Solstice Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

Solstice Reviews

Updated 19 April, 2019
161 reviews

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4.0
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Solstice CEO Kelly Manthey
Kelly Manthey
27 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "You have a training budget and training days that you can use pretty liberally if you want to do anything related to professional development" (in 34 reviews)

  • "Best culture and work life balance is great" (in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • "With each period of rapid growth Solstice experiences some growing pains" (in 21 reviews)

  • "work-life balance can take a hit at times" (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    "Great People, Great Culture, Great Place to Work!"

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

    I have been working at Solstice part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people here are great! They're very smart, creative, and you can tell everyone is happy to come to work. Servant leadership is the backbone of the company and it really shows in employee interactions and in client work.

    Cons

    The organization has experienced a lot of growth and some systems haven't been completely formalized yet. Despite a few growing pains here and there, the executive team and operations staff are receptive to feedback (positive and constructive alike.)

    Solstice Response

    6 Mar, 2019 – CEO

    Thank you for your post. Keep your feedback coming, conversations are the key to creating a place we are all proud to work.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Four years in and continually thankful I found Solstice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL (US)
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's the best Technology Consultancy I have ever been a part of or interacted with at any of my client sites. I’ve been at 2 Consultancies and worked with/for/at 23 clients (Ten F-500 at Solstice) since entering the workforce 14 years ago. I’ve still yet to see a single company generate a culture, hire the talent, have an awesome office space, blend relevant employee benefits, consistently do engaging, meaningful project work, and build employee capabilities, as I have seen at Solstice. I’m sure they exist elsewhere, but to say this is a 1-star place is someone speaking from a position of naiveté or spite. Solstice has indeed changed since I joined 4 years ago — as all companies do. But my favorite part of it is that its matured and improved and I had the opportunity then — and still do now — to shape how it continues to evolve. The career growth and opportunities I have found in just four years is phenomenal and I am thankful for the past and excited for the future.

    Cons

    I don’t think Solstice does a good enough job setting expectations that we are a consulting firm. Clearly, a lot of people were recently hired and didn’t understand that causing their experience to mismatch their realities. Solstice is a consultancy, and consulting isn’t for everyone.
    At Solstice, you will (eventually) work on things that are potentially different than what you have done in the past or the thing your interviewer said that you resonated with. You will use new and additional technologies and processes that may be new to you. You will move desks, sometimes multiple times in a month. You will meet new clients and Solstice teammates — most of which are fantastic, friendly, and brilliant, but some that are average. Projects you fall in love with will end and projects you will love are around the corner. If you feel stuck on a project for too long, ask your leadership for a plan — I’ve been in the recurring, frequent meetings where project succession planning is discussed and I think they do a really nice job helping those that ask to find new opportunities.

    Yes, there are other things that could be improved too. There always is. But if consulting is in your blood, then there isn’t anything that a conversation with your mentor or leadership, with their open door policy, can’t solve.

    Advice to Management

    We hire great people, that can do anything. The problem is that they can do anything. To achieve the significant, but realistic, growth targets, there is an opportunity to create a stronger long term incentive plan to keep the people around that will help those goals become a reality.

  3. "Good people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - User Experience Designer
    Current Employee - User Experience Designer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazing, smart, kind people work here. People truly care about each other and earnestly try to make each other's lives and work better.

    Cons

    A flat organization to a fault. Too few true leaders, undefined career paths, and critical feedback is often ignored in favor of back-pats and high-fives—which leads to grassroots efforts that too often die out (mostly due to lack of a supportive structure to enact change).

    Advice to Management

    Recognize the internal struggle for improvement that a significant portion of your employees are passionate about. Dedicate people to internal initiatives and pay them for it—don't expect things to get better anytime soon if people need to work a full load for their clients first.


  4. "Great company and people"

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

    Pros

    Some of the nicest people I have ever worked with. A very innovative company that does practice what they preach. Glad to be a part of the Solstice journey and family.

    Cons

    Would like a HMO plan added to the benefits package. Can we fast paced at times but that is just a function of the rapid growth the company is going through.

    Advice to Management

    Stay disciplined when unexpected bumps in the road come up. Continue to support the great culture at Solstice.


  5. Helpful (12)

    "Amateur Engineers"

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

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    1) $5000 training budget + 4 professional training days
    2) Slack... a gamechanger for communication
    3) Generally no overtime
    4) Test Driven Development mentality
    5) Mentorship program
    6) Billable overtime is paid at your calculated hourly rate + 10%
    7) Work from home policy
    8) Casual dress
    9) Good location, downtown Chicago right outside the Loop
    10) Free phone/device
    11) 100$/month toward phone bill
    12) Monthly catered breakfast/lunch
    13) Happy hours every couple weeks
    14) After hours social events & clubs (book club, painting, cooking, etc)
    15) 3 weeks PTO, managers are flexible and let you use it
    16) 401k matching up to 4%

