Development Alternatives Reviews

Updated August 14, 2015
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3.6
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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James Boomgard
22 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

50 Employee Reviews

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  1. Critique of Employee Comments

    Former Employee - Municipal Services Advisor in Herat (Afghanistan)
    Former Employee - Municipal Services Advisor in Herat (Afghanistan)

    Pros

    I found working as a contractor internationally with DAI as an outstanding experience. With years of management experience in the USA and work with other international development groups for five (5) years in the Middle East and Equatorial Africa, I found DAI home office staff and management to be highly supportive of their company staff and their contractor in projects in the field. I have been engaged and have had experience before by three other similar firms and find DAI to be an excellent company. The comment to which I am interjecting my thoughts into the previous comment appears to have been made by a disgruntle member of the headquarter staff over bonuses and not reflective of the quality of this company.

    Cons

    I have not discerned or had any experiences with DAI that would prompt negative observations.

    Advice to Management

    Keep on doing a great job


  2. Depends on who you work for

    • 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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    DAI's mission - working on development projects in underdeveloped countries (mainly under USAID contracts) is interesting. The Bethesda headquarters office is nice. Benefits and vacation policies are good. Flexible workplace, they allow some telecommuting.

    Cons

    Sometimes it's hard to get things done due to an "over-collaborative" environment where it's unclear who the decision makers are, and much time is used to discuss issues with no clear results. People seem to waste a lot of time on unimportant issues. Bonuses for anyone below director level (i.e. the people who are doing the actual work to keep the place going) are too low & have no relationship to any objective measure of performance. They are too subjective, depending on who you work for.

    Advice to Management

    You many want to do some risk assessment and consider the possible consequences to the organization if certain key people were to leave. Figure out who those key people are, reward them properly and don't take them for granted. Think about this before you go too lean on the staffing, especially if you expect any growth.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Good development contractor

    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Big company, with lots of employment opportunities worldwide. Many high quality, innovative programs. Many very experienced and knowledgeable staff. Solid salaries, depending on one's salary history.

    Cons

    Not enough understanding that people are the key to organization's success. Hence, relatively poor talent retention efforts and opportunities for staff professional growth.

    Advice to Management

    people are the key to organization's success. Hence, improve relatively poor talent retention efforts and provide ample opportunities for staff professional growth.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Top employer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Family oriented environment. Executive team that cares about employees and doing business with integrity. Everyone is encouraged to share opinions openly, even on Glassdoor - not just supportive opinions. A lot of employees return to jobs at DAI after leaving, so that speaks well of the company.

    Cons

    Tight resources. Lots of good ideas, but not time to implement them all.

    Advice to Management

    Help negative employees leave the company.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Great Imployer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Coordinator in Lebanon, IL
    Current Employee - Project Coordinator in Lebanon, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Working for DAI provides a great experience in terns of economic development where you will get the chance to meet with key players in the market exchange experience leading to both industrial and economic development.

    Cons

    Project are usually on a 5 years basis and offer very limited room for progress.


  7. General

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bethesda, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Development Alternatives (More than a year)

    Pros

    Bensfits are fine and payroll on time

    Cons

    Consultant Staffing efforts need improvements

    Advice to Management

    Review process for hiring home office staff in relation to quality and experience to requirements to support activities.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Politics, Favoritism, False Reviews on Glassdoor

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great location. Staff level people are wonderful to work with.

    Cons

    Way too much politics at the executive levels with much of it originating from HR who plays favorites and promotes people who agree with them over independent thinkers who express their opinions. Also note that HR talks alot about the DAI brand and encourages staff to post positive reviews about the company. Consequently, whay you read here is a skewed view of what the company really looks like.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Worst Company I have worked for

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Nothing good to say. It is a good place to get experience.

    Cons

    -Too much politics -HR does not handle complaints -Preferential treatment

    Advice to Management

    Start listening to your employees and take complaints seriously.


  10. Poor Company, Will spoil you Career

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Delhi (India)
    Former Employee - Manager in Delhi (India)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Development Alternatives full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Its a poor company. Machines are of very low quality. don't work more than 2 weeks.

    Cons

    Please don't join. they will through you anytime

    Advice to Management

    Please don't spoil people career


  11. 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
    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.



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