I worked at Evanta full-time
I recently retired from Evanta and want to share with the Glass Door community what I saw during my dozen years as an executive at the business in order to help prospective job seekers understand the career opportunities there as well as give balance to negative opinions posted on this social media site.
What I saw the business do:
• Begin in 2003 with two conferences for executives and by 2016 grow to over two hundreds conferences and meetings
• Begin in 2003 with three people based in Portland and by 2016 grow to nearly two hundred based in several states and Canada
• Grow from less than $1M in annual revenue to nearly $50M
• Achieve double digit growth rate in 11 out of 12 years
• Grow a network of executives from top organizations from the hundreds to the tens of thousands
• Create a uniquely powerful leadership mentorship program for frontline (newly emerging) leaders by tapping Evanta’s network of executives and thought leaders for their insights on leadership
• Mobilize the information security executives into a coalition to collaborate on defending North America’s economy, and their businesses in particular, from cyber attacks
• Begin as a privately owned business started by two guys with a vision that was acquired by the largest publishing company in Great Britain, which sold the business to a world class private equity group that after several years sold Evanta to a premier business research and advisory publicly traded company.
What I saw the CEO do:
• Exemplarily lead the business through the evolution of start-up business to the industry leader in its space
• Install and expand the executive leadership team with exceptionally talented individuals who in addition to being great managers are also truly good persons
• Create the powerful “By CXO, For CXO” business model and throughout the evolution of the business, diligently holding true to the tenants of this business model
• Establish fair and achievable individual and group business goals for sales and non-sales personnel
• Implement many “fun factor” activities for employees
• Establish a regularly recurring company-wide meeting as a forum for individuals to share their recent achievements with their peers as well as publicly praise other employees for their contributions to the business
• Inspire many individuals over the years with his leadership style and philosophy.
• Incorporate as paramount to employee recruitment the assessment of the individual’s personality traits of Attitude, Effort, Enthusiasm, Responsiveness, Resourcefulness, and Confidence
• Form strategic relationships with world class non-profit organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Medical Teams International.
• Transition day to day management of the business to others within the company
The business is now owned and operated by CEB, a publicly traded company which appears to me to be populated by very smart and good people. No doubt there will continue to be evolutionary changes at Evanta, but I believe it will continue to be a great business to be employed by with career opportunities and personal enrichment experiences.
I’m compelled to comment on the maligning comments on this social network website. Over the years of reading these comments, I’ve noticed most of the negative comments are unsubstantiated generalizations without any supporting facts. If it were not for the anonymous nature of the forum and absence of direct dialog with the commentator on the issues being referenced, I personally believe almost all the negative comments would be completely debunked.
This not to say I think Evanta is “the perfect place” to work and spend part of your career. It’s not because that “perfect place” does not exist. Also, Evanta is not the right place for a lot of people. However, if you are one who wants to achieve high performance, doesn’t mind being around a lot of extroverts, and would like the opportunity to be exposed to, and even meet in person, high level business executives and thought leaders, you should consider working at Evanta.
Please make sure you understand the culture. It's not a fit for everyone.
Advice to Management
I have tor recuse myself from giving advice to management.
I worked at Evanta full-time (Less than a year)
I've sat here for 10 minutes and cannot come up with anything, take that as you will. Free parking, I'll give them that one. A very large pro is free parking in Downtown Portland.
If you are REALLY needing a job, its not the hardest place to get hired because they have such high turnover. Nobody wants to stay for longer than a year. If someone is there for more than a year, they are either stuck, or they're in management.
Everything, literally everything. As I have read the (few) positive reviews I can hear in my head who wrote them purely because they are so biased. Management thinks they are the best thing that has happened to the world, and they make sure you know it. They slowly sap the life out of employees and have to have "praise progress" where you hear all about how amazing management is and the Sales teams. If you are not a sales team member, you are treated like a lesser being. You are not a valued employee, you are just there to promote the sales team and how great they are.
I have never felt worse about myself at a company, you will not be a valued employee and will be micromanaged by everyone above you. Your skills will be ignored if they like someone better. It is very much a popularity contest in every aspect of the job. If you are not the favorite, you will be left doing to lowest tasks and you will be ignored.
Overall, I am hopeful that CEB will turn it around, but Evanta is the worst place to work as of right now. I would rather work at Starbucks honestly if they had the schedule and the benefits.
