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Watson Wyatt Reviews

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59 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great place to work if you are a self starter and care about your co-workers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Wonderful culture - there are many hold over associates from the time when the company was employee owned. Associates tend to truly care about the well-being of fellow associates. Management tends to respect the strengths and weaknesses of individual contributors. The company is trying desperately to promote women and minorities but having difficulties in the actuarial field. Leadership tends to take a longer view on success and not worry about results at the end of each fiscal quarter. In the trenches, associates really care about helping clients solve their problems.

    Cons

    complex matrix management - very hard to understand who is in charge of what - many informal networks. Your individual work experience depends heavily on your office -team - country of employment.

    Advice to Management

    It is really all about the clients - not management


  2. Helpful (1)

    "It's Corporate America."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Watson Wyatt tends to be very good to its employees who benefit the company. If you work hard, you will be taken care of. If you do just good enough to not get fired, you'll also be treated as such. The company runs a lean enough operation that politics don't become a huge part of the experience, though they still do exist. The company typical doesn't quibble about time off of any kind, whether it's a family emergency or just a vacation. Another aspect of Watson Wyatt that I truly enjoy is that here you'll work with some very, very smart people.

    Cons

    Since the IPO almost a decade ago, senior management is a lot sneakier and less forthcoming with employees in regards to pay raises, bonus pool funding, and the overall financial position of the firm. This may very well be a requirement, I don't know, but it smacks of dishonesty and leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. Another issue is that Watson Wyatt has gone to a new "consumer-driven" health plan (this corporate doublespeak shows last point, it's everywhere in the firm now) that is completely deductible-based. So if you get sick or hurt, you have to pay your own medical bills up to a certain amount ($1500-$5000, depending on dependent status). Lastly, the culture tends to promote passive-aggressive behavior and being direct (but tactful and professional) with co-workers or management is largely discouraged.

    Advice to Management

    Be honest as possible with employees.

    Consider that the associates who work tirelessly to fatten your paychecks are onto you and they aren't going to be working so hard, anymore due to the ridiculousness of the health plan. Stop promoting it like it's something good for the employees.

    Stop thinking that your underling associates are stupid and dump the condescending attitude. You'll be in a nursing home someday defecating in your pants, alone and scared. Life's too short to be rude to people.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "More downside than upside."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consulting Actuary in Wellesley, MA
    Current Employee - Consulting Actuary in Wellesley, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Coworkers are the best - very smart, creative, nice, helpful, supportive. My office is conveniently located. Work-life balance can be pretty good if you take advantage of increased flexibility. We have a lot of part timers (anything 60% or over is considered full time and benefit-eligible). A lot of people now work from home at least some of the time.

    Cons

    To get ahead you have to work long hours. Focus is on billable hours. My office/practice is very understaffed leading to stress and low morale. Employee benefits have been cut over the years including pension, 401(k) match, and especially the health plan (now a high deductible plan called LivingWell which employees call "LivingHell").

    Advice to Management

    We can't attract and retain good people. Either increase pay and bonuses, or improve the benefits you've slashed, or morale will continue to decline.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "think twice"

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

    Pros

    A chance to work in HR consulting and to serve some respected client organizations...an opportunity to do the work I'm good at...an opportunity to keep learning

    Cons

    An environment in which anyone in any practice area feels free to criticize his/her WW colleagues--and they do, both behind their back and to their face. People who enjoy engaging in continuous combat seem to do well here. A new hire is expected to succeed with minimal support. The pay structure is below-market for the jobs I know of. Benefits aren't particularly generous, either. A single medical plan option: high-deductible health plan with HSA, and WW's contribution is paltry. Combined paid time off benefit, i.e., no separate sick days and vacation days. You want more, you buy it. Cheap.

    Advice to Management

    Ask yourselves why people leave and you can't find "qualified" people to fill the openings. Is it the candidates--or is it your reputation?


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Working here prepares you for anything"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Actuarial Analyst in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Actuarial Analyst in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The work is always a challenge. There is no day-to-day work; everything is project/client based. The environment is friendly and helpful, in spite of it being a consulting firm. The management foster a learning culture where the experienced train the learning. In general, the senior consultants are willing and able to help even the entry-level analysts. The office tends to be young as only the most talented of candidates are offered a position at the company and as such promotions tend to be quick. This is not to be construed as the company has a promotion timetable, but rather that the new hires learn quickly and are capable of proving competencies in short time.

