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Alfa Reviews

Updated 28 November 2017
29 reviews

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4.0
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Andrew Denton
4 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Interim"

    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 Alfa full-time

    Pros

    Highly collaborative and friendly culture

    Cons

    - - - - -


  2. "Family feel, FTSE 250"

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

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

    Pros

    The People !
    Everyone at Alfa is friendly inviting and open to collaborating. Alfa recruits from a range of backgrounds which makes for an interesting and dynamic place to work with an emphasis on problem solving and teamwork.
    There is lots of room to contribute our ideas and shape the company and it is encouraged.
    Small enough to know nearly everyone but large enough to have great career prospects

    Cons

    Busy as we are growing.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the small company feel as we grow dont loose what makes us special


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Some good people, but aggressive "laddish" work environment."

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

    I worked at Alfa full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Pay is excellent, the offices are nice, and working hours are reasonable.

    There are a few extremely talented people that work at Alfa. If you're lucky and get assigned to a good project with a good manager then you will find it rewarding.

    Development can be a fun team experience if you get the (rare) opportunity to work on R&D.

    If you're prepared to fit in with the 'laddish' culture then you'll probably enjoy the social aspects of work at Alfa.

    Cons

    The company is run by a clique of laddish "old boys". If you're in with the club, enjoy a drink and don't mind some coarse conversation, then you will do well at Alfa. If you don't fit that description then it might be struggle to get ahead.

    The company is very aggressive with its own customers. Customer relationships can feel more like a fight than a partnership. Junior staff can be put in an awkward position with disgruntled or offended customers. The aggressive "win at all costs" mentality can be exhausting for those of us who are not ultra-competitive Type-A personalities.

    Software development at Alfa can be lonely. It can feel like you're disconnected in the quiet London office, cranking out features that don't seem fully thought-out, and sending them to the line to a remote customer overseas.

    The design of Alfa's ERP software product is mostly driven by paid customer enhancement requests. Alfa outsources its design and product strategy to whatever its customers will pay for. This results in a sprawling design that can be difficult to work with and lacks cohesion.

    Advice to Management

    The "Mad Men" work environment isn't OK in 2017. Think hard about how to make the work environment less intimidating and more inclusive.

    Customer churn is a problem but this can be fixed. Focus the company's considerable skill, energy and aggression on delivering actual benefit to the customer base and you will have no problem retaining customers and staff.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "Uninspiring work in an uninspiring industry"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Former Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Alfa part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -First, the company rebranded to 'Alfa' from CHP Consulting. To get a fuller list of information make sure to search for 'CHP Consulting' also!
    -Great benefits including the classicly-corporate bonus scheme
    -Private healthcare (who needs the NHS anyway)
    -Ability to take sabbatical
    -Worldwide travel insurance for those sabbaticals
    -Good pay for graduates
    -Can get seconded overseas (USA most likely) meaning rent is payed for meaning more effective pay (be aware that as Alfa moves further towards the software house structure it's possible this'll become less likely)
    -Some genuinely amazing and supportive people work at this company (con: not likely these people will be your line manager)
    -Hackathon is a fantasticly enriching and fun event and is not just focussed on the techie (as it's name might suggest)
    -Many social events (brilliant for the socialite)
    -Recently lost the suit dress code (who trusts a guy in a suit these days anyway)
    -Work-life balance is truly fantastic here!
    -Applicants wishing to persue management consultancy should get on the v4 track.

    Cons

    -Your grade seems to mean very little in some circumstances and a great deal in others, both end up being to the employers benefit should they choose
    -Boys club at the top (which is pretty cringe in 2017)
    -Onionification justifies some management positions that, in my opinion, don't hold people with competent management or statistical analysis skills
    -Job is quite repetitive not requiring too much thought (this is only bad if you want to expand your knowledge)
    -Only a very small team get to work on any greenfield projects
    -Can realistically be called a feature factory (con in my eyes, your mileage may vary)
    -PDP (personal development plan) process is broken and leads to much top-down abuse of power and position, in effect: if you're mates with your line manager (reiterate boys club) you'll have a good time
    -If you're quiet, you wont get noticed
    -Social events largly consist of drinking alcohol (reiterate boys club). If you're not a drinker or are a veggie, you might have a tough time
    -Though you work in a team, there's no sense of teamwork as everyone just works on their own assigned task with little to no overlap
    -Some grads are recruited to v4 (not v5), this track, while the fastest way to the top for the corporate climbers, should be accepted with caution. If you wish to learn about modern technology, this track uses older hardware and software and won't afford you as much transferrability in your post-Alfa technical life.

    Advice to Management

    In terms of culture: take a look at the times and move with them a bit faster than you do. In terms of management: for the everyday employee, your stream leads are the most critical people in the entire company, make sure you have legitimately competent people (not just silver tongues, your mates, or whoever was convenient to put in that position) working in these roles.


