TPP Reviews

Updated 26 Feb 2021

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3.6
63%
Recommend to a Friend
65%
Approve of CEO
TPP CEO  Frank Hester
Frank Hester
128 Ratings
Pros
  • "There is a genuinely flat hierarchy, although more experienced people's opinions tend to be more respected than others(in 14 reviews)

  • "Few companies are willing to hire candidates for all roles with no prior experience and virtually none with such a high starting salary(in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • "The company preaches a 'flat hierarchy', but the reality is that it's run by the people who are most 'Phoenix' (yes, they really use that term)(in 19 reviews)

  • "of positive reviews in the last month(in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
  1. Helpful (3)

    "Interesting projects where you’re able to develop"

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

    I worked at TPP full-time

    Pros

    Lots to learn, variety of projects,

    Cons

    Demanding, stressful, high expectation, tiring

  2. "Values"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Electric Propulsion Systems Head 

    I have been working at TPP full-time

    Pros

    Attention to detail, clarity, benefits.

    Cons

    Hire and fire policy. To cover that, they pay more money to Graduates.


  3. "TPP"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Leeds, England

    I worked at TPP full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    you can have competitive salary

    Cons

    but you will fly often

  4. COVID-19
    Helpful (186)

    "Get in and get out"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Developer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at TPP full-time

    Pros

    Few companies are willing to hire candidates for all roles with no prior experience and virtually none with such a high starting salary. This means that your CV and bank account can look pretty good within a few months of leaving uni. The vast majority of people working at TPP are very pleasant and intelligent. Many new hires move to Leeds to work at TPP, myself included, so it’s nice to be surrounded by like-minded people and it’s easy to make good friends. It feels good knowing that the work you’re doing everyday is having a positive impact on society. I can think of few sectors more objectively ethical than healthcare. There are other superficial perks, such as bimonthly massages, free pub Fridays and annual recreational trips abroad.

