I have been working at RSI full-time (Less than a year)
I work in the Roseville, CA branch and I have been here for a little over a month. So far this company has been amazing. I have people that I can turn to for help and everyone around the office is friendly. A lot of people on here complain about the work-life balance and I can’t speak to consultants on-site or at the main office but here I play a game a pool a day and no one bats an eye (we even have pool tournaments!). As long as I am getting my work done and putting in 40 hours everything is good. The benefits, 401K, and PTO are pretty standard, nothing over the top. The pay is good for a starting position but it’s standard for the area.
The software looks kind of dated and some of the codebase is as well. Trying to reverse that but it’s a good challenge.
I have been working at RSI full-time (Less than a year)
Flexible work hours
Great people to work with
Newer technologies being used
Can be difficult/require long hours if you do not have good time management skills
Advice to Management
Keep making the improvements you have been, I feel like we're on the right track
- decent start to career
- decent pay out of college
- lots of room and opportunities for growth
- management and process can improve
I worked at RSI full-time (More than 10 years)
1) This is a good place to start for new grads (which I did). It can be hard to find employers who will hire new grads with little or no job experience. RSI does this a lot. There is some training available, dependent very much on which manager and team leads you end up working with. Compensation for new grads is better than average, in my experience. Do expect to be a self-starter and be proactive about solving problems and getting your work done. If you are willing to step up, be professional and responsible, work hard and get the job done, this can be a good place to start off your career.
2) I always felt very fairly compensated for my work. Many people complained that compensation was low, but I just never felt that way. I suspect the complainers were comparing to silicone valley or ‘average’ California salaries, which does not take into account the actual cost of living in the Sacramento area. I was always satisfied with my pay, benefits, bonuses, and raises.
3) The employees are all hard-working, talented, and want to do a good job. In general, there’s not much of a social scene, so if you’re looking for a job where you’ll meet people that you hang out with after work, there’s not a lot of that going on (at least in the office where I worked - that could be different at other locations). But the people are generally friendly and pleasant to work with.
4) RSI can be a very good place if you want flexibility in your career. The HR staff is committed to fitting people with talent into the roles where that talent can be utilized. Internal promotions and transitions are welcomed, so if you see a job opening in the company that you’d rather be doing than your current job, the transition may be very fast and easy. There are also opportunities in locations across the USA, so if you have a desire to relocate and still want to keep your job, that may well be possible.
1) The biggest con is work-life balance. Quite frankly, I’m not sure that upper management realizes how bad it is. There’s a lot of corporate talk about positive work-life balance, and maybe it’s fine at the Pembroke office, but most other locations it’s pretty bad.
Over the years that I worked for RSI, I saw the work-life balance really deteriorate. It used to be that you’d have crunch times - working 60 hrs a week or more to get the job done - and then you’d have down times in between where you could recover, go home at 5pm, schedule your doctor’s appointments, and even take some extra days off. Over time it just got worse and worse until it was basically perpetual crunch-time for years on end. In my experience, the average condition is overworked and burnt-out for any RSI employees that have been there more than a year or so.
I actually had one of my managers say this to me: “You won’t want to work here anymore when you have a family. This is not a family-friendly place to work. I have to justify to my boss when I am NOT available on Saturday. I have to apologize and let him know in advance that I’m not available on the weekend because it’s my son’s birthday. It’s expected that I will work every weekend, unless there is some extenuating circumstance.”
2) Hard work is under-appreciated. The reviews that say ‘suck it up, buttercup’, are exactly on-point. Now, I understand you have to do what it takes to get the job done. That is life. That is called “having a job”. I was often one of the longer-working employees in the office. Delivering results is important to me, and many times I even under-reported my hours, due to pressure to “get the job done faster”. I never missed a deadline. I worked hard and I got the job done. If you don’t, you won’t last long at RSI. But then again, you probably won’t last long anywhere IMO, so I don’t necessarily see that as a problem. But I will also add that there is little recognition or appreciation for the hard work that most employees are doing every day. In a company where everyone works 50-60 hours a week, you can only stand out as an ‘exceptional’ employee if you work 100 hours a week, which is pretty ridiculous. While I can’t say that I got nothing for all my work - I received positive annual reviews, got promoted, and received raises and bonuses - but there was little or nothing on a day-to-day basis in appreciation or recognition of any of the work that I did. I received little thanks and almost no other recognition or appreciation. If you are the sort of person who needs external feedback to let you know that you’re doing a good job, this is not the place for you (unless you are fortunate enough to get placed under one of the 2 or 3 truly excellent managers in the company - but the odds are not good).
