The Standard

  www.standard.com
  www.standard.com

The Standard Reviews

Updated October 21, 2014
Updated October 21, 2014
101 Reviews
2.5
101 Reviews
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The Standard President & CEO J. Greg Ness
J. Greg Ness
55 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great location in downtown Portland (in 14 reviews)

  • Good people, good benefits, fair location (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • Of course, upper management received healthy salary increases while non-management salaries stagnated (in 8 reviews)

  • The news that layoffs were coming in favor of outsourcing to India was announced by the IT VP a few months ago (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

19 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good people working hard to support poorly thought out strategies.

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

    I have been working at The Standard full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    There are a lot of good people at The Standard who work hard to provide good service to their customers and really want to do the right thing. The benefits and compensation packages are fair. The locations are decent and the company's involvement in the community is admirable.

    Cons

    The lack of strategic thinking at the senior levels has led to snowballing problems.Years of kicking the can down the road on technology projects has caught up with the company. A lack of focus on and investments in the core business has led to competitive disadvantages and no clear USP for any of the product lines. And staff reductions, benefit cuts and outsourcing of key functions have led to a brain drain and a lack of confidence among remaining employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You really need to learn the difference between strategy and tactics. A well defined strategy helps you focus on what you will do--- and as importantly, what you will not. The lack of a clear strategy and myriad tactical projects competing for resources have left people feeling overwhelmed and disheartened. Many people, particularly those in middle management who have enough visibility into goings on to get a good sense of the situation, wonder about the long-term viability of the company. It is time to take a realistic look at the projects under way, the service being provided to customers and the technology that supports everything and make some serious decisions about what you are going to continue to do going forward.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Low capability managers and leaders

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Employee in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - IT Employee in Portland, OR

    I worked at The Standard full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great focus on contributing to the community and giving back. Summer hours were a value add.

    Cons

    While you are there you definitely recognize the low capability of the managers and leaders. The longer you stay the more complacent you become until the lack of leadership completely erodes all motivation and drive. You become part of the problem. I finally was able to shake this off and realize it was time for a change. Going somewhere else with strong leadership in IT, I was re-vitalized. It was like waking up from a long sleep. I'm talking like Sleeping Beauty kind of sleep. If you are there, get out while you still have the will. If you are not there, know going in that the community as a whole knows that Standard is full of mediocre managers and leaders. You will have to work hard at appearing marketable if you go to Standard and look for other companies to go to later. It's not that the leaders and managers dont want to do the right thing, they just dont know how.....

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Broaden your horizons, empower your people, shake off the mediocrity

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Middle management and "yes man/woman" heavy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Claims Analyst in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Claims Analyst in Portland, OR

    I have been working at The Standard full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    As has been said before, you do feel like part of a family.

    Cons

    It's very possible that your job could be relocated (something that takes months of planning) and you are given as little notice as possible. You will be not offered any real assistance in transferring jobs.

    There is far too much middle management and hands in the pot. Too many "yes men/women" seem to get those middle management positions and therefore, any decision by upper management does not get the thorough debate that it may need.

    Also too many middle managers who create projects to justify their positions without truly realizing the possible impacts - a prime example is when the phone system was "upgraded" with a minimum (if any) of end user testing and user training. The service level - which had been excellent prior - went down the tubes. The solution? Mandatory OT on already stressed employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider sorting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to management. Consider having a few people who will question things versus blindly approving whatever the boss says. The lack of dissenting opinions is what causes the most issues.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Would not recommend

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

    I have been working at The Standard full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Relaxed environment, lots of autonomy, summer hours.

    Cons

    Management has been horrible. Employee surveys are being conducted from employees dissatisfaction. Hardly any clarity on employee growth or advancement planning. Employee disorganized with a lot of random testing to see what management structure will work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Set clear goals and expectations, including team managers communicating team member expectations. Without that, the right employees are not identified and the firm as a whole suffers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Slowly Getting Worse

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Portland, OR

    I worked at The Standard (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Enjoyed some of my fellow employees.

