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GISinc Reviews

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2.9
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Lee Lichlyter
11 Ratings

19 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great but problems with growth"

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

    Pros

    Good company culture. Smart and capable coworkers.

    Cons

    Just general growing problems to include not doing a great job at putting employees where they will be most happy and productive

    Advice to Management

    Better match your developers to their strengths


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Dysfunctional Southern Family"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at GISinc (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Pros will depend on your situation. It will depend what business unit you are in, your title, if you are in an office, remote or on client site. It will depend if you value an ESOP and being employee owned (it can have some drawbacks such as lower starting salaries, I have also worked for another employee owned company and noticed at both it can bring out the worst in people too, such as controlling tendencies in certain people and their criticism can be reactionary and sharp as a result) You also may or may not care for the yearly company meeting. It can be fun but also grueling, it’s on a weekend and requires you to be “on” for 3 days straight which can be difficult for some, it also requires you to return straight to work upon getting home unless you take PTO. Employee benefits are pretty standard and even on the low end compared to other companies, especially health insurance and time off.
    If you are offered a remote position and like working at home, it is a big positive that can overcome a lot of negatives. They tend to be reserved for more experienced, proven people but not always.
    In my opinion this company offers the most positives for people who are starting out in GIS and have less than 5 years of experience. That means GIS Analysts and maybe some Jr. level Engineers and Developers. There is a large knowledge base for those people to learn from, and most of the technical staff is nice and willing to help. For those starting out it makes more sense to come to a company like this where they can benefit from the collective knowledge and various GIS projects. The second group of people I’d recommend it to would be Sr. Executives with a large amount of varied experience who would like to help bring a young company to a more mature and healthy place without destroying the positives that made it a better place to work, if that opportunity comes up…

    Cons

    As alluded to above – I would not recommend this company to people who fall into the Mid/Senior level technical roles. It is not a good time to be in that camp. I would especially avoid it if you are ambitious, experienced and have any visions about moving into more of a leadership role (even a technical one). If you are at that point in your career where you could be a high level technical person or a new PM look elsewhere, unless you are offered a high level position directly (tech architect, PM or higher) but even then I would probably say look elsewhere as there are too many problems right now with the project management tier. I don’t see PM or Sr. tech roles expanding much anyway as there are plenty of people to fill them already if the company gets better at bringing people into them that are already in house.
    I can only guess from what I have seen, from the types of people leaving the company it would appear that there could be an effort to ‘dumb down’ the staff so that there is a smaller highly paid Sr.Technical tier and more ‘button pushers’. It’s rare a manager leaves the company (though a couple of good ones, have). It is not rare for Sr. tech people to leave. It appears there could be an effort to develop lower paid analysts to take over some positions currently held by higher paid people, while experienced Sr. Tech people are leaving due to lack of growth potential or let go for dubious reasons (and after training people to take over for them or handing over their specialized knowledge as part of their deliverables on projects). For lack of a better explanation it would appear that way to me. Unfortunately, that flies in the face of the “emergent leadership” initiative that had been in place which actually seemed to end up favoring people who were in the lowest technical positions, not the actual peer-to-peer leaders who were overperforming in their jobs the most or bringing new innovations or initiatives to the table.
    The company hasn’t made any statement to employees that they have financial issues which would require a clearing of some of the higher paid, experienced tech tier, but the leadership tier is not as forthcoming with information and how decisions are made as most would prefer, especially for an “employee owned company.”
    That theory could be wrong -- it could be more personal in that managers in this company are just that young and inexperienced as a whole and have a very difficult time managing people who are perhaps more experienced, more challenging and intelligent than they are. Less experienced analysts are easier to manage and mentor for less experienced managers and the favoritism and personal relationships that develop may have led to the lower tech tier having more opportunity to move up a notch instead of the already Sr. tech tier (where do you put the experienced senior tech tier if you have no room for them to grow, and you are moving up analysts to more senior roles?) I have certainly seen and experienced blatant examples of such things like being told not to work on projects and items I had the most experience with, not to bill hours, not to work on things any further than what I was directed to do (while those with less or no experience were allowed to move forward and use production resources without monitoring to learn and develop things on the same projects) and where most of my work was training or building something others couldn’t build, that they got to then develop with and I was asked to stop working (while recording my methods and training others) I could go on but it only gets worse and I don’t want to go there. Divide and Conquer is a real method used by those in power and a thing I experienced more than once at this company.
    Possibly it is some combination of the above or that they really have made some big mistakes and are now trying to fix it, rather painfully and in typical fashion, not very openly about what they are doing. It may be that some of my experience was specific to me and not something others in the company experience often as it could just be a small subset of people who behave in such a way. Given the top-down nature at GISi where regular employees lack a voice, it is not at all difficult for managers to go 'rogue' and just do what they want and then paint a different story for their managers. At minimum, there are inexperienced non-technical people managing IT/tech projects that are not qualified, and not willing to listen to experienced technical people, and it is very obvious to those who do know how to handle such things and probably not as clear to upper management who never gets the real story. At any rate, I believe trust issues with management are probably at an all-time high.
    If you read the reviews there are several themes that have not changed much over time, they are true. There are things that have gotten worse, and then there are reviews who were probably written by managers who at the time really believed what they were saying but were reacting in a typically defensive manner.
    I have thought hard about writing this review. I have no intention to harm them or their business. I care about what happens to many of the people who work there, and I think it could still turn around and get back on track but it could be painful for those in “power” to truly address the issues. Unfortunately, taking issues up internally hasn’t worked for people so it ends up here, online. And, they may not have even admitted they have a problem yet...

