National Renewable Energy Lab

  www.nrel.gov
  www.nrel.gov
There are newer employer reviews for National Renewable Energy Lab

3 people found this helpful  

Great People and Mission, Poor Leadership and Bureaucratic

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Senior Professional in Golden, CO
Current Employee - Senior Professional in Golden, CO

I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab

Pros

The mission can't be beat, and most people care deeply about their work. For the most part, the people are great to work with. The location and facilities are excellent. The technical work (research, analysis, commercialization/deployment) is second to none. Leadership is finally beginning to buy in to tele-working, alternative work schedules, etc., making work/life balance easier and showing more commitment to sustainability.

Cons

Having been at NREL for 30 years, I offer this observation in relation to previous leadership regimes.

The managing partnership is dysfunctional, as the partners are more concerned with their own agendas than the success of NREL. High-level managers are appointed and retained based in their ability to "toe the line," not based on their abilities, skills, or general competence. Senior managers are rewarded solely based on their ability to "manage up," since staff input and feedback is discouraged and mostly ignored. Examples: COO manages from a military mindset. The one avenue for employees to express concerns to Leadership ("Anything Goes") experiences 6-month backlogs before Leadership decides to offer some responses. This refusal of Leaders to listen to employee feedback puts Leadership out of touch. Likewise, communication from the top down is sparse, since managers are not evaluated on this (see above).

Despite claims that creativity is encouraged (and a core value!), bureaucracy is thick, unyielding, and largely self-imposed (far and above federal/DOE requirements). Employees are encouraged to be innovative but slam into a wall of resistance and bureaucracy when they try. The easy answers are "no", "can't", and "don't", so answers like "let's work together to try and make this work" are rare. As a result, most employees give up on such creative or innovative endeavours. They are left with the conclusion that compliance is the real core value.

NREL's leaders are good people. The leadership model is not.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

This is a real and serious situation, and it's getting worse! Please re-evaluate and redesign the system by which senior managers are measured. Make excellence the standard, not compliance. Walk the talk re. innovation, and work to break down barriers instead of rewarding their sustenance. Above all, stop the infighting and work together for the good of NREL, not your parent companies!

Recommends

70 Other Employee Reviews for National Renewable Energy Lab (View Most Recent)

Sort: Rating Date
  1.  

    A great phd Experience if you can handel the bureaucracy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Research Assistant in Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Graduate Research Assistant in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab

    Pros

    -Large amount of knowledge in the areas of renewable energy
    -Great people and scientists to work with
    -Great area
    -Flexible Work Schedule

    Cons

    -They take safety a little too much to the extreme so it makes it difficult to actually get stuff done sometimes

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Scientists should be in charge of more of the lab experience so that the people who know how to do research are making the decisions about how to run the lab

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    overall great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer I in Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer I in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab

    Pros

    some of the smartest people i've met working on some very important issues. the workplace is very relaxed and allows for a balance between personal and professional life.

    Cons

    being funded mostly by the US Department of Energy creates a weird dynamic because of the one year funding cycles and the constant political uncertainty at the federal level. depending on funding from a bankrupted country is quite concerning.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    the political hoops to jump through to get work done can be quite painful and it feels like their is little support at time. Cyber security, legal, client services, contracts, purchase requests--all seem understaffed to handle the growing lab.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
There are newer employer reviews for National Renewable Energy Lab

Work at National Renewable Energy Lab? Share Your Experiences

National Renewable Energy Lab

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.