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SSE Reviews

Updated August 21, 2017
31 reviews

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SSE CEO Alistair Phillips-Davies
Alistair Phillips-Davies
9 Ratings

31 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Interesting company!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reading, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reading, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at SSE full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Great new office in Reading.
    - Flexible working hours.
    - Attracting great people with a can-do attitude.

    Cons

    - Lack of pace or a sense of urgency.
    - Not listening to the expertise or knowledge which newly hired people bring.
    - Overly complex projects which are not sustainable or viable.
    - Reliance on external consultants.
    - The number of repetitive presentations.
    - When creating a project to deliver new products, the senior management team leading it need to have the correct experience and expertise.
    - "Get it right first time" attitude, rather than "test and learn".
    - One of the most risk adverse companies in the world!
    - Safety is re-iterated beyond belief. You will get shouted at for not holding the handrail when walking down stairs! Seriously!?

    Advice to Management

    You have hired experts, yet do not listen to them or involve them in any discussions or decisions. A very "old school" company with a firm and formal management hierarchy. No opportunity to innovate or test or learn products. No opportunity to take risks.

    The energy sector is facing challenging times, and without diversifying your portfolio by test and learning and taking risks, there is no future.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Not concerned about staff's welfare"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Advisor in Cumbernauld, Scotland (UK)
    Current Employee - Customer Service Advisor in Cumbernauld, Scotland (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SSE part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good 12% discount on energy, good benefits programme

    Cons

    Very time managed, little room for freedom.

    Advice to Management

    Stop being so stat driven and stop being on your staff's back all the time

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Overworked and under supported such a disappointment as otherwise great features"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Leopardstown (Ireland)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Leopardstown (Ireland)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SSE full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The people. Simple as, they have been the warmest and most friendly and positive people I have worked with and can safely say there is a nice sense of camaraderie and support between teams. Also management do work hard to include staff at all levels and provide great training sessions to provide variety also. Great for promotion also and recognizing staff's ability. Internal candidates are very valued - probably the second best things abt SSE. Lastly great holiday days 25 days.

    Cons

    While there was good support in terms of training, the customer service department was unthinkably understaffed during my time here. Sadly, despite the lovely people and positive atmosphere, the workload was so overbearing I associate a huge amount of stress when I think back to my time here. I felt physically drained going home each day and the amount of time allowed away from desk is completely unacceptable. 10 minutes a day by which is marked in amber or red if you use 7 of them despite being "allowed" 10?! Felt like a caged animal and once due to a nosebleed was told I needed to make up for the few minutes of away from desk time I had used. Totally unacceptable. Incredibly draining role to be dealing with non stop complaints and working to turn those around is not feasible with such strict and ridiculous enforcement like that. Such a shame.

    Advice to Management

    please please take on more customer service staff and or implement changes to things like away from desk and making staff feel caged and like a piece of machinery taking call after call and appreciate how draining taking 90% complaints and often screaming phone calls for 8 hours a day truly is. also pls consider pay rise as is incredibly draining role.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Absolutely Awful"

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

    I worked at SSE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Brilliant benefits package including employer pension up to 12% (after 10 years' service)

    Cons

    The downsides far outweigh the pension! Completely strangled by layer upon layer of bureaucracy. Middle managers are stripped of all autonomy because HR have a stranglehold on most procedures. The organisation is so big that you are very much kept in your job box meaning there is no room for autonomy or creativity. Unless you live in the far south or Perth, Scotland the room for personal development is extremely limited.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees who genuinely care about their roles and are specialists in their industry. Just because you are SSE does not necessarily mean you know best. Just because your senior leadership are SSE through and through does not mean that they know best.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Good people, archaic management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Accounts Payable Assistant in Motherwell, Scotland (UK)
    Current Employee - Accounts Payable Assistant in Motherwell, Scotland (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SSE full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Reasonably well-paid for entry level work
    Straightforward work
    Good line management
    Friendly team with good camaraderie
    Choice of start times - 8am, 8:30, 9am
    Finish half-hour early on Friday

    Cons

    Head of department is terrible with people
    Understaffed for the workload involved
    Management practices involve 'stoicism'
    Excessive focus on safety - you will get formal warnings if you do not hold the hand rail when using the stairs
    Constant IT issues
    Work is not mentally rewarding

    Advice to Management

    The group manager proudly proclaims that her department is stoic and that she doesn't 'go around giving high fives' if people do well. I have heard her use the exact words 'If you want to be told when you're doing a good job don't come and work for me'. She is unaware of the fact that her staff suffer from morale issues, which are caused in large part by lack of motivation or empathy coming from the top down. This manager definitely uses an all stick, no carrot approach and for the sake of making the team work more effectively, this absolutely needs to be addressed.


