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The Chemistry Group Reviews

Updated 8 February 2018
33 reviews

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3.3
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Roger Philby
26 Ratings

33 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (5)

    "The place where I positively learned more than any other employer"

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

    I worked at The Chemistry Group full-time

    Pros

    I joined Chemistry because I admired their intent to genuinely help people have careers that enable them to be the best they can be. As a former client of the product, I found them to be sincere, abstract in their thinking, and determined to truly change the world of work.

    I believe there are, very broadly, two types of organisation. Those that border on Nihilism, where structure, bureaucracy, and safety are the way, and those that flirt with being fanatical. Both are needed in the world, and they key of course is to never tip the balance so far that you allow safety to stifle growth (which is why most die), or, to let the fanatical become a cult.

    For me, Chemistry always towed this line perfectly. It was the most exciting, engaging, and passionate place I have ever worked. I learnt more from the CEO, Roger, than any other leader I have worked with. Many of the leadership team were the most courageous, unique, insightful, and brilliant people I have ever worked with. It is no fluke to have such a buzzing and connected team as to what Chemistry, in a least three phases of the company, have built. Never have I seen a workplace be so focused on an intent and set of values.

    Above all, what Chemistry enable is people to think differently, and learn more than they probably will elsewhere. That doesn't mean it's not without bumps, but then that's life! I have seen truly amazing relationships and other businesses be born from people working together at Chemistry.

    Cons

    For me, it's not that Chemistry have overt 'cons' per se, rather, as a place centred on such a strong intent, it required people of a certain mentality, namely being able to manage uncertainty, and unpredictability. I believe almost every person at the company had this mentality (a truly amazing group of people). However it's inevitable that to maintain keeping people happy as you expand, puts untold pressure on a culture built on these foundations.


  2. Helpful (20)

    "Overall a really great business"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Chemistry Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Every business has two elements:

    The unique bit in the IP, the story, the 'why, and

    The standard bit, the bit thats the same in every business, the business operation.

    Chemistry has a great intent, a great 'why'. It was light years ahead of the competition and invested in technology when everyone else was napping. We ate our own dog food on hiring too which meant you would rarely work in a place with so many great and talented people.

    Responsibility - For those of you at the beginning of your career you will rarely find an organisation that will give you as much latitude as Chemistry does. If you want to be way ahead of your peers in other consultancies in terms of responsibility, including the big 4, then Chemistry is one of the few places you will get that.

    Flexibility - It's also an output focussed business. There is mention of the lack of work life balance in other reviews but, if you deliver, you can pretty much choose how and when you get stuff done. It's a flexible environment and one where you can truly be yourself.

    Culture - yes it can be described as cultish, but thats a good thing. Wishy washy cultures have no meaning. Clearly defined cultures have something that you can align to and have strong employer value propositions. If the culture fits you as an individual you will love it and you will be surrounded by like minded people.

    Cons

    The operational bit - Chemistry is an ambitious organisation and unlike many others, we invested every penny back in the business. Progress was more important than profit. The ambition has at times stressed the business financially as the investments got bigger and this has led to some fall out which is a shame. How you run a business is separate from the business that you run and the ops side and its issues detracts from the great business that Chemistry is.

    Advice to Management

    Focus - there is magic in that intent but it gets diluted by "possibilities" which end up distracting resources and energy. Stay focussed on the core magic because it works.

    Execution - separate the running of the business from the intent. Get great operational people in to run the business and leave them to it whilst everyone else focusses on delivering the magic that Chemistry is so good at.

    The Chemistry Group Response

    24 Nov 2017 – Founder

    Thank you for the review, got to say the dog food is great and the team work super hard on ensuring that our own people get their opportunity to be brilliant. Yeh, the operational bit we are really... More


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Great on paper, poor in practice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Chemistry Group full-time

    Pros

    - Healthish lunches
    - Gym subsidy
    - Great colleagues

    Cons

    - Expectation that you are available all the time (you will be told you can carve out a work/life balance - this is a lie)
    - Poor support from management when things go wrong
    - Operationally a mess


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  5. Helpful (26)

    "Motivation for control that strangles the business"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Chemistry Group full-time

    Pros

    Chemistry’s greatest strength is the air of optimism that floats around the business. It is an organisation that is full of smart, hard-working and passionate people and if you are below the age of 30, you can gain a level of responsibility that you simply wouldn’t receive in a larger business. There is an infectious positivity to everything that is happening, a youthful naivety if you will. The diversity of people and thought that you are exposed to from those of different ages, races, sexual preferences and nationality’s creates a genuinely thought-provoking atmosphere and will put you out of your comfort zone.