    The problem with the experienced technical tier giving up or leaving is that they are the critical thinkers and its critical thinking that makes them leaders in technology, and good at delivering on the projects GISi takes on. They should have a role in "checking" leadership especially at an employee owned company. But it does not seem to be appreciated by the “leadership” tier. Management seems to confuse their influence with respect. Its fear or apathy. Lots of people have spoken up (even current managers) but it seems to go nowhere or result in worse conditions. The leaders did not get to be leaders because they were voted in or unanimously respected (though they may think otherwise). They got that way because in most cases, from what it appears, they got there first or other managers pulled them into management (and most were friends before hand and worked together at other companies prior) this has led to a mostly homogenous group of people that pats each other on the back rather than making things truly better. Maybe they even change once they get there and realize what would happen to them if they really stood up to their managers. It seems pretty cushy up there, maybe it would happen to anyone... whatever the reason it’s an ‘emperor has no clothes’ kind of situation due to their distaste for anyone who is a devil’s advocate or contrarian to the general consensus originating from a pretty average to below average leadership and management team – sorry to say Harvard and MIT grads (or dropouts for that matter) are not rushing to work at GIS Inc. in any of the business units, not just the worst offenders (you know who you are) I don’t think there is a high enough collective IQ at this time among leadership, and if there is those people are too comfortable to do anything about it -- and there are ethical and fairness issues that go unchallenged as well -- those who point it out (usually not management) don’t fare very well, despite what is said about ‘open door’ policies or ‘culture of innovation’ and ‘emergent leadership’ and it is clear to see management favors and protects itself as with every reorg, new managers get higher and higher positions/promotions while the technical tier mostly treads water. Some smart technical people were put into higher positions in the past year in more of an advisory way but it’s not clear yet if they have any power to make a true change in the current setup, I do wish them well though and that those positions get some teeth to do more and make decisions rather than recommendations and give presentations, etc.
    It should be noted that much of the management were previously GIS tech people -- but that doesn't mean they are current, or that they were ever Sr. tech in the way that it is appropriate for them to dictate to experienced developers or engineers (it also seems like many ended up in management because they really were not all that good at being tech people either or it was so long ago it doesn't matter anymore) and it certainly does call into question how many of them have made it up to the highest levels (a real lack of diversity in education/professional background, lack of experience outside of their current circle, lack of current tech & management education in addition to other things) I'm not saying all of them are awful. Some are much better than others but there is a problem and as a group they are too similar to each other, which is compounded by a lack of tolerance for dissenting opinion.