  6. "process and structure restricts autonomy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Perth, Scotland (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Perth, Scotland (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at SSE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good share scheme
    Clear commitment to safety

    Cons

    Restrictive processes that do not encourage autonomy and make it hard to be entrepreneurial
    IT ERP systems not always fit for purpose
    Marginal pay increases if you stay in the same role year on year

    Advice to Management

    Address IT issues so the Company can become more customer focused
    Tackle morale issues


  7. Helpful (1)

    "They treat you like children"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Advisor in Havant, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Customer Service Advisor in Havant, England (UK)
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Warm comfortable office job. Job is ridiculously easy to do. No chance of ever straining or challenging yourself

    Cons

    atrocious holiday system, its near impossible to get time off. They make you come in on saturdays and mostly do nothing. They dont trust the staff , you will be monitored and checked up on constantly, you will never gain their trust. The health and safety is despicable, Orwellian in nature and the company will actively punish you if you say this out loud.

    Advice to Management

    You have adults in your team, not children. Start treating them that way.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "General enquiries role"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cumbernauld, Scotland (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cumbernauld, Scotland (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at SSE part-time

    Pros

    Good pay for a part time job. Extensive training and you're eased into the job in a "grad bay" environment. Free parking if you can find a space. You're given your own headset to take home so you're not left searching for one before you start. Free stationary. The ability to actually make a difference to people's lives and financial worries if you really put in the effort.

    Cons

    Targets are almost impossible to achieve.

    Targeted call time is less than 640 seconds but no lower than 560, leaving just over a minute for error. Call structure is made unnecessarily long and convoluted however you are expected to whizz through calls ticking all the boxes to avoid pressure over stats and low quality scores.

    In general enquiries, you are for some reason expected to pitch 2-3 product sales on every single call, regardless of what the call is regarding. If a customer calls to raise a complaint, to be transferred to another department or even advise they cannot afford to pay their bills, you must attempt to sell them products or you are pulled up. If you are a compassionate person you will struggle with this job. You are targeted on sales "leads". If you get one, you're waiting at the very least 5 minutes to get through to sales for them to put it through for you.

    Anything that will actually save the customer money is made as difficult as possible. Tariff changes in particular seem to be impossible to arrange over the phone. If the customer is unable to change tariff online (so, elderly and otherwise vulnerable customers) the tariff change department will keep you on hold for ages and even then will often refuse to take the call and insist you complete a lengthy form for a call back because they are " too busy". You are expected to complete this form, a standard note detailing the tariff the customer wants to go on, take meter readings, calculate an annual forecast and set up a direct debit for them before they will even consider calling the customer back. The callbacks have a backlog of about 3 weeks currently. This understandably creates a lot of customer complaints which the general enquiries agent must take responsibility for.

    Some departments will refuse to deal with customers directly and make you go backwards and forwards with the customer on hold. This is terrible customer service. Other departments will even refuse to deal with you directly, and insist you send them a form requesting their assistance. It will then take them ages to get back to you and they will often reject your request over something petty (for example, I had a request rejected a week after it was submitted because I stated that the customer's meter was "about 2-3 feet off the ground" and I was given feedback that I needed to tell them if it was 2 or 3 feet.. Absolutely appalling.)

    Things that common sense tells you is bad customer service are insisted upon. For example, it is for some reason absolutely imperative to ask the customer what their name is before asking how you can help them. I have been pulled up for this. This often winds customers up especially if they have had to wait in a long queue.

