Eastman Reviews | Glassdoor

Eastman Reviews

Updated May 25, 2017
125 reviews

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3.0
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Eastman Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark J. Costa
Mark J. Costa
33 Ratings

125 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Very good company culture and work-life balance (in 139 reviews)

  • Salary seemed even with or better than internship positions with other companies despite a low cost of living in the TN area (in 39 reviews)

Cons
  • Work/life balance was a strength at the company but now that is a thing of the past (in 27 reviews)

  • Complex hierarchy, slow decision-making process (in 55 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Out of touch leadership"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Manager in Kingsport, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Most team members genuinely care about each other. Very collaborative and friendly culture. Many strong VP's and directors give hope for a better future executive team. A very well intended workforce who wants the company to succeed. Strong portfolio of products makes company viability seem strong.

    Cons

    Top leadership (CEO and most executive team members) are seen as out of touch, very Wall Street oriented, and in it for themselves. Whether fair or not this is blamed on the CEO who wont live in Kingsport (our headquarters). The CEO took over a $3 million raise at a time when all promotions were held and significant cuts were being made across the company. The CEO is seen as in it for himself, most feel he'll be gone in a couple more years, and would probably already have been gone if the company had performed better the last few years.

    Work/life balance was a strength at the company but now that is a thing of the past. Lots of stress and overworked team members due to labor cuts and refusal to increase headcount. Difficult matrix organization to navigate makes it challenging for newer employees to understand where they are going. A 'career framework' was going to be rolled out to help but that was cut due to all the cost savings (again why do executives get such large increases under these circumstances). This was one of the best places to work, that is no longer the case.

    Advice to Management

    Stop taking pay raises while making everyone else make cuts. Implement some positive things for your employees (career framework, advancements, training). The underlying Eastman culture cares about each other and the company, get out of the way and let us be a real 'One Eastman.'


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Engineer in Kingsport, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Eastman full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I respect and enjoy my coworkers and the technical work i am asked to perform. I do not have to travel an excessive amount

    Cons

    Ranking system for employees is demotivating and hurtful for most employees. An attempt to 'drive performance' using this ranking system has resulted in disengagement of employees and to limit discretionary effort.

    Advice to Management

    Eliminate the relative performance ranking system and return to a reward system that promotes collaboration, teamwork, and discretionary effort for a company that shares its success with rank and file employees.


  3. "Ingrained corporate culture with no real will to change"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Kingsport, TN
    Former Employee - Manager in Kingsport, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Eastman full-time

    Pros

    I had no work/ life balance issues, and rarely worked weekends or evenings. Four 9s and a 4 was a nice benefit and unlimited unpaid time off (with support from management, understanding you could be perceived as a slacker, etc.) is definitely a perk...even if it's not frequently used. Cost of living in the area is low and the scenery is pretty. Very little traffic in the area.

    Cons

    Upper management had a stated goal of changing the culture to make it more inclusive, diverse and high performing. But that was never communicated effectively to the rank-and-file. As a result, anytime someone challenges the status quo, or an experienced hire is onboarded with actual insights from outside the company, the system rejects him or her.

    The current culture is often classified in other reviews (and internally) as 'nice'. This is generally code for 'super passive aggressive.' If you are upfront, direct or honest as your style, you will have an *extremely hard time* being effective or accepted.

    Also, if you're a person of color or not the mainstream religion for the area, think really hard about moving to the area. It will be tough. You will see confederate flags on your coworkers' cars, and you will hear disparaging remarks that are ignored (or sometimes uttered) by management.

    Advice to Management

    Really give some thought to moving HQ if you're not willing to follow through on your plans to move from a paternalistic corporate culture to a high performing one by consistently and publicly reinforcing desirable behavior. It may be your last chance for change.


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  5. Helpful (9)

    "Mixed bag"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technology Employee in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Technology Employee in Kingsport, TN
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Eastman full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Lots of opportunities for potential career growth and due to size and scope of company. Impeccable business ethics. Interesting technologies with lots of applications Eastman generally hires extremely well, so employees are nearly all responsible and highly competent. Culture has historically been very collaborative. Diversity is slowly moving in a positive direction.

    Cons

    Top heavy in management relative to company size. This has led to a significant decrease in empowerment over my 20 years at the company. Even minor decisions have to be made at the VP level, despite legions of highly paid directors/managers-a sign of lack of trust from upper management, plus it makes us very slow.
    HR systems implemented over the last few years where employees are labeled with a "rating" are truly, truly awful and demoralizing for the bottom 70% of employees.

    Advice to Management

    Please address the empowerment problem. Set clear direction and expect that employees are going to do their jobs well-if we don't, coach and hold us accountable. Eliminate the employee performance rating system as it is not increasing individual performance-it's just negatively impacting the good aspects of our culture.