Advice to Management
Listen to employees. They don't feel heard. Everyone has to put on a fake face because when they speak honestly they are ignored or "encouraged to leave". Also, maybe appriciate those who are not Program Directors a bit more. They are used to being ignored and spoke down to from PDs. When a PD says thank you for anything (besides the typical thank you for helping me that happens at praise progress as a show) there is shock because it is so rare. Treat your employees like actual human beings. Everyone at every level is important so take time to understand how deeply you are marginalizing a great deal of your employees.
Stop lying to your employees as well. If I listed all the lies I have been told, we would be here all day. My favorite is that we "dont have the technology for people to work from home" and yet EVERYONE can see at praise progress that you DO have that technology..... if that employee is a Program Director. Seriously, being lied to is the worst when you can see it in front of your face.
Lots of great people! They seriously made it worth getting up every morning to work with. Downtown location with paid parking and lots of options for lunch and after work get togethers. Benefits were great, although the premiums are high. M-F routine.
Stressful working environment. Low pay for what your responsibilities include on a daily basis. Management doesn't trust you to do your job. Lots of micromanaging and little room for creative thinking. They encourage it, just to get shot down and your spirit diminished, every single day. Plug and play position, you will simply be a glorified telemarketer harassing Executives. The CEO, Bob, frequently walks around the floor to make sure you're doing your job. The same job they confidently hired you for. Good luck taking your vacation hours. They only allow it during certain months.
Advice to Management
Trust your employees and get your noses out of the sky. You act like every single word is life or death. Take a breath and realize whats actually going on, not what your "top performers" lead you on to believe.
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I worked at Evanta full-time
I must give credit to 90% of the people that work there, this is genuinely one of the hardest working bunches of people I have ever met. People not only trying to survive themselves but also making sure those around them stay afloat. I can't say enough about the people who walk through that door everyday knowing what they will endure and still manage to keep it together for their own sake and for the sake of those around them. This is in large part what makes the environment slightly tolerable (at times).
Stormy weather ahead! Aside from the fancy 10th floor location, lavish year end parties (occasionally) and promises of six figure income….get your life raft ready. This is speaking from a sales standpoint. Other parts of the organization have their pros, but don't expect too much. This particular job will not only eat at you in the office, but outside the office as well. 40 hour weeks will go out the window, get use to waking up at 3am and walking into a hostile environment first thing. Questions you'll get asked; you going to hit 10 calls by 10am, 20 calls by the end of the day, 100 calls for the week (yes yes, even if 80% are voicemail) remember, you're building relationships!?!? Next question, where is your pipeline - what do you have coming in and when!? And you'll continue to be asked this, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, maybe Thursday and for sure on Friday. Then let that cycle repeat 45 weeks out of the year. Once a sale does come in, you're asked to ring a bell in front of the entire company and call out the contract amount…a little humiliating for people who simply want to come in and do their job that they are being paid for. (No need for Wolf of Wall Street antics here). There is a very bipolar nature within the leadership team and almost a high schoolesque passive aggressive atmosphere on just about everything. The CEO will walk around when he decides there is not enough “activity” (usually this is during lunch, or when you're suppose to be able to take lunch, which disappears about 3 hours after you're behind your goal, which is set out of thin air by executive leadership (and by that I mean the CEO). While we are in the topic of money, let us talk about the vast majority making little of it…there is a reason the turnover rate is astronomical….and that is not an exaggeration. Eventually you will work yourself into the ground in hopes of making some sort of livable income (don't get me wrong, partial benefits paid and paid parking) are the few things that make your salary just above paycheck to paycheck living. Second, I hope no one ever experiences another CEO and or executive team member talking about how much money they have, how big and/or how expensive their house is, oh and the need for not just one, but two Maserati’s. I know the CEO believes this is empowering his employees to work harder (but wake up call, IT DOES NOT) don't talk about it to them or in front of them! Also, Praise Progress, do away with it, it's just another staged meeting. (end of rant)
Couple other cultural items:
Company mentality (sell, grow, sell, grow, sell) hence you grow for the next sell.
There is not true HR mechanize
High sales = Leadership material (often not the case)
Lack of true growth opportunity. Same thing everyday, no creativity in your job.
Advice to Management
Create an actual management team that have fundamental management background. Empower leaders to make decisions. No longer have leaders with sales goals!
I have been working at Evanta full-time
Top notch co-workers, good medical benefits, company potential, much improved HR department, plenty of holidays off, and paid parking.
