I have been working at The Phoenix Partnership full-time (More than a year)
-Good feedback system. If you make a mistake, you are told how to avoid the same thing in future. You get positive encouragement from colleagues as well, although sometimes that needs prompting.
-The benefits are amazing
-Encouraged to leave work at work, which makes free time much more relaxing
-You can tell that colleagues and directors care about your well-being
- It definitely can be stressful
- The high turnover is a bit demoralising
Advice to Management
-Keep up the regular reviews and listening to feedback from employees
I worked at The Phoenix Partnership full-time (Less than a year)
Incredible perks including free bar Fridays, large lavish staff parties, taking the entire company to the BVI's each year just because.
Lots of intelligent and talented colleagues, particularly in the coding teams.
Most of the people that work there are pretty cool if they last long enough that you get to know them.
The business managed to get themselves banned from the Sunday Times top employers list.
Chaotic management who are a law unto themselves and set a terrible example, right from interview where I was kept waiting for over an hour past scheduled interview time with no updates. There is no organisational structure which means that nobody knows where they stand, work gets duplicated/ lost/ delayed/ rushed.
They hire and fire fast. It's not a big business and you receive emails on a daily basis informing you that someone you've never heard of has been fired. Feels like Stalinist Russia.
Advice to Management
Scrap the hierarchy-less approach, particularly outside of the coding teams.
I have been working at The Phoenix Partnership full-time (More than 10 years)
It's very soon after you start that you realise being at TPP is way more than just a job. We hire people on the basis of their intelligence and passion for the simple reason that those two things are all you need to be successful here and help make the company a success. The flat hierarchy and can-do culture mean that you are very quickly given real problems to solve and real responsibility, and you're not patronised just because you are "new". I started with zero experience of programming and yet in my 10+ years I have had countless opportunities to engage with really tough technical and non-technical conundrums, and have fantastic work experiences that I would have struggled to have elsewhere without climbing a career ladder. Whether it's building a new product or helping to decide the future of the company it's your opinions and your decisions that matter - I've never felt like I was working for someone else, more that we are all working together to build something we think is amazing and that the world really needs.
The key to this is the people. I never thought I'd work somewhere where I liked everyone, somewhere there's no politicking or brown-nosing or being sneaky. Where everyone is smarter than you are in some way and where everyone's strengths are valued and vital to solving all the problems we face in a working day. The flat hierarchy and frequent social events mean that it feels more like still being at university or with an extended bunch of cool mates. Tough problems are opportunities for collaborative debate, a daunting project is an exciting opportunity to build something new with a very talented team. It's liberating and productive to work somewhere where "I don't know" is one of the most valuable and exciting answers you can give, and even having been there 10 years I feel perfectly comfortable saying it because I know I have tons of people around me who will help me get to the answer.
Through work, I've been to the US, Spain, Belgium, Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, Turkey, Greece, and the Caribbean. I've learnt how to code, architect, look after a vital part of the NHS infrastructure, manage and maintain a world-leading high performance database, speak at international conferences, speak to senior government officials at home and abroad, speak to doctors, nurses, receptionists, academic researchers, business people, new recruits, potential new recruits, do interviews, do presentations, speak Mandarin (some!), be a project manager, roll out systems, design efficient workflows, be a leader, be a follower, skipper a yacht, ski, make elaborate fancy dress, and have a good party! I'm not even really going to mention the perks because they're available elsewhere and are obviously great, except my favourite one: finishing at 5:15 pretty much every day.
It's satisfying and immensely rewarding to be building software to help people deliver better care in very difficult times, and something that improves the experience of the many, many patients we look after. It's exciting that so many people abroad now want what we've made and we're looking outwards to see where else we can really make a difference over the next ten years.
So, for me, it's not a job - it's what I do. I had never realised a workplace like this even existed, but now I'm proud to be a part of building it and maintaining it and making it open to many many more like me in the future.
A hectic work day can be exhausting at times, but not too often, and nothing great was ever built without any effort.
Advice to Management
Well, there isn't any so...
