Towers Watson Reviews

Updated 27 August 2014
Updated 27 August 2014
346 Reviews

3.3
346 Reviews
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Towers Watson CEO John Haley
John Haley
172 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • I like that they focus a lot on employee health and work/ life balance (in 22 reviews)

  • Smart professionals, great working environment and work/life balance (in 24 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance (there is none) - Long hours/weekend work (in 40 reviews)

  • No work life balance during peak seasons (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Clueless Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Office Services
    Current Employee - Office Services

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    A salary and benefits centrally located

    Cons

    Low morale, politics galore, benefits aren't as good as they previously were, low compensation and no flexibility in work hours, no room for advancement

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider mentoring lower level staff

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great company, great managers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Business Analyst  in  Quezon City, National Capital Region (Philippines)
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Quezon City, National Capital Region (Philippines)

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Top-notch learning and development opportunities
    They take care of their people
    Ensures people are taken care of by really caring people managers

    Cons

    Needs to review their benefits packages, especially for shared services employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work, and maintain the "connection" with your people

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    If you're young, smart, and motivated look elsewhere

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Actuarial Analyst
    Current Employee - Actuarial Analyst

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - great people.

    For the most part the consultants you work with are some of the smartest people in the industry.

    People generally take pride in the work they do and are genuinely interested in their work product, for the most part

    Most young people here are typically outgoing (defying stereotypes of the actuary) and enjoy having a good time

    - Job Security

    More of a negative, actually, but due to understaffing, you can stay here as long as you would like (even if you continually show a lack of competency or display a lack of interest or concern in the work you do)

    Cons

    where to begin?

     There are a lot of internal issues here that have been neglected by management for a long time, which has only made things worse, although, the issues are now being addressed but with lack of urgency, transparency and regard.

    - No incentive for young employees to perform well, and no way to retain the young employees that do perform well (and meet expectations)

    With high billable goals that are typically viewed as unattainable (I barely hit mine working 10-hour days on average, with plenty of 15 hour days during busy season, taking 3-4 days off all year while working plenty of weekends, and exceeded the billable goal by only 100 hours) you better be able to reward the employees that are able meet the goals.

    However, despite a clear work load disparity at the analyst level, there is no clear disparity and distinction in analyst's bonuses and salary increases. For example:

    Analyst A: who worked 2000 hours and produced high quality work product will receive X% + 3% of base salary and Y% + 2% in annual salary increase at fiscal year end

    Analyst B: who worked 1600 hours and produced so-so work product will receive X% of base salary and Y% in annual salary increase at fiscal year end

    Ultimately, hours worked over the billable goal at the analyst position typically equates to a minimum wage hourly rate or less, so there is no fiscal incentive to outperform goals, however there is every expectation that you will work late and that you're just as vested in the work product as the consultant delivering the work to client

    Really the only tangible reward for good work is more work.

    - Top Heavy

    This probably is strongly related to the analyst bonus issue (as well as unrealistic growth expectations of senior management); with so many tenured associates at the consultant and senior consultant level (who take home much more at year-end in bonuses then junior associates) there is no money in the bonus pool to go to junior associates, as well as bottlenecking top-performing junior associates from transitioning into a consultant role

    Also, none of the consultants and senior consultants who are either incompetent or 'nightmares' to deal with are handled appropriately (fired). Instead they are allowed to 'hang around' as long as they would like and continue to drive down office morale.

    It's assumed that the 'problem' consultants will just get the idea and eventually move on based off of low bonuses on an annual basis (this assumes some disparity in the bonuses at the consultant level), however all these 'problem's are vested in rich legacy pension plans and are an older population, so, if they have any financial sense (they all do), they all are perfectly incentivised to stick around until retirement while their rich pensions continue to accrue.

    - Lack of Transparency

    If anything is being done to address the 'above-average' turnover it is not being communicated to the office or specific practice.This of course is assuming that high turnover is being addressed, since in the last year and a half over 20 analysts have quit in my particular practice (with more than half being knowledgeable, tenured senior analysts).

    Although, senior management is quick to rationalize high turnover as 'coming with the territory' of being in the financial service industry.

    its worth nothing that there are, roughly every two years, employee engagement surveys so that management can better address issues within your practice, office and company-wide. However, in my practice, the results of the engagement survey have yet to be acknowledged or discussed in a practice-wide meeting (what you would think would happen after engagement survey results have been released, but here we are more than 4 months later...).

    Bonus structures are not discussed with younger employees so there is no understanding of how bonuses are awarded and under what circumstances they are awarded

    Promotions and, more importantly, employee development are not discussed with junior associates unless they reach out to their manager to try to understand how they can be promoted.

