ICMA Reviews

Updated March 24, 2015
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2.5
15 Reviews
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Robert J. O'Neill
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Working at ICMA

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

    I have been working at ICMA

    Pros

    Staff are great. Lots of passionate staff.

    Cons

    Imbalance of workload and quite a few senior level "free riders".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The issues with inefficiency is related to senior level free riders. The organization needs to take a hard look at that.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. Inspirational, challenging, exciting place to work with good benefits

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    ICMA is a mission-driven organization with caring, passionate staff and leadership. It offers flexible schedules; some teleworking options under the right circumstances; and good retirement, vacation, and sick leave benefits (on par with European organizations, as another reviewer said). It also demands a lot of its staff, so many are very busy and have a lot of opportunities to learn new things and take stretch assignments. Salaries are on par with other nonprofits. Promotion opportunities come if you stick around, but may not happen as quickly as other places since the staff is relatively small and higher positions don't open up as much. I find it a challenging, exciting, and inspirational place to work and make a difference.

    Cons

    Because ICMA, like many nonprofits and even private sector companies, is trying to do more with less, demands are heavy. This can be good as I described above, but can also lead to work-life imbalance if the employee is not willing to push back or let things slip. Attrition among newer staff seems high, possibly due to a combination of low nonprofit salaries and high workload. Staff engagement seems high but inconsistent across the organization, and I think workload may be inconsistent as well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue the focus on members and mission, consider higher salaries for entry-level positions, and be willing to cut lower-priority programs and services so that workload better matches the human resources available. Continue working to improve processes and technology as you have been, and consider heavier investment in web development and administrative support staff.

  3. 1 person found this helpful

    Medium-sized non-profit with a great mission, great network, and passionate staff.

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

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

    Pros

    Job flexibility is excellent, and non-compensation benefits are better than most orgs, unless you're a European-based group. The staff are driven and passionate, and tend to stay with the organization longer when space is available. Some innovative decisions have allowed ICMA to extend its services and opportunities beyond a classic membership group, working in international development, domestic policy, and grant-funded services to communities. Most teams encourage innovation and new product ideas, and I have created, advanced and sustained several new programs that did not exist 5-10 years ago. Every day is different and always engaging - it's a privilege to serve the members we serve, and advance the pursuit of excellence in communities globally.

    Cons

    It is a medium-sized non-profit, so advancement is limited and salaries and benefits are good, but below private sector comparables. With mid- and senior staff staying on in long tenures, this limits advancement for early career entrants, so the org loses a lot of new talent to attrition. Some new business models have failed to produce lasting financial returns.

    Engagement across the organization is not universal and some team members feel completely engaged and supported, while others feel highly disengaged and not supported. Regarding innovation, while it is encouraged, if you have a new idea you need to 'make it happen' through sheer force of will. There are few staff or financial resources you can call on to advance a new idea. Though that's not unusual in any organization these days with the loss of innovation or contingency funds.

    The organization has restructured teams and management about five times in 10 years, and while iteration is good we tend to forget where we were and what we've talked about when we try to engage new staff.

    Poor internal communications leads to a lot of uninformed gossip, which has a large toll on morale.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to engage staff at all levels, improve internal communications, increase transparency in decision making, and encourage change with innovation funding or support. Continue pursuing a definition of the ideal employee type (the focus on personality traits and fit over education and skill) and secure these people at the point of hire, and build a real KSA to get the most out of the skills possessed by staff. Encourage fun.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. Intern

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

    I have been working at ICMA

    Pros

    I absolutely loved working at ICMA. The hours are reasonable, which can be rare in DC and there are great benefits like being next to a metro station and having a gym in the building.

    Almost all the people there are great to work with and I really enjoyed most of the projects I worked on there.

    Cons

    The work isn't always the most exciting but I think that is true of every job.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. ICMA Lacks Management

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

    I have been working at ICMA

    Pros

    Flexible work schedules are especially helpful to those looking for work/life balance.
    During the summer, staff is permitted to compress their workdays in order to leave at noon on Fridays.

    Cons

    The management team lacks the leadership skills necessary to assure that ICMA will survive another 100 years. There is no job security.
    Due to the continuing staff reductions, morale is very low.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    Lacks long term growth

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

    I worked at ICMA full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    ICMA has a group of dedicated employees who are passionate about their respective roles, and this is a big plus. The benefits are fairly standard, but the retirement benefit is nice.

    Cons

    At a core there is a general toxicity in the air that always has you wondering whether your job is safe. Over the last several months layoffs have been the norm, with very little long term planning being implemented.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You've been at the helm too long, it's time to admit you don't have the experience to grow the association.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. An Excellent Place to Work

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

    I worked at ICMA full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits; even balance between work and life, with a lot of programs and activities for employees; management is great, as are the coworkers.

