Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  www.gatesfoundation.org
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated Mar 25, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.0 102 reviews

Not yet rated.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann

Susan Desmond-Hellmann


51% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great benefits and retirement package(in 14 reviews)

  • New campus is beautiful and gives an appearance of transparency(in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • The amazing work-life balance others report is solely dependent upon the team you land in and the manager you have(in 10 reviews)

  • It's a very flat organization with very little to no room for professional growth(in 5 reviews)

27 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    7 people found this helpful  

    Inconsistent and work against each other

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsBenefits are great. The Campus is beautiful.

    ConsNo one seems to care where the buck stops. It is very silo'd and decisions are made in teams or departments and likely are duplicated elsewhere leading to overly complicated processes and waste.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAccountability is key. People should not re-create operations positions in the programs.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    8 people found this helpful  

    Invaluable experience at a failed organization, especially early in career

    Program Officer (Current Employee)

    Pros- Great mission; big audacious goals
    - Incredible campus right near downtown
    - Many informal opportunities for learning, such as lunch and learn (esp. across silos)
    - Very good cafeteria
    - Great benefits and retirement package
    - Robust culture that keeps you on your toes
    - Many lessons learned about working with difficult people in a very politically complex environment (see cons)

    ConsI've received invaluable experience; learning how to not manage an organization. If management education programs are about giving you the tools to successfully manage an organization, the foundation abounds with lessons from the other side of the coin.

    Valuable learning in:

    - Sustaining a culture of distrust and animosity both between teams and between layers in the chain of command
    - Spending billions on foreign investments with little to no accountability
    - Selecting inappropriate technology solutions and rolling them out improperly
    - Engaging external consultants at a very high price while not setting value expectations
    - The risks of putting HR in charge of managing an organization's people with no checks and balances

    The foundation is a total shipwreck, but shipwrecks are valuable warnings to others so they may navigate a safer course.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNot too much here.

    I write that because leadership frequently solicits unvarnished feedback on the work and our environment, receives it, then promptly discards it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Toxic, hypocritical organization

    Analyst (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    Prosgood salary, some good friends, interesting projects, helping people globally - not much else I can say. Oh yes, nice campus, but the "security" people are absolutely suffocating and arrogant.

    Conshorrid management, game playing, toxic/incompetent management, WAY too many contractors that create undue pressure and a revolving door, competitive environment where people stab each other in the back and get away with it, the worst HR team on the planet. SO glad I'm gone from this place. The only thing that kept me there was the money/benefits, but I just nailed a role with someone else making more. Nice... Can't wait to recruit the good people way from this toxic organization.

    Advice to Senior Managementfire yourselves! You contribute nothing and you only take. You're spoiled brats and wouldn't amount anything if you couldn't use the "Gates" name. You're clueless as to how to manage people and career growth. Your talk absolutely does NOT match your walk in any way, shape or form.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    In a word, disappointing.

    Grants Management (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsGreat mission, benefits, and name to add to your resume.

    ConsContrary to the mission the Foundation doesn’t value people, employee retention, or people management skills in their work force. The craze of competition and murky political waters penetrates even the simplest of tasks and is exhausting even for the most game. The entire foundation lacks heart, caring, and compassion. Intelligence without passion and common sense makes for a giant think tank that isn’t connected to the the people the Foundation aims to serve.

    Advice to Senior ManagementInvolve the communities that the Foundation aims to help more directly and hire people who actually have passion and experience (including people management skills for position with direct reports).

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Culture not what I'd expected

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsBeautiful campus, great benefits, exposure to Bill, Melinda and other incredible speakers who come to speak at the campus.

    ConsCulture is a bit "cold." They hire VERY smart people but many of those smart people take pay cuts to "save the world" and then feel let down when they realize their job isn't going to save the world, it's just a job.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Gates Foundation

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat mission proud to work for.

    ConsCulture is the biggest challenge staff deal with. hard to get work done.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Perhaps a chance for a new start...

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsNumerous smart folks, good benefits, nice working environment

    ConsToxic work environment, inept management, disrespect of employees at all levels

    Advice to Senior ManagementTo the co-chairs - please have the courage to hire a Raikes replacement who is compassionate, competent and caring. So many opportunities were missed during Jeff's administration - the best replacement will right the ship and set a new, productive course.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    10 people found this helpful  

    Glad I worked there, thrilled I left

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe name brand with the foundation is great on your CV, the campus and benefits are great, and there are some individuals who truly changed my outlook on the world for the better. There is some innovating going on, I am better prepared to think even more critically and bring a polished level of professionalism where ever I go.

    ConsToxic, difficult work environment, like 1200 crabs in a bucket trying to claw their way into owning something important. The office dynamics and politics are suffocating even for those most game for those issues. People are obsessed with getting in there and then are faced with am overwhelming amount of red tape. The time I was there was a complete slog with amazing bright spots of travel and good people. I can't say I would recommend the place in the least bit, but I guess I am glad I was there. I am mostly just glad it's over.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe re orgs and the bloat...my god. The roots of the cultural problems run so deep I don't think BCG or MicKinsey can you get out.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Constant Change

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsGreat new campus environment; some good people in the ranks

    ConsLack of vision and leadership leads to constantly reorganizing the business units and programs. Too much middle management and lots of folks with big ol' egos. Raikes' temper tantrums were mildly entertaining at least.

    There's no work/life balance at this organization- everyone wants to prove they are the hard-charging, A-student, workforce superhero. All of this and what is really being accomplished?

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart over.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Great mission held back by the culture.

    Manager (Former Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsGreat mission, and the Gates family is hugely inspirational. Great place to work with a diverse group of people and learn a lot, and be exposed to experiences that can't be found elsewhere. Benefits are great, probably some of the best around.

    ConsFor a non-profit It's an extremely competitive work environment. The culture encourages narcissism and entitlement, an there's an abundance of nepotism in hiring. Most managers don't know how to manage employees or budgets.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart fixing things internally, beginning with the culture. Also, start creating better relationships with grantees. There's a lot of talk about it, but little action.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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