TERRIBLE company to work for. Many many young, bright eyed, talented people get hired and a good majority end up quoting after a year after spending several months being pretty miserable with the company's culture, job requirements, small pay checks, and poor management. To quote HR, "Evanta has a bad habit of putting people in leadership positions that have no business being there." It's really too bad to, because this company has soooo much potential to be a great place to work, but middle and upper management harshly squash independence, creativity, and decision making. They micro manage in ways I have never experienced. They hold certain employees up on high pedestals when that person is singing the company's praises, but as soon as that person has an original idea that does not align with the exec's ideas, that person is often publicly called out and sometimes publicly humiliated or fired. It's a nerve racking place to work, there is not much job security and not nearly enough compensation to make it worth the emotional and psychological toll. Employees are routinely cornered, talked down to, young female employees are often pulled aside and intimidated by a particular male executive. I have seen more ladies crying in the bathroom at this job, due to poor treatment and stress, than any other! Sadly, the CEO is close to retirement and either does not care about the well being of his employees (which directly affects their success at work) or he is sitting at the top orchestrating much of the poor treatments. Warning, they will also make you sit through a horrendous 2 hour all staff meeting each Friday morning where employees are required to give updates on the progress of their departments. It's a cringe worthy two hours, as you hear the employees try to fake their best smiles and then see them the same day completely unhappy and stressed out. Evanta takes advantage of their "at will"employee agreement. At times, They require employees to come in on weekends, come in early and stay late, and work through breaks... without ANY form of compensation. NOT a good, even decent, company to work for.
Advice to Management
Listen to and trust your employees to do the job they were hired for. Increase employees' base pay rates. Listen to the Glassdoor reviews!
Supposedly a lot of PTO. Good luck taking it. Nice offices (if you care about facades)
If you can math, you can quickly figure out what a shell game this is and see the "business model" for the flim flam that it is. Sorry, but Fortune 1000 chief officers are entirely too busy to attend one day "conferences" with basic information or even dinners where the subject is something you could learn from a quick article scan or local Chamber of Commerce meeting (actually that WAS the speaker at one of their recent events. For Cleveland).
Granted, selling sponsorships to events is nothing new or unethical, but this is a company that exists solely to sell sponsorships to "D" list events while pretending to be world class. Ironically, the actual event planning itself is painfully secondary and last minute, even with "board of directors" for each event.
What's equally bizarre is how both the CEO and many "managers" have limited, if any strictly small scale experience prior to Evanta. Division Managers used to answer the phones at small, rural industrial companies, the CEO himself previously ran a small, defunct event logistics company.....so how exactly would they know, better than MBA+ Fortune 1000 C level execs anything about leadership or even sales?
The other thing that should shoot up a red flag is that it's about a 100 employee company with limited revenue (under $5 million), that magically grew during the recession and those numbers don't add up! To pay everyone, you're already pretty much in the red, let alone covering the events you plan. Which explains why they're owned by a shady private equity firm, who clearly funded the CEO's 2 Maseratis and are just busy sucking the revenue out, while running up the debt service so they can close the doors or sell it to another sucker.
Oh the other lie I love is "we only work with Fortune 1000 companies". Again, except if everyone's making 100 calls per week, that means you'll have burnt through your pipeline in 10 weeks or less. And you do like 40-50 different events, each with supposedly "only 40 sponsorship slots open", and a really well-backed event has like maybe 5 sponsors and they most assuredly are NOT anywhere NEAR Fortune 1000.
Advice to Management
I hope you've arranged for your cushy landings when the ponzi/shell game finally reveals itself!
I worked at Evanta full-time (More than 3 years)
A lot has been said about the amazing group that Evanta manages to hire. Most people that work here are great. This is by far the biggest “pro”. Then again, extreme situations have a tendency to bond people together in ways that do not always naturally occur. Here is a quick list of Pros:
Fun, Young Coworkers
Clients are top level executives (Build your network!!!)
The parties are off the hook crazy
CEO can make random off the cuff decisions to let everyone go home early, or go sky diving, etc.
Provide you with a 90 day jacket (if you make it 90 days. It isn't guaranteed) and a mug.
Great Fitness group
Good health benefits
Life at Evanta is a mixed bag.
You know those mystery bags that you would buy as a kid that were usually filled with some candy or toys? Evanta is sort of like that. As you are sitting there with your mystery bag, you are thinking “This is great, I wonder what will be inside!?! Maybe I will get a Kingsize Butterfinger, or a sweet action figure, or Pony Princess”. Of course once you open it up you realize that it is only a couple of tootsie rolls and some hair ties. Be prepared for disappointment.