3) For a technology company, what they are providing is fairly behind-the-times. Do not expect to work on any late-breaking or cutting-edge technology here. Part of this is to be expected, because of the client-base that RSI is serving. These type of clients are never going to be able to handle cutting-edge technology, so you have to reach them where they’re at. And because these clients are often very slow to accept and adopt change, that puts RSI at a disadvantage in technology, because they are limited by what their clients will actually purchase. I do believe that RSI and its management would like to innovate, but in my experience, that innovation is very slow in coming. I’ve always suspected that because RSI’s clients are so bureaucratic and slow, that RSI sees itself as fast-paced and forward-thinking by comparison. By comparison to their clients - RSI moves at the speed of light! By comparison to other technology companies, however, progress and innovation are slow in coming. In technology decisions and planning, RSI is often directed by (and limited to) client requests, rather than forward-thinking ideas about what will actually make a better, more stable, more usable, more maintainable product overall. In my experience, employees who are most passionate about change, innovation, and long-term technology improvement often get frustrated by their inability to effect change or make any headway, and often end of leaving within 2 years.
In the technical realm, I do think that staying at RSI for so long was a detriment to me in my career. It was difficult to find other jobs I was qualified for, since I had little or not experience in the technologies that most other companies are using.
Advice to Management
I worked for RSI for over 10 years, and only recently left for other employment. My thoughts and opinions are based on a long period of time observing and thinking about RSI as an employer. I left RSI on good terms, and have been appreciative of the opportunities and employment I received there. However, I am sad to say that RSI is just not that great a place to work. I wish I could give it a rating of 2.5 stars, but I am forced to choose either 2 or 3 stars, and I feel like a rating of 3 gives potential employees an overly rosy idea of what it’s like there, which I think is unfair in a forum like this, so I had to settle for a rating of 2 stars.
1) Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference. Train the mid-level managers on how to boost morale and keep a positive work environment. When people are working an AVERAGE of 50+hrs a week for months (and even years!) on end, little things to show employee appreciation can make a big difference. Bring in donuts, bagels, or breakfast burritos. Provide free snacks and soda in the break room. Starbucks gift cards, anyone? These things are cheap, but go a long way to improve morale if done often (I’m talking weekly, not monthly, let alone annually).
2) Mid-level managers - especially those that are promoted internally - are often lacking in actual people-management skills. A few have it naturally, but most would benefit from training and/or coaching. They can understand the technology, make a project plan, generate reports, and even help remove barriers to progress (sometimes). But they often don’t actually have the inter-personal skills and/or relational skills needed to successfully manage PEOPLE, not just projects. This can be fixed, but it will take time. I really feel like the managers are only incentivized to deal with the numbers. In my time at RSI, I worked under one good manager, and several very mediocre ones. I do believe that all of the mediocre ones could have been better with additional training or (even better) coaching. The manager has a huge impact on workplace morale, and this influence is vastly under-utilized at RSI.
A few options for improvement:
consider having managers reviewed by one or two of their employees as part of the review process
consider a reward system for managers voted on by employees (e.g. “best manager of the year”). Could be tied to actual compensation benefit, or just bragging rights. Have that manager present to management about what they do as a manager
consider methods to measure people-management skills in manager-level reviews, not just whether their project got done on time and they ‘met their goals’. Unless maybe the managers are all required to have at least one goal for the year that involves something to improve morale and/or make the office a more enjoyable place to work. That might be an easy way to work this concept into the existing review process.
3) Another thing that should be a fairly easy fix is adjusting the project-planning process to provide realistic timeframes for getting the work done. I don’t know how it actually works, but here is how it always felt to me:
Boss: How long will it take to get this feature built?
Me: I estimate it will take 100 hours.
Project Plan: You have 2 weeks get this done.
Ok, I know it’s not actually like that, but that how it seemed. The project planning always seems to assume ‘best case scenario’. There is never a buffer in the plan for anything to go wrong (and something always goes wrong). The plan seems to assume that people will work 8-9 hours a day on just their project. So if they have any email to answer, team meetings to attend, coworkers asking them questions, or any bathroom or lunch breaks….. then they are automatically behind. This is the norm. It’s burning out employees, causing poorer quality work output, and leaving little time or energy for the innovation that you say you want. The people that work directly with the clients consistently over-promise what RSI can deliver, leaving the developers and consultants - who are the majority of the work force - to deal with the stress. Repeat after me: under promise, over deliver.
