I worked at Hanover Research (More than 3 years)
Lots of talented people to learn from, especially if you are just starting your career. You are also given the chance to take ownership of your projects (little guidance from managers), which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective.
-This may have changed in the last couple of years, but there was very little interaction between employees. Most of the work was done by yourself in front of a computer.
-At the time, they paid considerably less than competitors.
Advice to Management
Listen to your employees, and try to make sure you reward and retain your most talented employees.
I worked at Hanover Research (Less than a year)
Beautiful office environment and some perks
Very bad management and career path.
I have been working at Hanover Research full-time (More than a year)
(1) Flexibility - researchers are able to work remotely, on occasion, which is good if you're traveling, sick, or if weather is bad.
(2) Independent work - a plus if you like working independently. A negative if you need to socialize. But if you're on the research side, you should not need to or even have the time to socialize.
(3) Free coffee, tea, snacks
(4) The new professional development initiative where researchers accrue a day every six weeks to use on online courses or other prof development ideas.
(5) PTO increases by a day each year you are employed. No rollover limits.
(6) Opportunity to hone research and writing skills.
Hanover is like the big shiny house on the top of the hill, but once you get closer, you see all the cracks and how dilapidated it is. Management likes to point to the bright shiny things it throws at us, like happy hours, its learning and development program, more happy hours, executive office hours, and the like, but all of that is covering up the cracks. High turnover, bad work life balance - unless you choose life and end up trading work quality and performance, known culture of bad sales practices and essentially lying to clients. All the company cares about is churning out projects as fast as it can. It doesn't matter who does it, as long as it gets done.
(1) Flexibility - researchers are fully able to complete our work remotely, all the time. Of course, there are some researchers who may not be able to do so, or may not want to. Give us the option of being able to work telework all the time, based on performance. The privilege can always be taken away if the researcher is underperforming while remote. The CHRO will likely make a comment about company morale, the fun activities and volunteer activities that researchers do together, but none of those are good arguments.
(2) Timelines - they aren't lying to you when they say timelines are short. But when they tell clients that we spend about two weeks for a project, feel free to laugh. If researchers are given the full amount of time the company quotes to clients, then perhaps deliverables would be better. This dishonesty is disheartening and obviously dishonest. Especially when clients come back with less than positive reviews, and you are caught in the crosshairs. Another item with timelines - management likes to say we can extend deadlines, but projects are pushed back so many times, the pipeline is congested, and there is hardly ever room for extensions. Instead you have to settle with sending in a shoddy but complete report or an incomplete report partly because of management's bad planning. But all the blame is on you, because you get graded on your projects, and you can't grade your CDs.
(3) Open floor plans - Stop kidding yourselves with open floor plans. We don't have time to share knowledge when we're so busy trying to meet impractical deadlines. The company is once again moving about half of its workforce to yet another location, and we all hear that HR is going forward with an open floor plan, even for directors. This is one of THE clearest indication that the company just plain does not care about the research side. HR has taken comments from people in Content, but it's known that HR isn't even considering our thoughts. A mere formality to show us that they care. But you know what? That's not caring. Or, maybe HR is also just trying to assuage all the reviewers here who complain about the cubicle setting and lack of socialization with coworkers. Well, open floor plans are even worse. IMO, the ones complaining are more likely to be the underperforming researchers who have time to socialize to the extent where they prefer open floor plans.
(4) Transparency - None to speak of. The company used to have a different rewards program for researchers, then all of a sudden it changed to something else. We used to have quarterly updates, we have none anymore. We used to have a Hanover newsletter, we do not any more. No explanation. Everything just disappears. Or appears.
(5) Planning - also none of this. If there was, the company would not have to have moved so many times in so few years.
(6) Promotion and salary increases - the CHRO says that salary adjustments are given to those with good performance reviews. This is not true. Salary adjustments are selectively given to those with good performance reviews. Salary adjustments are thrown your way when you leave. Those who stay and perform well must argue for their own raises.
(7) It would help if researchers could rate their CDs and MCDs, after each project or when performance reviews come around. The current system is terrible. in order to review superiors, we have to disclose our names. Hanover believes that researchers are so childish and irresponsible that we are unable to properly review superiors under the cloak of anonymity. Even under anonymity, I have heard stories from other coworkers about being questioned whether they had penned particular reviews on Glassdoor.
Advice to Management
(1) Think about what's most important - the work that researchers do, including quality, obviously, and speed of completion, or showing our faces in meetings that just seem to multiply. We have more and more meetings that are unnecessary. This means less and less time to work on our projects. I think management likes more meetings because it makes it seem like there's knowledge-sharing or professional development, but again mere formalities.
