National Recreation and Park Association

www.nrpa.org
There are newer employer reviews for National Recreation and Park Association

7 people found this helpful  

A Roller Coaster Ride Full of Ups and Downs

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

I worked at National Recreation and Park Association

Pros

Every review on this site is meant to be a combination of fact and opinion, and taken as such in deciding where to apply for and accept employment. To be fair, I will specify if my "Pros and Cons" are facts or opinions.

FACT: Great Benefits (403b match of 6% w/immediate vesting, 26 days of PTO, 13 paid holidays, 80% medical and dental covered for employee and family members, teleworking option)

OPINION: dedicated employees; great mission; membership is dedicated to the mission; new CEO challenged employees to look at the organization differently;

Cons

FACT: Turnover of 75 percent+ over 3 years. On my last day, only 15 employees remained who were there on my first day in a staff of more than 60. This doesn't include those who came and went in between. Very few staff have been with the organization more than 5 years.

FACT: Since 2008 when the new CEO started, the downturn in the economy has had an impact on non profit organizations, especially those whose members are connected to public funding. Tough choices had to be made to keep the organization in existence.

FACT: Beginning in 2008, the structure of the organization has changed on an annual basis, at a minimum. This has included different combinations of departments, changing of top leader responsibilities, and shuffling and dealing out projects and responsibilities like a deck of cards.

FACT: In 3 years I had one documented review. My job responsibilities changed multiple times with documentation only once.

OPINION: There is a lack of trust among most staff, of the leadership as a whole, and a feeling that anyone could be next to go. Often when people do "depart" from the organization, there is head shaking and a lack of understanding behind decisions.

OPINION: Promotions and demotions are handed out inconsistently. Because of the lack of reviews, staff are defenseless when decisions are made, as they have no documented history to show their value or effectiveness. There is no value in formal education, as there are many people in supervisory roles who have not completed any 2 or 4 year degree programs.

OPINION: Leadership sets unrealistic goals. While achievements belong to the team as a whole, when goals are not met, the staff in the trenches become the scapegoats.

OPINION: Most staff have negative or ambiguous view of members. For a membership organization this is disappointing, as without members, what are you?

OPINION: No place of employment is perfect, and to expect such would be unrealistic. Just like the parks they protect, NRPA can be a great place. However, be sure to stay aware of your surroundings just as you would in any new environment so that nothing jumps up to bite you.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

STAFF: It's okay to live in the moment, but plan for the long haul. Don't make quick decisions without thinking about the long term impact.

BOARD: Pay attention - while you have been removed from the day to day management of the organization, you still have a responsibility to the members to ensure that the CEO and leadership are making decisions in the best interest of the association. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Doesn't Recommend
Disapproves of CEO

16 Other Employee Reviews for National Recreation and Park Association (View Most Recent)

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Glad to be back ...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Ashburn, VA
    Current Employee - Manager in Ashburn, VA

    I have been working at National Recreation and Park Association

    Pros

    You know, I’ve worked for NRPA twice and I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think it was a good organization. It‘s got a solid mission, the benefits, flexibility and work-life balance can’t be beat, and the fact that I’ve gotten to work in different areas and move around is great because I wasn’t pigeonholed into “well, she’s this, so she can only do that.” I’ve gotten a lot of opportunity to work on things outside my department and I appreciate that management “gets” how important that is to job satisfaction (well, at least mine anyway).

    Cons

    NRPA has been through a lot. The company I worked for the first time is definitely not the company I came back and work for now and I have to say that it’s a good thing. Not that it was horrible before (or I wouldn’t have re-applied) but the mission is more focused, the management is FAR less bureaucratic and the relationships with members/governance is significantly improved. If there is a downside it’s that there are some old-regime staff who survived through the rough patches (bad governance, bad economy, layoffs, etc.) who remember the old days/old ways and can’t move on. 90% of the people here are happy people who I like to work with and then there are a few sour-pusses that just need to get over it or move on. No organization is perfect… and if you found a perfect organization, YOU’D screw it up by joining.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stay on track (we’re headed in a good direction but there’s always a risk of back sliding under pressure) and don’t let a FEW voices who happen to be LOUD voices, speak for the majority when it is NOT how every member, every citizen, every employee, or every manager feels.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Glad to have a job and very glad it's here!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Ashburn, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Ashburn, VA

    I have been working at National Recreation and Park Association

    Pros

    Wow. I’m so glad my co-worker told me this was out here because I just can’t believe all these sour people used to work here (maybe THAT’s what made it a bad place to work, huh?) I got here after the new CEO so I don’t know about how things were before but I think it’s a great place to work. I feel very lucky (and I know others weren’t) that when the economy tanked and NRPA (like 80% of the companies across the country) had to cut back and have layoffs that I was in an area that wasn’t as impacted. Do people not get that there was a major recession (heck, it’s still going) and that companies all over had to let good people go? Good companies. Good people. 10% unemployment. It’s just a reality. I think management did what they could to make sure staff knew what was going on and to make us feel secure but not to sugar-coat it. Once the economy started to pick up, the first thing they did was go to the board about back-raises from our “salary freeze” and we got increases AND bonuses (and it was right before Christmas). Sweet!

    Every company has their good managers and their bad managers (and I happen to have a good one) but I think NRPA tips the scales toward the good side. The CEO is very engaged and has an open door so if you’re not happy, go tell her. She takes a random group of staff to lunch every week just to hear from all angles what’s going on. How much more access could you ask for? I read some of the comments below and I have a hard time believing it could have been that bad for as good as it is now and have to wonder if these people even have the right company they are commenting on or, if it’s like my friend said, just one bitter person who doesn’t have anything better to do. Sad.

    Cons

    I’d say the biggest “con” is the drama with members who make power plays with staff and get people all spun up over stupid stuff. I don’t have to work with them, but my co-workers do and I hear about it. It’s funny how before I worked here I thought the members would be a bunch of happy go lucky people because they get to work in parks all day but as it turns out some of them can be very mean and petty (like some of the negative people below). I also think that it only takes a few negative people to drag everyone else down and they just need to go work someplace else. Most people here like what they are doing and are happy so if you’re not one of them, take the initiative to fix it or just move on.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't let the minority dictate the direction of things. Staff, membership, leadership – don’t react to the first thing you hear and assume it’s true of everyone. Take a step back, get more info and if it really is a problem, fix it. If it’s not, fix the SOURCE!

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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