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I have been working at The Phoenix Partnership full-time
I’ve been at TPP for years and I genuinely love it. You don’t work somewhere for so long if it’s not a good place to work. Firstly, you are working in a morally good sector – healthcare IT. You are in an industry that helps people and it is massively rewarding. Secondly, I pretty much learn something new every day – which stops the job being boring or monotonous and makes the working day fly by. It's interesting work, on a very large scale modern system.
The benefits are really as good as they sound. We work hard, but we are very well looked after. The work hours are great – there is absolutely no late hours’ culture, which is a massive benefit when I compare mine to the hours that some of my friends in London work. And then there’s the sailing trips to the Caribbean, the birthday meals, the pay rises, it goes on...
Yes, it can be challenging. But working with so many bright minded people all pulling towards the same cause is amazing. It can be hard work, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t see how you can feel the rewards for solving complex problems without having the hard problems to start with!
The great thing at TPP is that everyone’s opinion counts, and it means if someone thinks something is wrong and needs changing then we can change it. Over the years, I’ve seen so much change for the better and the culture allows us to keep that going.
I worked at The Phoenix Partnership full-time (More than 5 years)
There are some genuinely nice people at TPP. Actually quite a lot. The company tries to be nice to staff by giving perks like a free bacon (or egg etc) sandwich to staff on Friday morning, bar tabs to encourage people to socialise on Friday evenings etc. And the general level of intelligence of staff is higher than most companies, due to the policy of only hiring the brightest graduates.
Great pay rises as long as you rise to the top of the already extremely competent staff.
In short you won't learn any skills to help you get your next job. I'll explain more below.
Most of the established senior staff left in the last few years. Anyone who dares to disagree with the remaining senior management is at risk, as all the previous senior employees found out to their cost.
It's a very personal environment. Professionalism doesn't come into it. If you disagree with "the boss" (and if you work there you know who that is) then you're out. If they want to fire someone and ask you to write a damning report about their ability, and you refuse (on the honest basis you think they're actually ok) you're fired - one way or another.
Another major negative is the remaining senior staff. Specifically the senior directors but a few others too, particularly in the Customer Relation Management (CRM) and Customer Support Analyst (CSA) teams, and a few arrogant developers who think they run the place.
The CEO set up the company with his mate from Uni. Since the other partner left, things went from bad to worse. The CEO now runs the company as his personal demesne, expecting everyone to respond to any problem at any time. Work/life balance is pretty much non existent. A company with around 100 developers and CSAs should be able to manage a rota so that if a problem arises out of hours not everyone gets woken up.
In reality, the company philosophy is "wake everyone up because then we will fix the problem more quickly". It might seem sensible at first glance but have you ever tried being on a conference call with anything approaching 100 people? It doesn't work and just makes it harder for people who might be able to help to get heard.
I have heard CSAs and CRMs complain that they don't learn any transferable skills - standard ticketing software to track and address issues is not used, it's all home grown stuff. No OpenProject or Jira, or any kind of burn down charts to track issues - you have to figure out your own way to manage this stuff.
The tech used is also out of date. I've heard lots of developers complain that they also don't learn transferable skills. For example, they use CVS for source control rather than a more modern alternative such as Git or Subversion. Standard tech (which will make you more employable in future) such as Hibernate, Spring etc. is not used. Everything is home grown. Although that may be great for learning how it's all done "under the hood" it probably won't make you more employable in future.
TPP pretty much hires ONLY newly qualified graduates. You have to ask yourself why they don't hire any experienced staff in any role. The answer in my opinion is simple. If you've worked anywhere else that is even half decent, you wouldn't stand for the crap you have to put up with at TPP.
Advice to Management
Learn to respect your employees. There's a reason most of the directors and senior staff left in the last few years.
A nice laid back atmosphere, also a decent salary
Can't think of any at the moment
I have been working at The Phoenix Partnership (Less than a year)
This job has turned out to be an amazing career opportunity for me. The job role itself is unique and challenging but then you can branch out and develop your own role at TPP. You certainly get more out of this job the more you put in.
The best thing about working for TPP is the fact that your colleagues are interested in what you have to say from day one. It doesn't matter how long you've worked there and you could be called into important meetings or asked for opinions on any company changes.
Lastly, I like the fact that each working day is different. I could be asked to work on something different each day which gives me such a variety to my job. The fact it's sometimes a last minute change to my day does make it an interesting work environment for me.