    I can honestly say that during my time with Chemistry, I understood more about who I am as an individual and what I want out of my work. Both mine and my colleagues learnings from our time with Chemistry resonate more than most at work.

    Cons

    Reading through other reviews and having conversations with current and former employees, it is difficult not to refer to Chemistry as a workplace cult. There is a bait and switch process when joining Chemistry and those who join Chemistry, regardless of level, have no idea what they are getting involved in. Unfortunately, it is mainly young, hard-working, passionate people that get caught up in this ideal of ‘giving people the opportunity to be brilliant’ and they continually put the interests of the group and its founder ahead of their own. Employees are almost martyrs to the Chemistry cause and I personally know of several people who have taken stress-related leave and/or had it adversely affect their relationships at home.

    The young people within the business are given levels of responsibility that are way past those that can be deemed as ‘stretch-goals’. There are both individual contributors and managers that are accountable for things well above their level of capability and experience and throughout the business you get a sense of too much too soon.

    The young-first hiring mentality is driven by the founders motivation for control. Their belief is that by hiring younger people, they can take advantage of their naivety as to what constitutes right and wrong in the workplace in order to get unhealthy levels of output out of them. This approach embeds the founder as the absolute authoritarian leader who is completely in control of the group, which has resulted in a continuous loop of decisions across the business for the past 13 years being made to allow the founder to continue to lead the business at the expense of increasing its value.

    The founder has the delusion that only they can lead this business to success and it is safe to say they have become too emotionally attached. Throughout Chemistry’s time as an organisation the business has been vastly overconfident about its prospects and continue to be naïve about the problems they face. I believe that the founder is beginning to realise that their financial resources, ability to inspire people and passion are not enough to enable Chemistry to succeed and judging by the spiteful replies to these reviews, I am happy to be outside of the business rather than in it right now.

    Advice to Management

    Perhaps it can be construed as overly optimistic to say this, but I do believe that the original intent of the business was to simply show that there is more to people than just their education and background, which is a noble thing. However, over the course of the 13 years Chemistry has been in business, the temptation of growing publicity for its founder and making money has outgrown this. The business has now become an elaborate ruse to line the pockets of the founder and their inner sanctum.

    To Roger, the founder, I advise you to read through your replies and really think about the statements you have made. Think about the turnover of the business and the well-documented financial struggles over each of those 156 payrolls. Now think about your own compensation package and whether you have truly compensated every single person that claims to be out of pocket. If you honestly believe those statements then you are more deluded than those around you give you credit for.

    To the senior team, it is time to understand that the founder is only motivated by control and making money for themselves and those closest to them. To truly embody Chemistry’s purpose it is time to move forward with a new management team. Now I appreciate that this is no easy feat and market evidence backs this up with four out five entrepreneurs forced to step down from the CEO’s post.

    To the individual contributors, really think about whether Chemistry is the right place for you and your career, and ensure you have interests outside of the all-encompassing machine that is Chemistry. Trust me, there is a clarity of thought when you leave the business, initially you feel as though you’ve failed or haven’t lived up to expectations, but I assure you, it isn’t you.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Built on lies"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Chemistry Group full-time

    Pros

    - You'll meet and work with some great people.

    - Will also have the chance to work with some great clients.

    Cons

    - Payday's are regularly missed.

    - Staff are repeatedly lied to which makes it hard to believe anything you're told.

    - Staff are incredibly undervalued. People work all the hours under the sun and receive absolutely no gratitude in return.

    - Very talented people aren't left to do their jobs properly without unnecessary interference.

    - Little to no actual science behind the "science". Admittedly the Business Psych's have worked very hard to correct this, but the reality is that the science was invented by someone who isn't a psychologist.

    - Clients are promised the world but often receive a very poor product.

    - The intent and values are a just a fabrication. For a company that claims to be "human", Chemistry has a very strange way of showing it.

    - The culture really isn't what it's made out to be.

    - There's no strategy or direction. Senior management seem to make it up as they go along.

    Advice to Management

    Stop trying to shift blame on to the "operations" side of the business and accept some responsibility. There is absolutely no excuse for the way people have been treated.