    Cons

    Too much focus on business in Afghanistan. They really need to expand their geographical scope.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. Amazing place to work

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

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

    Pros

    A very flexible and friendly environment. Creative thinking, hard work, and commitment to the mission are expected and rewarded. I joined as a mid-level manager and have been given so many opportunities to learn and contribute in whichever part of the organization I want to. The CEO is very progressive in his thinking. The COO and the Leadership team are compassionate but demanding and are very transparent. Anyone who understands the world of government contracting should know that people are hired and let go based on government awards and availability of funding. To expect any organization to carry staff that do not have funding just shows a lack of engagement or understanding of the organization. ICMA demands a lot of its staff and so this place is not for everyone.

    Cons

    The Washington location, though close to a metro station, is also very difficult for folks who drive in to work. Traffic is terrible in the DC area.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the transparency and communication. Focus on culture of innovation and make sure that the organization continues to be financially stable and viable so it can carry on its mission for the next 100+ years.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful

    Management should not be in the organization name

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

    I worked at ICMA

    Pros

    Close to Metro and Union Station

    Cons

    1. Benefits are poor. When confronted, the crackpot HR team will have endless excuses but then they are busy organizing yoga classes and hot dog lunches
    2. If they mention something at your interview, get it in writing. If not, never expect an acknowledgement.
    3. Systems and technology are to be treated as four letter words and have no place at this organization. The systems they do have are woefully out of date and the solution will be a new spreadsheet.
    4. Financial data is inaccurate at best but it is your fault if it is wrong. Each team attempts to work around the incompetent finance department with QuickBooks. Everything is paper-dependent and do not suggest a change because it has always been this way...maybe worse before the printing press.
    5. You are working in a strict caste system. Leadership team knows nothing about city management and is a group of oblivious friends. They rarely connect to program managers and god forbid to other employees. Don't make suggestions....things have always been this way and are not welcome to change. The exec director has been absent for years and attempts to connect through a blog that is usually 6 months out of date. The COO was created to cover the absent CEO and was the CFO that created constant financial crisis management. All are paid to manage a misreoresented shadow organization. The salaries were set based upon international grants that cause repeated convulsion of staffing and pay/benefits. They are far higher than other nonprofits.
    6. Raises are never (unless you are part if the high-performing leadership team). HPO is to be taught to every new employee; just don't expect anyone in Leadership to lead with the concept. The organization also likes to teach to city managers; don't expect it to be used at ICMA.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The BOD is appointed for short terms so they can be kept in the dark about the absentee management and complete failure in organizational culture. Problems can be solved with the magical two-hour appearance of the CEO who steps from behind the curtain to shower the staff with drivel. Perhaps a focus on members instead if every grant that can justify the overpriced salaries of Leadership team might be a welcome change. Maybe the board should demand and read exit interviews or see if policies are current.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful

    Treat this organization as a stepping stone in your career.

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

    I worked at ICMA full-time

    Pros

    There are several very kind individuals who work for this organization which is a plus. It is all close to Union Station, which makes access to mass transit a very easy task.

    Cons

    This organization is by far a strange and toxic environment. The current who's who of senior leadership is a sad reality of what happens when you let non-leaders hire and run an organization. The mid to senior team is rampant with individuals whom have never worked for other organizations and base their entire decision making on what they read in other association magazines or through peer networking platforms. The current COO, was the former CFO who was instrumental in creating a financing bubble (through risky Afghanistan contracts). As result when one contract fell through the money ran dry and it turned into open chopping season and layoffs for mid to low level staff, yet the key players continue to hold their current positions.

    The current Executive Director is always on travel with no significant presence in the office. Instead his very hefty salary, expense account and executive bonus structure provides him and his wife international trips on the associations dime. Instead of cutting back on travel or working to improve employee moral he is just a silent partner who has failed to nurture and see the organization grow. The most interaction that staff has with "Bob" used to be through his internal blog (an odd way to manage through blogging). Employee moral as a whole seems to have truly tapered downward over the last several years, yet when you talk to the senior team the mentality is that they just hire bad employees. When your retention rate is 36%+ it is time to face the fact that it is not bad employees that you are hiring, but your are definitely maintaining bad managers.

    Best advice to prospective employees is to "stay away."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It is easy for the ICMA Leadership Team to say that they are working on staff retention, but when these folks are the issue it really is time for the Board to do some house keeping. This includes removal of the Executive Director, COO, CFO, Director of Membership and Director of International Programs. These folks continue to take up space within the organization, and for individuals earning well over $120,000+ their performance or lack thereof should be on the Board's radar. It also does not help that the current COO was instrumental in shaping the creative financing solution that caused the layoffs of several individuals, yet she continues to cover her mistakes as COO.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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