I think the amount of training you get at the start could be improved. You start by shadowing others in your team but the order in which you learn certain processes in not always in order. You basically learn how to do parts of your job when others are free. It was quite confusing at first for me but now after a year, I'm starting to settle into my job.
Also I can sometimes be asked to help out with other teams or to be on the phone to customers out of hours which when I started was quite daunting. Sometimes the lack of training can affect me in this sense as I will be asked to take shifts in another teams/job roles but I won't have shadowed anyone on how to work in this other team.
Advice to Management
It might be worth organising some training for new starters to learn the basics so they can be more efficient when they start.
I worked at The Phoenix Partnership (Less than a year)
Good salary, even for new starters
Free sandwich on a Friday
Free bar tab on a Friday
Free annual holiday with team
Encouragement of transparency
Room for career advancement
Lack of direction within teams (no team leader coordinating employees)
A culture of making things up on the hoof
Extremely high turnover
Advice to Management
I left TPP a while back but an acquaintance is thinking of applying there and encouraged me to write something here. I want to give constructive feedback as opposed to negatively rant or over enthusiastic praise. TPP is a divisive company to work for, as the ratings here show. I can see both sides of the coin. On the one hand, the company does a good job of getting staff to know each other and gives a lot of perks as well as a very healthy salary. On the other hand, the atmosphere feels chaotic and disorganized with no one coordinating, and it's very stressful if you need structure in your day.
In theory the idea of no professional middle management appeals to me - the team worked almost democratically, with ideas being offered and discussed by everyone in meetings. However, no one was there to implement these ideas, the team was expected to work out themselves how to do it. Which in practice just meant the alpha males and females - the people with the loudest voices - rose to the top (a sort of law of the jungle thing) and bossed everyone around, quite often in a passive-aggressive or sometimes just plain rude manner. I should emphasise they probably didn't mean to be as rude as they were, they just weren't very good at the people skills most professional managers have. But you can't really fault them because they were just picking up work that needed doing that no one else was - that's the way it works there. I didn't see what I would call bullying (ie deliberately attacking someone), but I did see people being unnecessarily upset when things could have been phrased more diplomatically. On the plus side, it was good to see how sometimes expecting people to take the initiative could occasionally get results. But although middle management has been like a dirty word for me in previous jobs, I actually came to believe it's sometimes necessary to have designated team leaders to get things done quickly and efficiently.
The team I was in was ridiculously understaffed, every single day of the 6 months I was there people were dragged onto the phones from other teams to cover lunches or deal with the amount coming in. The high turnover of staff - 1-4 people leaving a month - meant it was even harder to maintain consistency or have a high level of experience beyond a core group of people who had been around for a while. The stress came from keeping on top of things with limited manpower.
Training was brief and essentially consisted of playing with the system and listening to other people taking calls for a week or so and then jumping straight in. This works for some people and doesn't for others. I was fine with this, I've done a lot of temping where there's no training at all, but there were definitely people there who would have been vastly better at their job (and enjoyed it more) with more training. It's a baptism of fire, and although people will help you as much as they can they're most likely busy with their own stuff so can only help a certain amount. You have to be responsible for your own development, by asking questions of your colleagues - depending on who you ask might get you a different answer and lead to a different way of working.
It was good getting to know the team as people, and I felt easy in everyone's company the majority of the time. The social side is really excellent, the team bonded well out of hours with visits to the pub etc and were a good laugh. TPP obviously suits some people very well, people I knew had been there for 4-5 years. It wasn't for me, and although I left the job in the end mainly for external health reasons I wouldn't have stayed much longer anyway. In fact the main black mark against TPP for me is that I was signed off sick for 2 weeks and had multiple calls from HR during that time saying a sick note was only advice and I didn't have to take the time off work if I didn't want to, which came over a bit coercive. In other ways HR were helpful and understanding though.
