Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

  www.aphis.usda.gov
  www.aphis.usda.gov
There are newer employer reviews for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

 

Great mission, management leaves much to be desired

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

I have been working at Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service full-time (more than 5 years)

Pros

The benefits of any federal job are usually what keep people there. The APHIS mission is admirable, and takes a disease risk approach to regulatory decisions. There are many dedicated and intelligent people working for this agency, many of whom are in the field. Training opportunities are available (although this is at the discretion of supervisors, some of whom feel a more well-trained employee is a threat to their position).

Cons

- Management is often short sighted: they treat the symptoms but not the overall problem when dealing with personnel issues.
- Nepotism
- "Old boys club" mentality with few opportunities for women and working mothers to be promoted without sacrificing family and personal time. There are structural issues that do not allow working parents the flexibility that is often advertised in federal jobs (ie Teleworking, Flexible hours, Flex time, etc). The "perks" are reserved for upper management only, while lower level employees are forced to choose between coming into work or using vacation/sick time to attend to personal matters. Often times, having a more flexible schedule would alleviate much of the stress associated with work/family obligations.
- Inability to remove under performing and insubordinate personnel.
- "Chain of Command" mentality that forces lower level employees to only be able to report problems to immediate supervisors. Should these supervisors choose not to take action on problems brought to their attention, the employee often has no other recourse, shot of filing a complaint, which can take years to address.
- Few opportunities to advance: there are few positions to advance into within states and often times the only way to advance is to 1) wait for someone to retire 2) wait for someone to unfortunately pass away 3) relocate to another state.
- Employees who are high producers are often overworked to make up for others who are not as motivated.
^Caveat to above: employees who are "low" performers are not penalized for their work. However, often times, there is resentment from those employees who feel the "high" performers are making them look bad.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Treat lower level employees as you would treat upper management. Offer more flexible work schedules so that employees feel less stressed about juggling family and work. Management should realize that a happy employee is often a productive employee. There are many intelligent, hard working individuals who feel stifled by the inflexibility of their work environment and often lose their drive to produce. Recognize individuals who exemplify good work ethic to promote a healthy work environment.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook

4 Other Employee Reviews for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Mission but Employees and Their Talents Lost Among Risk-Adverse Bureaucracy

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

    I worked at Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

    Pros

    There are few missions that are more noble than ensuring the health and safety of your nation's food supply and agricultural infrastructure. At APHIS, you face many challenges and opportunities to make a difference by protecting production agriculture. Benefits are good: health care, paid leave and holidays.

    There are many talented and exceptional employees at APHIS who completely shatter the widely-held notion that government employees are ineffective or substandard.

    Cons

    •Bureaucratic, slow to make and implement decisions

    •Risk-adverse management

    •"Old boys club"

    •Agency-wide nepotism

    •Lack of opportunities for career advancement outside the Beltway

    •Lack of diversity among management

    •Ivory tower management and headquarters structure that lacks a clear understanding of the on-the-
    ground challenges of farmers and employees

    •Decisions which should be grounded purely on science are often governed by politics.

    •Management consistently ignores the old cliche "If it ain't broken, don't fix it." If something works, you can be sure that someone will waste a lot of time and resources to develop a new improved mousetrap that, once rolled out in two years, won't work at all.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do more than provide obligatory town hall meetings and listening sessions. Actually cut to the root of persistent problems that impede carrying out the mission of APHIS. Too much time is spent on trivial administrative issues that have nothing to do with the mission or delivery of services. Listen to your employees and listen to the people APHIS is supposed to serve.

    Doesn't Recommend
  2.  

    Collegial atmosphere of dedicated employees.

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

    I have been working at Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The best thing is the people. My office is very friendly. No one is abused or treated unfairly. Pay is clear and non-negotiated so there is no discrimination there. There is some opportunity to travel and everyone who wants to has been oversees at least once. Work is a strict 40 hours a week and nobody but upper management works any longer than that.

    Cons

    Some of the work is drudgery and there are a lot of rules that are just "the way we have always done it." Sometimes I lose faith in the "mission." There are a lot of layers of bureaucracy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communicate core missions better to those below. It often seems that there is little direction.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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