Symetra Reviews | Glassdoor

Symetra Reviews

Updated September 19, 2017
204 reviews

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3.5
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Symetra President, CEO, and Director Thomas M. (Tom) Marra
Thomas M. (Tom) Marra
128 Ratings

204 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • There is a poor Work-life balance, lack of priority (in 10 reviews)

  • Middle management looses site of upper management vision (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (4)

    "A caring, driven, company with many opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Brand in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Brand in Bellevue, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Symetra full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I have been at this company about six years and every year I've been able to seek out participating in new and interesting projects and opportunities.
    - Community involved company
    - Job Flexibility. Many managers promote work/life balance. Some jobs offer some work from home opportunities or hours that may shift early or late as needed by the employee
    - Most employees are excited and invested in their jobs
    - This company is on the rise and regularly diving into new territory, ideas are encouraged, and every year their seems to be more support and cooperation between divisions and departments.
    - GREAT management from the top down, I feel if I needed to I could email the CEO directly and get a response
    - HUGE benefits including education, Volunteering, Toastmasters, Blue fridays, and employee events

    Cons

    - NOT the most competitive vacation or sick leave plan
    - Parking is expensive and not free (However they offer great subsidized alternatives)

    Advice to Management

    Keep driving for excellence, Keep listening, Keep evolving. I love working here!


  2. Helpful (2)

    "1.5 stars out of 5. At least its a paycheck......"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It's better then being unemployeed!

    Cons

    Compensation is less than competitive, at best.
    Benefits - Health, Dental and Vision are provided but don't think you can afford them with what they will pay you.
    Training - Limited training is provided for your position. After that your on your own.
    Career Growth - Frustrating at best. The best career growth opportunity is sneeking time at lunch to look for job on monster.
    Perks - A waterbottle you can fill up in the drinking fountin, a 10% discount to 3 gyms. Coffee or other drinks are not provided, coffee makers are prohibited in fact.

    Advice to Management

    Motivate your employees. There is no incentive to do anythign but keep your paychecks coming.

  3. Helpful (4)

    "Very unprofessional place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Services Coordinator in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Customer Services Coordinator in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits package is okay and is always getting new additions. Lots of major retail near the office in Bellevue makes lunch time errands convenient.

    Cons

    The upper management/executives are completed incompetent. They don't care and have no connection to frontline employees. There is absolutely no morale or recognition which makes "caring" about your role impossible. Simply put: it's a paycheck while you are finding something else.

    Advice to Management

    Grow a pair. Learn to communicate, praise and reward employees. Show appreciation and quit using expense management as an excuse to provide no morale. Makes everyone unhappy and miserable.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Since new management took over, working in IT at Symetra has become stressful, unrewarding."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    . People are great to work with, most of them work very hard.
    . Casual dress for those who are want to wear jeans.

    Cons

    . Contempt for employees - lip service from management about the company being 'the place to be'
    . No longer a good place for work/life balance. Flexible schedules and possibility of working from home have been taken away from a lot of departments. No comp time.
    . Employees are micro-managed, their professional advice is rarely taken into consideration.
    . Stressful environment for IT employees are they are expected to do Production Support as well as Development using the Agile/Scrum methodology.
    . Unreasonable expectations are pressed upon employees, like maintaining a system availability of 99.79%, while no investments are being made into redundant systems, and a less-than-average responsiveness from our outsourced servers service provider.
    . Pay is lower than the market.

    Advice to Management

    Symetra needs to wake up to the dissatisfaction among their work force. A lot of good people have been leaving, and not enough people who actually do the work are getting hired. Symetra used to be a good place to work, unfortunately it no longer is.


  5. Helpful (6)

    "Same management that ruined Hartford now ruling Symetra"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Worker Bee in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Worker Bee in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The people who actually do all the work are great. They want to build a more progressive and sustainable organization.

    Cons

    New executives have a lofty perch mentality that is counter productive in a company of this size. Corner offices, special amenities, refusing to attend meetings that aren't held on their special 14th floor create a wide divide between workers and management.

    Executives regularly issue edicts and set unrealistic time frames and expectations - to be performed at the expense of low paid staff.

    The HR department lives in the executives hip pockets and does nothing to protect the workers, no matter how many complaints are levied.

    Stale management tactics are broadly applied to all situations. Employees are not viewed as a critical asset - everyone is expendable. The subject matter experts are leaving in droves, yet the executives seem to have no concerns -- that is until something falls through the cracks -- then any errors or missteps are placed firmly at the feet of staff.

    Work / life balance benefits such as flexible schedules or remote work is being eliminated -- yet many of the executives are remote and the company bears the cost of flying them in multiple times per month and paying for housing. Another executive 'perk' a company this size can ill afford.

    Aging IT systems elevate costs and create constant issues for staff while management invests in non-essentials like expensive consultants and re-branding. The question on everyone's mind is, if this executive team is so stellar, why do they need consultants to guide them every step of the way. What are we paying them for?

    The company engages in double-speak, telling employees to 'be prepared to be uncomfortable' as they want the truth to be told. Yet, employees who do dare to raise issues or provide insights are sidelined, vilified and often dismissed. Operational leaders put the majority of their efforts into ensuring real information doesn't make it to executive ears. Which is easy as the executives rarely deign to leave their floor and mix among the 'little people'.