On the outside Evanta offers so much, but more than anything it offers a dream. It looks great when you arrive for Praise Progress, everyone is attractive and friendly so it only seems to reason that all these negative glass door reviews are from bitter, disenfranchised ex-employees. Right?
Wrong. I actually had a fairly decent experience at Evanta, but it still doesn’t mean it is a good place to work.
You see, Evanta is based entirely off of selling dreams. The entire business model is designed to excite technology sales reps to the point they are willing to spend thousands of dollars to sponsor a summit in the hopes of landing a major deal. The company does dreams well and has commoditized this concept. Of course they are not the first to do this. Disney sells dreams. Evanta, however, is not the happiest place on Earth.
Morale is low. Very low. After the first 3-6 months of honeymoon phase, you quickly realize that this place is affecting your entire outlook on life. For some reason, very basic concepts of respect and human dignity seem to get lost in how messages are communicated to employees. This creates waves of fear, anger and discontent among the employees.
Imagine one of your close friends is working very hard on a project and really doing everything within their power to succeed. A project that was assigned to them without their input whatsoever. Then imagine seeing your friend pulled into a private meeting room with one or more executives for 30 minutes. When your friend returns, they look like they just received a Kingsize Butterfinger, and I am not talking about the candy bar. This is standard procedure for Program Directors. Other roles may be a bit different, but you get the point.
You say, “Ok, Ok, I get it, the management is heavy handed. I’ve dealt with that before. I’m a grown up and can take it.”
Lets talk about your compensation plan then.
The base salary is pretty straightforward. The bonus structure is where you are going to need an advanced degree is BS to understand. To their credit, a great deal of effort and thought goes into compensation. Unfortunately for you, they play Vegas odds and they are the house. A few people will win, but most lose. It is hard to explain this in a review as there are hour long meetings just to explain each new cycle’s plan.
“Its a numbers game, I get it. I have done sales. No place is perfect” you say.
It is half a numbers game and 3/4ers a favoritism game (See how math adds up here?). So much of your ability to advance at Evanta is based entirely off of whether the CEO likes you. There are many who are great at the job, but do not play “the game”, so they do not get promoted or additional compensation. There are others who are not very good at their job, yet they hold more senior positions and receive better pay. If the CEO tells you that he, “Loves your Way” it means that you will probably get a promotion.
As you can probably imagine, I could go on for a while. The problem is, what I described above is the way the company operates. I am simply providing a glimpse of what occurs on a regular basis (I was there nearly 4 years). It is not illegal or even the only company to do these things, but the dream that they sell you initially will be very different from the reality that you will be working in. If your expectations are tempered going in, then your experience may be palatable or perhaps you are the 1 in 20 person that genuinely thrives in this type of environment. Either way, I am writing this so that if you accept the position you will not be opening a Mystery bag.
Advice to Management
"When you give, you get." --->When you give employees (and other humans for that matter) respect, you will get their trust.
The people, employees, are great, with only a few odd balls. They are dupped into a false sense of happy family that doesn't truly exist.
Low Pay, no advancement, unhealthy pyramid of top down dictates that serve the ego at the top.
I have been working at Evanta full-time
We are allowed to at least use the bathroom
The Evanta office is the biggest facade you'll ever see!! CEO is now mandating a 5:30am arrival because he wants more telemarketing calls from his employees. He is rude, sarcastic and unappreciative of anything we do as employees. My guess is that he has been told by his family to be out of the house early so they don't have to deal with him ... so he makes his employees join him in early morning misery. I cannot stress enough that you should never ever consider working here ... it is craziness at it's best.
Advice to Management
Do the opposite of everything you are currently doing. People talk a lot around the office ... you are not hiding anything. And enough of the friday meetings !!!
I have been working at Evanta full-time (More than a year)
Great location, and most of the staff is nice.
The CEO is bi-polar, and it shows in his leadership style. Some days he will be jumping around hootin and hollarin as he calls it, and other days he will be coming down on people. Today he was walking around the entire company on the warpath about how many phone calls people are making. This quickly turns the work environment from a collaborate forum to build a high level summit to a boiler room format not much better than being a telemarketer. What he thinks motivates the staff just makes everyone scared and upset.
Advice to Management
Chill out and take your meds BD!
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