(2) Proactively retain top employees. Otherwise the current unrest in the company will continue to bring about lots of turnover.
(3) Instead of wasting time responding defensively to reviews and trying to weed out the review writers, take what you read in the advice sections and try to understand what they say. These reviews are not here to disparage the company. We all want the company to improve.
(4) I mentioned this earlier, but all Hanover cares about is having bodies to churn out reports ASAP. It likes to say it cares about quality, and held an innovation day to gather ideas about how to improve quality, but only if those ideas result in shorter timeframes. Money, money money. But it should be quality, quality, quality. So, Hanover doesn't care about clients either? It cares only about itself. Itself, being management.
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DC/VA is an amazing, vibrant environment for young professionals. Compensation was higher than I expected, and the intellectual firepower in every department was impressive. I was given flexibility from my sales role to explore and develop new markets. Not a lot of hand holding or micromanagement, but plenty of support from senior management when needed.
For sales people, this is a competitive environment with some really hard-working, experienced peers. Bumping into each other from time to time over strategy and tactics is a given, and if you're not accustomed to making data-driven arguments and suggestions, you'll flounder.
Advice to Management
I appreciated the opportunities to connect with other departments outside of my own. Learning about their work helped me understand how best to tailor our services to our prospective clients. More of those types of interactions are always great.
I have been working at Hanover Research full-time (More than 3 years)
So I'm currently in my fourth year of working for Hanover (in research) and have been following Glassdoor reviews for a while ... I've grown so annoyed with the inaccuracies in these reviews that I feel compelled to post a defense of Hanover. It's not a perfect company but it's way way better than the negative reviews suggest. (Also I can only speak to the research side of things, as I haven't spent time in sales.)
The only legitimate complaints are:
(1) salaries are a bit low
(2) there can occasionally be tight deadlines on projects, which can lead to lower quality
(3) projects within certain company divisions can be repetitive
(4) the executive team is a bit disconnected, too focused on sales, etc.
On (1), yes, starting salaries are a bit low, but promotions are plentiful; I make 25% more than when I started, and this is staying within the research track. CDs often have a pay jump of 30%-50% upon promotion, and CD salaries in general (especially in MIC) are very competitive for the DC area. Plus the benefits at Hanover are legitimately impressive; health insurance and 401k are good (though not great), and the PTO is amazing. You start with 18 days of PTO per year and it goes up a day each year, along with 12 paid holidays ... at this point I have 34 workdays off per year, which is seriously at like European levels.
(2) The idea that product quality is extremely low is simply absurd. Many of the project types (especially those assigned to new researchers) are very straightforward; a client wants a program demand so we grab the data from IPEDS, and boom, there you go; the client is happy, product quality is literally perfect as long as the Hanover employee was able to correctly use a database. But generally speaking, yes, there's a fair amount of secondary research (using Google is basically required for this). The whole point of Hanover's business model is that it's a relatively low-cost option for custom research, an alternative to the Advisory Board Company or an internal hire; so of course the clients aren't expecting 100-page best practices reports that answer every question perfectly. Yes, not every report is going to be infinitely high quality, but the clients are very well aware, as this is literally Hanover's business model; target middle-market clients and offer them a low-cost custom research option (we're now targeting some higher-end clients, but this was basically the model until recent months). Also, from a researcher perspective, I mean, cry me a river; you have to finish projects on somewhat tight deadlines, sometimes. Welcome to reality. If it's taking you 70 hours a week to finish your entry-level research projects (as one of the reviewers claimed) then honestly I'm worried about your future at any job; the projects they give to new employees are not difficult for any intelligent adult. I don't mean to be insulting, but seriously, it's not rocket science. It makes me wonder if maybe some of the 24-year-olds writing these negative reviews just aren't cut out to do research for a living? Or were shocked to find that actual employment is more difficult than their senior year of college? Maybe!
On (3): projects are repetitive when you first start at Hanover because management is trying to help you out by assigning easy, similar projects. After a year or two, you're either a CD or doing varied interesting work (I do different projects all the time). But I guess starting new researchers with simple, repetitive work because they're still learning the ropes makes Hanover the worst company ever.
On (4), sure, there was perhaps a slightly excessive sales focus a while; the company is now (quite rightly) focusing on product quality and developing deeper client relationships, so, there you go.