4) A final thought: in my experience, RSI expects above-average quality employees to work at industry-average pay rates. I always felt the compensation was 'fair for the position' - but that’s not quite the same thing as ‘fair for the job’. I do think that RSI provides industry-standard compensation. But they expect higher-than-average performance. In that sense, the employees are under-compensated. But salary and benefits are not the only form of compensation. People will be happy to work hard for a company - for managers - that appreciate their work. But appreciation needs to be tangible. Providing a great work environment, with flexibility and enjoyable work-life balance is one way to compensate your awesome employees for all their work. People who want more money will probably leave for jobs in the silicone valley anyway (or NYC, for an east-coast comparison). RSI can still reach the many people that have families and want a better quality of life than those big-city jobs can offer. This is the sort of thing that I always heard a lot from the corporate/HR level, but that "work-life balance" and "positive-workplace environment" just never seemed to trickle down from the corporate level to the actual offices where people work. RSI’s stated corporate values are not actually the reality for the average office or team. I suspect that empowering, training, coaching, and supporting the middle-level management in following these values would go a long way to improve the experience of the average RSI employee. RSI corporate talks a good talk about all of these things, but I am here to tell you that the stated corporate values are getting lost in the daily grind of trying to get all the work done at the ground-level.
I have been working at RSI full-time (More than a year)
Very highly skilled and talented partners
Not getting used to one company
I worked at RSI full-time (More than 3 years)
For strong minded, hard working individuals, this is where you want to start your career. If you are looking to challenge yourself, learn independently and tackle new problems on your own terms, this is the place for you.
During my time here i've heard countless complaints from lazy , overly dependent , incompetent individuals that complain about this organization and how it is run. If you are legitimately looking to progress as a strong, creative and self sufficient individual, this is the place for you.
However, if you are the type that doesn't strive to learn and progress on your own terms, you are too weak minded for this organization.
From a personal standpoint, I owe this organization a ton of appreciation and credit for helping me progress to the strong professional and individual that I am today.
(for weak minded individuals ) not being given enough guidance on approaches to solving problems.
Advice to Management
Stop hiring over entitled millennials.
I worked at RSI full-time (More than a year)
-RSI can be accommodating of personal issues in terms of relocation, emergencies, etc.
-Decent benefits and compensation (especially as an entry level job)
-No work/life balance when approaching Go-Live dates in certain projects (i.e. Weekend work and 12+ hour days are the norm)
-Employees are treated horribly and seem to be taken advantage of at every corner
-Everyone is miserable
-The product is extremely long in the tooth and is hindering this company in every conceivable measure
-Management is atrocious
-Over-promising from Managers causes a domino effect of failure
-The culture is comprised of pointing fingers and trying to push as much work as possible on the less skilled employees
-Training for certain roles is hard to come by and other employees have too much work to assist those who are struggling
-A not so bright future ahead as RSI has not seen a successful bid in quite some time and most of their current projects are struggling
Advice to Management
INNOVATE. RSI is in desperate need of new software and new practices. Most of the competitors have a much more streamlined and effective process for a better outcome and your current clients are aware of this. You are losing bids and are struggling to keep current clients happy because of the poor product and obscene downtime caused by your highly ineffective methods.
Your employees are what is keeping RSI afloat and you NEED to show them the appreciation they deserve. Employees are not treated fairly and morale is at a horrifying low. The employee retention rate is, frankly, embarrassing and people are leaving left and right because of the lack of appreciation. Maybe more opportunity for growth and or compensation for overtime?
Managers who are more technically skilled and realistic will help with efficiency as well. There are too many BAs and PMs who have very little technical knowledge which causes over-promising to the client and, in return, unrealistic deadlines. These deadlines end up trickling down to very distraught employees and an unrelenting amount of overtime required for some projects. There is a reason that people are leaving at the rate that they are.
I worked at RSI full-time (More than 5 years)
The people you physically work with day in and day out on a project tend to be excellent. They are the reason why the company is still in business in spite of its poor management. You also have a lot of autonomy to do your job. Just don't expect realistic time frames.
I have been away from RSI for a number of years now, but have been curiously tracking their reviews. Even though reviews skew really positive or really negative, the content shows that what I experienced is not far from what is currently happening.
If you decide to join RSI, don't expect a work life balance. You will have non technical managers setting expectations with non technical clients. So the project that should take 75 hours will be expected to be complete in 5 working days. And even if you are given 2 months to complete a project, at the start, expect a month of that to be taken away a week or so later. These are what happened to me. I also saw this happening to others.
