Fors Marsh Group Reviews | Glassdoor

Fors Marsh Group Reviews

Updated March 21, 2017
20 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.3
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Sean Marsh, PhD
15 Ratings

20 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Embrace the scientific method"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Researcher in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Researcher in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Opportunity to work on critically important, challenging projects with Federal agencies like FDA, CDC, and CFPB.
    Work with really smart, driven (albeit a little nerdy) people.

    Cons

    Workload can get heavy at key times of year, and although mngt tries to mitigate through various policies, it's largely up to you to be sure to maintain balance.

    Advice to Management

    Not sure if this is always possible, but would love to see upper mngt more involved in setting/resetting expectations with difficult clients.


  2. "I've Learned More from Colleagues than from Grad School"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Researcher in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Researcher in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fors Marsh Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The variety of the projects that I work on--in terms of both subject matter and clients--keeps me engaged as an employee. My colleagues are incredibly smart and talented, and the collegial environment facilitates opportunities to learn from them as much as possible. If there's a research method or analytical approach that I'm unfamiliar with, I'm usually able to find a colleague who would gladly explain it to me and show me the ropes to the point where I feel comfortable executing it. Professional development is not shirked here, and upper-management encourages actively looking for opportunities to develop (through both internal and external resources).

    The work-life balance is also great; I hardly work more than 40 hours a week, and when I do, those excess hours get banked toward PTO.

    Cons

    As a company experiencing growing pains, fewer and fewer faces and names are recognizable to me. I imagine it has become more difficult to maintain that collegial and collaborative environment, especially for newcomers who may not have already established a network of helpful colleagues.

    Advice to Management

    I appreciate the transparency of, and accessibility to, upper-management and would hate to see that diminish (not that I think it will). Also, figuring out how to maintain the work environment that employees loved about FMG when it was a smaller company might be one of the keys to success.


  3. "Fond memories and great friends"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Researcher in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Researcher in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Fors Marsh Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    After a long stretch on the vendor side with FMG, I am giving the client side a shot. I have fond memories of my time at FMG and have made some incredible long lasting friends and colleagues. We experienced a lot of growth during my tenure which always meant new challenges and opportunities, some frustrating, most exciting. But what I appreciated the most was the ability to influence new projects, clients, and services. The leadership there gets the delicate balance of keeping a highly skilled research workforce intrinsically motivated while still keeping the lights on. For me, this meant having the opportunity to develop new work that was aligned with some of my graduate school interests.

    Cons

    While its difficult to call this a con as I know loose and fast isn't a great model for federal research, the 'ol' days of managing a research budget seemed much easier.

    Advice to Management

    Maintain your candid conversations with the company (both group and 1-on-1). It sets a great example for everyone how to provide frequent, honest, and valuable feedback--most companies aren't run psychologists, use this to your advantage!


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  5. Helpful (5)

    "Stressed and Overworked"

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

    I have been working at Fors Marsh Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    FMG has incredible benefits, like free parking or compensation for public transportation, fully-paid health premiums, and a casual workplace. The company also offers up to 40 hours of "comp time" -- basically, when you work 40 hours of overtime, you can put away 40 hours of it for vacation time. There are also fairly frequent office lunches and events. This summer, the company brought in a professional barista to make fancy coffees for the morning and created a tropical fruit smoothie bar, among lots of other treats. The office is located not far from the Ballston metro, so it's not hard to find a place to go for lunch day-to-day, or to take a walk around the neighborhood. There are also a lot of younger (22-35) people working at the company, so if you're new to the area and looking to make friends, you have a good shot at meeting a fun group of people you get along with.