    Cons

    All of TPP’s problems can be traced back to its CEO, Frank Hester. The man is deeply insecure and wants nothing more than a band of kowtowing drones to feed his ego. It’s apparent that Frank has few people to associate with outside of work and longs to make friends with his employees, though the feeling is rarely mutual. Several employees have spoken of late-night phone calls from him, which never have anything to do with actual work, but rather whatever happens to be on Frank’s mind. This alone would be a sizeable invasion of privacy, but throw in the fact that Frank is often intoxicated and/or looking to dig up dirt on whichever employee he is currently suspecting of dissent and you're looking at a CEO with absolutely no concept of what’s appropriate. Not only does Frank often make racist or sexist “jokes”, but he revels in his Trumpian filter and expects you to laugh alongside him. Failure to comply can be seen as grounds for dismissal. Virtually none of the longstanding employees engage in non-mandatory company social events, presumably to avoid having to socialise with Frank and risk getting on his bad side, however unintentional it may be. TPP maintains that it has a flat hierarchy, which is half true. There are no managers, only employees and a handful of directors. More senior employees’ opinions will, perhaps naturally, be considered with more weight, but you can approach most anyone you need to at any time and they will generally listen to what you have to say. However, some of the more senior employees and directors have some sort of superiority complex and it shows. Their word is final and their reasoning on matters is usually little more than “this is the way we’ve always operated”. Such reluctance to change is frustrating at best and detrimental to the company at worst. It’s a common occurrence to see a director or senior employee openly berating another employee, which fosters an environment where disrespect is seen as par for the course. The directors themselves answer only to Frank, who himself mistreats them, thus completing the pyramid of abuse. Speaking up about any of this can be seen as a reason to sack you, which brings me to my next point. The turnover rate is absolutely abysmal. Since September 2017, there were probably around 100 new hires across all departments. At a push, maybe 15 remain at the time of writing. On top of this, the largest team, the coders, has plummeted from around 70 to 25 in three years. The reason for this egregious loss of life is, you guessed it, Frank. He boasts how he once attended a talk and appeared to be the only attendee to agree when the speaker suggested that any employee who is not right for the company should be terminated. Sadly, it seems that Frank has mistaken “the company” for “Frank” and will ruthlessly sack anybody who is even suspected of being against him in any way. You are fully expendable, and Frank will admit as much, often bragging that he only requires 14 employees to keep the business afloat. Perhaps for every three employees that are sacked, one leaves of their own volition, but of the twenty such people I’ve spoken to, none would recommend TPP as a nice place to work. Employees are often asked to write company reviews during work hours, including here on Glassdoor and for The Sunday Times Top 100 Small Companies to Work For award, which TPP are now banned from entering. While I can’t prove that several of these reviews are written by the same people, the similar rhetoric found time and time again would seem to suggest they are (perhaps there will be more verbose 5-star reviews dated after this review?). As for non-duplicate reviews, nobody will risk writing anything negative about the company at work for fear that a wandering director may spot it and end their employment on the spot. One of the perks listed here often is a good work-life balance. While it’s true that less than 40 hours a week is pretty reasonable for the salary that is offered, you are expected to be on call 24/7. This applies to some teams more than others, but suffice to say it’s hard not to think about work outside of work when it could phone you at any time. Given how many bugs make it into production code, late-night conference calls are not an uncommon occurrence. Coders get reimbursement for any hours they work outside of normal working hours, but the same can not be said for other teams, such as software support specialists or clinical systems analysts. The only reason I can think of for why this is the case is that most of the directors (Frank included) used to be coders themselves, so coders get special treatment. Many compare TPP to a cult, and for good reason. You are expected to pledge your unwavering allegiance to the company and to be a conduit through which the directors can enact their will. In your first week you will be taught more about the company’s idiosyncratic way of working than how to actually be a {insert job role here}. Not only that, but you are told to call others out when they make any sort of slip-up, creating a kind of autocratical informant culture. Certain types of mistake, such as writing bugs or failing to lock up, are rectified by publicly outing yourself to the rest of the company via email. Unsurprisingly, this does nothing to stop such mistakes happening again, but rather just makes people feel bad and causes unnecessary stress. Directors demand employees inform them immediately if they enter into a relationship with another employee. Their reason for making you do so is so they can make sure you don’t work on the same project to avoid distractions, but they expect this level of admission from any and all employees, regardless of how likely it is that their teams will ever work together. Employees have spoken about being interrogated regarding who they are friends with, because fraternising with ex-employees is a big no-no. I imagine the real reason for such an unsettling interest in employees’ personal lives is to have as much ammunition as possible against them once they unwittingly get on the directors’ bad side. Constant surveillance also bleeds into TPP’s way of working: you are encouraged to update your colleagues with what you are doing on a regular basis, as well as how long you think that task will take. While this may seem sensible on paper, in practice it means you’ll need a towel ready to wipe away all the moisture from your teammates breathing down your neck every ten minutes. Due to the very nature of estimation, you’ll essentially be setting your self several miniature deadlines a day and meeting very few of them. Therefore, you’ll go through many work days stressed and finish them feeling like you’ve failed. The atmosphere at TPP is very much that of a sheltered community. Many ex-employees are branded as “toxic” and are slandered in company meetings, with directors encouraging employees to bad-mouth people who were once their colleagues and whom they may still be in contact with. You are flat-out not allowed to socialise with those who used to work at TPP and being suspected of as much is enough to get you fired. If that doesn’t sound like a cult I don’t know what does. I suspect the primary reason that TPP predominantly hires graduates with no prior experience is because established industry professionals would instantly spot all the weird stuff that happens on a daily basis and leave soon after. This lack of context is further amplified by the fact that only a few computers in the office have access to the internet; apparently TPP employees know best when it comes to any questions you may have and searching the internet for answers is a last resort. Much of TPP’s reluctance to change stems from their deluded belief that they are the best company in the world. Frank recently claimed that the company was worth over £1 billion, which appears to be a gross overestimate if one takes a look at their public accounts. Company meetings are often filled with tirades about other organisations and how much worse than TPP they are. This same air of superiority extends to the way customers are treated, often being looked down upon as nuisances for whom only the bare minimum should be done. More evidence of TPP’s we-know-best attitude has surfaced during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. TPP has refused to follow government guidelines, requiring every single employee to come into the office every day, despite being in a sector that is perhaps best suited to working remotely. TPP has never invested in any infrastructure to support working from home and still has no interest in doing so, regardless of potential health risks to its employees. Frank loves to gloat about how much money the company makes, but is clearly not willing to use any of it to improve the lives of their employees past the odd event that looks good on social media. When questioned about their handling of COVID-19 by the Yorkshire Evening Post, TPP gave a limp excuse that staff have to work in the office, as the servers need to be extremely quick. Not only is this just untrue, as I’m sure would be evident to anyone who knows what a server is, but even if it was, surely it wouldn’t require every employee from every team to be in the office? To make matters worse, employees were not allowed to take their lunch break in the office during the pandemic, thus causing unnecessary foot traffic in the local area, potentially endangering its residents. Many of the above points compound on one another to create an environment of unspoken fear. Any day could be your last, as somebody is sacked up to once a week. To drive the point home, here is a list of outlandish reasons people have been sacked from TPP, in no particular order: - Complaining about how something is handled or suggesting that something could be improved - Not divulging aspects of their personal life - Being friends with ex-employees - Looking at Frank wrong - Being uncomfortable around Frank - Showing any sign of weakness during a stressful event - Being suspected of any of the above without any actual evidence For the sake of transparency, I don’t know TPP’s reasons for sacking everyone that they have, but the vast majority that I have spoken to fall under the above categories. Others have been sacked for the reason that they didn’t own up to mistakes or were defensive when questioned about something. While this may be TPP’s most valid reason for dismissal, it usually happens with those who have been employed for less than a year. The oppressive atmosphere does nothing to help such people feel comfortable and firing somebody after one mistake rather than taking action to help them improve is cold and cutthroat. The rest of the cons will cover the more technical aspects of working at TPP as a coder. You will be taught the basics of writing code and several good coding practices, but that's about it. Even the things they do teach you are drip-fed to you as and when you need to know them, so it’s really luck of the draw as to what you’ll pick up in your time at TPP. You will never be given time to just sit and read up on a concept. Apparently teaching you on such a need-to-know basis saves time, but ironically it likely ends up harming more than it helps in the long run, as you’ll constantly be badgering other employees to explain things to you. The codebase itself is ancient and it shows, with many arcane methods that nobody fully understands. This problem will never go away as time is never set aside to give the code the cleaning/refactoring it so desperately needs. Developers are referred to as coders, because you will learn nothing of the actual software development process. Industry standard practices such as automated testing, modern language features, build pipelines, containers, or modern version control are nowhere to be seen. In fact, the very mention of them is enough to get you sacked, as that would amount to suggesting that Frank isn't the utmost authority when it comes to software development. I had to spend about a month studying various aspects of software development to make experience mean anything elsewhere. Ultimately, TPP teaches you how to work at TPP, which unsurprisingly is not a skill that other companies are looking for. I’d recommend staying for around 6 months to get the basics of how to write code professionally and then using that experience to find employment somewhere better. The job security being what it is, staying any longer means risking being unemployed with a severely stunted skill set for the time that you’ve been working.

