Grand Circle Travel Employee Reviews about "open and courageous"

Updated Jun 12, 2020

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2.6
36%
Recommend to a Friend
26%
Approve of CEO
Grand Circle Travel Chairman and CEO Alan E. Lewis (no image)
Alan E. Lewis
197 Ratings
Pros
  • "The Associate Travel benefits are AMAZING(in 35 reviews)

  • "Great people, great business model-if you work hard, you are rewarded(in 20 reviews)

Cons
  • "Call center is a challenging place to work due to nature of job(in 29 reviews)

  • "They preach their "core values" but good luck being open and courageous and taking risks, you'll be the out the door real fast(in 23 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "open and courageous"

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  1. COVID-19

    "Hard company to work for..."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Accounting Clerk in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Grand Circle Travel full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Good travel benefits, at least before the pandemic hit...

    Cons

    You constantly have to jump through hoops because of frequent performance reviews. Doing a good job doesn't ever seem to be enough. Open and courageous communication is supposed to be valued, but only if it's not directed at the wrong person.

  2. Helpful (15)

    "Stay FAR Away!"

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

    I worked at Grand Circle Travel full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    SOME of the people were the best part about the company (but don't worry, it's only a matter of time before Alan Lewis fires all the good ones)

    Cons

    I don't know how this place is functioning. Everyone walks around on eggshells, avoiding the 6th floor at all costs so as not to run into the owner, Alan. A completely negative office environment. Good luck getting any form of acknowledgment (smile, hello, etc) from any of the "leaders"; they avoid employees like the plague and think they're too good for anyone. The management structure is absolutely pitiful; everyone is either a relative or friend of Alan and will therefore never leave the payroll no matter what they do or DON'T do...and trust me, they don't do much. If you're a half-decent human being who actually puts in your time and effort, nothing will be recognized unless you drink their kool-aid and LOTS of it. "Directors" and "VP's" are all 25/30 year old's who are in a new position of power and don't know the first thing about managing, but they will certainly leave the office every week for 4 hour lunches when you need them most. Company gives paid days off to leadership only because "they work so hard"; meanwhile there is a load of dead leadership weight just bouncing from department to department. Their only internal organization is one for women, but it's 100% exclusive and you have to be invited, aka it's all political garbage. There's a backwards bi-annual grading system where you get a letter grade for your performance like you're in high school but in GCC fashion, there's no structure to this and it's completely based on politics and how well you get along with your manager. They preach their "core values" but good luck being open and courageous and taking risks, you'll be the out the door real fast.

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  3. Helpful (16)

    "Just Know When To Leave"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Marketing in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Grand Circle Travel full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Fantastic wellness program Benefits Potential to learn a lot and meet great people

    Cons

    To prospective employees: while my instinct is to say “don’t’” or “run” like the legitimate reviews here, here is my advice if this place is currently your best option like it was mine. You could have a decent experience at GCC for a little while, especially if you have a manager who protects you from the inherently toxic culture, but keep your resume updated. Know when it’s time to reclaim your autonomy/self-respect and leave of your own volition. Every day people joke about the negatives- how easy it is to get fired, the owner’s temperament, even how many desks you’ve sat at due to constant reorgs, but at one point the cognitive dissonance wears off and it’s just not funny how miserable everyone is. Few have managed to stay for years while remaining level-headed, compassionate, and humble, and I honestly congratulate them while counting them on one hand. The People and Culture department (HR) does a great job considering the Sisyphean work they’re tasked with, so when I say culture I’m not blaming them. I’m referring to the fear/intimidation techniques employed by the upper management that trickles down to through each tier of associates beneath them. Hardworking but completely inexperienced people are catapulted into inflated titles and positions of leadership if they speak the Grand Circle cult language and cozy up to the right upper management. Underqualified but brimming with hubris, they then run teams into the ground, and proceed to jump to new ones before accepting any blame. The “values” of GCC are contradicting and set you up to fail. “Open and Courageous” communication encourages associates to be unnecessarily rude, demanding, and often downright cruel to other. The attitude stems from the frequent temper tantrums of the owner, who is a childish bully and puppet master. His calculated intimidation tactics are darkly fascinating to witness. This review is long enough without citing the myriad of examples of management’s abuse, but find any of the reviews about this year’s Businessworks skit fiasco. It was almost six months ago and he’s still punishing the entire company for his own embarrassment (taking away perks, bonuses, outings, etc). The pros of working at GCC (meet some great people, learn a lot, potential to travel, fantastic Wellness program and benefits, a really cool product) are heavily outweighed by the cons. This place will challenge your integrity. Just be prepared and know your worth.