    Advice to Management

    Spend time actually sitting with workers and watch them attempt to accomplish their tasks. Invest in your employees - they have more to offer than consultants who skim the surface, make recommendations, but never have to deal with the fall out. Find other channels of information besides your next in command as they are incented to tell you what you want to hear - you will be amazed (and probably horrified) at what you'll find. If you want Symetra to be a great place to work, you have to actually lead - and that means leaving your ivory tower and actually understanding what's going on in your own organization.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Why did I stay there so long"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Symetra full-time

    Pros

    Stable work evironment (if you can avoid the layoffs). Good location in Bellevue. Cool looking building but the interior office space is worn and has odd odors.

    Cons

    Design documentation is missing or outdated so good luck figuring things out. Old programs merged in over the years from various sources will give you a headache.

    Average age of employees seems like 60 years old so you will feel out of place unless you enjoy working with grandparents who bumble around and can't make quick decisions.

    Advice to Management

    Retire and bring in younger talent.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Execs are spending and spinning out of control"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Symetra full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Employees with some longevity are genuinely nice and would like to partner with others to build a sutstainable, successful company.

    Cons

    Execs are 97% white men who all worked together elsewhere before coming to Symetra. They don't have great reputations in the industry, so that puts a cloud over Symetra. (There is a buzz throughout the industry, but they are too arrogant to listen or to care.)
    They pay each other very well and do a LOT of wining and dining each other at sporting events.
    The managers are not leaders; they were handed the positions by their friends, so they have no idea what it means to empower employees or foster a positive work environment.
    New employees actually make comments that they were hired because they are "smarter and better". In reality, they are arrogant and rude, and don't have a clue about this business.
    HR violations take place on a daily basis, but nobody cares. Leaders yell and curse at employees on a daily basis as well. Everyone knows not to even talk to HR because management is called within seconds of an employee reporting a complaint. Retaliations runs rampant. That is the undercurrent of the new culture at Symetra.
    Fear and intimidation define the culture. It's sad.

    Advice to Management

    The Board of Directors needs to be reminded that Symetra is a publicly traded company. Please get rid of the executives who sit in their ivory tower on the 14th floor (in their newly-constructed offices) and spend millions on themselves (high salaries, ridiculous expense accounts, perks) without actually doing any work to bring sales in the door and replace them with true leaders who will focus on the value of their employees. Happy employees will do great things for an employer they can trust.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "RUN IF YOU DON'T WANT TO LOSE YOUR SANITY!!!!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Symetra full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good location, restaurants and across from bus station

    Cons

    Middle management placing a horrific workload and unattainable % for processing. Even they would not be able to meet it but to look good to the "higher ups" they ate up and spit out the few loyal people.... Even temps ended up going on leave (and getting paid) due to the stress of the depts. If you went to HR (who was to mediate) you knew you took a risk and you walked out knowing you were in trouble. What was said in HR did not stay in HR they discussed it even in
    elevators! Once mid management heard there was a complaint they created "does not meet standards" and made it a hostile workplace..... This is just the beginning. Also Symetra apparently isn't aware their reputation on the "street" is negative ............ Oh I forgot this is a perfect place for promotion if you're a 'YES MAN'!!!!!!! One final .... they don't care they are understaffed they are more than happy to devour you ...

    Advice to Management

    Tom when you came in to "take over" and found a place on Lake Washington to live .... Symetra employees can barely make rent. You really should look around and see what your middle management is doing to the employees .... shame on you ....... how about you with your other wonderful board members come on down and see how condescending some of your UM's and other management is to staff!!! They actually create a hostile work environment and spit out employees ....... just sayin' take time from one of your jogs and get on down to what you have created..... it's not pretty .......


  9. Helpful (5)

    "After 14 years - my loyalty didn't pay off."

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

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

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule, supportive co-workers and fairly good benefits.

    Cons

    Lack of communication, lack of knowledge amongst upper management, very political, hostile work environment is fostered and no action is taken by HR when situations are brought to their attention, projects and products are developed for months on end only to be stopped after thousands of dollars are spent, because not enough research was done beforehand. If you're thinking of applying here - RUN, they won't be around in 2 years and it's not worth your energy.

    Advice to Management

    When Tom was hired as the new CEO, there was a feeling of hopefulness. Many employees felt that it was time for a change. He has yet to prove himself. I watched many employees who had been loyal and hard-working be laid off to make room for Tom's buddies to come in. I ended up being one of those people - it was heartbreaking and took me a year to find a new job. My advice to upper management is to really think about the decisions they make. They may THINK they have all of the answers because of where they come from - they don't - they're not even close. LISTEN to the employees, 45% of them approve of Tom - that is TERRIBLE! Get a clue or get a new job.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "A promising opportunity that ended in disappointment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative II in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative II in Bellevue, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Symetra full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Downtown Bellevue location close to plenty of restaurants and Bellevue square

    Cons

    Abysmal salary, no communication from upper management, and this is becoming the new Hartford at the hands of Tom Marra. Overtime is mandatory in some departments and regardless of how many extra hours you put in expect daily guilt trips about not being a team player.

    Advice to Management

    This is not an east coast company, so stop running it like one


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