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14 days ago

Associate, Social Impact Design

United Way Detroit, MI

Day-to-Day Support • Meeting preparation, set up and tear down • Phone calls • Scheduling and logistics • Note taking • Email and follow up… Glassdoor

United Way Reviews

214 Reviews
214 Reviews
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United Way President and CEO Brian A. Gallagher
Brian A. Gallagher
57 Ratings

    Rigid Hierarchy that doesn't value most employees or utilize them well

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    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Detroit, MI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Detroit, MI

    I have been working at United Way full-time


    Many of my colleague are very talented and hard working (especially at mid and low levels). Working remotely is normal and the office space is nice. Some of the work UWSEM is doing in communities is incredible.


    Although we are a relatively small organization, many people don't know each other who should and others have never met our leadership at all. There is no sense of team, no on-boarding for employees, and much time is wasted because of this. Some teams in UWSEM are more organized than others and some teams don't even have regular meetings at all so the work can feel very isolating. Many projects are not staffed at appropriate levels and many promises are made that more staff are being hired, but that rarely happens so burnout is very high. Leadership doesn't usually give time to listen, they just talk at us. We work remotely, but our servers and remote access is often not working which is very frustrating and never seems to get better. StrengthsFinder is highly valued by the organization, but it is often used incorrectly against staff to focus on their weaknesses. I often see that making something "look good" is more highly valued by leadership than making something that has the most positive impact on community. The "leadership" team makes promises to donors and funders without knowing what is possible on the ground and it gets us into some very tough situations. Evaluation is talked about a lot, but an afterthought.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is so much potential at UWSEM! There is a common understanding among UWSEM employees that some on the "leadership team" are very poor managers and supervisors (even though they might be nice or smart people). Everyone seems to know who these people are and we are all surprised that they still work here. They are bringing us all down. You have many current employees at low and mid levels in the organization who are incredibly talented and experienced well beyond their titles and positions (who are just happy to contribute to the BHAG) that you should be listening to, including in decision making, and promoting. Instead, these great employees are looking for other jobs. You (leadership team) are viewed as condescending and generally out of touch with Detroit, our staff, and what is happening in our community. Show that you value the hard work of the employees and make it your personal mission to get an understanding of all the work we do in communities by hearing it from those who do it (whatever you are hearing from our bosses in "leadership team" meetings isn't the full picture and it is leading you to make poor and even unethical choices that don't utilize our resources well. You could turn this all around. My first suggestion is to either get rid of your "leaders" who are very poor managers and supervisors or at the least take them out of supervisory roles. They might have other skills and abilities to contribute to our work, but supervising should not be one of them. You should require 360 evaluations of all supervisors and use the results to improve the work environment. You have so many staff members who love our work, just not our work culture so put it back to us to improve things. You could ask every staff member something they would like to contribute to a positive culture beyond their job description and I know you would get some amazing ideas and allow people to step up as leaders no matter what their job description is. We should have an idea box (which would include ideas about cost-savings and improving office culture) or some way to get an idea to the leadership team since our VP doesn't listen to us. Listen, listen, listen (to staff and community) and always think about the ethics of our work. We should always be focused on the cost of impact strategies so that we make the decisions that are the best use of our resources - the people who know what this looks like are working on the ground in community. If you truly believe in our values, you should lift up employees who express those, not be annoyed or exclude those who are "mission-driven," "authentic," and "tenacious" for the sake of "all of us." Lastly, really appreciate people. Shout outs are proving to be really nice, but often about small things or given to poor employees in an attempt to butter then up (personally I have even done this). When a major problem is fixed or a new solution, idea, or program is implemented successfully staff should be lifted up. Appreciation should also be actions such as encouraging them to share their work more broadly, including them in important decision making, or just scheduling a short meeting to listen to them talk about successes and challenges so that you as a leader can learn from them, not just saying thank you.

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