My advice is, if you have any doubts at all, it probably isn't for you. It takes a certain type of confidence to thrive in TPP and if you have that you could do very well indeed there. Based on what I saw a vast minority of employees stay longer than 6 months but those who do stick at it get seem to get rapid raises and promotions to other teams. Other comments on here about being told off for touching glass doors and not raising hands properly aren't false but have been overstated - it's just a quirk of working there, nothing major. The CEO Frank I got on well with. Contrary to what some posts say here he isn't some horrible Malcolm Tucker type based on what I saw, and I've seen him apologize for losing his temper when he's been wrong. Just don't expect an easy ride or a calm working environment, and remember no amount of bacon butties or free pints will help you if you're getting stressed at work!
I have been working at The Phoenix Partnership full-time (More than 3 years)
The work is really interesting and there is always something different to do. If you put the effort in, you can really make a career out of working here. You are expected to work hard, but you aren't sat at your desk all day clock watching, most of the time you don't even realise it's 5.15 and your being told it's time to pack up and go home. The people you work with are great; it really makes a difference that you get on with your colleagues, both in and out of work.
You get looked after! The pay is great, perks are great, from little things like free breakfast sandwiches on a Friday morning and free fruit daily, to being given £200 to spend on a meal for your birthday with whoever you want to celebrate with. As I mentioned before there is a no long hours culture, you always take your lunch and leave on time. The free bar tab at the pub every Friday is a nice way to wind down with your colleagues, even if you only go for one.
It's hard work, you will be challenged and it's frustrating when you get it wrong, but that's only because you care about your work. There is a lot to do and it can feel like overload at times, but that is easily sorted by just speaking to someone in your team and asking for help. Like any job there are bad days but if you are struggling you can always speak to someone about it.
It isn't for everyone, some people struggle with the way the company works and take it personally, but there really is no need to, sometimes it just doesn't work out. The horror stories some ex employees feel the need to write about are fabricated and taken out of context. There are core values we stick to, that have been put in place for good reason and it makes sense when you understand why they are important.
Advice to Management
Keep listening to what current employees are saying
I have been working at The Phoenix Partnership full-time (Less than a year)
Before my interview and after I got the job offer I spent a lot of time reading the Glassdoor reviews and worrying about whether TPP was somewhere I wanted to work. Now I've worked here for almost a year I can't imagine finding another job where I'd be happier than I am here. I haven't seen any trace of the bullying, and I've got no idea how someone thinks that people stab coworkers in the back for pay rises, since we have a flat hierarchy with no promotions. And there's no point putting this because it won't convince anyone who thinks otherwise, but no, we aren't forced to write 5* reviews.
On to some actual pros:
It really is no experience required. I had zero programming experience before I started and I've learnt to code in multiple languages from absolute scratch. There isn't really any formal training, you just get given a task. When you start you're obviously not going to have any idea what to do, but you just ask people for help and learn as you go along. Other employees are really good at looking out for new coders and there's always someone around to ask for help.
There's a massive range of work that you do. We move around teams regularly, so one month you might be working on our international team, the next month working on our apps, and the next month maintaining a server. On top of that, we have an open plan office, so you're regularly called over or grabbed by an analyst to talk about how feasible a piece of work would be, or to explain how something works. There's always the opportunity to pick something up too, like working on recruitment or helping to write a tender for a contract.
The benefits package is absolutely fantastic, especially when you consider that you start with no experience - on top of one of the highest salaries around you get generous pay rises, comprehensive insurance and free bacon sandwiches and drinks on Fridays. And you're always compensated for out-of-hours work or travel with either overtime or extra time off.
Can be high pressure at times where you feel like you've got too many plates to keep spinning, especially if you aren't good at saying no - but if you ask anyone for help they'll sit down with you and help you figure out what to do next and which tasks to pass on to someone else.
The culture can be intimidating - shouting up messages and questions to a room of up to 100 people or walking straight into meeting rooms full of directors to ask a question, or interrupting a group of people with 10 years more experience than you to say you don't understand something isn't easy.
The working hours are very inflexible, especially when it comes to lateness. But this goes hand-in-hand with the culture, where you are expected to just grab people when you need them. It wouldn't work if people weren't all in the office at the same time.
There's a very high turnover rate which can be a bit worrying at times. The average for the time I've been here has been around 6 people leaving per month, which is a huge proportion of a company of around 200 people. This isn't something I can explain, especially since I've only heard good things from people I know who have left.
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