  6. Helpful (16)

    "Benchmarking downward"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Associate in Kingsport, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Eastman full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Eastman has many different opportunities for engineers. It has a history of treating its employees better than many competitors.

    Cons

    For several years, Eastman has been reducing benefits and engaging in negative performance feedback and rewards, due to "benchmarking" against the industry averages. We have better than average benefits, so management views this as a cost savings opportunity. In the last two years they have started forcing the lower management to reduce the bonuses of more people, by larger amounts, as a way to provide funds to reward the high performers. This year there is a forced distribution of "exceeds", "meets", and "does not meet" expectations, with the further addition of "partially meets." They say this doesn't mean "does not meet", but what other conclusion is an employee to come to? They also claim this isn't a forced distribution, but the implementation of the system does indeed force it at very low levels. This is moving to a system where it is necessary for one of your coworkers to lose, for you to gain. This kind of system has been rejected as not workable by companies like GE that used it for years.

    Advice to Management

    Eastman is behind the curve on performance management, and should immediately discard this poor system. Morale is at an all time low, since Eastman Chemical separated from Kodak. Some people will stay at jobs that depress them, because the money is great (it isn't) or because the location is great (it isn't). This new system is going to chase good people away and get lackluster performance from the people who stay.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "General Feedback"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kingsport, TN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Eastman (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    One of the best things about Eastman is the people around you - very collaborative, knowledgeable, and willing to help you as you learn.

    Cons

    No clear career path; Very slow to advance (if ever) your career; No appreciation for the prior experiences and capabilities of external hires - they bring you in, and then restrictive corporate policies allow very little room to grow.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Engineering"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kingsport, TN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Eastman full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Collaborative fellow engineers. Good area for those interested in outdoors and reasonable cost of living.

    Cons

    rating system. No ability to comment on Manager performance.


  9. Helpful (11)

    "Work culture, compensation, and morale improvements needed!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Chemical Engineer in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Chemical Engineer in Kingsport, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Eastman full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Hardworking, talented, and collaborative coworkers

    Opportunity for a variety of roles as a chemical engineer

    East Tennessee is a great area for families

    Cons

    The employee performance rating system (forced distribution) is significantly undermining the work culture. I have no problem with a common sense rating system and agree with rewarding better performers. The current performance rating system is flawed in many ways and needs to be replaced.

    Employee compensation has remained relatively flat in the last 5-10 years (always "benchmarked" to remain average or slightly below average). This is inconsistent with management goals to outperform other companies and relentlessly pursue record earnings.

    Too often, employee performance and promotions are judged based on who can talk well (sell themselves well). Supervisors need to be seek out peer feedback so they can accurately judge work performance.

    Senior management constantly talks about the value of Eastman's people, but labor reductions imply otherwise.

    Advice to Management

    Scrap the current performance management system

    Implement changes to enhance the work culture, not undermine it

    Eliminate the spin in corporate/management communications


  10. Helpful (15)

    "Growth potential at risk by misguided management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Kingsport, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Eastman full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Talented employees that want to do the right things, business portfolio has great growth potential, company has unique capabilities and ethical decision making

    Cons

    Poor management practices- action and words do not match, cutting resources in critical areas, very slow wage growth and rate of promotion, higher turnover rate of top talent

    Advice to Management

    Need to put your words into action. Executive team seems to have good intentions but have the mistaken belief that employees will continue to tolerate poor treatment. Company is bleeding talent as compensation process is no longer competitive.


  11. Helpful (13)

    "Still a good place to work, but new HR policies are bringing us down!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Chemical Engineer in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Chemical Engineer in Kingsport, TN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Eastman full-time

    Pros

    Great people. Interesting work. Collaboration is still amazingly good, despite poor HR policies that work to undermine this. Cost of living in Kingsport area is very low. Beautiful area.

    Cons

    Terrible HR decisions recently that have really undermined morale: 1) Forced distribution of 20-25% of employees not meeting expectations, with impact on raises and advancement, which generates the feeling that someone can improve and rise out of the lower 20-25% only by having someone else enter! 2) Setting of "career level" top advancement for most jobs for Bachelor's degree that allows for only 4 promotions over an entire career. Even though this was rolled out a couple of years ago, the impact is just now being felt by the rank and file. 3) major reductions in benefits, especially medical insurance. 4) Two reductions in force over the last 2 years that have purged employees with long, successful careers at Eastman with a unceremonious walk to the door. This despite multiple years of double digit growth for the company.

    Advice to Management

    Stop using the "boogey man" excuse of corporate activists to cut jobs and benefits. If you really believe that these cuts are the right thing for the company, then say so, but don't use this as an excuse. Review top levels of HR and consider gutting and starting over.


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