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HS2 Solutions Reviews

Updated 22 April 2017
33 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

4.4
Star Star Star Star Star
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Phil Hollyer
20 Ratings

33 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great Company, Great People"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Client Services in Chicago, IL (US)
    Current Employee - Client Services in Chicago, IL (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at HS2 Solutions full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    An amazing company and culture. There are lots of smart and dedicated people who are fun and collaborative to work with. You will learn and grow and be challenged while being supported by an employee friendly culture. There is long standing leadership provided by very active founders. They know how to grow the company, are rationale and grounded and truly value the people that work at the firm.

    Cons

    I love working here and have for a long time. I think some reasons this place may not be for everyone would be a) It is results oriented, growing and everyone is accountable. You need to be able to keep up. b) You will get feedback - it is supportive and professional but you have to want to grow and get better no matter your level or role. c) The culture is mid-western - in the best sense - real, friendly, low key, however there are sexier places to work if you prefer hype, sizzle and buzz.

    Advice to Management

    Please don't change what you are doing as the firm grows - let's keep what is special here.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great place"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Web Developer in Chicago, IL (US)
    Current Employee - Web Developer in Chicago, IL (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at HS2 Solutions full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    This is a company with a vibrant culture. If you're looking for a desk job where your boss won't know your name and you can just do your 9-5 and go home, this isn't it. HS2 always feels like it's got a startup vibe going, there's beer in the fridge and you're allowed as much vacation as you want so long as your work gets done. Work hard, play hard.

    HS2 is the first place I've ever worked where I see someone send out an email that they're leaving the company, and I'm just completely befuddled. They let you work from home, they make tons of room for your personal life. Another company would have to double my salary to get me to move.

    Yes, the unlimited vacation is real. Obviously HS2 does a lot of client work so you can't just disappear right before a deadline (unless you negotiate for it ahead of time - and this happens all the time, if you booked a trip three months in advance just make sure everyone knows). For example, I had a difficult client for a year that nearly stressed me to death, and at one point when we got a break I took a week off and worked from another state for the next two. How many companies will let you do that?

    People constantly take off early to pick up their kids from school, and the owners aren't shy when it comes to taking a ski trip. But if a client needs something done now, there are absolutely people who will pick up 60+ hours, even though they're salaried so they don't get an immediate bonus for doing so. There is plenty of room for advancement and an incentive structure that gives you a year-end reward, but it's definitely a work hard play hard atmosphere.

    HS2 even gives employees quarterly financial reports as though it were a publicly traded company and you're the shareholders. I've never seen a company do that before.

    Finally: It gets difficult to readjust to what "normal" business is like outside HS2. I heard a friend talk about how the IT department at their business is reluctant to get certified in a new software, even though the company has to use it. That's unimaginable at HS2. It wouldn't even occur to someone at HS2 to say they "don't" want to learn a new software, unless they have a real business objection to using it. If you're the sort of person who has your "preferred" methods and you're not going to budge for anyone, this is not the place for you. You're free to work in your own software and do things to your own tune, but when the client needs work done, you do the work.

    Cons

    Not everyone likes a demanding workplace. HS2 is a place where even if you've been there ten years you will still usually feel like the dumbest person in the room, because everyone is amazingly talented at something you don't know. If you're hoping to find a job where you're king of your own fiefdom, this isn't it. One day you'll be in awe of some wizard programmer who seems to know everything, the next you'll be teaching that person about a system because it's new to them. Everyone loves to help and share what they know, everyone is completely willing to help get you up to speed on whatever you need to get your work done, but you have to be able to hit the ground running.

    Advice to Management

    Could be a little more clear on future plans, sometimes the overall direction of the business takes a turn that the workers weren't expecting. You always know you're in good hands so it's not a worry, but you could stand to get a little more info up front.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Work Excellence and Work/Life Balance"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Developer
    Current Employee - Developer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at HS2 Solutions full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I've been working for HS2 over 4 years now and have absolutely no interest in going anywhere any time soon. When I first joined, I had just left a company where I was a top employee and felt very confident in my skills and felt like I was on top of my game.

    My world went upside down when I joined HS2 as I suddenly felt like I was the least qualified and least experienced person around (this was a good feeling). My coworkers were and are some of the best people I've ever worked with and have some of the most amazing and varied skills in various technologies. I'm always learning, always growing, and always challenged. There's never a dull moment and when I start to feel too comfortable with a project or feel like I'm not growing, HS2 has happily honored my requests to be moved to something new and more challenging.

    Work Life Balance at HS2 is real. There are multiple negative reviews that mention this isn't the case but I can't fathom why. This is an amazing and busy company with some amazing clients and that means we often have to work hard hours for some extended periods to get stuff done - but I would expect that from any job. I've never felt guilty taking vacations and have been on multiple busy projects where I was urged to go take some time off and just reset. After a particularly grueling project, I requested and got several weeks off to fully relax and enjoy my personal life before I jumped into another fast-paced environment. HS2 has fully supported any time I needed off when I was feeling burnt out and has never held me accountable for that time.