  6. "Good company, well managed"

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

    I worked at Alfa full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great working envrionment
    Good benefits
    Management is very talented
    Very organized and structured company

    Cons

    Work can be very boring and monotonous
    You need to be lucky to have a good line manager, otherwise your career progression migth be slow
    Sometimes company processes are more important than common sense

    Advice to Management

    Continue to shift the company towards being more a software house and less a consultancy company
    Don't loose the "culture"


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Alfa full-time

    Pros

    Good people to work with and very good client base.

    Cons

    Tough to get the right role


  8. "Pretty good company for graduates"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    - Great company to start your career

    Cons

    - Not so clear career path when you are experienced


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Junior Consultant in London, England
    Current Employee - Junior Consultant in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Pros
    Some great people work here, you'll meet a lot of interesting and intelligent people.
    Usually a great work life balance, although it depends on which project you're on.

    Higher level management is under the illusion that people aren't pressured to work past 6. This is not the case on some projects.

    A few managers can be needlessly high intensity, micromanaging, and will find fault with literally every tiny thing you do which can basically ruin your life from 9am to 6pm if you get them. I should stress that most of them are great and will really work with you to make sure you e…
    Show More
    Advice to Management
    Reflect on what it might be like to work for the company as anything below a senior consultant, yes it can be an amazing company to work for but there are some serious issues when it comes to how some younger employees are treated.

    Cons

    Long working hours on some projects


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Lovely people, work life balance, opportunities to learn, travel"

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

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

    Pros

    The people are great - smart, down to earth, always willing to help. I consider a lot of my co-workers to be very good friends after six years at CHP.

    It's extremely sociable - there are frequently organised staff events, as well as almost guaranteed Friday night drinks every week after work.

    The staff events are fantastic with no expense spared - the entire company was flown out to Miami for five days last year! All expenses paid ski trips to top resorts are common for project teams who have done a good job.

    They will teach you how to develop software when you have little or no experience. If you come from a non-tech background but want to learn how to code, you won't get a better opportunity.

    Given the relatively high salary, the work life balance is great. If you're consistently working longer than your contracted hours this will be flagged up and efforts will be made to address it. There are obviously times when you need to stay late, but these are infrequent. If you have pre-arranged plans then it would take something major for CHP to expect you to cancel them for work. Any requirement to work overtime is normally known about well in advance.

    With enough notice they will allow you to take an unpaid sabbatical for up to three months with a guarantee of your job back. Longer sabbaticals (up to a year in some cases) will also be granted, and if you're good at your job it is essentially guaranteed on return.

    Annual profit related pay has averaged around 20% of salary for the last three years running.

    If you're interested in relocating to the USA for a year or more you will get this opportunity. There is no obligation to relocate.

    The head office (London) is beautiful and in a great location. There is a full-time barista who makes some of the best (and free!) coffee in London.

    Cons

    Promotions are meritocratic - people who move up fast nearly always deserve to - however it does sometimes feel that some very good people can be left behind. There is a slight bias in favour of more sociable / outgoing people who are good at advertising themselves - quiet, solid hard-working types can be unfairly overlooked.

    Historically the company has not been very diverse - mainly white, male Oxbridge graduates. This was fed back to HR and in the last few years the hiring pool has become a lot more diversified. The company is definitely moving in the right direction, however the gender balance seems fairly stuck at around 80:20 male to female, despite efforts by HR to hire more women.

    It's a great place to work and so there is an extremely high staff retention rate, however this means that a large number of people in the organisation have never worked anywhere else, which can feel a bit insular. In recent years there has been a big drive to recruit more experienced hires, and we are gradually learning to take their knowledge on board and become more dynamic in how we do things, however it can sometimes feel like there is a resistance to change.

    There are lots of interesting roles and projects, however these won't fall into your lap. For the first couple of years your assignments are largely decided for you, however as you get more senior you need to 'play the game' a bit to ensure you are heading in the direction that you want to. Getting onto an interesting project can come down to how well you get on with the manager of that project, not necessarily whether or not you are best suited to the role. If you are willing to relocate overseas for a year or more you will get much more interesting roles.

    For the first couple of years your training is largely decided for you. After this you need to take the initiative to ensure that you receive training - if you research a course/ conference that you can demonstrate will be beneficial to your role, then they will likely pay for it, however these opportunities won't just fall into your lap.

    You can get stuck for a couple of years supporting clients who use older versions of our software. From a technical perspective this work is uninteresting and not particularly useful outside of CHP. However you will get more opportunity to do actual consulting in these roles. It is worth making it very clear in your interview where your interests lie, to ensure you end up in an appropriate role.

    Advice to Management

    Make more of an effort to reward the quieter, reliable hard-workers.


  11. "Great for building consultancy and development skills"

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

    I have been working at Alfa full-time

    Pros

    Everyone gets a chance to do bit of everything.
    Opportunity to work on challenging tasks.
    Fresh fruit every morning.

    Cons

    Can't listen to music in the office.

    Advice to Management

    Pay more attention to what individual employees excel at. We love doing what we are good at :-)


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