Smart Pension Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Smart Pension Reviews

Updated 12 Feb 2020

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4.1
80%
Recommend to a Friend
100%
Approve of CEO
Smart Pension CEO Andrew Evans
Andrew Evans
5 Ratings
  1. "Great place to work"

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

    I have been working at Smart Pension full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Helpful, friendly staff Opportunities to grow Great workplace culture Growing business Opportunity to take part in events and other activities (e.g. football, pool)

    Cons

    Benefits might not be as strong as other companies in the same industry, however they are still decent. Due to how relaxed the culture is, more effort needs to be put in sometimes to get stuff done or get noticed (but this could also be a pro).

    Smart Pension2020-02-12

    Smart Pension Response

    February 18, 2020Head of Talent

    Hi! Martin here, Head of Talent. Thank you for the nice rating and comments, it is great to see we are heading in the right direction! In terms of the benefits, as you will know, we have done a large amount of work lately to pull together some new benefits and from April 1st, we will be more competitive. But, rest assured, the hard work to make Smart an even better place to work continues and we will launch more benefits as we go :)

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  2. "A great place to work"

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

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

    Pros

    Very supportive and open management culture. People are encouraged to speak their mind on how to make things better. Never feel alone in solving a problem. Nice comfortable offices as well, some people seem to live there.

    Cons

    Building is a bit structurally wobbly

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    Smart Pension2020-02-04

    Smart Pension Response

    February 18, 2020Head of Talent

    Hi! Yep, you guessed it, it's Martin again :) Thank you for the feedback, we have tried as hard as we can to keep our open culture as we scale rapidly. We won't always get it right of course, but it seems that we have done so in his case which is awesome to read and thank you for sharing your experience. You are right, unfortunately due to a large construction site that shall remain nameless "Crossrail"... oops... The building has been a little bit shakey lately, but I promise that will pass and our Office Management team do report it to the building managers to make sure we keep the disruption to a minimum and of course, to keep everyone safe.

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  3. Helpful (2)

    "Has become Toxic"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Paddington, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great Benefits, flexible working and generous package.

    Cons

    I have been at Smart for a while and it's saddening to see that a company that had such a great culture and so much potential has become a bedrock of intimidation, bullying and harassment. I believe the founders have a great vision and are unaware that middle management and senior directors are running amok and have created a toxic culture. I have witnessed colleagues being bullied and harassed; i've witnessed managers speaking rudely and unprofessionally to subordinates. The company has experienced well deserved fast growth which though positive has left many managers abusing the power they had when the company was much smaller. Managers abuse power and treat staff like they are dispensable. Not a week goes by without someone sharing their bad experiences with me yet no one has the confidence to report these things because it feels like your word against these managers and directors who are treated like superstars won't hold. The HR team is great but this has gone beyond reporting bad managers. It's time to come down hard on unprofessional behaviour, train managers, create accountability and pay attention to staff. Most people who have been here longer than a year are desperate to leave and the shame is Smart pension had great potential and who knows it may still have but for now I wouldn't recommend it to anyone

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    Smart Pension2020-01-28

    Smart Pension Response

    January 31, 2020Head of Talent

    Hi! As ever, I want to start by saying thank you. Whenever we get feedback from one of our team (whether past or present), it is important that we recognise the fact people have taken the time to write reviews and give us feedback, that will only ever help us grow and get better. Whenever we receive a review, it is important we acknowledge it and take it seriously. Whether positive or negative feedback, the team at Smart will always work hard to make it a great place to work and I will be sharing your review with our management team to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to read it. At Smart, we have a number of ways that people can give us feedback. As I have mentioned in previous Town Halls here, we have an open culture and people can talk to any of the HR team or indeed anyone from the management team (including our MD and CEO) if they feel there are situations that need to be addressed. We will always listen to what our teams have to say and I know that people at Smart will never be ignored and will be fully supported if ever they need help addressing any situation. Our growth has indeed been amazing and well deserved over the past couple of years and whilst there will always be challenges, we are looking forward to a great 2020 with lots more exciting projects on the horizon. I will finish by saying this as it is relevant for people who work with us now and for people who are thinking about joining Smart. If there is a problem, please come and speak with us. The management team here at Smart (and I include myself as part of that team) absolutely respect and value our people and culture and if there is ever an issue, we would 100% want the opportunity to put it right. Martin Head of Talent

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  4. Helpful (1)

    "Cannot recommend anymore"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - QA Tester in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Smart Pension full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Developers are, on the whole, friendly and knowledgeable. QA team is friendly. Company is funded. Relatively comfortable working conditions.

