Solstice Reviews | Glassdoor

Solstice Reviews

Updated August 17, 2017
107 reviews

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Solstice Founder & CEO J Schwan
J Schwan
96 Ratings

107 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Things are changing a little toward longer days, but work-life balance was still great (in 14 reviews)

  • Provides great training budget of 5K to all of its employees (in 23 reviews)

Cons
  • Since the company has scaled and gotten bigger, there are always a few small growing pains (in 15 reviews)

  • Just like most consulting jobs, client priorities can sporadically impact work life balance (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (4)

    "I love coming to work because I work with people I love"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - User Experience Principal in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - User Experience Principal in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    When you realize that you work with your friends and you've formed life long relationships with coworkers, that's when you know you've made it. I did the corporate thing for years and Solstice is nothing like that, it’s why I’ve stayed for as long as I have and it’s why I don’t see myself leaving.

    You get a mentor at the beginning of every year, a person that looks out for you, advocates for you, gives you advice, and most likely becomes your friend outside of the mentor thing. I never had that at previous jobs and I wouldn’t expect that from most companies. Mentors are who you can talk to about difficult situations, how you can improve yourself, areas of focus that you want to move in to but can’t figure out how to get there, and of course career growth. Of course they aren’t going to get you to where you want to go, that’s up to you, but they provide direction in an industry that is exploding and has many many avenues.

    What I love most is that people look out for one another - Solstice is built on feedback. We’ve truly taken agile to heart in that we look to ourselves to constantly improve and we have many things in place to help us improve. We look at ourselves critically and what we offer to each other that is most important, is honesty. We provide feedback to people twice a year (Q2 and Q4) through peer review, but also you have 2 opportunities for peer promotion outside of that (Q1 and Q3). That is certainly not normal and a huge opportunity for everyone working at Solstice to improve themselves and get chances for promotions and reviews.

    I work with a sea of people I respect, I can go to anyone and they will make time for my (sometimes asinine) questions. People don’t have to fear looking stupid and in fact we follow the mentality that it’s okay to be the ‘stupidest person in the room’ and ask anything you feel is worth asking. The exec team is always looking for feedback on the processes the company has in place and answers them at weekly meetings but less formal approaches are totally fine as well. I’ve had 1-1 conversations with people about company policies in the past and instead of taking it as a slight against the choices the company has made, it’s taken as invested interest in the betterment of the company itself.

    Really it comes down to the people and the culture we have here. We have a culture of “work hard play hard”, and that’s not just a provision of alcohol as others have mentioned in reviews but additionally we have: board game night, lunch and learns (people teaching others about things they are interested in), monthly birthday lunches, anniversary lunches (with the CEO), team outings to bars (restaurants, whirly ball, headquarters, bowling, etc), makers club (3d printing, linoleum prints, pasta making and more), and alcohol (haha). When you work with 100+ 20 somethings, drinking is going to happen - which is why we have a sweet connected vending machine that you can use an app, a tablet, virtual reality bar or an Amazon Echo to order a beer/soda. When you work at a company of innovation, why not have fun with it and apply it to the things you like?

    To continue with that, Solstice Labs is a huge positive to working here. You get a chance to work on brand new technologies, whether that’s V.R., A.R., Voice, Chat bots, or anything else you can imagine. Mostly this work is done on your free time, as projects may not apply to these kinds of new tech but if you understand it and know how a company can benefit from it, pitching those ideas isn't a crazy thing. We have many clients who are building chat bots, working with robots, and also VR - so it's not a pipe dream. You don’t get those kinds of opportunities anywhere else.

    Cons

    - Every company has their growing pains and for a company that constantly looks to change the way it works - things are always in flux and as soon as you get used to one thing it can change. Get used to change ;)

    - If you're not used to working in an open environment it can be a bit overwhelming. Finding places that are less noisy can be difficult but not impossible. Overall the office isn't that loud but sometimes it can be.