    If a customer mentions the wait time, you absolutely have to open a complaint, advise them that you have opened a complaint and that you will do your best to resolve this complaint before the end of the call. Most customers will then inform you that they are not raising a complaint and you have to explain that this is company policy as they have shown dissatisfaction. This often starts interactions negatively and afects raport on the call. It also eats into your call time and means that the customers already waiting are queuing even longer. An apology should suffice in this instance since almost every customer will mention how busy we are or their hold time.

    Before you access their account you must inform the customer that you understand their query and that additionally you will " attempt to save them money elsewhere. "Attempting to save them money elsewhere" equates to pitching talk and broadband packages, boiler cover, wiringcover and trying toget permission to send marketing emails etc etc. If you do not offer these products, you get pulled up.

    Customers randomly get anew automated survey asking about your customer service. There are 5 questions and only one of them asks about the customer service they received from you personally. Even if the customer marks you 9/9 for customer service but they do not rate the company similarly or they would not recommend the company to their friends, you get a bad score for your customer service.

    If you get stuck on a call past your finishing time you are not paid for the extra time. You are only able to "bank" this time if you immediately tell your manager. I rarely do this as it seems petty bringing up 10 or so extra minutes on the phone and my manager goes for an hour long "manager meeting" 30 minutes before my shift ends. I'm certain this system is in place because people will feel awkward about mentioning a few late finished here and there. Although SSE don't track you being logged on longer than you should be, they will immediately pick up on lateness. One girl in my training group was publicly pulled up for being 1 minute 20 seconds late. If they can monitor lateness to this extreme, they can certainly monitor time you run over and should be paying you for it.

    In some departments you are expected to work Saturdays. On Saturdays the canteen is closed which is infuriating as the site isn't close to any food places if you don't drive and the shift is 8am-5pm. They do stock a vending machine with over priced microwavable items for Saturdays, but none of them are vegetarian. When it is open, the canteen is extortionate. A black coffee is £1.40 which is only 15p cheaper than starbucks and about 15 times lower quality.

    If you are sick, they expect you to call them every single day even if you have a doctors note stating that you should be off for a certain period of time. If you are off for more than a week they will actually send someone to your home to check on you. Managers are completely unsympathetic. I once had to take my elderly grandmother to the hospital as a matter of emergency and when I called to advise I wouldnt be in I was put through to a manager who asked if there wasn't an "adult" who could sit with my grandma so I could come to work. Not only is this appallingly insensitive, but I am 34 and definitely classed as an adult. She obviously assumed I was a teenager because I work part time evenings.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your staff with respect. Treat your customers with respect. Hire more people to complete tariff changes. Sales are not appropriate in a customer care environment. Make targets attainable. Good customer service equates to loyal customers.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "retail chaos"

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

    I worked at SSE full-time

    Pros

    nice people, nice teams, ceo and board are strong and knowledgeable, benefits are ok too, customer service teams very friendly

    Cons

    retail leadership team are chaotic and there is a revolving door in some areas of retail leadership for 'friends' vs. those who can do the job. No credit for doing a job well vs keeping your head down, no credit for delivery in spite of weak senior managers.

    Advice to Management

    Get some professional and strong leaders in the retail business. Family / relations / friends show up for what they are. Increase the diversity in the business.


  10. Helpful (11)

    "Not the company it once was"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reading, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reading, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at SSE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Reasonable benefits, fairly good pension scheme and sickness cover. Staff discount on some products and services, sharesave and share incentive plans.

    Cons

    SSE used to be a great employer who genuinely seemed to care about its employees. All this changed a few years ago when the previous CEO stepped down. Since then the company has started acting quite negatively towards staff, leaving them with no illusions that they are anything more than a statistic. Some perks have been watered down and are not as attractive as they once were, including abolishing long service awards. There no longer seems to be a cohesive strategy and the board are more concerned with shareholder value than customer satisfaction and customer numbers. The company struggles to compete with other industries in terms of salaries. After over a decade of growth the company now seems to be shrinking and management do not seem to be addressing this, instead opting for unnecessary cost cutting measures instead of focusing on growing the business.

    Advice to Management

    Try to live up to your pledges of being open and honest and show staff some respect. The business is in desperate need of a strategy if it is to survive in the long term.


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