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Klarna Employee Reviews about "middle management"

Updated Dec 22, 2020

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Found 16 of over 717 reviews

4.0
76%
Recommend to a Friend
86%
Approve of CEO
Klarna CEO and Founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski
Sebastian Siemiatkowski
440 Ratings
Pros
  • "Exciting and fast-paced company to work at(in 46 reviews)

  • "Large and fast growing company where a lot of things are happening(in 17 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Poor middle management with low understanding of issues(in 17 reviews)

  • "Toxic culture, micromanagement and minimal career progression unless you are Swedish, white or male(in 14 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

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    Reviews about "middle management"

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    1. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Fast paced, enjoyable co-workers, many opportunities

      Aug 29, 2016 - Customer Service in Columbus, OH
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      In general a very team oriented company. Relaxed work environment. Startup feel.

      Cons

      Socially disconnected middle management. Lack of vertical communication within departments. Typical chaotic startup issues and fixes.

      11 people found this review helpful
    2. 2.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      Uncollaborative, unsupportive, no training, zero process or training materials. Poor management on all levels.

      Dec 22, 2020 - Analyst in Stockholm, Stockholm
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Laptop and phone given when your start and breakfast and coffee available.

      Cons

      Senior management disjointed to company, middle management are not suited to their roles in most cases and have too much in their plate which has a negative knock on effect for staff. Pay is below market rates.

      Continue reading
      8 people found this review helpful
    3. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      The Sebastian cult

      Sep 30, 2019 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      + you work with the latest tech + the majority of people on the individual contributor level are very smart and hard-working people + good benefits package + you learn a lot on a lot of levels (politics included)

      Cons

      - the CEO; the Swedish version of Elizabeth Holmes (in some sense). Over the last few years he has transformed from an inspiring leader to an arrogant copycat of Steve Jobs, who personally handles (i.e., micromanages) all important projects and fires people at will when they do not execute exactly what he orders. It is amazing to see how many C level executives have been fired. The ones remaining nowadays are hand picked individuals from the earlier years of Klarna (who grew with the company and the Sebastian cult mentality) and learned not to challenge him. - the majority of middle management must become YES-people as well (if they have not become already). I still do not understand why they hire competent people when all they want is someone to say "YES Sebastian, this is a great idea and I will execute it exactly the way you want me to. I know ... it doesn't matter if it is shady in terms of legal, compliance, privacy and if it will create huge technical debt that will eventually make us redo all the work from the beginning in a few years (which will eventually slow us down) ... if you want it now, I will do it now!" - the new operating model has segmented the company so much that eventually no one knows what the others are doing and everyone re-implements the wheel and does things in the way that will make them reach Sebastian's goal faster. Even if it makes no sense - the new operating model forces so much administration work to the team managers (or competence leads as they are called) that some of the smartest people in Klarna have become in reality glorified secretaries - a few year's ago product was harassing engineering with some seriously incompetent and arrogant product managers. Now they don't have to do that anymore ... product owns engineering completely. Engineering (or the "geeks" as Sebastian refers to them in some internal circles) gets to play with any cool toys they find out there on the internet as long as they can build pretty castles on the sand - do not expect career development opportunities (after a certain level) if you are not high five-ing everyone around you and shouting "Klarna is awesome". So many people have been playing this game and they even admit it in 1-1 conversations simply because they want to get a title that will help them step up to a new role in another company - all successes (real or fake) are celebrated but no lost deals or general losses are even ever mentioned. It feels that the company actively tries to hide problems and not learn from the mistakes of the past - you will work a lot. As a manager it is an unwritten rule that you have to pick up the phone and work at any given point (including during your vacation). This might become true even for individual contributors in some cases. The strangest thing is how the company has successfully managed to blur the limits between personal and professional time. I guess that is what Sebastian meant when he famously said "I do not believe in the work-life balance"

      Continue reading
      50 people found this review helpful
    4. 3.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      OK Place

      Apr 29, 2020 - Account Manager in Stockholm, Stockholm
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Happy people - Semi good salary

      Cons

      - Poor middle management with low understanding of issues.

      7 people found this review helpful
    5. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Dont believe the Hype

      Feb 21, 2017 - Anonymous Employee in Stockholm, Stockholm
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      You work with some really smart people They are constantly trying to improve especially in HR due to the high staff turnover. like with most Swedish companies, free fruit, coffee, decent enough pensions and links into SEB for good mortgage rates etc.. People leave so quickly that you can get promoted very fast after joining ( limited pay rises, though)

      Cons

      Middle management to VP level are just trying to keep their jobs so tend to be very political as people leave so quickly smart people are put in the wrong jobs or promoted so they won't leave even though it is obvious they should not be in that role Over worked and under paid staff Departments work in silo's and very rarely work as one. Too many stakeholders in any project so things move very slowly unless a CXO is involved ( people are scared to make decisions).

      Continue reading
      19 people found this review helpful
    6. 2.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      The splendour and misery of Klarna

      Apr 21, 2016 - Engineer in Stockholm, Stockholm
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - growing company with big ambitions and powerful self-PR - cool office in Stockholm city center (see above) - reasonable work/life balance (for engineers at least) - possibility to attend different conferences, team-buildings and corporate events, work with latest technologies;

      Cons

      - as it was indicated here many times - middle management is generally incompetent and malpracticing; engineering managers are mostly technical people inexperienced in management; managers above them are talkers, who show off to top-managers and investors, favouritism is flourishing; - the company does not value it's employees high, it has high attrition rates, justifying it by 'being in transformation stage between start-up and the corporation' - if you are really strong engineer, who desires above-the-market salary and opportunity to work with top-notch engineers - this company is not the right place for you...