Judging from some of these reviews, you would think that Hanover only hires naive 22-year-olds; however, this is not the case. The quant team has plenty of experts in statistical analysis; the consultants on the grants team (average age = 40) have expertise and have written successful grant proposals for billions of dollars combined. I wonder if the people writing these negative reviews just didn't stay at Hanover long enough to work with senior researchers? The average employee has worked at Hanover for 2-3 years, which is pretty normal for a company with a relatively younger workforce (i.e., people in their 20s who switch jobs constantly) based in Washington D.C. (i.e., the home of transient graduate students). Most of the people that I know who have quit Hanover were either going back to get their Ph.D or found another job. Hanover also has more promotions and more opportunities for advancement than any place I've ever worked at or even heard of. Performance reviews and firing/promotion decisions are absurdly transparent; I've never received so much detailed feedback about why I was or was not given a promotion or a raise.
In short, Hanover is a perfectly fine place to work, and is easily my favorite workplace out of the 4-5 jobs I've had in the DC area.
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I have been working at Hanover Research full-time (More than 3 years)
I have been at Hanover for almost four years and am quite happy. While no firm is perfect, Hanover does a lot to keep its employees happy and engaged. I'm in a sales role and am often contacted by recruiters - whom I talk to - but there are a few reasons why I prefer a sales role at Hanover to the other opportunities that have been presented to me:
1. Customers are very happy with the product. This is of course a non-negotiable for me - I wouldn't be willing to sell a service/product that I did not believe was in my prospect's best interest, but it is exciting to hear from accounts that I have closed about the value that Hanover is providing them, and that they are referring our services to other prospective customers within their network.
2. It's a highly consultative sale which keeps things interesting. With Hanover's custom research model, I can't think of a type of sale that can get any more consultative than this. I talk with prospects about their challenges and explore how research projects can identify new solutions. Every conversation is different. I think I might get bored or frustrated selling software or syndicated research - trying to fit a square peg in a round hole by reframing a prospect's challenges in attempt to match them with the proposed solution or product.
3. I can serve as a consultative thought-partner and valuable resource. Even if a prospect does not end up engaging in a contract, they find tremendous value in the discussion from the market insight I can provide (from talking with numerous peers in the market on a constant basis) and the research reports that I send as follow-up.
4. Competitive compensation. Obviously we are all working to make money, and Hanover has competitive commission plans that reward top performers.
There are also some other things I like about Hanover that are not specifically related to a sales role:
1. Company culture - I have met some of my closest friends at Hanover. Sometimes I think "I can't leave because I would miss my coworkers too much!"
2. Exec team is listening to employees now more than ever. We are frequently asked for feedback on changes before and after they take place.
3. Upward mobility - they are always thinking about your next step and how to help you get there. They prefer to promote from within.
On a last note - Hanover was my first job I applied to out of college - and sometimes I think to myself "I'm so lucky I landed this" because of how far I have been able to go at the company with the right level of focus, hard work, and ambition.
Cubicle setting even for jobs that require employees to be on the phone all day (requires employees to reserve call rooms several times per day which can be very disruptive).
Location in Ballston.
401k matching plan is pretty average (2% which takes 4 years to fully vest).
I would love more frequent lunch catering :-)
Advice to Management
Keep listening to employees
I worked at Hanover Research full-time (More than 5 years)
Tremendous advancement opportunity at a growth firm
Working out the kinks of a service based business
I worked at Hanover Research (Less than a year)
1. Awesome, smart, motivated coworkers - The people at Hanover are the best. I made great friends at Hanover and I am still in awe of their intelligence and drive. Former Hanoverians have gone on to do great things.
2. Opportunities to develop new skills - Hanover's research and sales activities require high volume execution. You will become experienced at what you do quickly. If you're insistent, you can bounce around and learn many valuable skills and increase your market value.
3. Steady paycheck (if you're not in sales) - Sales and research starkly differ. Sales is high risk, medium reward. Research is low risk, low reward. The salaries on Glassdoor are accurate, just be aware that sales salaries don't include commission.
The tragedy of Hanover is that it is full of bright, talented people who have been beaten down to believe they can't do better. It's simply not true. You are valuable, you are wanted, it's a strong job market, and you will find a better place that values your contribution and treats you like a human being. The grass really is greener on the other side if you're willing to leave the pasture (quitting Hanover substantially lowered my blood pressure, increased my base salary 40%, and reduced my work week from 70-80 hour 40-50 hours).
1. Unscrupulous, unethical leadership - It's ok to make money. It's not ok to misplace compensation agreements, forget paychecks, or pay in the wrong amount. It's ok to protect your business. It's not ok to bully ex employees and their new employers. It shouldn't be normal to see your coworkers in tears.
2. Business model -The business model is such that no matter how hard you work to please a client, Hanover will not make more money. This leads to broken hearts when employees go the extra mile for rewards that will never come.
