a few of those occasions you could tell the internal candidate would have been 100% better than the person actually hired). I am a believer though that the managers will hire whoever they believe to be right for the role and will do what is best for the company. And yes, sometimes this means that people will not get promoted internally.

    Lazy Staff: As will all companies, there are quite a few lazy people here that will try do as little work as possible. I have faith though that they will eventually get what’s due! I don’t think there is any company out there where you won’t find some slackers. News flash – it happens! It’s down to the managers to manage their staff & sort these sorts of behaviours out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Deal with those lazy staff

    Listen to the feedback from your teams. If they are complaining –why are they complaining? We know there is no smoke without fire!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful

    Any one with an ounce of ambition need not apply......

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Manchester, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Manchester, England (UK)

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

    Pros

    Parking, security of the building and surrounding areas

    Cons

    Zen have an L&D team 6 deep - I have and still am struggling to understand what actual value the team add to the company. Zen create fancy and important sounding job titles, luring staff members in to a false sense of security and this is where decent people become trapped until Zen decide it is time to let you go. The internal 'promotions' will not come with a salary increase, and the L&D team will not be utilised to develop you - you will wilt away gaining some knowledge but not the relevant training to gain qualifications which you would benefit from when seeking other employment! This is why you can never leave unless you self fund your training for qualifications and this is why you will never gain the same role elsewhere as potential employers will want you to have the relevant qualifications. Middle/Senior roles are filled by external candidates who already have the qualifications and traning that Zen do not want to pay for so there is actually no realistic scope to develop within Zen.
    I am unsure what value the Product Managers add to the company - they do not develop products or understand them. What they do is have an idea - do a bit of development and before it is finished begin selling the product before the customer facing teams are aware of what it is or how to provision and support it - causing delays in the service to the customer. It truly is appalling and excrutiating to be around when a joke of a 'product' release happens - the Product Managers can hide away from customers but the front line staff can not and end up taking all of the abuse for poor Management!
    Account Managers that are not paid commision! What is that all about? They all get paid the same! So there are 1 maybe 2 Account Managers that actually Account Manage and bring in new custom - the others shy away and enjoy the social aspect of working at Zen having a laugh and a joke in the office - getting paid the same as the couple of AM's who do what they are paid to do but could be earning more!
    There are some truly valuable staff at Zen and it is those people who work in the customer facing teams - that get paid a bean for doing much more than the Management that get paid 4/5 times as much for just turning up for work. Their days must be so incredibly boring but hey it is an easy when earning so much huh?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You all need to work some time on the 'floor' to see how things really are and stop taking advantage of the people who do care and have ambition. Think your happy this and that ethos needs reviewing also....

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful

    Relaxed, low stress, good people. Opportunities to develop if you search them out.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I have been working at Zen Internet

    Pros

    Relaxed atmosphere, Free Parking, Good People

    Cons

    Salary does not keep pace with market

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 15 people found this helpful

    MIddle management circlejerk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - A Role Within Netoworks and Infrastructure
    Former Employee - A Role Within Netoworks and Infrastructure

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    When I joined Zen back in the early 2000s it seemed like a wonderful place to work. Sure Rochdale isn't the best of locations, but the staff were well cared for and we had plenty of little perks as mentioned in many of the other reviews here. My skills were recognized and I was offered a couple of early opportunities to progress in my career. I was able to learn a great deal in my time there.
    The company was much smaller then, and it felt like we were part of an extended family, we were able to take pride in the fact that we were honestly striving to be the best ISP in the country.

    Cons

    Working hard? Know your stuff? Have a promotion! We will consider your salary when your next 6 month review comes around. Honestly.. We mean it.
    In fact I personally moved up the ladder 3 times in short order at Zen, and never once received an associated pay rise. In my final position we were continually knocked back by HR on the pay issue, with them stating that the scale was on a par with industry standards. Unfortunately they had no idea what our actual job involved, and had gone purely off the job title when working this out. If however you're applying for a role that has the word "Manager" in the title, you can expect to be well paid for doing nothing of any use to anyone.

    In nearly a decade of working there, everything that made it great crumbled around me. The entire operation is now barely held together by a massively underappreciated and often grossly underpaid technical department, while middle management continually find reasons to hire in yet more middle management. They are effectively working as a team to ensure that they spread what little real work they do between as many people as possible.

