Zenefits Software Engineer Reviews | Glassdoor

Zenefits Software Engineer Reviews

Updated Jan 16, 2020

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3.6
69%
Recommend to a Friend
16%
Approve of CEO
Zenefits CEO Jay Fulcher
Jay Fulcher
6 Ratings
  1. "Software Engineering Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer(Internship) in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Zenefits

    Pros

    -Got to work on a couple of meaningful projects -Manager, mentor and other employees on my team were always willing and available to help -Dog friendly office

    Cons

    -Organization / structure can be improved

    Zenefits2018-01-11
  2. Helpful (9)

    "Senior Software Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Zenefits full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Lots of snacks, foods - Work-life balance is great at this time, 3 - 4 hours of work at most every day for engineers.

    Cons

    - Half of the strongly experienced employees have left the company in the past 3 months. - New hires with weak background cannot handle work as well as previously experienced employees. - There is no growth for a long time and a big failure on sales this year.

    Advice to Management

    Hard to say, I don't think there is real professional 'Management' here.

    Zenefits2017-10-17
  3. Helpful (8)

    "Much better than before, and getting back on its feet. I can actually recommend working here now."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Zenefits full-time

    Pros

    This place used to be awful, but I can actually see an improvement in the company, its direction, its plans, and the work environment. Being fully transparent about my experience here, the first CEO was single-handedly destroying the company. He had no clue how to run a business, let alone one at such a fast-growing scale. Neither did the people he appointed as management. Every employee was working 80-100 hour weeks, and we were all counting the days until our 1-year vesting cliff so we could get out. Though all of the negative press was blown out of proportion, as those things usually go, the real story was that the company was full of tired, miserable employees, and was ready to collapse at any moment. That first CEO getting pushed out was probably the best thing that's ever happened to this company. The second, interim CEO and his management team came in and did a great job at improving the product, creating a well-thought-out, sensible road map. Now we're on our third CEO, and he seems to have the "business" experience and vision to understand what it's going to take to get the company to the next level. The focus is now on building sustainable business metrics (revenue, margins, and so on) so that the company can progress to its end goal. The company used to be defined as a "rocketship" in the sense that they were hiring hundreds of people a month and increasing revenue with aggressive sales that targeted the low-hanging fruit of the market, but that wasn't going to last forever. Instead of churning through the low-hanging fruit, the company is now focused on increasing revenue with a combination of a useful and well-designed product, keeping customers happy, and smarter business plan that's going to be much more scalable and predictable. They've also focused on improving the lives of employees, with a great work-life balance (people seem to generally work 40 hour weeks now), decent compensation for a venture-backed startup, training for managers, and improvements in culture.

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    Cons

    -HR/Insurance/Payroll tech is a difficult space, with lots of rules and business-logic that one must learn. However, this is no different from working in any other heavily-regulated industry, and gives the company a moat to reduce the number of entrants into the market. -Perks and fringe benefits are not as good as at the "hot" startups or tech giants. -The new business model with the incoming CEO led to a restructuring where many employees got laid off. Though things are completely stable now, the company has so many angry, disgruntled ex-employees now that the Glassdoor reviews are horrible, which will create difficulty in hiring in the future. Also, many of those employees have only seen the company in its terrible state (especially during the reign of the first CEO), and can only provide a narrative of that situation. -The tech debt incurred from terrible engineering decisions early on makes it difficult to increase velocity. Every fast-growing startup has tons of tech debt (For example, think about why Facebook had to build a PHP-to-C++ compiler internally), but Zenefits took a bit too long to address the issues. The good news is, the state of the codebase is steadily improving with the recent focus on paying down the debt. -Promotion process is still highly political, and requires lots of "making yourself visible" to the executive team.

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    Advice to Management

    Don't mess this up. Don't hire any more execs who don't have the experience or the talent to take the company to the next level. Do a better job at recognizing the talented individuals who don't play the political game. Morale still seems low around the office because of all of the turmoil in the past year and a half. Though steps have been taken to make this an enjoyable place to work, the culture still needs further improvement.

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    Zenefits2017-06-09
  4. Helpful (13)

    "There's plenty of fish in the sea"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Zenefits full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - The business model was genius, and Parker definitely deserves a medal for that. Initial growth was exceptionally strong, which means that early employees and people in the management layers have lots of upside potential. - The people were great. But there are lots of great people at lots of other great companies too. - There's a lot of opportunity if you're willing to put in the time. The codebase leaves a lot to be desired, and putting in the effort to improve it would be both a great learning experience and probably get you some good will with management. - Convenient location in SoMA in San Francisco. Lots of snacks and drinks, and tons of empty desks if you want somewhere quiet to work (post-RIF benefit I guess?)