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  5. Helpful (4)

    "If you value your long term Mental Health - AVOID AT ALL COSTS"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    High starting salary but when you realise the pressure on you it’s not worth it.

    Cons

    From day one you will be expected to perform high pressure tasks without showing any form of emotion - just pure dedication to TPP and their cause. Emotion = weakness and weakness = being sacked. They will lure you in with pub fridays, free holidays and swanky office space but it’s a trap - the office is always empty - a rotating door of staff being hired and then leaving/being sacked for the smallest of reasons. You hear horror stories of previous staff being sacked for touching the glass (yes that is a big No No), for not interrupting a meeting confidently and even for not getting the CEO’s egg yolk right on the sandwich run! I read negative reviews before I started and ignored them - PLEASE DONT! This place is toxic and will damage your long term mental health, all positive reviews come from people working there as they are asked (bullied) to write a positive review whilst still employed by them so their overall score isn’t an accurate reflection. They ask all staff to relocate to live within a short distance of their offices, if it doesn’t work out then you are trapped living close to to all TPP staff who will not acknowledge you on the street for fear of being associated with an ex TPP person. This can be so damaging to people leaving so far away from any support, I personally witnessed this during my time there and know many ex employees that are suffering with their Mental Health because of this company. Do your research, if you’re moving to Leeds anyway there are other companies that might not pay as well initially but they are ran by nice people and will support your growth.

  6. Helpful (5)

    "Terrible management"

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

    I worked at TPP full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Free holidays, free pub, good salary

    Cons

    Constant worry of being fired, stress from having to finish a certain amount of work each day, having to deal with the crazy CEO and directors.

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  7. Helpful (28)

    "Madhouse"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Leeds, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at TPP full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -Rewarding to work in the health sector and see the impact on patient care from the work that you do. -A few truly excellent people to work with... the clinical director needs special mention here, he deserves more respect and has hung around for a long time trying to be the voice of reason. He deserves the accolades and the awards (not the CEO.. who asked senior staff to help him get his OBE and then made staff stand outside the office and clap him into the building when he came back with the gong). I have only given TPP a 1 star rating because no amount of pros outweighs the negatives.