    Cons

    FMG is going through some pretty bad growing pains. The company is not small anymore, but not very large yet, and it's trying to figure out what that means. There are a few different consequences of this. The first is that almost everyone at FMG is massively overworked and constantly frazzled. When you work an 11-hour day, it's considered a typical schedule. When you get to leave after 10 hours, people will literally say you're getting to leave "early." I don't know where this perception came from, but it's almost universal at FMG. Even if you love what you're doing -- and I do -- this really starts to wear on you after a while. No one should feel so busy that they're skipping meals and feeling chained to their desks like this, unless the work they're doing is literally saving lives. Most people have maxed out their comp time and never get a chance to use it up. The second biggest problem at FMG is that moving forward, management seems to think the way to solve a lot of issues is just to create a standard operating procedure for it. Researchers not working fast enough? Create a SOP saying they can't! Directors forgetting to approve budgets? Create a SOP saying they have to! I'm pretty sure one day I will walk into the bathroom and there will be a SOP saying I must scrub my hands for a full 60 seconds before returning to work. Finally, it often feels like there's a hierarchy issue at FMG. The CEO and senior VPs are in the office almost daily, but you rarely see them and they rarely talk to anyone but company higher-ups and their direct reports. I'm convinced the CEO doesn't know about 75% of people's names. It would be nice to feel like they care about you as an individual, rather than just sending out company-wide emails once in a while.

    Advice to Management

    As FMG approaches this major growth point, it's important to consider not just the kind of work we're pursuing and our revenue goals, but the kind of company we want to be. A lot of employees are burning out. It's not possible to maintain this frantic FMG pace forever. At some point, there needs to be an employee needs analysis that goes beyond what employees want out of the new office building and considers work-life balance. That tops architectural details like having the right color walls and natural light in the office every single time. Also, while it's crucial to maintain high work quality as FMG grows, the expansion of SOPs only makes researchers more frustrated with the process. For some things, there needs to be researcher trust established as they attain senior status. Enforcing too many time limits, restrictions, and rules takes every bit of creativity, enjoyment, and discovery out of doing research. Finally, I think we should consider seating arrangements where teams do not sit together. It leads to further isolation of teams from each other, more difficulty getting to know new employees, and less of a cohesive FMG atmosphere in the company.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Wouldn't want to work anywhere else"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I have grown to love working at FMG. The work is varied, challenging and I have had the opportunity to partner with clients to make a difference on issues I care about. Benefits (comp time, medical, 401k) are generous & far superior to my prior employer.

    Cons

    Though not as much lately, in the past there has been some uneven work demands - one month we have a bunch of deliverables or data collection and need to work late, the next month we have time to work on professional development.

    Advice to Management

    Find more ways to solicit and incorporate ideas from a broader set of staff.


  7. Helpful (10)

    "The Good and the Bad (Redux)"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Fors Marsh Group full-time

    Pros

    The company is structured around different teams, and though I can't speak for other teams, working on mine was great. For the most part, people are nice, smart, and hard-working company-wide. The company is growing and, though a measure of bad comes with that (see "Cons"), it's pretty exciting from a business standpoint. The benefits are also pretty great. Personally, I think I had it pretty good there.

    Cons

    Let me first comment on the other reviews already given (please read them all if you want a full picture). Regarding them, my thoughts are these: First, some of those reviews are phrased really harshly/negatively; however, in spite of their tone, their *content* is usually accurate from my point of view. Second, although there are definitely people who really love being there, I would urge you to be skeptical of some of these 5-star reviews.

    Most of my dissatisfaction came from seeing others get put through the ringer time and again, rather than from the couple of times I felt like I was put through the ringer. Now, I'm not sure that I have anything new to add on top of what has been stated by others, except perhaps this: It's pretty telling that, since the first negative review was posted on Glassdoor, the "cons" that come up again and again were still there when I left. Sure, quite a bit of this has to do with it being a growing company (oddly, I feel that it's not small enough or yet big enough to resolve many of these issues). At the same time, I left unconvinced that anything would be changing anytime soon.

    Just two last notes... (1) The performance review system currently in place is pretty universally despised by employees (one of many potential examples: something that happened 8 months prior will get brought up at a review as one of the reasons for you not advancing, even though it was discussed 6 months prior). (2) Again, nothing really seems to change, in spite of people voicing their concerns/grievances. For instance, after employees voiced the concern about not feeling like they could take vacation, we got a better vacation policy---but that did little to remedy the broader issues of poor work-life balance and a company culture of "looking bad" if you take time off.

    Advice to Management

    From my perspective, two things would be beneficial to organizational health.

    First, retool the performance review system. Rather than going through 15-20 dimensions and arguing to employees why they are not rated higher on each dimension, it would seem to be more productive to focus on the few major things employees are doing well and the few major areas where they could improve.