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  4. Helpful (25)

    "Thinking of joining? Think twice."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Grand Circle Travel full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Comp and Benefits are the only pro.

    Cons

    The Chairman/CEO, Alan Lewis, does not practice what he preaches about leadership, integrity, respecting one another, and empowerment. One of the values is "open and courageous communications". That is only true if it is exactly what he wants. It's a trait lost on them, starting at the very top. The leadership team is terrified of Alan, so they bend to whatever he needs to keep their jobs because he pays them so well. There's no HR support and no integrity throughout the groups. What you get here is an unhinged CEO who acts like a 5 year old if he doesn't get his way. You are not empowered for any decision and the leadership team does not stand up to him, or advocate for any employee who does.

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  5. Helpful (21)

    "The dictator's priority for this week is what rules the company"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Web Developer in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Grand Circle Travel full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Many great people doing many great things. The implementers at this company are great and there are many great managers as well. Salary is ok, benefits are decent. Somehow they're profitable. Area has a lot to offer. The people who do the work on a day to day basis are awesome here. I really never saw anybody who didn't appear invested in their work (or they weren't there for long).

    Cons

    I worked for 2 years and 4 months and left having my 10th manager. I could stop there, but I feel I'd be doing a disservice to readers. It's a shame the managers never get to stay in one position long enough to make improvements. If improvements don't happen this week (only a slight exaguration), they're liable to be moved or fired. Whatever the owner decides is the priority this week is what the entire organization must shift and adjust to and it can change weekly. If a person is no longer required, they'll be let go. I've rarely heard of a person being found a different position. And regardless of their skillset, they may get moved and it may be to a place that is or isn't good for them. And it seems that the priorities are whimsical. It seems as if priorities are not based on data or if it's data that's been massaged to make it look right. There's very little transparency as to why new priorities are what they are and what success or failure will be determined by. And there's rarely a measurement called a failure or partial success with adjustments to the same priority to try and make it better. It'll likely just plan be dropped for something new. Raises last year changed requirements from where 90% of the company got it the previous year to where 10% of the company got it, without telling people until after it was done. Who knows what it'll be next year. Fear is always present with the knowledge you are probably going to be let go if you do anything slightly wrong. or if a shift in priorities makes your position no longer required. If you use the open and courageous communication value to upper management, it better be what they want to here and nothing else. If you openly disagree with them, then you'll likely be fired. The priority and accomplishing it are what is most important in the day to day, however you get reviewed with the majority of your review being around the company values. That's a broken model. Priorities shift so fast around here that what ever your measurements where when you started, it won't be possible (most likely) for that to be accomplished when it comes time to review. The cultures and values are promoted heavily, but only apply to implementers and lower management.

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  6. Helpful (10)

    "Two Words: Sweat Shop"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Grand Circle Travel full-time

    Pros

    Great people; dedicated and hardworking.

    Cons

    Stifling and inconsistent management philosophy; holds individuals responsible for poor leadership. Company values of Open and Courageous Communication and Risk Taking are lip server. Best advice is to keep your head down and try not to be noticed by leadership team.

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  7. Helpful (7)

    "Loosing a fantastic culture"

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

    I worked at Grand Circle Travel

    Pros

    The people are best! Everyone is hardworking. The travelers are wonderful and highly loyal. The culture used to be energetic and interactive. Ideas for solving problems could come from anyone. This is gone.

    Cons

    The culture of Open and Courageous Communications, Risk Taking and Teamwork has disappeared over the several years. Performance management on a 90-day cycle is fracturing teams and demoralizing everyone. It is too bad because the trips are fantastic.

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  8. Helpful (15)

    "Keeps getting worse"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Grand Circle Travel full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    I will always say the people (not upper mangement) here are amazing. Truly amazing

    Cons

    The culture and core values are a lie. Didn't use to be but they are now. No work life balance, even if you try to manage it, they won't leave you alone. Associates are not Number 1. Open and Courageous communication is only allowed if it supports the owners beliefs. Speed is everything Quality is nothing. Risk taking is just walking in to your desk in the morning to see if you still have a job. People are jumping ship left and right. People are being terminated with no real reason besides a harsh performance review, that will ALWAYS put someone at the bottom regardless of how well they perform. There is no set plan or course of action. When one is set the only thing you can know for sure is that it will change right up to the 11th hour and you will still be expected to make it perfect. Approvals for anything are near impossible to get, there is no trust in the employees who have expertise in specific areas, recommendations are ignored. And the only way to get ahead is to tell upper management they are the greatest thing since slice bread and then you should be wary because you head is now on the chopping block.

