Development Alternatives Reviews

Updated July 3, 2015
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3.6
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Recommend to a friend
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James Boomgard
19 Ratings

Pros
  • Work-life balance is talked of but not respected (in 3 reviews)

  • Amazing technical staff, extremely friendly work environment, good employee benefits, good morale (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • The mission is about making money at Home Office (in 2 reviews)

  • Base salaries for junior and mid-level professionals is low (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

44 Employee Reviews

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  1. Operations Managers

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

    I worked at Development Alternatives

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Fantastic mentorship and collaboration with colleagues if you seek it out; great opportunities to seek meaningful work overseas.

    Cons

    Home office compensation is not great; satisfaction is often linked to the quality of USAID colleagues with whom you work overseas - to the extent you have a collaborative counterpart at USAID, the satisfaction can be off the charts, otherwise it can be very difficult.


  2. Helpful (3)

    Mixed bag

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

    I have been working at Development Alternatives full-time (More than 5 years)

    Disapproves of CEO
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are wonderful, intelligent, motivated people here. We do incredible work, and employ bright, thoughtful people doing good all over the world.

    There is decent flexibility, a lot of opportunities to travel or move overseas, and good training opportunities.

    Bethesda is a convenient place to work, with lots of restaurants and shops.

    Clear investment in integrity and ethics.

    Cons

    CEO, CFO, and SVPs for HR and Strategy/Communications/ICT are in a bubble, quite disconnected from the heart of the company and the vast majority of the workforce. Be ready to talk about Scotch and golf with most of the upper management (but not the rest of the staff).

    Like most workplaces, there are teacher's pets, who are usually (although not always) insufferable young men.

    Hallway chatter is a curse here. Reputations are made and unmade quite carelessly.

    Talent retention is not as high a priority as it should be, and some senior managers are terrible to work for.


  3. Good place to work

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

    I have been working at Development Alternatives full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good work environment, great work-life balance, Friendly co-workers, Good benefits, Frequent brown bags & food parties :)

    Cons

    Takes longer time in adopting new technologies, Unfair tele-commuting policies, Expensive health insurance, Expensive parking


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  5. Dynamic Company and Culture

    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD

    I have been working at Development Alternatives full-time (Less than a year)

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

    Pros

    Very fast pace environment, filled with an energetic, dedicated and talented workforce. It has been truly exciting to work for an organization that mission focused from the top down. Being new to the development industry, DAI provides a unique culture that allows one to learn the business and get involved quickly. Management recognizes top-talent and supports the development of all staff members with significant opportunities for growth within the organization. Strong Executive leadership.

    Cons

    Heavy workload at times but manageable.


  6. Vet's assessment of the company

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

    I have been working at Development Alternatives full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great people
    Great mission
    Highly ethical environment

    Cons

    Some areas of the company have very poor work life balance
    Pay is low, but that is common in the industry


  7. Strong mission, values-based organization.

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

    I have been working at Development Alternatives full-time (More than 10 years)

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

    Pros

    Flexibility, family oriented. Personal touch. More transparency on performance than most companies.

    Cons

    Need a regular churn of new talent to keep abreast of changing market. This can be hard, particularly because of the "pros" above.


  8. Great company to work for

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Multiple in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Multiple in Washington, DC

    I worked at Development Alternatives full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The culture at the company is great, and the work is interesting. Good career advancement opportunities and the ability to move laterally within the firm for a change of pace too. The people at the company are very friendly--lots of RPCVs and committed people--and, if you want to, you will have many opportunities to travel. Also, the company has been performing fairly well from a business development pipeline and current work opportunities perspective.

    Cons

    Work-life balance can get tested depending on the manager and project you have (but you will learn a great deal and have opportunities if you work hard). Also, the firm will try to squeeze employees on pay initially at junior and middle levels (if you're a good performer you get rewarded, but still at a lower level).

    Advice to Management

    Sharing your views for the future trajectory of the company more clearly (not vaguely) and communicating change better.


  9. Nearly two years with DAI. Nice to be somewhere that truly makes a difference!

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

    I have been working at Development Alternatives

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

    Pros

    CEO is smart, engaged, came up "through the ranks," has a sophisticated understanding of running a business; senior leaders care a lot and also bring strong functional expertise; people are passionate about their work; compensation is average for most employees, low for entry level professionals; benefits are solid.

    Cons

    So many processes and policies dictate every aspect of the work, and yet there is still a ton of ambiguity about how to get things done in the office; office employee count is pretty "lean," which means it's difficult to advance past the work that absolutely must get done into the things that will take the company to the next level and make it stronger.


  10. Been here 10 years never yet found a reason to look elsewhere

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Manager in Bethesda, MD

    I have been working at Development Alternatives full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Ethically uncompromising. Forward thinking. Technically outstanding and committed to getting the work right in the field. Great people, enjoyable workplace. Flexible managers. Opportunities for professional growth.

    Cons

    Industry in transition -- has put pressure on resources. Health benefits good but employee costs up a lot in recent years.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Good company to consider if you are interested in the field

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

    I worked at Development Alternatives full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Very good people that worked there, they were passionate about international development and had a lot of ideas.
    Was able to work from home if I needed, although that was due to my manager's flexibility not company wide policy.

    Cons

    Too little pay for lower level employees. For the responsibilities and work that lower level associates did, they were not compensated fairly. Benefits were average but days off were difficult because holiday and vacation days were all in one pool.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your lower level staff more, they are the ones that are keeping your company running.



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