    Cons

    Most of it has already been said and I can confirm it’s true... the business doesn’t operate like any other commercial entity I’ve ever come across but it’s so hard to explain and be believed unless you have experienced it. It’s basically the CEOs train set. It’s all just a game to him and a power play.. the argument is why would they spend so much money on recruiting and training people only to dismiss them... it’s because they enjoy it and have lost sight of what they are actually doing... The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result... well TPP have been doing the same thing over and over again for years on recruitment and despite wanting to grow to 600 staff have about 150 as the turnover continues to be so high. The CEO isn’t fit to run a company that is so important to the NHS. You are out of the door when you disagree with him and your dismissal reason will be a loss of trust in the company. A few friendly words of advice to potential new recruits (this goes for any job really but it will be especially helpful for TPP). TPP claim the negative reviews on here are written by a few bitter ex employees, my advice would be to reach out to a few ex-employees on LinkedIn (there are hundreds) do it at random and contact a mix of roles from ex directors to support staff. Ex-employees and alumni are a great way to understand how a company works and what it is really like to be there and ex employees will have a comparison (often with other companies in the tech sector in Leeds). I would suggest that 95% of the people you reach out to would speak negatively about TPP and be able to validate the horror stories. TPP also claim maybe people aren’t bright enough to work there.... many of these ex-employees are now in senior roles at bigger and more successful companies than TPP, you will start to get a picture of the place. For any current employees of TPP don’t be fooled that you are earning more money than you can anywhere else and get better benefits... I thought that when I was there and was worried about whether I could match those earnings elsewhere... i and plenty of others have without having to hand our lives over to the devil. Other companies also offer something TPP will never understand... flexibility, compassion and being treated like an adult to get your job done. The TPP environment is so toxic and everyone is on edge all of the time waiting to see where the axe falls next..... moving on is like being freed from the asylum! Also ask yourself how rewarding your job is when you know you can’t actually make decisions, run with new ideas or projects or even respectfully disagree with the CEO or MD. There are also publicly available employment tribunal cases that you can read, you can get a sense of the culture and how they operate and how easy it is for them to dismiss you on the lack of trust argument.

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  8. Helpful (9)

    "Dont recommend"

    1.0
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at TPP full-time

    Pros

    Literally not one positive thing to say

    Cons

    Rude employees, no one actually cares about you, CEO IS NOT A NICE PERSON

  9. Helpful (23)

    "Not worth it"

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

    I worked at TPP full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You can learn to code with no experience. Hard to find a better starting salary for someone with no experience.

    Cons

    The pervasive toxic culture that stems from the detestable, paranoid, delusional CEO and sadistic MD.

  10. Helpful (27)

    "If You're Thinking of Giving it a Crack (I Mean, Why Not at Least Try, Right?) - Don't Bother."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Product Specialist in Leeds, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    As a graduate, you'll earn way more than you know what to do with for a first job (if you don't get fired first). It's a challenge to say the least... you'll work harder than you ever have before (for fear of your job if nothing else).

    Cons

    Saying to refer to the other reviews seems a bit of a cop-out, but honestly, they sum it up incredibly well. Here's what I have to add: There's a veil of nicety and reward which the employees will do their best to uphold when you (somewhat forcedly) meet them as a new employee - my impression being that to not do so would be to risk their jobs. I met multiple (apparently) cheerful long-term employees in my first week, all ready to share how great working for TPP was, but who soon abruptly "left" the company - a fact which was shared internally through emails detailing no more than that. During my relatively brief stint at the company, such emails were sent out at a rate of more than one per week - not the most confidence-inspiring thing to have to deal with as a new recruit, so I can hardly imagine the insecurities of the more experienced employees, who seemingly dropped like flies. My employment was ended by the company with little warning. In fact, I was reassured less than a week beforehand by a more experienced employee that although there were a couple of things I needed to tidy up, I had nothing to worry about. Despite this, for some reason I was not surprised to be phoned down to an office one day and asked to leave by the "HR Team" (whose existence is purely performative), as some of my colleagues (none of whom had said anything beforehand) thought I was "unsuitable" for the role. My things were brought down from my desk before I even had the chance to think about going to get them. Overall, I learnt nothing of value outside of the company, and in reflection the lack of career development probably would have suffocated any potential career moves even after a few years of experience, leaving me stuck at the company. Not great. Oh yeah, and don't even think of making any big financial commitments unless you have another job lined up - no matter how hard they try to make you.

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