    - Lack of communication

    this may come with the territory of working with actuaries, but, generally, everything is done on unspoken expectations i.e. a consultant will give a tenured analyst some admin type work (filing or making edits to some documents) and tell them to do it, but will expect the analyst to pass off the work to a more junior analyst or administrative assistant, but nothing will be said of that nature. It is worth noting that occasionally you'll have a consultant who actually expects the tenured analyst to do the admin type work and will get upset if you pass that work off (even if your busy and the admin type work is urgent)

    - No work-life balance

    IF you're motivated to get promoted or exceed goals(although no guarantee that you will be able to get promoted through hard work and dedication)

    - High turnover and understaffing

    No end in sight to this issue (as previously alluded to)

    - Complete disconnect between senior management and junior associates

    senior management doesn't understand that you need competent young associates to be able to retain key clients and grow client relations. Inconsistent work product, missed deadlines, and client dissatisfaction is what will continue and grow more apparent as turnover escalates.

    Senior management does know they will need less competent young associates in the future as they attempt to become a leaner more cost efficient company. less analysts, more outsourced work, more admins, is all part of the game plan, but who's going to replace the consultants to ensure client relationships are maintained? Oh, well the retirement practice is going to evaporate in 5 years anyways so what the difference. At least that is what is assumed by senior management, although they'll tell junior associates that pensions are making a comeback and the company can continue to grow at faster pace than currently, even though their largest revenue generator is in a declining field with spikes in revenue over the next few years only coming from plan termination projects (that will generate a lot of revenue now, but in 2 years there will be no revenue)

    - Benefits are below average in comparison to industry

    - pay is below average in comparison to industry

    and bonuses are non-existent (as previously mentioned)

    Also, actuarial exam bonuses are roughly half of what Aon and Mercer offer

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Develop realistic growth expectations.

    You know the company cant grow faster than currently and you know this underfunded the bonus pool in the process. if your benchmark for bonuses is your best year ever and you know you can't continually outperform that benchmark your employee's hard work will continually go unappreciated

    - Your employees define your future success

    You're in the financial services sector so start coming to terms with how important the people you employ are and do everything you can to retain your top performers.

    - Listen to your employees

    Please, stop ignoring what your employees are saying because you're in the financial services sector and high-turnover is expected. Employees don't like hearing that their biggest concerns are being completed ignored because 'this is what you signed up for", no they decided to work here because they assumed Towers was a global leader in HR solutions..

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Odd Culture, political shark tank, no training- but you must do it our way...

    Current Employee - Senior Consultant
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    People are very bright and once they have kicked back a few drinks they loosen up and personalities actually begin to develop!

    Cons

    Leadership? Leadership is too busy to pay any attention to what the individual managers are up to. Then, when things are escalated, and probably too late- they become involved. The managers need training, the staff needs training. When leadership is engaged- they are great- it just does not happen all the time. Too bad. It would create a better environment and change the culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase training- get rid of poor managers. Pay attention to what is happening.

  6.  

    Beware of Backstabbing Managers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Taguig (Philippines)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Taguig (Philippines)

    I worked at Towers Watson full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Above average pay, mid-year and performance bonuses. HR training and support is great

    Cons

    Uptight management with malicious intentions towards subordinates, creating illusions of non-existent pressure. Beware of managers that bad mouth their peers behind their backs to the higher ups just so, they will look good especially, managers who are former employees of TW that got hired back again.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    OK Company after the merge...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Associate  in  Arlington, VA (US)
    Current Employee - Technical Associate in Arlington, VA (US)

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Work from home allowed.
    Flexible with life and work schedule.
    Lots of branch offices in the U.S. and can transfer.

    Cons

    After merge with Perrin, it became too corporate.
    Top Heavy
    Too cheap with training and no room to move
    Too high of medical out of expense

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Ok

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Towers Watson

    Pros

    Pension plan to go along with 401k

    Cons

    low pay and promotions are done by years of experience and not skill level

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Satisfactory but not challenging

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst
    Former Employee - Investment Analyst

    I worked at Towers Watson full-time

    Pros

    Good colleagues and working environment. This is very important because you are able to ask senior people for advice and stressful moments are infrequent. Competitive basic package.

    Cons

    Rigid structures mean that the job can be very monotonous. Also there are very little performance rewards/penalties to differentiate in employee performance.
    Structure seems top heavy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to make more effort to be offering varied, challenging work to junior employees.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good company, not very up to speed on technology

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - IT Manager  in  Philadelphia, PA (US)
    Current Employee - IT Manager in Philadelphia, PA (US)

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Benefits are good. There are very little management training offered to the managers.

    Cons

    The roles are not well defined in the organization. Managers need to develop their skills in management.

  11.  

    Little interest in people. Good expertise in HR

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant

    I have been working at Towers Watson full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    If you're a young professional or a very seasoned one, TW could be a good place for you: as a new recruit, you'll learn a lot. As a director, you'll earn a lot.

    Cons

    For anybody in the middle of the TW food chain, life is not easy. As a consultant or Senior consultant, your targets will be very demanding and recognition quite limited.
    Furthermore, as we saw in recent months, when the going gets tough, consultants are asked to go. I've never seen a practice leader be asked to leave when his/her practice did poorly. In these cases, TW will get rid of some people in the practice to re-balance the p&l.
    No focus on people in this company, it's all about pleasing the shareholders.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider that sometimes when things don't go well you are the problem as much as - or more than - your employees.
    Cutting costs is short-term, shortsighted solution, that's not going to do any good to your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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