    Cons

    I joined Smart Pension about nine months ago and will be leaving soon. The main problem for me is the fairly toxic environment that seems to have been developed. I believe this is largely a result of the engineering management so hopefully this is something which can be changed. People tend to just go missing. One minute they're working with you, the next they're out the door - despite a lack of gross misconduct. It's quite unsettling. In addition to this, the company has a fairly poor approach to mental health support and I've witnessed people put on warnings for poor performance despite opening up about issues in their personal lives. A certain member of engineering management once announced that they do not like team members being friends, as it makes them difficult to control. Whilst I understand this from a management point view, it does not create a nice work place. Individuals on the engineering team have been banned from any form of constructive criticism as management have decided it falls under the realm of negativity, and people have been given warnings for this. Despite receiving a significant amount of funding, engineering is told that no payrises will be given as the company cannot afford it. Sadly, I cannot recommend Smart Pension as a place to join as an engineer, because there are far more inclusive, friendly and better paid roles available.

    Smart Pension2019-12-03

    Smart Pension Response

    December 9, 2019Head of Talent

    Hi, Thank you for the review and I am genuinely sorry to hear that your experience at Smart is no longer one you enjoy. If there are any additional pieces of information you can give me, do reach out directly to me. People are always at the top of our agenda, so to hear your comments on mental health, salary increases and people "going missing" are ones we will always take seriously. Whilst I cannot comment on any individual case, we always look to support people with their mental health and have access to (and have provided) Occupational Health and external resources to help people when they have needed it. In terms of salary increases, we are currently going through the annual process as I write this, so this is already on the agenda and in terms of feedback, we pro-actively encourage it. We have anonymous forms, Town Halls and department meetings etc to ensure communication flows both ways and people have an ability to speak to anyone in the company - We have an open door policy throughout. In terms of people being "out of the door", we actually have a very low turnover in our Engineering team and letting anyone go (not just in the Engineering team) is always going to be our last resort. As a business, we do sometimes need to make hard decisions in order for us to ensure we have the right people in place, but again, it is a last resort for us to do this and we will always try to help develop people and get them to the correct level first. I would not like anyone to leave Smart feeling that they have been let down, so hopefully my responses above show that (even if it has come too late for yourself) we take all comments seriously and use them to make the business better. Martin - Head of Talent

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  5. "Good Company Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - QA Engineer in Paddington, England

    I have been working at Smart Pension full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    - Given the opportunity to move around teams and develop different skill sets - Flat company structure enables you to speak to more senior people easily - Engineering team encourages feedback and focuses on continuously improving things

    Cons

    - Nothing major as a negative

    Smart Pension2019-08-19

    Smart Pension Response

    August 20, 2019Head of Talent

    Thanks for the feedback :) We will try (as we scale) to keep things that way. It's important that people who work at Smart already are given the opportunities to learn and grow, so thank you for letting us know that is happening! Martin (Head of Talent)

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  6. Helpful (1)

    "well doing startup"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Front End Developer in London, England

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

    Pros

    the business is doing well

    Cons

    tech stack is not the best

    Smart Pension2019-07-27

    Smart Pension Response

    August 5, 2019Head of Talent

    Hi! Martin (Head of Talent/People) here... Again :) Thanks for the feedback! As you rightly said, the business is doing well and it's great to hear that we are communicating that message clearly across the teams, it's important that we keep everyone informed. Regarding the Tech Stack, whilst I won't pretend I am technical enough to go into an in-depth answer here, I would honestly recommend that you speak to our Head of Engineering (Brad) or our CTO (Sam). I know they are always happy to answer questions on our tech stack and what plans we have for the future as well as the improvements we can make today, so do reach out to them, after all, our teams are the people that work day-to-day on our platform! Martin

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  7. Helpful (1)

    "Business Development Man"

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

    I have been working at Smart Pension full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Great Company , great people, fun staff

    Cons

    None at all, its just a great company

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    Smart Pension2019-03-31

    Smart Pension Response

    August 5, 2019Head of Talent

    Hello! This is great to hear and thank you for putting a positive review on our site, but if I could ask you to amend the number of years you have been working with us, that would be great. We haven't been around that long :) Martin - Head of Talent/People

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  8. Helpful (2)

    "Awesome company to work for"

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

    I have been working at Smart Pension full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Collaborative and fun environment, good ideas and hard work valued over job title, a no blame culture where everyone's suggestions are encouraged and welcomed. Full of very, very bright and nice people. Best place I've worked in many years