    Bureaucracy is rife, the middle management circlejerk has done an excellent job of making it as hard as possible for staff to do anything productive without endless meetings and paperwork. Project meetings frequently consist entirely of people why have no idea why they are even in a meeting. When a manager really want something to happen though, you will be told to just do it regardless of policy / change control / the laws of physics / common sense. Senior management only listen to middle management, and middle management do not listen to their staff.

    Many of the perks have gone, you can still get a free cuppa but that's about it.

    Product management consists almost entirely of people who know nothing about the product they're apparently supposed to manage. Heaven forbid that you might find a document rigidly defining what a product includes or how it should be set up.

    The catering on site is atrocious. It wasn't so bad when they moved into the current building, but they quickly got rid of the incumbent catering company and hired in Baxter Storey. Suddenly, instead of large quantities of good simple food at a reasonable price, we're offered fairly sub-standard food in bitesize quantities, labeled with a name intended to make it sound more fancy than it is, at prices that really don't seem to reflect the fact that it is subsidized by the company. Receipt of the weekly lunch menu was often the highlight of a Monday morning, much fun could be derived from trying to work out what the hell the latest ridiculous menu item actually was. These people really are on an entirely different plane of reality.

    When management perceive a problem with the general performance of a department, or in some cases seemingly when they're just bored, they restructure. Cue lots of moving teams around, splitting and joining of teams, moving people to new desks, etc etc. Everyone ends up doing the same job but with a whole new set of issues to get in their way.

    As much as Richard Tang always seemed like a nice enough guy, and indeed in the few times I directly interacted with him it seemed like he was a man with some common sense and intelligence, I feel as though towards the end of my time there he was losing touch with the majority of his employees though. I'm sure it's difficult to maintain as a company grows, but with senior management filtering everything that reaches him now, I doubt he has the slightest idea that many of his most valuable staff are utterly fed up.

    Last but not least, it's in Rochdale. I've never been back there since I left Zen, it's rubbish.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit. Find an actual skill. Get a real job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful

    Don't bother if you want to progress your career, perfect if you want to retire

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anon in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anon in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Excellent security team, most of the staff are friendly.
    Holiday entitlement is quite good.

    The sales forecast for new products are always worth a laugh.

    If you want to hide away and do nothing then after a few months you can quite easily do so.

    Cons

    Little or no development of staff, all software is in house so it mean you won't get to use latest tech.
    Inflexible about remote working, job shares, part time working.
    Constantly changing priorities depending on the MDs mood.
    Product managers not allowed to develop products, just told what to sell and no work in ensuring that product is supportable.
    Hugh reliance on people to make things work to cover process and system gaps.
    No leadership development.
    Most roles are now filled externally.
    Massive loss of benefits over the last few years.
    Meetings, meetings, meetings with nothing to show and also acceptable for people to turn up late (normal the meeting organiser as well)
    CEO is incapable of leading a company of this size, unrealistic sales forecast every year, shrinking profit margins, attempting to be all things to all people.

    What was a very good company to work for has gradually declined, whilst people who have left won't be happy the same themes keep on coming across again and again. My advice is if you join zen be aware that you will fall behind the rest of the industry very quickly apart from in a couple of roles, opportunities to progress will be very limited and the benefits package is very poor. Also be very aware that any point BT could destroy this business without much effort.

    Most people on here think the CEO is doing a good job whilst having a negative outlook on the company, how can this be? The company is his and the ethos is his, if the company isn't preforming then thats down to him. If he didn't own the company he would be out of the door now.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Richard Tang should step aside and let someone who is capable of running it take over, he should go and start another business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. Zen appears to have lost its shine.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Worked at Zen Internet for over 8 years. It was fantastic back in the day, I was able to work hard, prove myself and get on. This changed in more recent years, eventually I got another job.

    Cons

    Management team, especially SMT. Not sure Richard Tang really knows what is going on anymore. Making the principal engineer redundant, someone who was effective at providing checks and balances to an otherwise out of control system, was a calculated move and a low blow. Very poor wages in the industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hiring more managers is not the solution to your problems. Do something Richard, before it is too late.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 7 people found this helpful

    Not what it was...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time

    Pros

    Fantastic benefits such as free fruit, tea and coffee...

    Back in the mid 2000's Zen seemed like a great place to be, their slogan of 'unlimited opportunities for growth' really had substance and people around the business were generally promoted if they showed some talent. However around this time Zen decided to change tact and recruit a succession of middle and senior managers and blaggers who at best had 'read the textbook'. Things went downhill from there. The culture of progression came to a blinding halt as nepotism and a general lack of any direction crept in.