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    Cons

    - Compensation seems good, but you have to realize that there are rarely bonuses, and they're also likely trying to make up for the poor stock potential. If you're considering joining, you should ask for financials under NDA and judge for yourself whether there is potential. Consider that the CEOs last exit with Ooyala was at 5x revenue, which for Zenefits wouldn't come anywhere near paying off the preferred stock of investors. (Please please please, read up on preferred v.s. common stock and liquidation preference before joining a startup.) - The codebase is a mess, and code quality isn't necessarily improving. Some groups within engineering are trying to put in the effort to use microservices and build the code in a way that will be scalable with the business. Others are still focused on shipping at all costs, even if it means long-term product instability and a constant influx of bugs. Attempts to fix quality have led to questionable results as proper testing does not accompany the bug fixes, which leads to regressions. - Overall, the CTO has failed to lead engineering in fixing our common problems. Orders are given and not followed, because the requisite respect is not there. As time goes on, more and more engineers are losing sight of the vision and their motivation, and are become checked out as they look for a new job. - Working in the core monolithic codebase is a nightmare, and it isn't improving. A good (but maybe biased) overview can be found on the scriptycrafty blog titled "software engineering dystopias". Short story, the infrastructure team worked hard for a year to keep the CI systems propped up, while the core engineering teams kept piling bad code on top. - At this point you can expect full suite builds to take 1.5 hours (and even this is parallelized across a large number of nodes). UI rebuilds take 12-15 seconds, then add another 10 seconds for the page to reload and maybe 20-30 seconds while the Chrome dev tools freeze as they try to parse the massive amount of JS sent to the client. Running any sort of UI tests take forever because the UI and APIs are ridiculously slow, I know of people who spend 4-8 hours fixing a single integration test because of the length of the feedback loop. The closest thing to unit tests are the Django "unit tests" which take 15-20 seconds minimum when you combine the Django boot time with the web of signals that fires whenever you try to seed simple user data. (FWIW, these comments mostly apply to the engineering org. I can't comment much on the quality of life in other parts of the company, but I think the other negative reviews from ops and sales reflect many of the things I heard while at Zenefits.)

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    Advice to Management

    Y'all have the reins now. Less talk, more action please.

    Zenefits2017-05-23
  5. Helpful (8)

    "Definitely a rollercoaster ride"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Zenefits full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Immediate managers care greatly about your success Lots of opportunities to stand out and be recognized for good work Flexible schedule

    Cons

    Frequent deadlines cause intense pressure on employees Executive leadership has unfortunately lost a lot of trust Culture has been cleaned to the point of being sterilized

    Zenefits2017-02-14
  6. Helpful (1)

    "Zenefits internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer Intern in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Zenefits for less than a year

    Pros

    - Great food - Great location (SF HQ) - Smart people - Frequent all hands

    Cons

    - Work is so boring - Mentor was really busy with their work and gave very little attention to mine. PR reviews would take very, very long to get approved - Code is a jumbled mess, there are patches on top of patches on top of more patches. Instead of addressing the source of the issue, there were hacky fixes all over the place. - Got a return offer with no increase in pay - Food went from starbucks drinks and Hint water to canned junk beverages like Arizona Ice teas. The quality of food degraded so fast - Sacks told people that they have option to take a package and leave the company or to "double down" and stay to make a great product. He promised a great vision to those that wanted to stay. I now see on my Facebook feed that majority of the people who followed this deceptive vision got swindled and got fired last week.

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    Advice to Management

    - Don't be deceptive with your own people. Treat the staff with more respect.

    Zenefits2017-02-13
  7. Helpful (3)

    "maybe not a good place for some"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Zenefits for more than a year

    Pros

    payment not bad, friendly people

    Cons

    poor work life balance, always work late

    Zenefits2016-11-19
  8. Helpful (2)

    "A very exciting place to work at"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Zenefits full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    * good work / life balance * challenging problems around automation * small teams that focus on impact * good co-workers

    Cons

    * Upper management is known to have made poor choices in the past * The problem space by itself is not very intersting

    Zenefits2016-06-13
  9. Helpful (19)

    "Terrifying"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Zenefits full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Fully stocked kitchen - Lots of empty space

    Cons

    - Working here is terrifying. Everybody is constantly afraid of being fired - The entire engineering org is being quietly laid off - No transparency around layoffs. Nobody knows who's been let go - You just stop noticing your co-workers around the office until one day it's you

    Advice to Management

    Be transparent about the fact that you're doing layoffs. Everyone knows is anyways. I and everyone else walk in every day terrified that we're going to get fired until one day it actually happens.

    Zenefits2016-05-20
  10. Helpful (3)

    "In transition."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Zenefits full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Interesting technology Lots of smart people Good pay. Could have a very good future.

    Cons

    Very much in transition. Not the best practices.

    Advice to Management

    Don't just say to do stuff, monitor your teams too! Document what you do and do what you document. Too many random directions.

    Zenefits2016-06-02
Found 29 reviews