    Cons

    Since every is highly talented, it is disconcerting to many new hires that they are not the smartest person in the room, nor as smart as they once thought. Much of the work is considered confusing at first glance and the learning curve is very steep. While there exists a form of centralized training, it is not considered to adequately and completely train analysts. While this may be a problem at many client-based firms, the problem is especially pronounced at Watson Wyatt. One might also complain about efficiency issues as each client deliverable is subject to a review process in which each document is completed, checked and reviewed by at least three separate people, leading to a complete and correct body of work.

    Advice to Management

    Nothing really


  6. Helpful (1)

    "It's a job, not a career."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Chicago, IL
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Variety of client projects - I've seen big and small clients, how clients perceive the issues we consult on, I've learned the business side of client and what's important to them; opportunities to work with people in other offices, some opportunity to travel; the opportunity to work with other practices has expanded my knowledge and ability to consult to client; the only problem is that these aren't handed out equitably. There is also lack of consistency in performance evaluations. And leadership is always focused on "the message" when they can make more effort to draw a line of sight with actual accomplishments.

    Cons

    Poor quality of leadership; IPO gave "old guard" huge cashout at younger employees expense (less future wealth opportunities); junior college hires being promotoed too fast to accomodate immediate and constant reward recognition of younger generation; you are responsible for everything yourself - leadership abdicates any responsibility for you - if you don't raise your hand to ask for opportunities, then you won't get any and then they blame you for not taking on more and contributing more; there isn't enough discussion of what's going on so that people know what projects need staffing so they can volunteer for projects that interest them.

    Advice to Management

    Need better leadership training, not management consulting double speak. Need more honesty, not smoke and mirrors. Need more equity - the CEO got multiples of bonus target when the rest of the employees were in an 80% funded bonus pool. They've done nothing but cut benefits since the IPO, but tell us we're at the median of benefits provided - if they were honest they would tell us we are probably at 60% of where we were pre-IPO which is the employment deal many of us accepted who came on board back then.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Overall pretty satisfied"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consulting Actuary in Cleveland, OH
    Current Employee - Consulting Actuary in Cleveland, OH
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    team based work, support, materials, and seminar provided for studying for actuarial exams, company provided study time, open door policy from other consultants, flexible work schedule though still must work during core hours, lots of different people with different perspectives on the work that we do that you are able to work with

    Cons

    hours are not consistent, could work many weekend days throughout a year, sometimes you may have very little work for a while then have too much work to handle for a while, never totally consistent, deadlines always pushed to the last minute causing a rushed situation and a stressful environment

    Advice to Management

    always be open to new ideas

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Better than"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    1. The work--you must love the type of work. 2. The people--good people at WW; back stabbing is uncommon. Like any consulting firm, your satisfaction will depend upon your workload, your practice, and your office. Having worked at another firm, I can say that the people and culture at WW are genuinely nice and supportive. Though a public co, WW seems to get less stressed about quarterly numbers than Hewitt and Mercer (of course that can change with a recession). Also, unline Towers, WW does not seem to have a lot of old employees sticking around waiting for an IPO so they can retire and keeping the younger employees from advancing in the interim.

    Cons

    For a benefits consulting firm, WW's benefits are not great. Pay could always be better, but for this particular industry, WW pays the same as the other firms. Workload seems to vary by practice.

    Advice to Management

    Take a few more risks. Also, make promotion decisions (criteria) more clear.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Opportunties abbound"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It is a great company that is working hard to create an atmosphere in which associates can grow and learn new skills. It has a global brand and opportunities around the world.

    Cons

    Watson Wyatt is still struggling through its big merger with its European partner so there tends to be some redundant staff and a small company feel when in reality it is a big company. Work needs to be done to standardize policies and procedures across the globe.

    Advice to Management

    At the risk of stepping on toes, there needs to be a bigger push to unify the company and foster partnership among the individual practices and regions


  10. "The best large HR consulting firm out there"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Compensation Analyst in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Compensation Analyst in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Work/life balance, scheduling flexibility, intelligent co-workers

    Cons

    Lack of geographic differentials in compensation, sub-par bonus plan

    Advice to Management

    Re-work the bonus plan


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