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11 people found this helpful  

Sudden campaign of positive reviews belies a toxic environment

(Former Employee)

ProsLurking below today’s problems is a company with a noble mission, an inspiring history, and some remarkably talented and enthusiastic employees.

ConsThere is an understandable assumption that when people leave a company under negative circumstances, their sour grapes attitude is the reason for their negative publicity. They can’t accept their own responsibility, so they blame their bosses or senior leaders or the organization itself. They can’t accept change, even when it means growth, and they can’t accept constructive feedback, even when it’s warranted. But the oceans of talent who have left Press Ganey in the last few years, as the company has grown more rigid, less science-based (in spite of the valiant efforts of a bright and ethical research & analytics department), and less customer focused (with lots of words being thrown at the idea of customer service, but policies that prove those words dishonest) tell a different story.
     Many of us left voluntarily, after years or even decades, with tremendous sadness. We loved the company and our mission, and we tolerated insane hours and unproductive policies because we believed so strongly in the fine work we did, improving the state of healthcare and changing people’s lives. We supported, even embraced, numerous changes, even when they negatively impacted our work-life balance over the years. But when at last the mission is obscured, expectations move from insane to impossible, clients become treated essentially as “marks,” nepotism runs rampant, and incompetence is wildly rewarded and promoted (to be fair, there are occasional fair and justified promotions, but they are the exception), often to the level of senior VPs, you must see that something is very wrong.
     The mission is becoming obscured by prioritizing sales over service. After the brightest and most creative minds are hired, they are expected to exhibit a skill set different from that for which they were hired and are bound by intransigent and unwise policies. The scientific research now takes a backseat to compromised ethics. It's rampant throughout the organization: consulting reports to sales (which undermines their very reason for being), account managers are worked beyond their ability to function effectively, much less optimally, marketing is shown only the glossy reflective surfaces so they are unprepared for valid pushback, and the research team’s scientific approach is devalued at every turn. The result? Press Ganey’s clients stay because of its large database, and, frankly, inertia. (They've said it themselves.)
     Worse still is the culture of fear. Those of us employed at Press Ganey for, let’s say, at least five years (many of us far longer) have seen the climate get worse and worse, with more panicked speculations about where the next axe will fall, what the next incomprehensible policy change will be, which talented individual will disappear next. True, the toxicity of the environment was increasing for several years before Pat Ryan’s emergence on the scene, but it continues to grow exponentially. In my job, I encountered dozens of colleagues each week, and almost no one could keep their fears in this noxious environment a secret. A few of us did keep our constant feeling of dread to ourselves, even surprising others when we left; we were by far the exception.
     A keen eye will take a look at the dates of the postings here and will notice a sudden flurry of positive reviews in late February. Is it a surprise that a data-driven company has noticed that the numbers weren’t looking good? No. But to manipulate the data in such an unscrupulous way…well, it should be shocking, but in the current climate, it is not. Whether the intention is to lure in well-meaning talent, or to present a pretty picture to the next corporate buyer, the campaign to present a positive picture of what is truly an unhealthy company is unmistakable. A business that cares about its image works to repair it, not to obfuscate it.
     Corporate does not have to mean unethical. Hard work does not have be unrewarded. High standards and accountability do not have to mean terror. Many, many of us “refugees” have kept in touch with each other and with those who remain behind, and we have learned this: Those of us who landed on our feet elsewhere are reminded that a driven, thriving environment can be exhilarating, personally enriching, can bring out our very best work, can propel us to exceed all expectations. And those who have fled or been fired from Press Ganey describe the feeling of the great weights of managerial bullying and personal despondency being lifted.

Advice to Senior ManagementTo those of you who are reasonable and ethical and still believe in the mission of this once-great industry leader (and I know there are still a handful of you there), PLEASE fight for Press Ganey. We know it can’t (and shouldn’t) be the bold little start-up it once was, but I genuinely hope, free of schadenfreude, that Press Ganey could once again be the shining star of a company that celebrates innovation, honors its mission, and does its very best for its clients.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Disapproves of CEO

    7 people found this helpful  

    A positive, innovative company destroyed by greed

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    I worked at Press Ganey full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros: A great market, great clients, colleagues with a passion for… Cons: Everyone who can is leaving or already gone, driven out by Pat Ryan and his cronies, who are intent on getting as much as they… Advice to Senior Management: Leave. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company… More
    • Approves of CEO


    Moving in the right direction

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    I have been working at Press Ganey full-time

    Pros: Talented and committed employees, growth opportunities, industry leader, excellent mission. Cons: We've experienced three executive teams in the past two year, each with their own business model and leadership… Advice to Senior Management: Take time to hear employees; take action on issues identified in the employee… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend More
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