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  9. Helpful (24)

    "Abandon hope all ye who enter"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Grand Circle Travel full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Location (in seaport area surrounded by lots of great restaurants, south station a short walk away), fitness room on-site, good medical benefits, ample vacation time (is PTO and you start out with around 21 days in first year if you start in Jan), travel benefits (50% off all company trips, 1 month sabbatical every 5 years, IATA card available for yearly fee), competitive salaries (in most departments)

    Cons

    Everything else... If you have read the other reviews here then you should know what to expect as they are ALL TRUE. Yes, as outrageous as they may seem, IT'S REALLY THAT BAD. .. Egomaniacal and mentally abusive owner who regularly humiliates and demeans employees in meetings, fires people for asking questions and raising issues despite promoting an "open and courageous" work environment, and changes organizational structure and company goals every other month leading to a feeling of instability among associates....A vicious employee review and ranking system that requires that there be bottom performers in every department every quarter regardless of whether they are doing a good job or not; bottom performers put on 30-60 day mandatory improvement plans most with termination clauses now, and immediate termination if you refuse to agree to the plan...Yearly pay increases that are tied to performance regardless of inflation and that sometimes may be cancelled altogether if the company has a "downturn in business" (which is often)...Inept or tyrannical managers placed in those positions without any training often causing inter-departmental conflict...A Human Resources department that has been gutted of any personnel who actually know what they're doing although that hardly mattered anyway since their ability to effectively support associates in any way is neutered by the owner; associates get little to no help when trying to deal with issues like bad managers or pay inequality...A bizarre system of 6 company "values" that associates must internalize and regurgitate continually in order to survive; keys to longer survival are being able use the values against other employees to make yourself look better....A completely segregated Call Center that is not allowed to attend any company-wide events that are off-site in order to "serve the customer", this includes the monthly Corporate Meeting where the whole company gathers to hear updates from the owner and executive team and to ask questions directly (the owner banned Call Center employees from the main meeting as he felt they were asking too many nonsense questions); this makes these Call Center associates feel like second-class employees...A twisted yearly event called Businessworks where employees are forced to bus up to New Hampshire at 7am for an all-day nightmare involving doing team building tasks like climbing a ropes course in the trees, building a raft from plastic drums do that it can float across a mucky pond, and performing in childish skits that poke fun at the company. Each task is followed by what can often be a brutal evaluation where employees are encouraged to attack each other's performance in the task (and if you're afraid of heights or water and opt out of the task be prepared to be destroyed by feedback about how much of a loser you are despite their option of "challenge by choice")...Add all of this on top of the normal modern-day office situations like never having enough people to do all the work, backstabbing fellow employees and whiny millennials complaining about getting even the slightest bit of feedback or having to work 1 extra minute beyond 5pm. It will have you running for the door screaming. Just to set the balance, in 2016 alone 198 employees have quit or been fired in the Boston office (the office only has maybe 450-500 employees) so clearly something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Don't say you weren't warned!

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  10. Helpful (17)

    "Good Work, Toxic Environment"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Grand Circle Travel

    Pros

    1) You learn a great deal about the travel industry and is very rewarding if you like to travel yourself. 2) Great travel benefits. 3) Casual work attire. 4) Good location.

    Cons

    1) Pay is strictly OK unless you've been there forever. Raise system is insulting. 2) There is a company culture that hinges on a system of "Values" which sound great in theory but end up being a huge distraction. Management offers rewards for these values on an incredibly arbitrary basis. They are so obsessed with impressing each other at every level that it detracts from the workers' ability to get things done in some cases. 3) This company enacts major changes on a whim that have far-reaching impacts. 4) For sales and service employees, metrics are partially based on customer reviews after every call. Precisely zero leeway is given in these results no matter the content of calls (massive itinerary changes, cancellation of trips, financial changes, you name it). This can result in termination. 5) Management occasionally sets up 'performance plans' and then disregards them, terminating employees before the end of said performance plan. 6) The owner (Alan Lewis) does not operate the business by the values he claims to embrace. Open and Courageous Communication is one such value and people have been fired for speaking their minds to him. This is also systemic at every level of management.

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Found 23 reviews