    Second, I recommend working on making employees feel individually valued by the organization. Admittedly, I'm not sure what the fix is here, but as it stands, I know quite a few people (myself included) have felt like interchangeable tools and have felt that employees' voices aren't worth much (again, this is likely because, from our perspective, nothing really seems to change). I like and respect the directors and upper management of FMG quite a lot, and I understand that they have quite a lot to do for the company---but I'm not convinced that they take employee feedback to heart.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Hard Work is Rewarded; Diverse Scope of Work to Build Resume"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fors Marsh Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Like any position, what you put in is what you'll get out at Fors Marsh Group. Work life balance in a consulting field is typically rare, but outside of expected busy periods, most employees work a very standard 40-45 hour work week. Additional hours over 40 worked go back into a vacation pool which is somewhat rare across similar firms where the expectation is simply you work longer hours.

    Employees are eager to help one another, problem solve and involve management when necessary, allowing opportunity to be exposed to challenges and situations that help with career development and growth. The work is challenging but rewarding.

    Benefits are generous and employees are asked for feedback in regard to options.

    Cons

    When busy times come up or client work demands, there are times that do require more effort, but nothing that employees can't speak about and change.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "If you have solid research skills, KEEP LOOKING, as there are other fish in the sea"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Fors Marsh Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    As another reviewer commented, I am almost certain that FMG management planted the other "positive" reviews on this page. Despite this, I do have a few good things to say...

    As I recall, the health benefits are very good; the other benefits are run-of-the-mill, but at least they are provided! The people are smart and motivated.

    Cons

    This is a small firm that, while well-intentioned, is most certainly experiencing growing pains that have been ill-handled. There are serious problems with work allocation and utilization of employees' skills and abilities. PhDs with no work experience are valued above seasoned professionals with BA/MS degrees. This helps to bring in contracts; it does not help to motivate other employees/candidates.

    Employees are routinely mistreated in terms of being denied promotions and raises. Pay is therefore noncompetitive for those who are above entry-level.

    As several other reviewers have noted, it is an eerily nepotistic environment which fosters cronyism and a shared feeling of being left in the water while the rising tide lifts only the managers' boats.

    Finally, like many shops in NoVa/DC, this firm has clearly not made a concerted effort to hire talented people of color.

    Advice to Management

    Put concrete plans in place for the development and success of your employees. You have a knack for hiring great talent, but definitely need a lesson in how to cultivate skills and help people to grow and learn at FMG.


  10. Helpful (7)

    "Be careful with the cronyism at FMG"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you are a new graduate, you get a chance to get your feet wet doing applied research to pick-up some experience that will help land a job at a better place.

    Cons

    Very "in-bred" so rising up the ranks will be difficult unless you are part of the "in-group". A previous comment about nepotism was spot-on as there is a lot of employees that are basically family (e.g., husband/wife, brother/sister, in-laws, college/grad school buddies, etc.). Ultimately, your performance reviews are a formality as your upward mobility is largely pre-determined. This is not a place for seasoned professionals nor entry-level folks that hope to stick around very long.

    Advice to Management

    Since they are largely trained in I/O Psychology, I would advise that they rethink their organizational practices regarding to foster healthy employer-employee relationships.


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Friendly place, engaging work, opportunities for self-starters"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fors Marsh Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    FMG works hard to foster a collegial environment. Management really cares about employees, with flexible hours and great benefits. If you log more than 40 hours in a week, that goes into your vacation, and most managers don't care about what hours you work as long as you get the job done. The work is engaging, and the quick growth means that new opportunities keep coming up if you are ready for them. Salary growth is very rapid if you do good work. The company is very open and transparent, even going so far as to report full results, by working group, from an annual organizational health survey.

    Cons

    Since it's a small company, hours can be a bit uneven, but management will usually reply to this by increasing staffing. Your mileage can vary somewhat depending on which team you are on, though it's usually possible to change teams with a bit of time.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to gather and closely examine employee feedback. Employees from all divisions should report a good work-life balance, and managers from all divisions should strive for policies that yield happy employees and low levels of turnover.


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