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8 people found this helpful

This place is beyond help

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

I have been working at Consumer Reports full-time (more than 10 years)

Pros

* Dedicated and talented tech and editorial personnel.
* On-site cafeteria is very nice.
* Great history.
* Sprawling campus.
* Good benefits packages.

Cons

* Employees are terrified and morale is poor. People are constantly worried that they are going to be laid off, fired, or mysteriously resign.
* Managers are constantly saying that they want a younger image, which makes older employees feel uncomfortable and unwanted.
* Millenials are treated differently than older employees under the same circumstances.
* Several long-time, very qualified employees are passed over for promotions that they you applied for, while far less qualified, inexperienced people are hired for the job.
* Long-time employees have noted that, after getting great reviews for many years, they're suddenly get negative performance reviews and write-ups. Some former employees say they have even been fired because of these new poor reviews.
* Human Resources has become the central focus of managment and is is constantly tinkering with compliance and regulation.
* Organizational revenue and reputation are both dubious. Execs like to say they they're righting the ship, but they have yet to convince the employees that they're headed in the right direction. If Consumer Reports were publicly traded, I'd short their stock.
* Recently tightening up and new processes makes work becomes orderly and boring. This is no place visionaries whose capabilities can shake things up and reset the organization's course.
* There is a cheap veneer of employee satisfaction that the organization tries to portray. Managers are superficially nice and periodically pretend to be interested in employees as people. These employees can count on birthday-cake celebrations and shallow conversations about what their hobbies are outside of work.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Management could care less what I have to say, so I'm directing my comments to the board of directors:

An unfortuante shortcoming of non-profit boards is that they're not financially vested in the organization and therefore are not as willing to shake-up management. Because if this were a publicly-shared corporation and they were shareholders, CR's problems would have been fixed by now.

Board members need to be aware of the everday failures and machinations of Consumer Reports upper managment. We need board members to have their feet on campus more often. They have to observe day-to-day operations.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO
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  1. 6 people found this helpful

    Don't Believe the 5-Star Reviews

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

    I have been working at Consumer Reports full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    - Union shop, although the union has little teeth these days.
    - Gymnasium.
    - Top-notch editors

    Cons

    - Incompetent, callous management
    - Questionable business plan
    - Fear rules the day
    - Staff stretched to thin
    - HR is an arm of management and doesn't administer to employee needs

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The current upper management won't listen to any dissenting recommendations, so I don't feel compelled to give them. I do have to say that all of the recent 5 Star reviews were written by desperate management looking for a new CEO and Editor (they've been turned down countless times because nobody wants to lead in such a toxic environment).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful

    I've loved working at Consumer Reports for about the last 10 years or so.

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

    I have been working at Consumer Reports full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The people here are wonderful. There are doctors ready to take on the healthcare industry and to use evidence-based ratings for surgeries, hospitals, physicians. The journalists are really smart and committed, and the engineers and scientists are topnotch people working with a mission. Working with smart, committed people is a turn on, frankly. I have had a number of jobs, but this is the first where I almost always want to get to work. A senior colleague of mine at CR calls the place "geek chic." Going to the labs and seeing how they test products (and they are always asking the rest of us to join in on testing), collaborating on a story with other investigative journalists, like those at Propublica, watching the talented organizers in Texas, Yonkers, DC and San Francisco work with committed citizen activists -- this stuff is really fun.

    The place is going through a pretty radical transformation to get in front of the curve that's overtaken print legacy publications. What to do with mobile? How do you monetize it? OK, the website was a big thing in the late 90's -- the first of its kind and largest to charge subscribers and to be ad-free -- but what's the next big thing? Or the next several medium sized things? Everyone is trying to figure that out and CR, in the last year particularly, has brought in new digital product and services leaders to move the place forward. The proof is still to come, but they are energizing the place.

    I like seeing a number of people who were unsung stars get promoted -- which has been happening recently. We're getting a mix of new talent and ideas from the outside, which is shaking up the culture in good and sometimes tumultuous ways, but also promoting talent from within. It's not always comfortable to be in the midst of such transformation, but it's also very exciting.

    When I first came to CR there would be no cars in the parking lot by 5 or 5:30 pm. I wasn't used to that. And almost every month there was another party for someone who had been there 25, or 30 or 40 years. It was like my Dad's generation's experience of work life. There are lovely things about that, but also down sides. That culture is changing, making some people feel like they are losing a family that they had come to depend upon. But for folks like me, who never intended to be one place for 40 years, it's a good thing.

    Benefits are really good. And there is a real understanding among leadership, even while they drive things forward, that people have to have a work/life balance. Some of the senior leaders (particularly, but not only, the women) are really good about extending that to their staff, as well as showing that they have that even while they are so committed to their work. That's a really nice thing about the place. And if something tough happens to you on the family or personal front, this place really rallies around you and gives you the support and flexibility you need.

    Cons

    CR needs to do more to develop people and show them they have a career track. And of course transformation is unsettling. Some long time leaders have been let go. New senior leadership often wants new deputies, so some of that is to be expected. What's hard for many of my colleagues, and occasionally for me as well, is to see someone who loved the place and was devoted to the mission, and who contributed greatly for years, end up having to leave. If you've been other places, you know this happens. CR just isn't / wasn't used to it. And so there is uncertainty, but also excitement. The biggest thing we're waiting on is who the new CEO will be. There's a search on now.

    The other thing that is a con, is that the place really does need to do a better job with diversity at many levels, including the most senior.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen, engage, keep your doors open and find better ways to recognize the talent around you. And figure out how to make it more clear to folks that they have a career trajectory at CR. It's a small place, and leadership positions don't always open up as often as one would like. How do you get around that? You need to be thinking more about that, and being creative.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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