  7. Helpful (22)

    "Poorly managed company where pay is missed often"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Chemistry Group full-time

    Pros

    - Great people to work with
    - Collaborative culture

    Cons

    - Business is poorly managed
    - Pay is frequently missed and some months missing entirely

    Advice to Management

    Pay employees on time and stop misleading them

    The Chemistry Group Response

    24 Nov 2017 – Founder

    I am truly sorry about the delayed (not missed, we have never missed one entirely) payrolls, as I posted before they are my greatest regret and albeit it has been 3 out of 156, in my time since... More


  8. Helpful (13)

    "Brilliant people, pathological leadership."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Chemistry Group full-time

    Pros

    - Outstandingly smart, hard-working and passionate individuals who flourished despite imposed constraints.
    - At at time had excellent individuals on the Leadership team.
    - Exposed to incredible opportunities for development and experience.
    - Interesting and highly challenging work.
    - Ambitious.
    - Fantastic perks prior to around 6 months ago.

    Cons

    - Leadership favours young individuals who they can underpay and more easily manipulate through flattery.
    - Delusional intent and over-valuation of the business lead to embarrassingly naive decisions and the collapse of the company.
    - Hired expensive, big-name experts in the field and opened as many offices as possible to give the illusion of success.
    - Fails/Failed to listen to the advice of the expensive, aforementioned experts, confirming their presence as nothing more than a marketing piece.
    - Unsubtle use of financial coercion to convince remaining employees to stay.
    - Laughable application of values at senior level - with shockingly un-Human decisions and communications, and total lack of Bravery. However, I'll give them Passionate.
    - Total misalignment between words and action.

    Advice to Management

    For once, listen to what is being said by those around you. But if you won't listen to 6-figure industry experts, then there is nothing that anyone can say that will help you.

    The Chemistry Group Response

    24 Nov 2017 – Founder

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. We are pleased that you have enjoyed working with "smart, hard working & passionate individuals", whilst recognising the comments in the degradation of... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Consultant"

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

    I have been working at The Chemistry Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Passionate people and energized culture

    Cons

    disorganised management and planning process

    The Chemistry Group Response

    24 Nov 2017 – Founder

    Thanks for the review and the recommendation and all your hard work over the last 3 years+. Look forward to getting your input on how we can make Chemistry an even better organisation.


  10. Helpful (16)

    "Owes a lot of it’s employees money."

    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Chemistry Group full-time

    Pros

    - Hires smart and inspiring colleagues.
    - Used to provide free lunch but they stopped being able to afford it.

    Cons

    - Has missed multiple monthly payments and owes a lot its employees money.
    - Downsized by 75% in one month and has no plan to pay those employees.
    - Willing to tell multiple lies to survive. A company with no ethics.

    Advice to Management

    It is not legal to not pay your staff.

    The Chemistry Group Response

    24 Nov 2017 – Founder

    I am truly sorry about the delayed (not missed) payrolls, as I posted before they are my greatest regret and albeit it has been 3 out of 156, in my time since founding Chemistry, it is still not... More


  11. Helpful (18)

    "Definitely not a #greatplacetowork"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Chemistry Group full-time

    Pros

    - some great colleagues
    - you'll have access to projects and clients that you don't get anywhere else

    Cons

    - too ambiguous- no process, procedure or structure
    - you have to work for free! Payroll is late or sometimes doesn't come at all. Bonuses are promised but not paid
    - very junior staff are given responsibility far above their pay grade with no direction or support
    - managers don't know how to manage
    - senior management rely on staff to build strategy during whole-company brainstorming sessions as no one has a clue what they are doing
    - the company is built on doing good but is actually there only to make crazy money for the CEO and senior management
    - the CEO promotes a culture of bullying disguised as 'feedback'
    - the science and data isn't valid. No-one in the science team has a PhD
    - there is no transparency about what is actually happening. Lies are openly told to staff
    - the huge problem with stress is written off as people 'not being able to handle it'
    - senior people are recruited to get access to their network
    - inexperienced staff are given grossly inflated job titles

    Advice to Management

    Stop pretending you want Chemistry to be a great place to work and get your house in order. No one wants tshirts or phone covers- people want to get paid and treated with respect.

    The Chemistry Group Response

    24 Nov 2017 – Founder

    Thank you for taking the time to comment, we agree the stretching projects and exposure to senior level client contacts is a great aspect of working at Chemistry. Sometimes the downside of this... More


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