Eastman Reviews | Glassdoor

Eastman Reviews

Updated June 21, 2017
1,268 reviews

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1,268 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 56 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "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.


  2. "Great place to work once I got settled in"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Systems Analyst in Kingsport, TN
    Former Employee - Systems Analyst in Kingsport, TN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Eastman full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Everyone was extremely friendly. High focus on safety. Great pay, benefits, and on-site health resources. Flexible rules around WFH, in my department anyway. Focuses on the long term when making big company decisions.

    Cons

    Onboarding was kind of a mess: no structure, everyone was confused. Not nearly enough technical training. Hiring process was shaky too.

    Advice to Management

    Treat new employees like new employees, not like someone who's been there for two years already.


  3. Helpful (6)

    "Nice at First"

    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    You get an initial good impression from the place, but this being the south, you will realize that it's only skin deep.

    Cons

    It seems like you can't go far at this place without finding numerous people who feel like they got screwed by management for one reason or other. That's some combination of southern culture demanding every thing be 'good' and the inability, or lack of desire, to actually address real management issues.

    Advice to Management

    Middle management will kill this company if the old company culture is not reformed. The current approach of top down dictatorship at all levels is not sustainable and you cannot continue to have contempt for dialogue with your technical staff.


  4. Helpful (18)

    "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.


  5. Helpful (10)

    "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 (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.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Overrated"

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

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

    Pros

    The pay is better than average for the area
    Free gyms
    401k match

    Cons

    No time for family
    terrible benefits

    Advice to Management

    Hire more people
    Go back to how Eastman was 20 years ago towards its employees


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent company for innovation, professional development, and career growth!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Advanced Chemist in Kingsport, TN
    Current Employee - Advanced Chemist in Kingsport, TN
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Management really cares about its employees professional development and gives us the resources to complete tasks successfully.
    -Cost of living
    -Beautiful area
    -Competitive pay

    Cons

    -Small town (could be a plus to some) with lack of diversity and open-minded people.


  9. Helpful (13)

    "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 (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.


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