Clinton Health Access Initiative

  www.clintonhealthaccess.org
  www.clintonhealthaccess.org
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Clinton Health Access Initiative Reviews

Updated September 24, 2014
Updated September 24, 2014
37 Reviews
2.0
37 Reviews
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  1.  

    Formative, amazing experience. Great organization, could be so much better...

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

    I worked at Clinton Health Access Initiative full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The vast majority of the people at CHAI are incredible, inspiring individuals who are a dream to work with. The work culture is intense (akin to management consultancy hours), but for the most part very rewarding, you feel like you are making a difference. You are able to run with projects in a way you'd never find in another organization.

    Cons

    It is still run like a start up. Systems are important. Bureaucracy doesn't have to be a bad word. The dynamics between country team leadership and global teams could be improved. There are some bad seeds that need to be removed, a meaningful performance management system with teeth to it would go a long way. Compensation is pathetic, there is little thought put into individual career development and career paths within CHAI and these issues contribute to very high turnover rates (as does the mismanagement of non-performers). Institutional memory is compromised by the high turnover rate and this affects our reputation with other partners as there's a revolving door of faces. Major founders syndrome issues preventing needed changes from being implemented.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Develop systems. Have competitive compensation packages. Have clear career development opportunities. Have a performance management system with teeth. Address country team-global team tensions (country teams are not always right, global team technical expertise needs to be respected and incorporated into plans!)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    Student Intern

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

    I worked at Clinton Health Access Initiative as an intern

    Pros

    It was a great experience working for CHAI as they respect every team member, are open to ideas and even as an intern I had the flexibility to take on projects that I liked in addition to what was initially assigned and contribute where I thought I could. I definitely learnt a lot.

    Cons

    There is a lot going on and sometimes there was not a lot of structure or direction to the work. You need to take initiative and carve out a significant role when you see fit.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Avoid

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

    I have been working at Clinton Health Access Initiative full-time

    Pros

    An easy way to get into international development. With no background in any functional or technical area, it's fairly easy to get posted abroad.

    Cons

    The entire organization is dysfunctional. Of course some teams work better than other, but as a whole the organization is very fragile.
    To start from the top, the CEO pushed out most qualified managers out of the organization over the years, he probably does not even realize it, as people use all kinds or excuses to leave, but the fact is people can't work with him (or actually the other way around).
    Senior managers are very weal at the moment, because most left. Regional directors serve no purpose, while the authority of Country Directors has been eroded over time. Managers and directors get constantly overruled which kills their entrepreneurship and ownership. Most of the organization is however relying on an army of volunteers and analysts/associates (apparently there is a difference?) with no experience, but most importantly no supervision. Having a young, inexperienced team would be ok if they were provided direction. Right now, they are not which leads them to make major mistakes, often. I think it is really unfair to put them in these situations, to them, to the partners and the people they serve.
    Though this is the philosophy at CHAI and is unlikely to change under current management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get a real management team.
    Empower the managers, Directors and Country Directors. Define a purpose that makes sense for Regional Directors or scrap them. Don't just use rhetoric that says you empower them, while undermining them...Really do this.

    I even forgot to mention the COO above, which should tell you something about his weight and influence....

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    good projects; leadership gaps

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Leadership Role  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Leadership Role in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Clinton Health Access Initiative full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    - you work on the some of the most exciting areas in global health. one can derive great satisfaction in the work we do.
    - name recognition.
    - get to meet president Clinton, Hillary and Chelsea if there is a country visit but this isn't guaranteed.

    Cons

    - Pay is poor, benefits are the bare minimum.
    - Lean implementation model - low overheads which is good since most benefit to client/patient but results in worker burnout due to poor work-life balance coupled first point above on poor pay.
    - the personality cult of Ira Magaziner overshadows implementation in some cases (see recommendation to management)
    - promoting from within brings up unseasoned leaders. Program officers and program managers are promoted to deputy and county directors before they are ready and then not offered enough support and structure when in leadership. This is especially true with the current push to promote country nationals/citizens of countries where CHAI has offices. Some don't have the right skill sets to ensure our mission succeeds.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - live out the same values you espouse to limit perception of hypocrisy. Self reflection and self evaluation is absolutely necessary.
    - Management in Boston especially HR and finance functions don't live up to the same sense of urgency as the rest of the organization. Need to be more accountable and more responsive to country requests.
    - trust your leaders more. Too much heirachy now at the top level - organization getting less innovative.
    - new COO still hasn't established himself, gets overulled by CEO and sometimes comes across as spineless (not able to have an independent thought separate from CEO). He is weak pushing back on other leaders in the organization who report to him
    but have been in the organization longer - he seems to fear them. E.g his regional directors are rampant but he doesn't exercise restraint and discipline on them.
    - focus on all project that CHAI does as important. Sometimes CEO has pet projects that he infuses all his energy and effort (and even recruit key people away from existing projects to run his new initiatives - leaves other leaders wondering about the worth of their projects). People who are pulled in then get "special" access to CEO, while existing ones tend to fight to get his attention and help.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
  6.  

    Great brand in social enterprise space, smart people

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

    I worked at Clinton Health Access Initiative full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    CHAI is a mission-driven organization that is perfect if you have a business mindset and a passion for health care. The company has concrete, clear values that resonate with me (e.g. humility, work with a sense of urgency, etc) and got everyone on the same page.

    Cons

    There is not a linear path to promotion - people here don't come for the title, but for the role and the potential impact. As such, it's not for someone uncomfortable with ambiguity. Also, underpays relative to other nonprofits and raises are not that common (at least when i was there from 2010-2012).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Heed advice of recent internal audit, introduce mechanisms to increase employee retention, and hire more locals

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 7 people found this helpful  

    Leadership needs to change

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

    I have been working at Clinton Health Access Initiative full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good way to get exposure to public health work at country level.

