Booz Allen Hamilton

  www.boozallen.com
  www.boozallen.com
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24 people found this helpful  

Reputation Doesn't Mesh with Current Company Dynamic. This company is a Used to Be....

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Associate in McLean, VA
Former Employee - Associate in McLean, VA

I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 5 years)

Pros

Lots of opportunity for training. Learned great new skills in the first 2 years - then placed training on-hold. Very educated work-force. Peers are great to work with for the most part. Challenging projects with interesting work. Lots of variety (had 12+ projects in 5 years). Full shift from “consulting” to “staff augmentation” is underway. Met a handful of truly remarkable people in tenure at firm.

Cons

Corporate culture: Gone downhill rapidly & created a toxic environment. High-overhead to keep hundreds of Sr. managers has impacted ability to compete for viable contracts & higher talented mid-level people.

Leadership: Firm maintains managers, not leaders. Few career managers are actually interested in supporting YOUR career path/interests. Complete disconnect between leadership & workers. Prides itself on ethics, yet ethics violations are consistent. Back-stabbing, "passive-aggressive" managers are commonplace. Poor corporate communications from leadership to HR to the Help-less Desk. Firm still tries to promote itself, based on benefits and corporate culture from pre-IPO days.

Internal programs: Poorly conceived internal programs have eroded Booz culture.
For example -- “Work Where You Live” – became “The Way We Work” after enough new hires complained that they weren’t working anywhere near where they lived, and some where commuting more than a hour each way.

“Take Share”, a program to hire up the best talent, basically was done to pull talent from other firms and into employment for a ‘trial’ period. This was evident when the memo defending "Take Share" came out to say that it wasn't done for this purpose. Many left good jobs to come to Booz only to find out that after their project ended they were given lack of work notices.

Retirement: New “retirement plan” pay-in has firm only paying into your retirement AFTER you’ve served the full year (Dec 31st). As expected, a lot of Lack Of Work notices went out in Nov / Dec. Saves the firm millions. Also, it’s decreased from the 10% when I started to around 6% for incoming employees.

New program to hire up to 500 “junior” level employees on a temp basis (3 mo.) is being initiated (2014). If project continues they may stay on, if not they’ll be shown the door. Part-time labor w/o the benefits – a bonafide consulting sweatshop.

Leadership: Expect leadership via absentia or via e-mail. “Career managers” have little experience or incentive to assist in finding projects for those on their ‘team’. Career managers come and go in rapid succession – I had 10 in 5 years. The higher you move up in the firm – you aren’t paid more (1.5% promotion raise) or valued more; you’re just given more work, the firm can bill more for you and it’s more difficult for YOU find a new project b/c of your higher billing rate. This leads to very high turn-over at the Associate and below level, but those in Lead Associate and above tend to stay for a long period because they’ve found their niche and are now in-charge of making the Booz “Kool-Aid”. Maintaining a CYA file for each project / person has become the norm.

Work/Life Balance: Though they tout it, they depend on your to believe it exists, but it depends on your client(s), project team and career team. Tele-work is client dependent. If you want to get promoted expect to work at least 2-weekends per month, a lot of nights and on various ‘internal projects’ – and even then you might not get promoted. I heard of one person who met 24 of 25 promotion criteria and wasn’t promoted! You're EXPECTED to attend a fair-share of extra-curricular events (brown-bags, happy hours, etc...) which are all 'volunteer' time. This is in addition to any proposal / business development work - which is in additional to your daily client work. This isn't fully explained during the hiring process.

Once on a contract you cling to it for dear life – even if you can’t stand the client / the work / the team. You’re stuck. Because the minute you ask your career manager to see if you can get on / find something different – you’re labeled as a “problem”.

Benefits: Are being eroded daily. Retirement 401(k), training, ability for advancement, time-off, etc. For example: in 2013 - the firm did a policy revision for time-off -- which finally gave us 4 Federal holidays that we hadn't receive before (Presidents, MLK, Columbus, Veterans). Sounds good right?! But in exchange they took - the "free" day after Thanksgiving, two "floating holidays" and one day of Paid Time Off. Sounds like an even swap - 4 for 4, BUT -- they made it retroactive and wouldn't be implemented until the Booz fiscal year in April. Therefore they took the 4, but we only got 2 of the 4 holidays in return. When I asked a career manager about the 'bait & switch' they stated that it was 'bad communications.' Huh? This is just one of many examples of what's going on behind the curtain.

Promotions: Promotions are based on ‘good-ole’ boy network. Assessments are a joke & written by someone that you’ve probably never worked with or even met. No recourse to challenge anything in an assessment. Assessments USED to have a section called, “Motivations/Frustrations” but this was taken out recently. Probably because front-line managers scripted “Frustrations” to shield senior management from what was really going on / being said by employees.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Get out of your offices!! Stop trying to manage grown adults, and try leading. There are a few talented people who are still there, but a majority are actively job-hunting whether you want to believe this or not. Create pay rates more in sync with employees billing rate. Get non-repercussion input from Associates and below, not just the Principal/Senior Associate “Yes” men. Promote based on skill and client work (which we say is important) and not all the extra-BS. But leaders in management positions not based on their level in the firm, but based on their abilities. Conduct actual ‘out-process’ debriefs – a lot of talent is / has left; and a lot won’t be singing Booz’s praise once they leave. VALUING employees means more than an annual holiday party (where spouses have to pay to attend). Stop forcing employees to refer to it as a "firm" - it's not a law firm, it's a contracting/staffing company.

Whether you want to believe this or not, Booz’s once lauded reputation is now openly laughed at by employees, clients and competitors. Case in point, at a conference in 2012, I was asked who I worked for, when I said “Booz Allen Hamilton”, their response was, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

2245 Other Employee Reviews for Booz Allen Hamilton (View Most Recent)

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Flexible work environment, nice PTO, but shareholders are deteriorating the Booz Allen advantage over its competitors

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Extremely flexible with schedule, nice PTO structure with government holidays off,work can be challenging and there is a lot of room to advance your career with certifications and tuition reimbursement, additionally the health care is phenomenal

    Cons

    Since the company became public, there are more political barriers preventing promotion/raises/appropriate compensation, each year more benefits are scaled back or removed entirely, eventually Booz Allen will not have the competitive edge they once had over industry rivals which is unfortunate and in my opinion can be tied back to shareholders

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't let shareholders ruin what used to be a wonderful company when it was private, at some point in the near future, there will not be much differentiation between Booz Allen and it's competitors...the Booz Allen upper hand will become obsolete. My advice to upper management is to stand up for what is right.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Remarkable opportunities. The onus is on you.

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great opportunities to be involved in a wide range of types of work with influential clients. Great network to be part of as a stepping stone in your career. Strong brand makes it easier to get into conversations with potential clients. Flexible work schedule is remarkably good but depends entirely on your work and reporting relationships.

    Cons

    Challenging culture to learn. Hard place to fit into if you are hired into a niche that can't support you. Rapidly changingly internal corporate environment can be exhausting and demotivating. Often need to do the work you can get rather than the work you want to do or are best at.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clarify the link between business strategy and direction and what staff experience. It takes resources to do it, and that's a tough call, but would have huge climate impact.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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