Synthetic Genomics Reviews | Glassdoor

Synthetic Genomics Reviews

Updated July 20, 2017
23 reviews

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2.2
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Oliver Fetzer, Ph.D
4 Ratings

23 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Small Company, Tremendous Potential"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    A company founded by someone with a great vision who brought some of the world's best talent in to run it when it was originally conceived. It is located in a beautiful location and by and large is quite a flexible place to work with opportunities to learn about a wide variety of science, business, management and operations skills if one is so inclined. Fortunately, some of the original talent has stayed on board and they serve as scientific leaders in a field with a potentially enormous upside.

    Cons

    There is a very steep hierarchy and most of the new senior management is relatively detached from the operational aspects of the company. This causes a disconnect between the vision/strategy and real work (boots on the ground) which can often manifest as ineffective communication, poor motivation and low morale. The steep hierarchy also leads to a highly political climate where employee recognition and feedback is often overlooked until something breaks.

    Advice to Management

    Empower your current employees! Fortunately, there are still some enthusiastic employees left. Give them opportunities to become middle (working) management instead of having them constantly overextend themselves and burn out. Become more objective and open with the ideas that lurk in the more junior levels of the company. Often, these people know more than what you might think.


  2. "Research Associate"

    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 Synthetic Genomics full-time

    Pros

    The benefits, and potential mentorships.

    Cons

    HR is heartless, they fire people without due cause or reason, and ultimately a place with no job security unless you CYA which you should do if working there.

    Advice to Management

    Instead of standing there quietly and letting people walk on you try to stand up for your employees, because in the long run you will develop a loyalty that will create a phenomenal working environment for everyone.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "How to not run a company"

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

    I have been working at Synthetic Genomics full-time

    Pros

    Not sure many "pros" left. This company used to be a gem. Scientists and science was awe-inspiring. Even though some amazing scientists are still here, the inspiring atmosphere is gone. Science has great potential, but SGI is not the only one in this game.

    Cons

    This place will drain you. People are asked to do the impossible while management suffers from entitlement. Management is horrible, from the top dow and in between. There is no direction, no common vision, in-fighting, and bad business decisions on a revolving basis with no accountability. Working people are treated miserably. Craig's vision and passion has left the building.

    Advice to Management

    The board should get rid of most of the executive team and HR. The perception is that you are there for the cash out, collecting a fat paycheck in the meantime, that you don't care what happens long term, that you don't care about the science or the company. Take some basic leadership classes.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Stay far away"

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

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

    Pros

    Great scientists with fantastic brains and wonderful ideas make this a wonderful place to learn and grow. Excellent location with easy access to walking trails at lunch. Gym access. Showers. Physically fit culture.

    Cons

    The executives and HR have absolutely no clue what is going on in the trenches nor do they make any effort to step out of their fancy executive offices to come into the labs and see for themselves what is really going on. It's like a game of telephone. You simply can't trust what you hear. There are many people that started w/ the company under Craig that worked for MANY, LONG, HARD YEARS and devoted their entire lives to the company...only to be laid off. It felt like a spit in the face. You had great people who were extremely flexible, bending this way and that, as you frequently switched gears. These people were honestly capable of handling anything you threw at them. They could have easily transformed into what you needed in order to be successful...but you chose to get rid of them. This was a huge mistake. When you treat good, hardworking, loyal, dedicated, smart people like that...there is absolutely NO WAY you will end up successful.

    Advice to Management

    Get off your behind and go into the lab and talk to your people. There are many mid-level managers that are doing absolutely NOTHING and claiming the work of the people in the trenches as their own. And you're believing them simply because they have a title. That's SAD.


  5. "Scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Synthetic Genomics full-time

    Pros

    SGI is full of smart people working on diverse, and exciting projects. This makes it a fun place scientifically to work.

    Cons

    Often lack a clear vision, and commitment to see projects through. For many people there are very limited opportunities for career advancement.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Not recommended"

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

    Pros

    Benefits are really good compared to other companies in the industry, SGU has leading technology in the field

    Cons

    Management, unfriendly culture, high employee turnover, high stress, lack of employee recognition. SGIDNA division is even more difficult than the rest of SGI.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Synthetic 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 Synthetic Genomics full-time

    Pros

    great science talent and no shortage of ideas.

    Cons

    Poor alignment of goals and strategy among executive team. Middle managers are caught in a bind trying to develop technology in pharma applications for which there has been little experience to date. Upper management has failed to trim total number of projects and organization is a mile wide and an inch deep, resulting in insufficient resourcing of multiple projects. This company has struggled to pivot from being an academically leaning contract research organization to one that knows how best to apply its talent to develop specific products with meaningful revenue.

    Advice to Management

    The company survey you solicited gave you all the information you need. Act upon it, or be prepared to continue losing key staff.

  8. "Scientist"

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

    I have been working at Synthetic Genomics (More than a year)

    Pros

    Smart group of scientists. Ideal place to learn things at the start of your career. Unlike most companies, publications are encouraged.

    Cons

    No potential for career growth. Supervisors are generally not inclined to provide help with advancing careers. Unfocused management. Not a lot of communication between the management and the scientist.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Avoid if possible"

    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

    Pros

    If you need something on your resume, and want to work in a somewhat social atmosphere.

    Cons

    I had been extremely excited to work at this company, however it soon became apparent that there are deep issues within the division that I worked and entry level positions here are treated very poorly. Existing hired employees did next to nothing all day, while hardworking passionate temp employees busted rump working 10-12 hour shifts trying to stay on top of all of the work. The employee turnover is extremely high because they soon realize that there's no way they're going to being hired (even after being told that would happen after 6 months and being temp is more a formality), and they realize the futility of their hard work. In my time there I saw numerous low level employees break down in tears and break out in stress rashes. We were always running out of neccessary reagents, and then pressured when weeks later the order would be approved and finally the reagents would come in to tackle the extreme amount of built up work. Middle management seems to be aware of issues but is either unable to fix anything or has their hands tied by upper management, who can be extremely rude and unprofessional. Upper management is more concerned with FTE count/money than taking care of the little guys that break their backs for them. There's a reason why the moral is so low.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees! Your employees are on your side (except for the dead weight ones that need to be fired) they want the company to do well because they too want to keep their jobs, however the futility of never being listened to or cared about destroys moral and drives people away. Hire people! By showing people that you appreciate them by hiring them, they will continue to work hard for you! Give them opportunity for advancement if they work hard don't squander your most precious resources, your people.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Research Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Associate II in La Mesa, CA
    Current Employee - Research Associate II in La Mesa, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Great people work here. Lots of room to gain knowlege. Impactful work.

    Cons

    Layoff people every couple of years. No career development. Senior management decisions are not transparent. Every department is different but employee's treatment and promotions are based off of whose boss can "yell the loudest".

    Advice to Management

    Get all of your scientists some management training. Standardize the performance evaluations so they are not objective based on the boss. Provide an atmosphere that is motivating and morale will go up. Keep work days to 8 hours and instead of a standard 10 hour day.


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