    - You get used to not pushing buttons in elevators (ours are all automated) and you can end up looking really dumb in other elevators by just getting in and just sitting there before you realize you have to push a button

    - If being thrown in to something that you don't understand scares you, it may not be the best place for you. We are constantly learning and trying new things, it's not always a good environment for those who need a certain kind of structure and consistency. You need to ask yourself if you like to constantly be challenged by teaching yourself new things or learning new ways to perform your job. Every year I have been here I have forced myself in to some new aspect of my job (and even aspects that are not my job) and it's not easy and not for everyone.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the transparency. Our hearts are in it and it's reassuring to see that yours are as well.

    There's a divide between delivery, sales, and operations that we could bridge. I think that's something that every company has to figure out, but the quarterly meetings are where I hang out and talk to people in different areas the most. They're good people and circumstance and jobs make it hard to get to know people outside your areas.

    We can work on our on-boarding of new people. Many are already looking to improve this on their own but I think it's something we have always struggled with and can always improve upon.

    Solstice Response

    Apr 3, 2017 – CEO

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a well thought out review. As you know we are never "done" trying to make this a great place to work and your feedback is encouraging. We will take your... More


  2. "Great Place to Get Exposure to Almost Anything"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -The people are simply great. Having been at Solstice for over 3 years, the number 1 reason I am still here is the people. Solsties are good at what they do, hungry to learn and improve, and enjoyable to be around.
    -There's a shared level of trust and respect across the board that if you're at Solstice, you're capable of excelling at your job and don't need to be micromanaged or coddled. It allows employees to do what they need to do in order to succeed, even if it's not your standard 9-5.
    -There are countless learning opportunities if you want to take advantage of it. Interested in deep-diving into AI, Convo UX, AR/VR, Design Processes, PCF, etc etc etc? Solstice will support you in that, and you'll likely find some coworkers who are interested in it as well.
    -The career progression is rapid for those able to prove themselves on projects.

    Cons

    -Projects can run hot at times, and if you're not the type of person who is good at protecting your work/life balance, your work-life balance can take a hit at times. By consulting standards though, it's still not bad.
    -Solstice is not a monolith that's been operating with the same business model for the last 100 years. It's a 16 year old growth-mode consulting firm focused on digital innovation. If you're expecting a cushy track through well-defined career paths, Solstice isn't that. As noted above, there are ample opportunities to move up and experience new challenges constantly, but no one is going to hand you a clear-cut career progression roadmap on day 1. That's up to you to define.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to find ways to "Keep Solstice Weird" while also maturing operations and delivery quality as we continue to grow. Solstice is great because we're able to work with major clients while being a part of a good people-first culture. That's a tough balance, and one that needs to be preserved as we grow.

  3. "Incredible Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    1. Culture:
    - senior leadership is open and honest. I've never worked somewhere with this level of transparency. As an employee, you're never guessing about the health of the company because they tell us directly at weekly and quarterly meetings. In these meetings we have a chance to celebrate the wins but leadership is also humble and share when things don't go as planned. In these instances they are quick to share a clear vision for how we're going to pivot - always welcoming feedback and questions.
    - All employees have the opportunity to submit an anonymous question on any subject whenever they like. These questions are answered by the senior team in our weekly meetings in a session called "Pass the Pail" in front of the entire office.
    - We don't just have tenants on the website - unlike most companies we celebrate these every week. Whether it is the reason for nominating a colleague for the Awesomeness Award, or it's the theme of the quarter our tenants are known by most of the office.

    2. Focus on Social Impact
    - Our Social Impact Committee has sent teams to Kenya 3 years in a row to build projects that solve real world problems with companies that wouldn't otherwise have the means to deliver these digital products.
    - Not only do we get over 100 people to attend the Chicago Dance Marathon to support the local children's hospital but we often raise the most money as a firm. We have a committee dedicated to keeping that relationship strong and making it easy for people to get involved.

    3. The People
    - The best part about this job is the people. Everyone is REALLY smart, but more importantly they're kind.