    Cons

    Minor point but acceptance of working from home varies across teams

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    Smart Pension2019-03-08

    Smart Pension Response

    March 14, 2019Head of Talent

    Hi there! This is Martin, Head of Talent/People and firstly, thank you for reveiwing Smart on Glassdoor, it is always important for us to get the reviews, whether good or bad as it helps us work on areas we need to improve and continue to do what is right! Just to answer the Working from Home acceptance comment. It is a good point you have noted and one that was raised at our last Town Hall also. We are now working on a policy that will give a more uniformed approach to Working from Home whilst offering a degree of flexibility, so look out for the comms which will be coming out in the next couple fo weeks and hopefully, that will provide a clearer direction on Working from Home, but of course, the People team are always open to new ideas and/or ways of working. Any questions, please do drop me an email! Martin

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  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great Company Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I have been working at Smart Pension full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The environment is calming and the people are friendly.

    Cons

    No cons at the moment

    Smart Pension2019-03-11

    Smart Pension Response

    March 14, 2019Head of Talent

    Awesome! We will try to keep it that way :) Martin Head of Talent/People

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  10. Helpful (2)

    "Pensions = __slowly__ building stuff for next 50+ years"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Smart Pension full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Thinking in terms of long-term pensions business is a key here. You may know some 50-years old pension companies that still run on COBOL and they cannot get away with it because many years ago someone screwed up the software architecture. Well, it feels directors experienced it first hand 'cos here we do things rather slowly and patiently. Good is better than fast. Adhere to best practices, follow architecture and patterns and all that. I've been working here for 6 months now and so far I head only two features with a deadline but those dates were imposed by government regulations so what you gonna do. Everything else is negotiable. If you want fire burning all around you, you should look for another startup. This is place of 100% TDD and always choosing to spend more time even if it brings only a marginal improvement. This may not be suitable to hacky types who'd prefer to race on with the world. Not overly exciting like Silicon Valley's juice startup. But sane and intellectually challenging. Would give 6/5 in Work/Life Balance if I could. It's also quite flexible in terms of what kind of job you do. Sure, I have some title in my contract but I already forgot what it is - I told managers what my skills are and that I'd like to proceed with learning about a specific field in which they needed personnel and now I'm doing it full-time. So pretty flexible in terms of self-direction.

    Cons

    Change from Kanban to Agile. Not that I have anything against Agile methodologies (SCRUM in particular is the one we use) but it'll definitely take time until whole team gets to know it, I think here especially of how dev team interacts with product team. But at least there are some training workshops in place so we'll see in time. We also have "corporate" laptops - you know, IT telling you how your password should look like, installing antivirus on it and so on. They don't spy on what you do but even the sheer idea of IT folks deciding what's better for my OS makes my cringe as a dev. I don't really like Paddington in terms of food to eat around :P Also, it gets boring at times. It's just part of patient and predictable workloads and no drama - it fits my introverted mind well but might be too boring for some. Example: before you start a big feature you write up a doc, share with others, comment on it, go back and forth - I like it, feels like uni/science paper work a bit but I know some people hate that part. Also, during 6 months I had to stay once beyond 5:30pm... I know certain software releases are dependent on 3rd-party working hours but still, it happened.

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    Smart Pension2019-03-03

    Smart Pension Response

    April 23, 2019Head of Talent

    Hi! Thanks for the feedback, it's super helpful that people take the time to write the reviews and since some of the review was around Engineering, I thought I would ask my colleague Brad to answer some of it, here is his response: "Each team is empowered to select whatever processes that suits them best, some teams prefer to work in Kanban, other's Scrum, this isn't dictated by anyone. One team recently decided to experiment by switching from Kanban to Scrum, then decided to switch back after a month. It's fundamentally to how we do things at Smart - continuous improvement, try something and see if it works. Good code quality is fundamental to everything we do, and why we can deliver quickly, hence our focus on TDD, so glad you can see the benefits". So there we are, straight from the horse's mouth so to speak! In terms of the corporate laptops - That's part of us working in a highly regulated industry, we have to be able to shut down laptops remotely if needed, that's good practice from a security point of view and as you rightly say, not because we want to spy on people. In terms of the meetings, we hope we can try and minimise meetings all over the business, no matter what department it is, but if we do start to get too many happening, do please let us know directly, as it's important that we know! Thanks again for the feedback! Martin - Head of Talent

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