Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  www.gatesfoundation.org
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated August 21, 2014
Updated August 21, 2014
122 Reviews

3.3
122 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann
Susan Desmond-Hellmann
1 Rating

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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Constant Change

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great new campus environment; some good people in the ranks

    Cons

    Lack 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 ManagementAdvice

    Start over.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Great mission held back by the culture.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manager  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Manager in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great 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.

    Cons

    For 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 ManagementAdvice

    Start 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    A very unique environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Officer  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Program Officer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Opportunities to learn every day, exposure to the best and brightest in the staff and the people the Foundation brings in to collaborate, awesome mission, beautiful campus, culture of continuous improvement

    Cons

    On occasion the egos and politics can get to be a bit much. A relatively young organization still working on its internal processes

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust the people you hire and be sure to wall the talk

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    toxic culture at a great organization

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Tier III IT  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Tier III IT in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a contractor

    Pros

    a fine organization helping people do great work to help the world.
    a beautiful workplace

    Cons

    Echoing what others have mentioned, if you get hired as a contractor in IT don't ever expect to be converted. There are IT staff members who have been with the foundation for multiple years as contractors. Like Microsoft, the Gates Foundation requires contractors to display their "orange badge of shame" at all times. Expect to be treated poorly by entitled full time staff, and of course total exclusion from all company events. Want to use the world class bike to work facilities? Ok, but the locker rooms are FTE-only. You'll even be included from teambuilding events on your own team.

    All those great benefits? You don't get any of them.

    The IT organization is dramatically oversized, a clear waste of money at a foundation that clearly doesn't care about running a tight ship.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Don't be enamored by the mission, the company culture is shameful....

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    *Mission
    *Benefits
    *Campus (facility and location)
    *Some great people

    Cons

    *Culture is suffocating, toxic, hostile, arrogant and not supportive
    *People's egos get in the way of getting work done ("I am smarter than you, NO, I am smarter than you")
    *Dysfunctional IT org with a weak CIO and embarrassing leadership team (What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)
    *Money is not a constraint like true non-profit and for-profit companies

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start over and hire strong leaders with some semblence of emotional intelligence.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    If you would like working for Microsoft...you won't mind the Foundation

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Talented people, good intentions, great benefits

    Cons

    Too many reorgs and little support for line staff

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out how to make better use of ALL your staff and create a culture where people are supported to do their best and want to stay because they can do their best work not just because the pay, benefits and prestige are good.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Feel good about where you work

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Satisfying to work at a place where even if you're not doing the work on the ground, the work you do enables it in some way.

    Cons

    There is a fine line between pride of enabling good work and arrogance. There seems to be quite a bit of the latter and that was disappointing.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    An amazing place ... with some challenges

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Deputy Director  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Deputy Director in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You will never work with a more talented and accomplished group of peers who share a deep commitment to a common goal. There are amazing people here.

    Cons

    The organizational and management culture is challenging: a self-imposed emphasis on speed with rapid cycles of rethinking seem, in some strategies at least, to result in lots of false starts. On the team I joined, we had a very high turnover rate, especially at the higher levels, which was frustrating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Working to catalyze and support change in an established "industry" will require greater stability and continuity among program officers and deputy directors. Relationship building and consistent follow through is critical, but is not yet a strong suit for the foundation.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Awesome! Super talented people determined to change the world!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Business Analyst  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Awesome coworkers
    Opportunity to make an impact
    Very professional work environment
    Superb facilities for staff (benefits and salary)

    Cons

    slow decision making
    Regional offices aren't empowered enough to make strategic decisions
    Poor work life balance

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote work life balance, break the silos to ensure greater coordination between teams and empower regional offices

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great mission, great organization - IT Organization Broken

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Project Manager  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - IT Project Manager in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The mission is incredible and there are a lot of smart people working hard to achieve it
    Amazing campus and great benefits
    Work/life balance can be great for many who take advantage of the "flexible work styles"
    For geeks you will have all the Micorosft latest and greatest at yuor disposal

    Cons

    For anyone in IT it is a disfunctional and ineffective organization. The CEO is a very smart and capable man but is very introverted and his focus his up the organization. This is a huge problem as his "leadership" team are incompetant and lack even basic management skills. Their traits range from basic immaturity to emotionally unstable; there is also a "boys club" whose behaviour is oftern very inappropriate.
    The result of this lack of leadership is spinning at the lower levels; no clear strategy, inablility to make simple decisions effectilvely and worst of all a huge waste of foundation resources.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in employee and specficially leadership and management skills development. There is a huge reliance on highly paid consultants for staff aigmentation - hold managers accountable for hiring and retaining strong teams

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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