3. Culture of Fear - Because client satisfaction doesn't lead to more revenue, Hanover uses convoluted grading systems, titles, and performance reviews to keep employees engaged and distracted from below market salaries. There is a constant threat, especially in sales, of losing your job. Those who question the culture or management decisions are shown the door.
Advice to Management
Treat your employees and customers how you want to be treated.
I worked at Hanover Research full-time
As mentioned in a lot of other posts, your coworkers are often the biggest plus of working at Hanover.
For entry-level folks, you can gain some basic work experience and at least some degree of insight about the types of questions that businesses are interested in trying to answer from market research perspective.
For those interested in one day being a company decision maker (at Hanover or elsewhere), you can learn a lot about what *not* to do as an influencer, which can be extremely valuable since real-world problem solving often eludes simple, direct answers and can be heavily determined by communication ability (e.g. by actually having conversations with people).
Unfortunately, the camaraderie that develops between you and your coworkers often comes from complaining about the work and the company itself.
For the work, I would describe it as generally unfulfilling. You can expect in any job that there will be tasks that you enjoy doing and tasks that you do not enjoy doing, but in my experience the work at Hanover is tilted towards the latter category and especially so for entry-level employees.
For the company, there is a surprising lack in transparency and excess of bureaucracy for a company of Hanover's size. The former makes it very difficult for most employees to have meaningful conversations about their future at Hanover (as well as the future of the company itself) and the latter makes it very difficult to affect any type of positive change. These two issues are confounding by the fact that quite a few upper echelon people at Hanover have little to no experience outside of Hanover and often little aptitude for managing employees.
Advice to Management
I think Hanover has a very unique product and hence has potential to be very successful, but one of the key drivers of Hanover's long-term performance will be how the company decides to define "success". Historically, I don't think it is a secret that Hanover has defined "success" as year-over-year growth, which seems like a reasonable high-level metric for an emerging company. However, at some point the impetus for building the business will likely shift from being driven by new interactions (i.e. by selling to people who have never heard of Hanover) to being driven by perception (i.e. by selling to people who are already familiar with Hanover). This perception is driven in a large part by the quality of work that researchers are able to produce, and in my time at Hanover there were few meaningful investments in Hanover's actual product outside of increasing overall headcount to help alleviate some of the work burden. To be competitive in the long term I think that Hanover needs to make some significant investments in its products, which starts with attracting, training, and retaining good employees who can create value for clients and for the company.
As a litmus test, imagine that Hanover contracted itself. Would Hanover be satisfied with the product it received?
I worked at Hanover Research full-time (More than 3 years)
You will make good friends here. You will also find it funny that you become friends with people by commiserating about your job and complaining about the same things over and over.
- Hanover likes to say we have experts all over the place. The truth is, that number is actually closer to zero. This makes for a bad environment for young intelligent professionals who are getting their first taste of research in the real world. This also misleads a lot of prospective employees into coming to Hanover.
- As a researcher, I would recommend staying away from Hanover. The business model is set up in a way to be as "efficient" as possible, i.e. quick, that you (the researcher) are part of a fast spinning assembly line--and you are nothing but an assembly worker. So, you can imagine the work is mind numbing and if you do it long enough you will start learning some very bad research habits. Being thorough and factual goes out the window in favor of selling your research.
- The work itself is not really challenging, from a research perspective, the only challenge is going through project after project and completing them in the ridiculously little amount of time you are asked to do so.
- As I have mentioned above, there are close to zero subject matter experts at Hanover which means that there is little to no room for developing one's expertise. You will learn a few tricks here and there but nothing really marketable. (I am talking to individuals who come in with a Master's or PhD--If you come in knowing nothing, then yes you will learn something here).
- Your seniors all have that aura of "I don't really know what I'm doing," this is incredibly frustrating.
- Ambitions have very low ceilings at Hanover. After you get promoted to a content director position, something that doesn't take too long, there's very little room to go up beyond that point.
- Transparency is non-existent here. You have no idea what can get you fired, a promotion, a raise...It's very subjective.
- The pay is absurdly low, especially if you have a PhD in anything--the government pays way more than what you will be offered.
- Oh, and 2% match on your 401(K) not too terrible, right? well you only get that after 5 years. So, each year you are looking at a 0.4% match rate.
Advice to Management
Just read the list of cons and admit to yourselves that this is a real problem and not just throw some easy fixit solution that doesn't cost the company anything and doesn't actually do anything. Maybe hire senior level managers and executives who have real world research experience instead of flooding the top level with sales people who do not care for 60 percent of the work force at Hanover who are researchers.
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