    Summary of Cons
    -Favoritism is real and has lasting career impact for those on either side of the coin
    -Company seems rather clueless about how to make use of employees existing skill sets and the resume repository (if there is one) you seem to exist as your current title and your past experience doesn’t matter much, another reason its not advisable for people with a lot of experience unless they are coming into a high level role
    -Gossip is not only tolerated but encouraged by certain managers, other managers seem oblivious to how big of an issue it is and how impactful it is to reviews and reputations
    -Reviews are a joke, based on gossip or poorly documented events and there is no employee input, or defense after decisions are already made. There is a ‘formal’ way to contest your review/salary adjustment but no one is typically brave enough to use it due to how things are typically handled, it just makes things worse
    -Non-managers and Non-supervisors have no real voice, what higher ups hear will be translated (or manipulated) by managers/supervisors.
    -Could be bigger financial issues than are being reported based on recent decisions, turbulent time
    -Communication is not good. It never was. Unfortunately, there is no one qualified to fix it currently fixing it. The company seems to favor a passive aggressive, indirect communication style or is happy to let unqualified people handle it, making this issue worse
    -Lack of academic culture in which an innovative, collaborative, smarter culture could thrive. The current culture is an insular corporate (and overwhelmingly southern) and lacks a tolerance for divergent viewpoints and disruption, even communications such as people with a similar job title wishing to hold sessions to compare notes and learn from each other
    -Lack of seasoned, proven executive level leadership
    -Not the “family” I was continuously told it was by management

    Advice to Management

    I agree with the other negative reviews. It seems simple, listen to your people. But it isn’t. Some managers seem too overwhelmed with their own work to do anything about these things if they do care. Some managers probably need to go or should be working at the project level only and not making big decisions or starting new (or hijacking existing) initiatives to suit their agenda. Stop allowing gossipy, backstabby stuff to gain momentum (and stop causing it) and draw boundaries between professional and unprofessional behavior.
    It is time to institute 360 reviews. My recommendation is that this company needs (in addition to the points about a CEO) an organizational psychologist (or team of) to analyze and overhaul company culture, policies (such as the review process, hiring practices) and train leadership (at all levels) while also creating some standard by which they will operate and then be accountable. This person or team should probably stay on board to also handle conflict of any sort and act as more of a consultant to the company rather than in-house HR or leadership in order to remain unbiased as possible. They should be experienced, degreed, and from outside the industry.
    Finally, they should consider adding experienced leaders from outside the organization, that have a diversity of higher ed degrees from respected institutions. It’s fine that not everyone has a degree, but adding some and more that are not GIS or business -- but psychologists, lawyers, engineers and others that may be lacking in the current lineup and who are capable of bringing in the kind of changes that need to be made and bringing up the current standards. In doing so it may also help to correct the culture into a more academic environment which has a tolerance for multiple viewpoints and critical thinking, and they can help turn good ideas into action but they will have to be given the power to do so.
    I would recommend ending the company meeting for a year or two if its too expensive in the current climate or do it remotely. Find other ways to save money in order to fix your bigger issues.
    If the company is in fact trying to create one consisting of a management tier and lower level ‘button pusher’ tier with mediocre deliverables then proceed as is.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Going through some tough changes"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great staff, flexible hours, ability to work from home. The staff genuinely cares about each other and the company ESOP fosters an environment where everyone is working together toward a common goal. At a staff level it's great. It's just the management team that could use some work.

    Cons

    Used to have a fantastic company culture but made some organizational changes in 2014-15 that have left the company disorganized and stressed with a leadership void. There is no longer a CEO and as a result it's not clear how to resolve conflicts or bring up any issues or suggestions. Most of the people who have been put in charge of each business unit are sorely lacking in leadership skills. There is a lot of talk about emerging leadership but anyone showing initiative seems to get shot down. As a result of these changes and not keeping up with the industry changes, revenue has dropped off leading to a more stressful environment, large staff turnover, and worse customer service.