    Cons

    No career progression however as others have said if you fly under the radar for 12 months you'll have a job for life regardless of how incompetent you are...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The MD was always great and is trying to hold it all together, however he needs to stop trying to be 'the nice guy' and start questioning why the senior managers are pulling the wool over his eyes...

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 7 people found this helpful

    Circle of Trust and the Buddy System

    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Free broadband, free parking and a free brew. It's a great place to work if you are a plodder and don't want to progress or develop.

    Depending on which department you are in, or more importantly who your manager is, you can get paid for doing absolutely nothing but still receive 6 month pay increases.

    Cons

    Zen seems to have a "buddy system" approach to recruitment and promotion. If you are not in the circle of trust, forget it. But once you are in, you can invite more people into the buddy circle, creating a full army!!

    Too many managers employ and promote "yes people" who will not challenge their dismal management style and are more than happy to sit about all day chatting about anything apart from the actual job they are paid to do. A few "managers" simply float about all day doing nothing but forcing you to buy raffle tickets (don't panic if you don't have any cash, they take debit and credit card payments and online bank transfers). But whatever you do, don't complain about the bombardment of "club 200" emails otherwise you will be reported to HR.

    Full of snakes, sharks and plastic managers who are full of their own self importance.

    There are a few key members of staff who still have the Zen values, but unfortunately they are drowned out by shabby planning of middle managers trying to muscle in and stamp their name over anything remotely interesting that will get them brownie points, trampling over anyone and anything that will get in their way.

    Meetings for meetings for meetings with only full calendars and lots of running around with A4 paper to show for it. The meetings I have been in are full of "talkers" and not "doers". Lots of chatting about stuff and lots of scribbling but nothing actually gets done - apologies - another meeting gets booked in to chat some more about the last meeting.

    Long serving staff members are leaving in droves. Tech support looks like a ghost town compared 12 months ago. The atmosphere is no longer a friendly one - it's a sea of scowls and disheartened faces. It's true about your face fitting - if it doesn't, you will soon know about it so make sure your CV is up to scratch.

    In short, lots of people busy doing nothing. Job titles that don't exist in the real world. Zen has become a very toxic place to work and I for one am glad I got out when I did!

    And I've never been back to Rochdale either, it really is rubbish.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of the plastic managers. They are destroying the company from the core.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10. 6 people found this helpful

    Don't bother. It's going under.

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

    I worked at Zen Internet full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    You can work in tech support or customer services and do smeg all and get paid each month.free broadband. Good technical training. Used to have a good rep. Some of the staff really do care about the customers and are hardworking. Great security team and maintenance team. Michael Marland is a legend. Phil Harris and his learning and development team deliver great technical training.good place to start in the industry.

    Cons

    Backstabbing select few in billing/credit control team,bullies, clueless bosses.poorly thought out processes. Takes years for ideas to become realities.not in touch with the industry or their customer base.rubbish pay. Nazi HR dept - if you are ill they put you on warnings.no commission for sales staff.no sense of teamwork.amateurs in charge of skilled people. Zen likes to have meeting upon meeting with no sense of progression or action. Managers ask for feedback from staff but then nothing seems to happen.pass the buck culture is rife.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sell it to someone who can return it to the glory days.Hire a decent sales management team who drive sales instead of sitting in an ivory tower. Micro manage your tech support and get them working for their money. Raise the wage of your customer services staff.be more competitive with product price as you aren't niche anymore. Don't have so many analysts. Keep your vision of happy staff happy customers and happy suppliers - but revisit it,as staff are not happy at all.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 9 people found this helpful

    Career progression if you've been there 5+ years and / or your nose is very brown.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rochdale, England (UK)

    I worked at Zen Internet

    Pros

    Free fruit. Free parking. That's it.

    Cons

    Very clicky company. There is an old guard who have been there 8-9 years and have been promoted as the company grew (fair enough right?). However these people can't manage and there is much disgruntlement among the newer staff members and a high churn rate. Good people with great skill sets being passed over. Not quite nepotistic but same kind of barriers to progression. A few favourites get whatever they want. The rest of us could go whistle in the wind.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your staff - not just your favourites with whom you've been mates with for years. Listen to newer staff members who might have something to offer. Stop the blatant favouritism. Dreadful atmosphere - not at all what one expects until one joins as staff then it is obvious this company is withering from the inside out. CEO out of touch with reality, his staff and his clients. Happy staff, happy suppliers, happy clients indeed Richard.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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