There are newer employer reviews for Pew Charitable Trusts

Helpful (8)

Some amazing people but toxic culture

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Senior Officer in Philadelphia, PA
Former Employee - Senior Officer in Philadelphia, PA

I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than 3 years)

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO
Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

Pros

Good salary; benefits; vacation. Many talented and interesting colleagues, including some with excellent sense of humor. Fascinating organizational history. May sound trite but occasionally sense of doing good work to help the world. Always fun to read in the news about work you've been involved with.

Cons

The list is long so it's hard to know where to start. But it probably all starts & ends with the toxic culture, which itself no doubt stems from the top. The board is very insulated from conditions on the ground & board meetings are tightly orchestrated affairs to keep it that way. I watched as some extremely talented and devoted people were hired and then eliminated in short order for no good reason. And as others who had been there for years and literally given all but their lives to Pew were ushered out, also for seemingly no good reason. Absolutely zero loyalty to some very good people. This continues to happen & has destroyed morale. No consistent leadership. Philly office has been eviscerated in order to shift everything to DC. Historically speaking, there was a purge in the mid to late 1980's when the current CEO first came to power. Some board members, including Pew family members, resigned out of frustration with the direction of the organization at that time. I wonder how these early battles and relationships with the then-CEO, Thomas Langfitt, impacted the long-term leadership style of the current CEO. One Managing Director seems to have more power & leverage than all the others combined and this hurts morale as much as the constant employee turnover. The absorption & creation of Pew Environment Group caused major culture clash and did not seem well planned out. The review slamming the "sycophants and sociopaths" around the CEO is unfair in that people do what they have to in order to survive and feed their families & that's true in any organization, not only Pew. I think most people at Pew are actually very good people at core but there are some who just get warped by the culture over time.

Advice to Management

Be honest about the past and get out ahead of it. Be open and provide for real interviews with Philadelphia press and others instead of boycotting media.
Communications and PR can only do so much. Real world understands that it's job of Communications to spin stories & try to make Pew look effective but most people see through spin. Image is not everything; substance & honesty is.

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  1. Helpful (6)

    Pew has jumped the shark...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Philadelphia, PA

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Pew's benefit package is generous to most, its reputation for solid, nonpartisan work is strong, and its intended mission is admirable.

    Cons

    Working at Pew, from an operations standpoint, is a challenging experience. Process and politics often get in the way of - and frequently dismantle - its mission. There has been a incredible growth spurt in the last five years, and as a result, new management hires often lack the historical knowledge (and the humility) to properly or efficiently do their jobs. Arranging and attending meetings now seems to be the marker of progress, rather than actual results; and advanced degrees stand in poor substitute for real effectiveness and business intelligence. High turnover and numerous layoffs have crippled Pew's attempts to get back on track operationally after implementing an organization-wide system (ill-designed to manage Pew's business from the start).

    Ultimately, it seems Pew has lost sight of the values of its founders. Its high-profile work, while laudable, has completely overshadowed the smaller, community-based grantmaking programs, and racks up excessive administrative expenses while doing so. There is a constant refrain from the CEO about Pew employees being "good stewards," but practice doesn't quite align with the preaching. And while growing pains are to be anticipated when an organization experiences the kind of expansion Pew has in the last 5 years, it's also not unreasonable to expect that a employer of this size and scope would plan intelligently and effectively for it, focusing on *both* the success of its programs *and* the satisfaction of its employees. For all of its prized research, Pew should know that happy employees make for effective organizations.

    Advice to Management

    Practice what you preach, and start by preaching the truth to your employees.

  2. Helpful (7)

    yes you can make a difference

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

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fantastic benefits and really interesting work. The people are great and if you want to work in a non-profit without taking the risk that the place will fold, this is the place.

    Cons

    Pew has grown very rapidly and the systems show it. Budget systems have now improved, communications and approvals for reports have been streamlined, but the contracting process is still slow and cumbersome. There's still no real internal communications function so the junior staff can be gossipy and cliquey.

    Advice to Management

    Keep fixing processes.

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