    Cons

    1) Cliquey/frat culture ... unprofessional
    2) Volatile leadership...lack of transparency.
    3) Open office (loud disruptions, nerf guns, distracting eye contact)
    4) Pays below market value (there is lots of fluff e.g. ping pong, coffee)
    5) Expectation is 44 hours/week but only paid for 40
    6) Staff is encouraged to stay and work late on R&D without pay (Pay it Forward event, Solstice Labs)
    7) LTIP is weak. A few hundred dollars and a laptop sticker after two years, and a sweatshirt + few hundred dollars more after five years. 10 years you get plane tickets.
    8) It is unlikely you will work with the tech stack you were hired to work with
    9) Lacks deep understanding of enterprise software development (Continuous Delivery, blue/green deployments, SLAs's, A/B Testing, API Design, etc etc). Zero hardware competency.
    10) 100% paired programming mentality ... overkill and mentally exhausting
    11) Siloed teams (zero engineering culture)
    12) Empty answers from leadership e.g. "We hear you. Thank you for your feedback."
    13) LOTS of kool-aid (circles, networks, upside down triangle etc)
    14) Public promotions (that's right)...very toxic...very unprofessional
    15) Promotion reviews are subjective, opaque, and not scalable. You get reviewed by a large committee and you need everyone in your corner.
    16) Unpaid quarterly meetings
    17) Sadly most contracts are boring side gigs from F500 companies
    18) Offshore teams
    19) IT setup ... conf calls / phone rooms are noisy & not insulated... makes it difficult to hear and work effectively
    20) The bench is an unorganized disaster
    21) Travel compensation policy is a bad deal
    22) Only 6 paid holidays
    23) Only 3 sick days
    24) Many of the 5 star glowing glassdoor reviews are fake reviews posted by HR

    Advice to Management

    I give this shop 2/5 stars. There are some leaders who truly care and empathize with the staff. Unfortunately there are so many more leaders that are out of touch with reality.

    Many projects nose dive into the ground after a couple years because of incompetent "product owners" and people cutting corners to meet arbitrary deadlines. Then Solstice tries to sell the client a re-write of the entire application (sometimes more than once; I have witnessed this at least 3 times).

    The engineering dept has lots of kids/amateurs who do not deliver high quality code. Middle management is mostly original employees who were promoted based on tenure and not expertise. Lots of Solstice veterans (5+ years) are leaving.

    Action items for leadership:
    1) Stop talking to employees like they are ignorant clients. Leadership is made up consultants who are adept at bending and exaggerating the truth. Don't forget that your staff are consultants too--they know when you are distorting reality.
    2) Stop discriminating. I have witnessed HR & Resource Allocation make decisions predicated on characteristics such as age & personal situations (kids, marriage, pregnancy, etc)
    3) Bring back the anonymous questionnaire. Anonymity is how you will get honest feedback
    4) Stop public promotions...unprofessional and toxic
    5) To ignite culture, there should be lunch presentations with guest speakers EVERY DAY
    6) Tone down the kool aid ... it feels like a cult
    7) Udemy/online training is not effective...hire experienced engineers
    8) Implement a real LTIP to minimize turnover
    9) Be transparent about all of the quantitative metrics of the business...not just the numbers that make you look good
    10) The slogan "prove what humanity is capable of" is alienating, too abstract, and ultimately confusing. Perhaps "prove what your business is capable of" would be better.
    11) Pay a market wage and raise the engineering standard


  6. "Growth, Culture, Opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL (US)
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I feel very fortunate to have found Solstice at an early stage in my career. Thanks to genuine mentorship, challenging circumstances, and unique opportunities, I've been able to grow more than I could ever imagine. I'm proud of the firm that we've built and continue to build at Solstice.

    Cons

    Where growth and change are constant, it can feel as if the pace never lets up. But, that is sort of the point.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to listen and respond to the employees and the marketplace.


  7. "Great place to be"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in New York, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Director in New York, NY (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great environment. Fun place to wok and learn

    Cons

    Experiencing growing pains, but working through them

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Pretentious Culture and terrible for career growth!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Tech Consultant in Chicago, IL (US)
    Current Employee - Tech Consultant in Chicago, IL (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good benefits package including medical, 401k, PTO etc

    Cons

    The quarterly 360 feedback system leads to a pretentious culture because individuals are working hard to please 10-15 people at once in order to get a promotion. If you are good at office politics, you’ll thrive in this type of environment.
    As a developer, this isn’t the place to be if you want to strengthen your skills as you are never sure what you’ll be doing every 3-6 months. You will be hired for certain tech skills and be put on unfamiliar projects after 2-3 weeks of watching udemy videos for preparation.

    Advice to Management

    The developer casting system and training need lots of improvement. Have actionable solutions to your employee's concerns because they currently seem to go into a black hole.


  9. "Most of the time, you get back what you put in"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Principal in Chicago, IL (US)
    Current Employee - Technical Principal in Chicago, IL (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Solstice full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I've found in my own experience that I am invested in the more that I invest in Solstice. I love the opportunity to learn something new at any time and an annual training budget to help with that. The mentorship program is a fantastic change of pace. I really enjoy that we celebrate each other's promotions together every quarter and that the motivation is to help everyone succeed instead of cutthroat stepping over others to succeed.

    We really have a senior staff that believes in our core principles.

    Cons

    Client work can be arduous at times. Many people have left because they simply can't make any progress due to being stuck in the same client project for years. There is an expectation of additional work without enough empathy for Solsties putting in a lot of time on their client efforts.

    Advice to Management

    Too much focus on growth and business in the past 2-3 years and less focus on culture is the reason that we have such great talent leaving occasionally.

    The mentorship program works well if everyone is invested in it equally, but I've heard several sad stories of new Solsties not getting the support they deserve.


  10. "Amazing People - Great work environment"

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

    I have been working at Solstice full-time

    Pros

    Super smart people driven to deliver great work every day. The culture is one of support and continual feedback. I enjoy going to work everyday and interacting with all the impressive people that are dedicated to giving their all.

    Cons

    I have none to share