    4. Fun Stuff
    - social committee has budget to hold new hire happy hours, halloween parties, mini putt office golf course, etc. etc.
    - work from home for certain levels 1 day a week
    - Awesomeness Award: a weekly award where you can nominate as many people as you like that you witnessed do something awesome. The winner gets to win the use of an office, gets a gift card and bragging rights. 20+ people are nominated each week based on doing something awesome. It celebrates the little things every week.
    - The office has been to Mexico 3 times as an entire office - this is normally to celebrate big events or news but is a huge moral booster and team building trip
    - birthday lunch and card signed by the ceo
    - work anniversary lunch and card signed by the ceo

    Cons

    I tried, couldn't think of anything.

    Advice to Management

    Continue the traditions (even the small ones like office miniputt) as we continue to grow. It's the little things that make Solstice such a great place to come every day.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "A great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Great place to learn and grow, especially if you're just joining the workforce or are new to the tech industry.
    - Positive work environment where everyone is trying to lift each other up.
    - I've personally had experiences here where I expressed significant concerns about aspects of my development, and I had multiple people go out of their way to immediately remedy my concerns. There are people all around this company that care about your development, and want you to be happy here.
    - Your co-workers are awesome people.
    - Fun work atmosphere where there's always stuff going on. If you have an interest outside of work, there's probably a club / committee related to that interest inside Solstice. For example, we have a philanthropy committee if you want to get together with people and make a difference. If you're an avid reader we have a book club. There's a beer club that meets every once in awhile and shares new beers with each other. Board game nights. If there's a club that doesn't exist, you can create it.
    - If you want something to change, you're encouraged to make that change. For example, myself and a few co-workers thought there were some issues with our technical interview process, so we met weekly for six months and made it better.

    Cons

    - Solstice has aspirations of getting very big. If you're looking for a smaller company to work for, Solstice might not be for you.
    - Depending on the project you get staffed on, you might have a very different Solstice experience from someone else. Some projects last for multiple years, and some projects are short multiple month engagements.

    Advice to Management

    If I had advice for management, I wouldn't publicly post about it on a third party website. I would tell them directly. They have an open door policy and encourage us to schedule a coffee meeting with them if we ever have anything we want to talk about.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Shadow of a Great Company"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Solstice full-time

    Pros

    - Lots of social events
    - Great place for first job out of college. Has a frat house kind of feel to it, if that is your thing.
    - Flat organization
    - Recruiting/HR really cares
    - There are a few people here with amazing hearts and will be life long friends
    - $5K in training each year - if approved by management to leave a project and at their discretion.

    Cons

    - The CEO is a master of cloaking materialistic goals with higher purpose. Inexperienced employees are fully enamored. In reality, it's all about making him the money. Open your eyes.
    - Since the summer of last year, things really went downhill quickly. Even during a strong economy, lots of firing with little notice was taking place. They have no idea how to handle firing. They just pretend the person never existed. Heartless. This year seemed great financially but the constant confusing push in many directions with changing quarterly goals continued.
    - Not a good career place. Growth is a superficial title and bump in salary but no real responsibility advancement. If you are in it for the title and cash, see next item.
    - Low pay compared to other consulting firms
    - Lofty goals with little action
    - As I look through some fellow team member's reviews, they seem suspiciously like something the leadership team would say. They brought up glassdoor and recruiting in several team meetings. I would be cautious of the authenticity in some of the reviews. They don't match the reality.

    Advice to Management

    The company is managed with constantly changing quarter by quarter goals. You can call this a management technique or you can call this what it actually is, poor leadership with a lack of long term vision and ability to execute. Stop spinning everything.

    Solstice Response

    Aug 3, 2017 – CEO

    Thanks for taking the time to write the review. I'm sorry if you had a poor experience when you were let go. As much as we try to make a separation respectful, it inevitably ends in some hurt... More


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Lots of talk but not much action"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Technical Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Lots of social events to engage with your coworkers and make yourself feel apart of the group
    - Many new initiatives to get involved in to gain experience in new areas
    - The Chicago office was pretty nice (could use bigger bathrooms tho :P )
    - The values the company strives for are noble and altruistic
    - There is the possibility of getting promoted quickly