      52 people found this review helpful
    7. 3.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Great company with thounsands of ideas but...

      Dec 2, 2017 - Service Center Advisor in Stockholm, Stockholm
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - daily breakfast buffet - super friendly and diligent people from the whole world. - a lot of "fun" and educational events (Kick off, Booost week, brown bags etc) - the Management is full of ideas of how to improve and get bigger - flexible working hours

      Cons

      - working hard will not get you a promotion (do nothing but get a coffee once a day with your team manager and you will get promoted) - lower salary (but Management says that you work at Klarna because of the fun people and not because of the money) - a lot of changes and sadly new ideas get released despite hundreds bugs (those might be amazing for the customer but it is just frustrating to work with it) - the Employee Survey shows how frustrated everyone is but nothing changes - unmotivated middle Management (maybe because they got the position despite being unqualified) - everything feels unorganised

      Continue reading
      8 people found this review helpful
    8. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Go somewhere else if you can

      Jan 13, 2016 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Most of the people you meet here are social, with some you will even become friends. The atmosphere is young. The new office building is fresh and works for the most parts.

      Cons

      Company acts still like a small start-up, even though it has grown to be a company with over 1000 employees. There is alot of favoritism, some individuals will get ahead even if they are not the most skilled or the hardest workers, but because they are preferred by the middle management. Brown-nosing, back-stabbing and stealing other people's ideas will take you far in this company, but only inside your own department. Advancing from one department to another almost impossible. No career paths for employees, I guess they are expected to stay in the same position for ever. Like said in earlier reviews, middle management lacking alot of the skills needed for a manager, so middle management is overall bad. Pay is bad and raises are ridiculous - what good does a 200kr do more per month? Company has no union contract (kollektivavtal) which just shows that they do not care for their employees.

      Continue reading
      42 people found this review helpful
    9. 1.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      Bad middle-management, high employee turn-over

      Apr 4, 2016 - Customer Service in Stockholm, Stockholm
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The company is young, the colleagues are friendly and open-minded. The office has a fresh look and good facilities.

      Cons

      The middle management is poor since they are in general unable to manage people. On top of that, the majority of the middle management has no relevant higher education or no university degree at all. There is a very high employee turn-over rate which hat has a negative effect on team building. Only in a month's time, I saw 40% of the whole staff being exchanged for new employees. The workload is too high. The team is chronically understaffed which creates pressure on the current workforce. Employees need to work like a machine, it is not appreciated if you go too often to the toilet. Career development is very restricted. You risk your job when you ask for another position internally since HR and middle management get suspicious about your motivation towards the current job. This creates frustration and demotivation among the employees. The salary is below average.

      Continue reading
      46 people found this review helpful
    10. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      midgrowth company still stuck in startup mentality

      Jan 12, 2016 - Anonymous Employee in Stockholm, Stockholm
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Work at Klarna is fast paced, if you have the drive, you will always have a project. There are many great people working here, the big-data/finance/tech/risk sector is a very lucrative field, and if the company wants, it can go very far. The office space is modern and well run (thanks in part to the amazing reception staff and cleaning crew).

      Cons

      Last minute projects, emergencies, outages, pushed deadlines are constantly an issue. The "Klarna way" basically means scramble and make sure that things don't fall apart, fix problems when they arise, or if they do fall apart, make sure that you have someone to blame or be able to cover your tracks. Launching new products, services, protocols, routines, systems before anyone has had a chance to test them, and doing so without telling relevant departments is a very amateur mistake and it's done over and over and over again. Klarna is not organized enough for 1200+ employees and acts like a very immature company. It might look like there is a good organization chart and communication flow, but all of these things break down when you look at who is placed in what positions. Higher level positions here have a very high churn rate and this is a scary thing to see. Most of the mid level management positions have 'moved up' in the company over the years, but do not have any management experience. Instead, they have earned 'experience' at Klarna during the start-up phase and do not bring anything new to the table. When you see middle management online shopping, taking the company car out for golf, throwing parties and flaunting unnecessary business travel, you know there's a problem. To prospective employees: expect a much lower salary than competitors. When I say competitors, I mean international companies in the Tech/Finance industry. Even when comparing Klarna to other Swedish companies, there is a large disparity when it comes to salary and benefits, this company does not participate in Kollektivavtal. The Male-Female ratio is very off when it comes to management/engineering/higher paying positions in this company, and I can't blame other women for not working here. Let's face it, if you're a well educated female with a background in business or any of the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) you can do a lot better than Klarna. Why would you work for a Swedish company that doesn't value it's employees and pays 50% lower wages than anyone else in the UK or US and 25% less than other Swedish companies. Obviously, you go to one of the other companies instead. There is no real career path/room for improvement in many parts of this company. Too many times have I talked with colleagues and found out that they have been doing basically the same lower level job for far too long. If you are not a favorite of the middle management groups, you will probably not get any promotions or raises (not that these exist for many because of the salary review structure). You are basically expected to be happy with your salary, and getting more and more work added on, without any change or opportunity for bettering things. It's really strange that management and talent acquisition don't know why they can't attract real talent and keep it. In many start ups and companies that I have worked for in the past, the blind survey asks whether or not employees think they receive the appropriate compensation for the work they do. This question is usually a good judge of how much an employee feels recognized. I imagine if this question was on the Klarna survey, it would not look very good. Once the company has reached this stage in it's growth, it really should look at how to improve the career paths and working standards for it's employees. Sooner or later, this will catch up to Klarna, hopefully they can figure things out before people start jumping ship.

      Continue reading
      44 people found this review helpful
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