Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated July 20, 2015
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132 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    Very inspiring mission!

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Smart, passionate co-workers who strive to be a part of changing the world for the better. Challenging work, but the outcomes for people in need are very rewarding. CEO has reshaped the organization to significantly improve the culture.

    Cons

    Co-chairs can create an environment with "fear of judgment", limiting the dialogue necessary for risk-taking.

    Advice to Management

    The trend line on improving the culture is positive -- accelerate the momentum.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Very satisfying.

    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Pros

    1) Passion, 2) Expertise 3) Mentorship 4) Projects

    Cons

    Hectic lifestyle, not as much creative freedom.


  3. Helpful (8)

    good foundation, great mission, questionable internal politics

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great mission, loved the fact that you felt your work everyday impacted others who are less fortunate. The benefits, even as a contractor are great, snacks / drinks on site, wonderful location, right next to the space needle. Great compensation for my position, I have heard this is similar throughout the organization, at lots of levels. On-site cafeteria is amazing, probably on par with Microsoft campus, if not better.

    Cons

    Bizarre internal politics, team A will let team B fail just so they can claim 'they told you so', things I've never seen in corporate america or anywhere really. A lot of times as a contractor you will be dangled a carrot (of a full time position) that will never materialize (minor critique).

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the 'old boys club' mentality, focus on the people and the mission, not keeping your buddies protected. Overall, I think these are minor issues to contend with and nothing that won't be worked out over time. I think the vast majority of people at the foundation are bright and talented and contribute to the overall focus moving forward.


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  5. Helpful (16)

    Management skills are still problematic

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    - Feeling like you are trying to do good in this world - Amazing depth of experiences and knowledge in your coworkers - People you meet are impressed with your employer - (for some) Great opportunities to travel, meet other influential people, etc. - (for some) Great professional development opportunities

    Cons

    -Read the other reviews in Glassdoor - the management problem is still a problem. They hire people for knowledge or connections, and then expect them to manage human beings. They then don't reprimand managers who have high turn-over underneath them, or who have multiple complaints to HR about them. Usually, they end up promoting the bad managers. - HR exists only to protect upper-level echelon management. Do not expect them to assist in workplace conflict, to respond quickly or at all in cases of abuse, or to guide in professional development. If you complain or ask for guidance, you will be seen as a problem and there will be a 'performance' issue in your future. - There's a lot of 'good job!' to your face, and then finding out from your manager that there was a problem with your work. Not that your manager can tell you exactly what that problem was or how to improve, just that your work is unsatisfactory and you need to do better. It hasn't happened to me (yet), but I've seen multiple junior level officers go through this. - If you are anything lower than an SPO, you are treated as completely unimportant, despite those roles being the major workhorses on the team. It is acceptable behavior for senior management to scream and belittle PAs and PCs (don't bother going to HR about it) and for SPOs to 'forget' how to do basic tasks like print documents. - Diversity? It can be hard to find. Upper management is dominated by whites, mostly by men. Some teams (including some that would surprise you) are almost completely white, with only the support staff being of color. Hidden diversity can be even more difficult, although the home office is very accepting of GLTBQ. - Over-reliance on consultants, including those who are grossly overpaid. They build knowledge and take it outside of the foundation, and are working for their own benefit, not for ours. Plus, some of the managers who hire them are easily dazzled by academic soft-shoeing - they could hire graduate students to do the same work and pay them 30K per year. - It's hard to trust your coworkers or your team. You never know when you will be reassigned or a coworker will be let go...or if you'll be the one to be let go next. It's hard to stay invested in a project or a team when you know that you could show up to work tomorrow and be told that your portfolio is now being covered by someone else...with no explanation.

    Advice to Management

    Respect all human lives - including your employees. Treat management personnel issues as important - management ineptitude results in lost work-efficiency and turnover costs the foundation money (yes, it would be cheaper in both short & long run to replace the problem manager than to keep replacing staff). Invest in HR improvements - it is currently considered to be the secret police of the foundation; aka, no one trusts them. Particularly when they are 'investigating' a bad annual survey. When you've seen the track record of people being let go because they reported management issues, do you really think that people want to identify themselves from an anonymous survey?


  6. Helpful (8)

    Inconsistent and work against each other

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are great. The Campus is beautiful.

    Cons

    No 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 Management

    Accountability is key. People should not re-create operations positions in the programs.


  7. Helpful (2)

    Good mission, great benefits.

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The mission you support is excellent as are the benefits.

    Cons

    The salaries are little low and advancement isn't really possible.


  8. Helpful (6)

    It is a very different place from the organization that I started working at

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    No matter where in the organization, you feel like you are part of something that is intent on making changes from next door to all over the world. Location is near South Lake Union, right next to Seattle Center so you are near lots of activities. Good food onsite. Open working environment with the technology to back it up. I have a lot of great memories there.

    Cons

    Silo'd Teams, a great deal of opportunity for improvement in communication departments. As the size has grown larger, the culture has changed, politicking is what gets you ahead instead of whether you are moving the team ahead. Risk is equated with bad, things are said to encourage it but... Hiring from outside is the norm, once you are in.


  9. Helpful (13)

    Invaluable experience at a failed organization, especially early in career

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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)

    Cons

    I'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 Management

    Not too much here. I write that because leadership frequently solicits unvarnished feedback on the work and our environment, receives it, then promptly discards it.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Life changing

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great place to work with the best mission of any org always challenging. You learn more about yourself and the world working there. Fantastic people

    Cons

    Lot of politics; lots of Type A personalities


  11. Helpful (7)

    Toxic, hypocritical organization

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    good 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.

    Cons

    horrid 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 Management

    fire 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.



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