    Cons

    I am working in a situation where I am formally part of a global team but based at the country level. During orientation I was told that one of CHAI’s pillar was to be country-based and the work driven by their country offices in close collaboration with their partner governments. Global teams are supposed to support country team achieve the national priorities for their specific area of interest.
    What I am observing is totally different. Our global team has internal calls and meeting where strategies are set, we discuss with donors directly and only engage with countries late in the game. At that point, country offices have virtually no role to play, but open doors on the ground to global team members.. ambassadors of sort. Global team would then pitch their ideas to country’s government mid-level or senior managers to ensure their ideas have “local buy-in”. Then most of the work is done by global team members whether based in country or roving between several countries without involvement of almost anyone at the country level proper. In external forums, our leadership presents the data claiming it is based on countries’ priorities and in response to countries’ needs, while in reality, neither the country offices nor the countries proper really have any meaningful role to play, even less have any ownership of the work. This is even made worse by the high turnover in global teams which means any kind of continuity is lost. Turnover at CHAI is due to two main factors: burnout due to high stress with lack of coaching and poaching from other teams for projects suddenly deemed more important that month/quarter/semester.
    The effect I saw on the country teams was devastating, they did not feel supported and had to use up their political capital for some obscure objective that only moved along some donor’s agenda. This is compounded by the fact that CHAI is promoting people at country level just for political reasons without the right skills or any clear performance evaluations. CHAI’s reputation in country is definitely in jeopardy because of the lack of an effective structure to engage with partner countries and no experienced (real) managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Either change your engagement model with countries or strengthen your country teams and regional directors. Right now RDs have basically an honorary role but no clear responsibility nor skills. Often just happen to be well connected locally, so they do nothing most of the time. How can they be responsible for "Country Operations" when they know close to nothing about the programs, which are increasingly managed globally anyway? They do not participate in global team calls, so how can they provide any leadership??? to whom? for what?

    Get a COO who can stand up to the CEO and manage the organization, or better yet have the CEO focus on the role of President and get a real CEO who will build people and the organization as opposed to destroy them.

    It's good to be lean and have low overhead, but at the end of the day if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
    For example, when you're based at country level you do not get housing, education and cost of living allowances. This effectively rules out more senior managers and favors single young people willing to work as volunteers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  8. 8 people found this helpful  

    Great International experience, but CHAI has many problems

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

    I worked at Clinton Health Access Initiative full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Opportunity to work with ambitious, talented global team staff and some talented in-country staff
    -opportunity to work on exciting and innovative projects
    -high level of responsibility, depending on your position

    Cons

    - extremely high pressure and high disconnect between teams and little guidance from upper management- it's like I'm flying solo but have a weekly inquisition via Skype!
    -I had no on-boarding to the organization, transition or training into my job. A 30 min working lunch as "on-boarding" is not sufficient.
    -Extremely questionable financial practices in-country. I know they recently implemented quickbooks, but there needs to be in-country random audits of the country offices. There is some shady stuff going on.
    -Clear favoritism of staff. No performance reviews or performance goals for new staff compound this problem. People are hired based on personal connections, not on performance. This is a problem across the board for CHAI but seems to be even worse if you're on a Country Team.
    -no mentoring for junior staff or early career employees
    -no or limited career growth opportunities
    -Focus on "sustainability" in hiring practices leads to mediocre in-country staff. You get what you pay for.
    -I usually work 6 days a week to keep up with the high workload, my position should be split between 2 people.
    -the attitude in-country that expats are lazy and don't work as hard as local-hire staff is ridiculous. Most of the local hire's that work from 7am-7pm are on facebook half the day and leave by 4pm if the Country Director's out of town.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire managers who are actually good managers. What a concept! Address the cons listed above. Most, if not all, of the issues I brought up you will see in review after review here on this site.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9.  

    Student intern for monitoring and evaluation

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

    I worked at Clinton Health Access Initiative as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    CHAI is very dedicated to their mission and greatly respects that they are there at the request and service of the local Ministry of Health. The teams work with great urgency and accomplish a lot given resource constraints and a low operating budget.

    Cons

    Because CHAI is so involved, there is a risk of becoming overstretched with program managers taking on too much work and not being able to provide appropriate supervision to interns. Interns must be willing to work independently.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A system for employees to review superiors' management skills would be very beneficial in creating a better working environment and helping managers grow

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 8 people found this helpful  

    A shell of what it used to be

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

    I have been working at Clinton Health Access Initiative full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    A good way to get experience at country level

    Cons

    CHAI is not what it used to be. They used to hire and retain talents from top management consulting firms, not anymore.

    One of CHAI's values states "We recognize our staff is our greatest asset" and it further emphasizes how CHAI supports well-performing staff to grow and thrive. This is simply not true. CHAI is not a meritocracy. People get appointed for political reasons or because they are liked by the CEO or have personal connections. Well performing, independent and strong-minded people often clash with the CEO and are progressively driven out of the organization.

    When asked about retention issues, the CEO responded "we have a deep bench", which reflects the mentality in the organization well. Get some motivated young people to work hard as volunteers or on low salaries and exploit them for 1-2 years. After this, they can be discarded without a second thought.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Put in place a formal mentorship training, develop your people, don't just tel them to "get the job done or we'll find somebody else that will". The latest career ladder is a joke get people who know what they are talking about in HR.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Challenging environment, great place to build career

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

    I worked at Clinton Health Access Initiative full-time

    Pros

    Rewarding work, need to be entrepreneurial and figure out the latest global challenges.

    Cons

    Hours are long and sometimes lack of direction and support from leadership

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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