1. Helpful (1)

    "Awful and, at times, violent bullying culture in the Technology team. Worst engineering department I've ever seen"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Royal Pharmaceutical Society full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    There were a few lovely people on the team who made working there seem worth while. **Some** members of management are actively trying hard not to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. As well, from what I saw, the smaller .NET team seemed to have a much better culture than the Scala team.

    Cons

    I'd say this was one of the worst places I've ever worked and that the Pharmpress team in particular was the worst team I've worked in as a developer. I had to complain to HR about a number of people on the team in the eight months I worked there. One got the impression that the Pharmacists there were probably doing all right but in Tech there was a horrible bullying culture within which members of staff who screamed misogynistic abuse during meetings and threatened others with assault were tolerated for years, people who otherwise might have been talented developers became too apathetic to care about improving anything and others just seemed to really hate being challenged. Along with sexism, class discrimination and, in one case in particular, an undercurrent of racism, were problems that you could find within the team quite easily. It was an unsafe team in which mediocre members of staff would physically push their colleagues and could be expect to be protected by HR when they did so. Of course this all took place maybe a month after the team had been given a "Dignity in the Workplace" training course by HR. As well, this is essentially one of those companies where people who complain about bullying run the risk of being punished by HR for doing so . In fact that team were more than happy to persecute victims of bullying for the most spurious reasons. Their grievance procedure is a complete joke and for some reason involves having managers whom they know will be hostile to the person who has raised the grievance actually run the investigation. On the subject of mediocrity, the codebase was complete trash - a lot of it is legacy code riddled with poor choices, poor documentation, pull requests from four years ago that looked like the authors and reviewers had never even seen a PR before. Infrastructure written by someone who clearly had no idea what they were doing but was never held accountable for any of it. Flagship products hosted on servers so old they ought to be criminal! There isn't a clear enough distinction between the work of the software developers and that of IT technicians so you do regularly see members of the dev team fixing what are essentially printing issues. And of course there was middle management more generally. To be fair, I did think that there were members of the management team who were really trying to change things for the better: they weren't perfect but they were trying the hardest they could in an organisation that, up until maybe a year ago, didn't seem to understand why it even needed an engineering team. There was however managers who would actively enable bullying from members of staff do nothing when it happened in front of them. Staff were discouraged from reporting such incidents to HR for fear that it woul reflect badly on management. Middle management even sabotaged a grievance raised against a bully in one case. This was a place where bad management would mean a lot of dev time was sunk into maintaining systems that anyone with eyes could see should have been replaced at least ten years ago. When that didn't work it was easier for those in charge to blame the failure on the way in which the customer had written the ticket rather than the Pharmpress team's inability to adequately support non-technical editorial staff. I felt in particular that parts of middle and senior management behaved horribly to staff whom they knew were planning to resign or had given negative feedback in what was supposed to be an "anonymous", internal "Workbuzz" survey. When I applied, they inexplicably offered me a more senior role than the one I'd actually applied for and I suspect that that was because the coding challenge itself was unusually simple and my manager, got easily confused during the interview. They told me that I would get all the support I needed to grow into the role but I wasn't surprised when that turned out to be untrue. More generally it often felt like professional development was an after-thought - they only ever had five licences for Pluralsight and one account for the old version of Safari Books (it wasn't even compatible with the current android app!). One of the agencies that they work with (who were actually quite good) did offer AWS training which was pretty cool but it was very much a great thing that the contractors did as opposed to something planned by RPS or the Pharmpress team. Tooling was terrible. We all had to use laptops that were so heavy, carrying them home would give you back problems because they couldn't be bothered to spend money on a macbooks. The laptops only had an hour of battery life so there was never any point taking them into meeting rooms. They kept pretending to be a Linux team even though they knew that IT was unwilling to support Linux users which caused unnecessary conflict when it came to things like viewing remote presentations, &c. In fact, working remotely was always a problem as no-one seemed to know how to connect to projectors and microphones in the meeting rooms consistently which meant there were loads of meetings where remote users were just stuck looking at a random team member's face the entire time, would be expected to follow slides in a separate window or just wouldn't be able to hear anything. None of this is to say that there weren't good people on the team - there were some decent people there who were probably the main reason I didn't just leave during my probation period like I should have done. If anything it's why the fact that there were so many bad actors among them always seemed a little shocking. My pay was good but not worth the trauma - it was apparently better than that of many of my colleagues at the time which I think is saying something. Anyone thinking of joining should really consider working somewhere else until they sort out their horrible culture.

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    Royal Pharmaceutical Society Response

    February 3, 2020People Business Partner

    Although we try hard to ensure that everyone has a good experience of working at RPS, we understand that this isn’t always the case and are always open to constructive feedback about what we can do better. In response to the comments in this review, we consider that anything that was brought to our attention by this employee during their time at RPS was addressed appropriately. We don’t believe that the views expressed in this review present an accurate picture of RPS, or reflect how the most of our employees, past or current, feel about working here.

Other Employee Reviews

  1. "Excellent place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Head of Professional Services in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Royal Pharmaceutical Society full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I worked at RPS for almost 5 years and absolutely loved it. Great culture and colleagues. I progressed quickly and made very good connections. The building and the canteen is amazing too. I had 3 different line managers and they were all great. Very supportive and inspiring.

    Cons

    There used to always be issues with AV in the London building but that’s all I can think of!

  2. "Great work-life balance"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Royal Pharmaceutical Society full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great work-life balance, training and development support, progression opportunities

    Cons

    None that I can think of

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