    Cons

    - The emphasis on socializing with your coworkers after work turns the workplace into a high school-esque setting. Not appropriate for a workplace
    - Many initiatives the company starts aren't seen through to completion. And the volume of new initiatives started per quarter makes the focus of the company seem chaotic, and also implies that senior leadership doesn't know what goals the company should be striving for
    - Although the values/company motto are quite virtuous, in practice, most employees either scoff at them/don't take them seriously or express outright hostility towards them. It's always good to have high ideals in mind, but if you don't hire people into your company that do represent those goals, you end up having this situation where no one cares and creates further confusion for those that do believe in those things
    - The likelihood of promotion is usually based on how much extra time you put into the company doing pro-bono work on their many initiatives rather than performing well at your job during regular company hours. This can be great if you really like to get in the mix and get involved, but it was a con for me because work-life balance is extremely important to me. The second factor in promotion is more or less knowing the right people and getting them to say nice things about you. And the "right" things on your reviews people say about you usually aren't related to your day job either.

    Advice to Management

    Overall, I'd say the main problem with working at Solstice is what expectations are placed on you and whether those expectations are realistic and match the company's values. Here's a few concrete examples to explain this point:
    - Many new initiatives are started. The employees are told about them and it's stressed that this is extra work that you do only if you want to. That implies that the expectation set forth for making time to pitch in after hours is optional and that your career won't be impacted negatively by this. Then comes time for advancement of position at the end of the fiscal quarter and you see no movement. So is the expectation then that actually need to stay and work extra hours (an extra 5-10 hours per week? is that a realistic expectation of people who already usually work overtime?)
    - I gave this example earlier, but growing a group of people that actually believe in the values of the company, not just saying we feel this way as a group and then the group acts entirely differently. A general example of this group thought and action usually being "this place overworks me and I'm sick of it"
    - The complete changing of company goals per quarterly meeting itself changes expectations on every person on the company. So in essence, senior leadership is messing with the hearts and minds of their coworkers by offering no consistency or stability, then expecting a huge chunk of their time.

    Overall, I found my professional experience during my time at Solstice to be a lot of waffling and not much genuine, concerted action. But I believe this and the above situations can be fixed if the company is given clear, consistent direction that is followed through to its end.


  7. "Build your own destiny, brand, and life"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I was an experienced hire a few years ago. I took this opportunity to come to work for a passionate, emerging tech company with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. I found that this was one of the best moves. I was finally able to be and bring my true self to work, achieve a good life and work balance. Best of all, I love the people most. While things are not perfect, I work with people of like minds, great talent and collaborative innovative spirit. Thanks fellow Solsties for this opportunity to work with you day in and day out.

    Cons

    Things are always changing, so people who work best here are ones that like to pivot and working in an evergreen work environment.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to strive for excellence and improving, never stop listening to the people. They matter most.

  8. "Best Experience of My Life"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time

    Pros

    Supporting Management, Fun team, Great Projects

    Cons

    None that I can think of.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work!


  9. "The culture is what makes Solstice a top innovation firm."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - A highly engaging and innovative culture which constantly pushes you to be your best.
    - Many opportunities to engage with others outside your normal day to day role.
    - Reliable co-workers that bring out the best in you and help when you need it.
    - Cutting edge technology projects for some of the most innovative Fortune 500 firms out there.

    Cons

    - Culture is shifting a bit as we grow but is ever changing and adapting to that growth along the way.

    Advice to Management

    Keep pushing the firm to do its best along with the focus on growing the next generation and it will continue to be an exciting place to work and grow!


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Exciting work, new experiences, excellent culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Technical Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Principal Technical Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Think I pretty much put them all in the title. As a consulting company, the day to day work for any employee can change drastically from one month to the next. This means new challenges, new opportunities to grow existing skills or learn something new, and of course the chance to work with a new team of people within the company. That brings me to the last point, which is that the people here are just excellent. Always willing to chat and have fun, but more importantly always willing to help out and work together on a problem or to help an individual or the team as a whole.

    Cons

    As I mentioned in consulting, things can change a lot week-to-week or month-to-month. That can be a bit scary, and can mean some weeks are harder than others, but it's a trade-off for all the pros about that situation that I listed above.

    Advice to Management

    Lots of noticeable changes in strategy, sales, and growth since late last year, and so far it's going great! Keep doing what you're doing.


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