    Advice to Management

    Bring in a CEO that can provide the leadership that is needed to steady the ship. Don't just talk about investing in employee initiatives and instead actually make those investments. Provide more opportunities for employees to provide feedback without the fear of retaliation. With some better organization and more leadership accountability the company could be great again.


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  5. Helpful (8)

    "DO NOT WORK HERE"

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

    Pros

    For the first week it was nice.

    Cons

    - Sr. Level Managers having affairs within the workplace.
    - Sr. Level Managers bringing up conservative (religious) beliefs during meetings making it awkward.
    - Terrible Management
    - Terrible Follow Through With Promises
    - Terrible CEO
    - Terrible Ownership

    Advice to Management

    Look around at your next management meeting and fire everyone.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "A Good Firm - Room to Improve"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at GISinc full-time

    Pros

    + The people are amazing. Very friendly who make coming to work fun.
    + Talented staff with imaginative skills.
    + Innovative benefits approach gives employees 'points' allowing them to pick and mix the best benefits for their needs.

    Cons

    - The people are undervalued and not rewarded fairly for their work (in comparison to industry) or where they live.
    - Communication. Ideas often go up the chain but rarely come down.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your staff. They have experience management does not.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great opportunities for GIS professionals in a company striving to be premier"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Architect
    Current Employee - Technical Architect
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Company Culture
    ESOP (Employee owned)
    Competitive compensation
    Flexible benefits program
    Recruit top talent
    Corporate social media
    Core values
    Annual corporate meeting
    Opportunities for personal growth

    Cons

    Fast pace
    Conflicting priorities between projects
    Somewhat limited time-off
    Communication can be challenging with a distributed workforce
    Rapid growth leading to growing pains

    Advice to Management

    Continue in the drive to be premier.
    Be sure to adequately communicate changes


  8. Helpful (8)

    "Company "values" a farce."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Light workload; employees are generally nice.

    Cons

    Contrary to the company values, there is very little communication. When mistakes are made people are publicly berated. Pay is on the low side.

    Advice to Management

    Practice what you preach. Don't lie to people, even in the exit interview. It shows a profound lack of integrity.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Opportunities Exist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Geospatial Developer
    Current Employee - Senior Geospatial Developer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I've had the opportunity to work on whole range of projects, each presented an interesting challenge and made me a better developer. The culture is warm and welcoming. We can get a bit competitive with animated GIFs and nerf wars.

    All of my managers have been great. They truly want you to succeed and work hard on your behalf to find you opportunities. (But you need to talk to them and tell them what you want)

    Cons

    I personally haven't had any issues


  10. Helpful (2)

    "A good home for for premier GIS professionals"

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

    I have been working at GISinc full-time

    Pros

    It’s a great company for those who are looking to work on challenging but rewarding projects with top professionals in the industry. Employee owned so when the company does well as a whole, everyone is rewarded. It's growing company so there is opportunity for folks to advance in their career. Distributed workforce but good about making an effort to keep folks connected through technology, social events and company events. Encourages innovation and professional growth. Cares about client success. Very impressive people at GISi technically and culturally.

    Cons

    Working challenging projects can be... well a challenge... but very rewarding for those who are up to it. There is a lot of great talent so it can be a bit intimidating but everyone is very helpful if you find yourself in need. Not a place for those who want to coast or people looking for ridged structure.

    Advice to Management

    Take the time to connect with folks individually even more and celebrate successful projects. Don't take your eye off the culture and core values as we grow. You recruit amazing people... love on them. Keep it fun!


  11. Helpful (3)

    "Great company"

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

    I have been working at GISinc full-time

    Pros

    A wonderful culture here; people are genuine, smart, helpful and care about each other. Good opportunities to do different things in your career and I like being an owner.

    Cons

    It's fast paced here so you can get left behind. People work across lots of different environments which can be isolating or lead to the 'grass is greener' syndrome.

    Advice to Management

    Keep pushing the company forward but don't lose what makes it special here.



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