    As always, not every project and not every week is the same. I go anywhere from working 40-hour weeks to 60-hour weeks with a majority being between 40 to 45 on a normal scale and 45-50 for a normal busy week. Any personal time doing training or learning isn't "billable" but does count and is recorded as time worked.

    Everything we do is held to very high standards and HS2 focuses on hiring the best of the best and encourages continued growth, learning, and collaboration. I couldn't picture myself anywhere else.

    Cons

    The company is growing very quickly and though this is typically a good thing, there's a little fear of it getting a little out of hand. Processing reviews takes longer and longer every year as there are more employees to handle.

    Top level management can be a little difficult to learn to work with on a personal level but once you get to know them, everyone's wonderful.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work and keep hiring talented employees but don't grow too large too quickly! More opportunities to work on personal projects during work hours would be awesome.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Web developer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good location and place in Chicago

    Cons

    Don't explain much. Not a welciming environment.


  6. "Campaign Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Pros

    The company is very selective when interviewing talent so you know you are working with the best. We learn from each other

    Cons

    There really are none to mention.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Flex Time Not as Advertised"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Web Developer in Wheaton, IL (US)
    Former Employee - Web Developer in Wheaton, IL (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good salary and benefits. Nice office.

    Friendly and enthusiastic employees.

    Snacks and drinks provided in office.

    Fantastic HR team.

    They're very organized in their whole on-boarding process.

    Company seems stable with the amount of clients they have.

    Cons

    Lack of respect for anyone trying to have a life outside of HS2. It seems the majority of people who love this place are the type where there is no separation between their work and personal life. They live and breath HS2.

    Obsession over billable time: Employees expected to learn new technologies on their own time (since it's not billable).

    Weekend standup meetings. Employees expected to be working weekends with zero regard for their personal life and plans away from the office.

    Overbearing management.

    Unlimited vacation is not what it seems. Employees held accountable for any vacation time used.

    Advice to Management

    Stand by your apparent belief in flex time. Support your employees by allowing them to learn new technologies while at work, instead of trying to squeeze it in at lunch or after hours (during times they are supposed to be allowed time and space from work).


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Top-Level Agency"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Interactive Developer in Grand Rapids, MI (US)
    Former Employee - Interactive Developer in Grand Rapids, MI (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    HS2 truly puts a focus on their employees happiness and ability to be productive. Competency development is a huge initiative here as well - both furthering expertise in current skills, but also branching out and learning new things, attending conferences, and having access to materials to help further your career. There are no "bosses," everyone at HS2 is a peer and is respected as such.

    Cons

    HS2 is still learning and growing as a company, constantly refining their processes. This isn't a "con" so much as a fact of life. The positive here is that HS2 is consistently seeking to grow and improve.

    Advice to Management

    Try to gather all the competencies (Drupal, PHP, Javascript, et al.) for meetups more often to get teams on the same page. This is important with so many remote workers.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great Place to Work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at HS2 Solutions full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    For a small company , HS2 works with some big name clients in very critical parts of their business. But even better are the people. The management team is very strong and involved in the business. They are people with technical backgrounds, so they are not afraid to get in and help out in the details when you need help.
    Most of the employees are high performers and it is great to work withe people that you know can do their part and keep the project moving.

    Cons

    There are times when deadlines become tight and it can become stressful.

    Advice to Management

    Keep on hiring good people.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "World-class brands, smart people, beautiful spaces, great opportunities."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 HS2 Solutions full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    HS2 Solutions has been around in some shape or form since the '90s. They not only work with some of the greatest brands, they partner with these companies for the long-haul because of their outstanding work ethic, technical prowess, and user-centered design savvy. You're going to be surrounded by smart people who honestly love what they do and it's infectious! If you want it, there's incredible opportunity to grow and prosper. And, let's face it--any company that has a refrigerator loaded with craft beer is simply a cool place to work.

    Cons

    HS2 continues to grow because the client always comes first. This means that HS2 is sometimes a little behind in developing its own brand.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to do what you're doing and never sacrifice the culture and values for fast growth.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Fantabulous Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Talent and Culture Manager in Saint Louis, MO (US)
    Current Employee - Talent and Culture Manager in Saint Louis, MO (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at HS2 Solutions part-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    HS2 is a Chicago based company with amazing offices in Wheaton and Ravenswood. Their dedication and loyalty to their employees and clients is unsurpassed. They employ smart hardworking people empowering their employees to learn new things and succeed at what they do. The owners are very supportive and active in the day-to-day work and lives of their employees. Work/Life balance is a huge draw and great perks like take what you need vacation policy, Friday lunches and a fully stocked kitchen with snacks, soda and beer/wine are added bonuses. Highly recommend HS2! Best company I've ever worked for!

    Cons

    Having a hard time with Cons. It really is a great company that does terrific work and is constantly growing and evolving!

    Advice to Management

    Management is A+ and extremely involved in daily operations and projects. They are very approachable.


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