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3 people found this helpful  

The Standard, Retirement Plans Division. An employee review

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Actuary  in  Portland, OR
Current Employee - Actuary in Portland, OR

I have been working at The Standard

Pros

Generally a friendly and very polite atmosphere. Most employees are easy to strike up a conversation with.

  Flexible work schedules and an ability to work from home.

  Willing to provide various and diverse levels of training. This ranges from classes on job specific skills like programing, professional designation, software applications to softer skills like leadership and communication.

  There certainly are pockets of people that try to 'do what matters' or 'take the higher road' which are some of the core values of the company.

  After a very rough period in SRS during 2008/2009 virtually all Senior Management have been fired or retired. This has lead to a new focus by many of the new Senior Management to demand tighter controls and procedures be put in place, which can not be overstated how important this is to achieve succesfully. I consider this focus an immense Pro.

Family and friends are easily hired.

Cons

Family and friends are easily hired ( yes I meant this to be both a Pro and a Con)

Despite the new Senior Management leadership in SRS stating a major focus is to put in place tighter controls and backing this with extensive process control and mapping efforts- with some sucess- there seems to be huge inertia to NOT completely embrace this. There remains huge inertia from upper-mid management and lower against trying to get numerous systems, procedures and financial reporting under tight control. It appears to be a combination of 'my systems' weren't flagged during a audit, or sure it's broke but it's consistent in how it is broke or in some cases it's the old 'I push a button and have no idea if the numbers coming out make sense or not, and I don't care'.

Some amount of the above is going to take place in every company but I have seen enough - and been around long enough- to know it's too pervasive at The Standard for my comfort level. And maybe more importantly, we are putting in extensive effort and resources by Senior Management direction to improve processes, this is the time to truely and openly clean up systems, procedures and reporting. If you don't have time to do something right the first time, when will you have time to do it a second time?

I spent so much time on the above two paragraphs because I have felt borderline ethically compromised on several occasions. Not a great feeling and even worse when upper management is indifferent to your concerns.

There definately is an above average amount of favortism in areas, but not completely stagnating.

I know pay is below average ( even my boss told me that) and benefits are weaker then what I have had elsewhere.

Many of our systems and capabilities are archaic and almost 'criminally' hamper the ability to make any level of improvement simply or easily. Need to update something worded incorrectly on a page of the website, you get back something like not enough IT resources to do it. Really? need to change one significant word on a web page and The com[pany doesn't have the resources to do that? SO instead we risk a client reding something and getting the wrong impression, or actually the right impression that we incorrectly gave them.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

First and foremost, welcome tough news brought objectively and substantiated.

Second, continue to invest the time and resources into process improvements and quality controls for all areas of SRS. Insist on a comprehensive, all levels review, including bypassing mid level managers if need be.

No opinion of CEO

Other Reviews for The Standard

  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Again, good for a job, not a career.

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

    I have been working at The Standard

    Pros

    The benefits are good here. For me, the healthcare options are sufficient. There are some people who you can learn from.

    Cons

    There is definitely a closed-mindedness amongst the employees here. I once thought that it would be good to be at a company where there are people who have worked there for 10, 20 30+ years. Then, when I joined the Standard, I came to the realization that working with these people is tough as they truly believe that everything they do should be easy to comprehend as it is the only possible way to do things. They seemingly have never been exposed to other ways to solve the problems they face except for the ways they have always done them, which oftentimes is quite inefficient. Therefore, for someone coming in fresh, there is ususally a communication barrier between the newbie and the "old-timer" that never is overcome. A vast supply of fresh blood needs to be infused in this company before it's inefficiencies drive it into bankruptcy. The Retirement Plans group will probably be the first to go because of the situation described above.
    In short, there are some smart people, but unfortunately way more closed-minded people here. The Management structure here is based almost 100% on knowing someone higher up, and meetings are largely a waste of time as the management doesn't really know what is going on and therefore can't communicate anything worthwhile. Also, I have given up trying to even speak or ask a question to management as you are essentially looked at as a "dissident" for even talking, no matter if what you had to say was good or bad. A very stifling culture indeed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote people who actually know what they are doing AND can communicate; give clear and worthwhile information at meetings and let other people talk and ask questions. Also, it is not a bad thing when someone wants a system or process explained for their benefit; it is better to have two people know what is going on and tackling problems than it is to have just one. Do not feel threatened by people who simply want to understand what they are doing and not simply "pushing buttons". To me the blind obedience and dissuading of employees from looking deeper at problems to give possible solutions to management is simply backwards to me.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    A company stranded in the 1950's

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

    I have been working at The Standard

    Pros

    The company has a highly ethical and conscientious culture with a beautiful location in downtown Portland, Oregon. The people are generally nice to work with and job security for the most part is relatively high, even during this recent recession. The company is also financially very conservative with an emphasis on profitability instead of marketshare.

    Cons

    Career development is terrible with little chance of promoting the right people. Promotions are usually based on personality and social networking instead of talent or innovation. The IT areas and Corporate Marketing areas are disasters with little coherent organization and constant re-orgs. The corporate culture in the Group Disability area is very icy and hyper-competitive. Corporate siloes are much higher compared to even the average insurance company. Innovation also doesn't take place anywhere. The company is generally not market-oriented even though it recently demutualized and it continues to lag behind in the areas of marketing and technology. Standard's focus on customer service as a competitive advantage just doesn't offset the serious problems in marketing and technology.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look around you for a change and learn more from the marketplace. Start building capacities as an organization that don't just focus on customer service. Encourage people who bring analytical capabilities to the organization who also want to improve customer relations.

    Disapproves of CEO
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