I find it interesting that the positive review says to "suck it up buttercup". Meaning if you expect a life outside of work, then you are a weakling. That mentality does not surprise me from those who like working there. I remember working 60 to 80 hour weeks that include weekends with no benefit to me. And this would go for months (don't let the spin of "this is only very rare" fool you). So I was donating half to a full week every week to a company, because their management made unrealistic expectations.
When I was there, they were just implementing a new career path stratgey. I am not sure how successful that was or if it was more smoke and mirrors. Management has a tendency to promise something and then conveniently forget to actually do it.
Fortunately there are more sane companies out there to work for.
I worked at RSI full-time (More than a year)
There are definitely a few key pros to working at RSI, especially as a new college grad. However, I'm not sure the pros outweigh the cons.
1) Some technical experience will carry over to other jobs
RSI doesn't have a very selective hiring process. A large portion of their entry-level hires major in Business Information Systems and other similar degrees. There are very few Computer Science grads. However, no matter what your major is, RSI will probably place you in a role that requires you to learn something technical. You will have the opportunity to learn SQL and basic object oriented programming principles on the job, which can be used to pursue other job opportunities. However, I will be extremely clear that this technical experience WILL NOT set you up to work for the big tech companies (think big 4). If you're smart and you're looking for more of a Technical Business Analyst or Technical Project Manager role, your experience at RSI may be beneficial.
2) If you stand out, you will be given responsibility
If you act professionally, learn quickly, get your job done, and occasionally work overtime when needed, you will be given a lot of responsibility. This is a double-edged sword, as you will gain valuable experience and may even find yourself managing a small team with less than 2 years of professional work experience to your name, but you will also receive a workload that is probably too much for one person, and you will most likely be asked to work overtime.
3) Most people were nice
There were only a handful of people that I interacted with (or heard stories about) at RSI that were "bad" people. Most people were nice, especially the core of entry-level employees who would grab lunch together. RSI is definitely not a "dog-eat-dog do anything to get to the top" work environment, though it definitely has its downsides that I will touch on later.
There are some major issues at RSI that I think every potential hire should be aware of before making a decision to join the company.
1) Ancient technology
The tech world is so exciting right now, and RSI is taking no part in it, instead electing to build software using outdated methodologies (if you can even classify their processes as methodologies) and old, abandoned technology. RSI builds their software using a Java/C# layer and a "Business Rules" layer that sits on top of that. The "Business Rules" layer is written in FICO Blaze Business Rules Engine. Here is an except from FICO's website:
"FICO® Blaze Advisor® is the world's leading decision rules management system, maximizing control, agility and actionability to optimize high-volume operational decisions. Blaze Advisor transforms the entire process for developing, deploying and maintaining rules-based decision applications."
I will assure you that everything in that excerpt is the complete opposite in the reality of development at RSI. If you're a Computer Science major, minor, or have any sliver of self-respect when it comes to technology, you want to stay AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE from FICO Blaze Business Rules engine. RSI has been using this forever and shows no signs of stopping, even though there are dozens of ways they could develop a better, faster, and overall more polished product if they ditched FICO Blaze and stepped into the 21st century.
The FICO Blaze Advisor IDE (which you have to use) is slow, crashes all the time, and every time you install a Windows update it breaks and you have to go through a painstaking reinstall process. In addition, the small subsection of "developers" that use FICO Blaze are not active at all online (think Stackoverflow), so when you run into issues you legitimately CANNOT use Google to troubleshoot, leaving you banging your head against your desk for hours on end.
RSI's commitment to using FICO Blaze sums up it's stance on modern development standards and seriously hinders its ability to deliver a modern, polished product. If you work for RSI, there is about a 50% chance you will have to have daily interactions with FICO Blaze Business Rules engine.
2) Sacrificed work-life balance and workplace stress is common due to questionable project management decisions
Full disclosure, I worked in only one of RSI's offices during my time with the company. RSI has multiple offices all over the US at client sites. They have one specific office that functions as a "development hub" where a small group of employees work remotely on multiple projects at once; this is the office that I worked at. This following point applies to my experience and perception of coworkers experiences at that office, supporting multiple projects at once.
No matter how many or how few projects RSI currently has, it always feels like you're trying to scoop water out of a flooding bathtub using a ladle with holes in it. There always seems to be more work than possible given the number of employees working on each project. 75% of the time, management is breathing down your neck to ask for ticket status, and when your realistic time estimate doesn't align with what they think is an acceptable answer, they will push you to work overtime (nights and even weekends if necessary).
