Palo Alto Research Center Member of Research Staff Reviews | Glassdoor

Palo Alto Research Center Member of Research Staff Reviews

Updated April 12, 2017
8 reviews

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Member of Research Staff

3.1
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Palo Alto Research Center CEO Stephen Hoover
Stephen Hoover
5 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work, great opportunities"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You are surrounded by extremely smart and capable people. The opportunities available to you and the impact you can have on technology is amazing in the true sense of the word. Located in the heartland of the Tech industry and exposed to cutting edge ideas and innovations.

    Cons

    Disorganized management at the moment due to the upcoming split in the parent company. No clear path forward or investment in disruptive research which is the DNA of the company.

    Advice to Management

    Stability is key in making sure your employees stay happy and focus. There doesn't seem to be a clear path forward given the culture of the company and where Xerox wants to go.


  2. "struggling to stay relevant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Member of the Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Member of the Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Collegial atmosphere. Still a few truly outstanding people left, and occasionally outstanding talent gets hired. Great building. Everyone is well-intentioned. Very accommodating to human needs and work-life balance. Company is hungry for aggressive and competent leadership. Big ideas get talked about.

    Cons

    The struggle to remain relevant has been challenging. Business model is choppy so resourcing is tough. Five people is considered a big project---which means target for budget cut. The mood is about coping with hard times.

    Advice to Management

    Reality is reality so it's better to be more transparent.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Extremely slow-moving"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center full-time

    Pros

    You get your own office, which is nice amidst the open-office culture these days in the Silicon Valley.

    Cons

    There is hardly any push from the business to monetize existing technologies. A few people here are smart and others are a mere show-off.

    Advice to Management

    The reason companies like Microsoft Research have great research outputs is because they don't hire dumb people. Please do a good evaluation of the researchers. You will shoo away good researchers because dumb are here, and it's hard to work with them!


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Great for industrial research as an individual contributor."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great work-life balance. The culture promotes collaboration and sharing with coworkers. There were a lot of professional development growth opportunities in your technical area. You will learn a lot about business development, interacting with customers, your and related technical areas, and all of the intricacies between these moving pieces.

    Cons

    Pay is significantly lower than what a good software engineer could get. Promotions and performance reviews beyond an individual contributors are very subjective and political and thus for young researchers it likely you will run into a ceiling.

    Advice to Management

    There is room for improving the employee's trust of the system w.r.t. promotions, compensation and project funding.


  6. Helpful (10)

    "Ok for a year but then you need to move on."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Member of Research Staff II in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Member of Research Staff II in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    A good brand in some circles. Smart and generally nice people. OK work life balance.

    Cons

    40 years ago great things happened here. The thought leaders were gone by the 1990s. The company is now dominated by a cohort from that time who have built a museum (literally) and live int the past. New people come, stay a year or two, then rotate out.

    The business model is still work in progress. The Xerox endowment is declining with the parent company's market performance. There are large pockets for US Government funding but these directions and levels can turn on a dime. The commercial work plan is not supported by people who can execute and the costs are too high. What corporation is going to pay $50K to come hear a Power Point presentation at "PARC Place" and then pay per researcher head what you could use to fund a startup?

    The financial results are currently bad. Last year was a $4 million loss. This year there were significant RIFs. I don't see a change in that trajectory this year. How long will the parent company back fill these losses.

    Note: the bonus pool only pays out if the company makes a profit.

    Poor cafeteria. Poor gym.

    Advice to Management

    The company is in a death spiral with the retired in place 30 year veteran cohort who are out of touch with the real worl. Bring in some new thought leaders with some real world experience. Close the hardware labs.

    The CEO needs to get buy in across the leadership (down to the Area Manager) level for his strategy. Part of that is replacing them.

    Just when you need to be focussing on rebuilding the future you've gotten distracted with the Webster merger.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Brilliant people, but stunted growth"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    People here are very smart and many take initiative to develop ideas into tangible research prototypes. My first few years here I grew significantly simply by assimilating the culture here. There will always be a way to work on what you are passionate about, and you have way more autonomy over your own time than other companies.

    Cons

    The company isn't really growing. Less growth means fewer promotion opportunities because you don't have many junior people coming in. This isn't a problem specific to PARC, but independent research labs in general, of which many have died.

    Advice to Management

    You guys are doing a great job with the hand that you're dealt, but I think you have to fundamental shift business models to something such as that of MIT with their membership structure. There is pressure to get a quick ROI especially with some commercial engagements, but this is discordant with the nature of research. I would be open to more deals that don't always involve cash, such as more partnerships, spin-ins, and co-development arrangements.


  8. "Great place for Ph.Ds to grow, but not the case if you don't have a Ph.D"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Member of Research Staff in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Variety of exciting projects for clients and government contracts. I worked on cleantech projects (solar, geothermal) and got to contribute to mechanical, electrical, and software systems, which is a plus because traditional employers might keep you only on mechanical or electrical or software work.
    Great health benefits, 401k matching, PARC Forums (also available to the public).

    Cons

    You need a Ph.D to move up in the company due to PARC's academic culture.
    Without a Ph.D, you get respect if you have at least 10-20 years of experience; I wouldn't recommend new grads or those with 1-5 years of experience (and not having a Ph.D) to work at PARC.
    Compensation is below average for the Palo Alto area.
    The cafeteria food needs improvement.

    Advice to Management

    Look beyond the educational background of your talented engineers and scientists; there's more to your research staff than whether or not they have Ph.Ds. Don't hire people to 2-year positions because it stresses them out about their futures (as it did for me): if you don't want somebody past 2 years, then you can take action. Create a strong mentoring program for younger research staff members so they can grow in the company with regards to technical skill and project management.


  9. "Unfortunate"

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

    I have been working at Palo Alto Research Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    There is excellent work life balance and very nice colleagues.

    Cons

    This is a demoralizing and uninspiring environment. The potential to do the best quality research at this company is hampered by existing cultural and structural issues.