    Cons

    My first insurance industry experience, but: Management seemed amateurish; lots of "people managers" and not enough actual workers or employees with technical knowhow. I was told the head of the company came from HR which I couldn't picture happening in another industry. Lacking Strategic direction. When I looked for employment elsewhere, I learned from several potential employers they weren't impressed by Standard employees because of the lack of training and experience received while at the Standard. A year after leaving, and working for a "real" corporation, I think they were right. Finally, NOT a place for high energy employees who want to gain experience and move ahead.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Early retire anyone?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Executive Asst

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Portland, OR

    I worked at The Standard full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I had enjoyed the variety of the people in various departments.

    Cons

    Very old school or "good ole boys" type of environment. Don't have a voice or you won't have a job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start caring about your employees', their workload, and lifestyle; rather than your constant A to A+ Ratings. An A- won't kill you, and would also keep jobs available, rather than load up the ones left behind. Try to choose managers with a backbone and can see brown nosing for what it exactly is.....

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Company with extreme growing pains

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at The Standard full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The pay and benefits are good. Work location and accommodations are great. The company has a philosophy of accommodating employees with disabilities above and beyond what is legally required.

    Cons

    Company philosophy as well as HR philosophy are changing to accommodate the need to be a fast for-profit organization. Employees with tenure are being let go to hire new employees with"fresher" outlooks.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Staggering around in the misconception that the problem is "out there"

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

    I have been working at The Standard full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Some really great people at all levels.

    Cons

    Senior management is out of touch.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Involve your managers and employees; be transparent and self-aware; get a vision and strategy

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Used to be a good company

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

    I have been working at The Standard full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good people, good benefits, fair location

    Cons

    Morale has been on the down slide for the last few years. Mid to upper management making poor decisions, big turn over lately

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to why the turnover, listen to employee's, toss the toxicity

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 9 people found this helpful  

    "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"

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

    I have been working at The Standard full-time

    Pros

    *Company has been very humane during recent layoffs, providing decent severance packages and outplacement services.
    *Generous PTO policy.
    *HQ is in a nice downtown location.
    *Most employees are well educated and sincerely want to make the company successful.
    *Claims department does a great job despite being understaffed and inundated.
    *Claims are paid in a timely manner and using ethical standards.

    Cons

    *As many have said, company culture is passive-aggressive.
    *People are labeled as having "poor attitudes" when they express a contrary opinion. Once branded, there is no salvaging your career.
    *Conflict ("negativity") is discouraged, which means creativity and risk taking die. Workers keep their heads down to protect their jobs.
    *H.R. is there to protect the company, not to help employees, and some H.R. staff appear annoyed when they have to deal with employee issues.
    *Some leaders use fear as a management strategy. Without a safe environment for discussion and honest communication, morale and productivity plummet.
    *There are constant reorgs in some departments, leading to lost productivity and lack of vision.
    *Many leaders are not seen as trustworthy by their direct reports, and this is warranted.
    *Company is slow to react to economic realities and changes in the business environment, and hasn't invested in needed technology infrastructure to support growth and change.
    *Company invests in stupid ventures without doing their homework, while not investing in core business to stay competitive.
    *Cronyism runs rampant - the best way to be promoted is to befriend someone in power.
    *"Talent Management" is a joke. There is plenty of talent, but people are not encouraged to move around the company to learn new things. Smart people languish while managers hire and promote their buddies.
    *Employees work long hours while some VPs arrive at 9 and leave at 4.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get out of the ivory tower and actually walk around so you can meet/talk to employees on the front lines. This will only work if you make it safe for them to tell you what's really going on in the company without retaliation; otherwise they'll just tell you that everything is "fine." Hint: it's not. Quit hiring and promoting narcissistic bullies who don't "care about people" and only know how to manage up. Settle on a company strategy and have the balls to communicate your vision and invest wisely toward the goals you've set.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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