This behavior is to be expected every once in a while, especially when project deadlines are approaching and the client is getting antsy. However, if this happens constantly during the SDLC and over and over again on each and every project, there's an obvious problem with project managers and upper-level employees giving unreachable project estimates. No employee wants to be under pressure 100% of the time to hit obviously unrealistic deadlines that lead to a horrible work-life balance and extreme stress in the workplace. In addition, RSI is pushing employees to do whatever they can to push out anything necessary to get tickets off their name, which leads the employee to sacrifice quality in order to avoid working until 9 p.m.
Management needs to do better in estimating project timelines
3) Every employee is given the job title "Consultant"
RSI is technically a consulting agency and therefore all their employees are technically consultants. However, most RSI employees fall into one of the following buckets: Software Developers, DevOps Engineers, Database Administrators/Developers, Business Analysts, and Project Managers. Now, if you Google each of these titles and look at their average salaries you will see that they vary from role to role, as one would expect. However, it is my opinion that RSI lumps everyone into a single "Consultant" bucket in order to avoid paying that salaries that more technical roles usually demand. If you daily responsibilities include checking in code changes, investigating complex software issues, and reviewing junior employees' spaghetti code, you should probably be called a Software Engineer and paid as one, just as if you meet with stakeholders, draft user stories, and complete acceptance testing you should be called a Business Analyst and paid as a Business Analyst, but that is simply not the case at RSI. In addition, when you move on from RSI, you have the added challenge of explaining what your duties as a "Consultant" were, since most hiring managers will be confused as to why your job title doesn't match your experience.
4) The source code is kept hidden from 90% of employees
This is one of the more bizarre ones. As a developer at RSI, you often run into issues in your Blaze Business Rules code that requires you to understand what's happening one layer under, in the Java/C#. As a developer at most companies, after some digging through repos it becomes obvious (or at least you have some idea) as to where the issue is. That is not the reality of being a developer at RSI. Because the product source code is inexplicably hidden from most developers, you need to organize a meeting with someone at the West Coast office in order to troubleshoot your issue. This process wastes so much time and is extremely anti-agile. Just let developers read the code.
5) When someone leaves the company, their work is just lumped on their teammate
I've witnessed coworkers' work loads increase 1.5-3x, with no pay increase, because someone on the team quit. Management makes little or no effort to bring in new employees to fill the gaps created by those who left, and the loyal employees suffer because of it, often creating a domino effect of people leaving and lumping their work on the next person.
6) Bad requirements lead to bad development and wasted time
I have witnessed countless times in which a developer will complete work based on business requirements that passed down from a BA or manager that fails acceptance testing by the client who then come back with requests that deviate from the original requirements. This is definitely the norm and not the exception at RSI. While it is fine to have and to react to changing requirements, RSI definitely wastes a lot of valuable time in this back-and-forth game between developers, BAs, and clients. As a developer, you can only do what you are told to do in your tickets, and it doesn't feel great when you constantly have to revisit tickets that failed acceptance due to either mismanagement on the BAs side, or uncertainty from the client. RSI needs to do better in this regard in order to keep developers' sanity and to reduce waste from inefficient processes.
Advice to Management
RSI wouldn't be so bad if employees and their personal time were respected. When someone quits, hire someone new or find a way to distribute work in a way that doesn't leave everyone burnt out. If deadlines aren't being hit or overtime is needed for every single project, you either need more employees or more realistic timelines. But most of all, embrace new technology in order to improve the product and as a way to attract talent. No half-decent engineer wants to work with FICO Blaze Business Rules engine. Make a product that doesn't look like and perform like it was built ten years ago. Embrace agile methodology as a way to improve processes and waste less time.
I have been working at RSI full-time (More than 3 years)
A decent place to start ones career, alot of smart and friendly people to work with and to learn from, flexible with hours and working remotely as long as the work is getting done in a timely fashion, very nice and modern office. Changes in management have led to an improvement within the company overall
Pay can be lower than industry standards for the California market, poor documentation on flagship products, too much reliance on "tribal knowledge" for configuration/operation of the software suite, poor communication with consultants working on client sites. Some new hires are put into positions that are different than what was promised them (IE hired as a Software Engineer, placed into a support role).
Advice to Management
Pay people what they are worth, communicate to your employees more effectively, be honest with your hiring practices.
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