Landesa Reviews

Updated January 4, 2015
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3.0
12 Reviews
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Tim Hanstad
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great mission, good people, managing well through challenges

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

    I worked at Landesa

    Pros

    This organization is dedicated to improving the lives of a billion poor people in the developing world through the magic of secure land rights. If you have any kind of social conscience, what's not to love about that? Smart, dedicated people, including - but not limited to - the original founder and his successor as CEO. Massive opportunity, and the associated challenges! Good compensation and benefits for the sector.

    Cons

    The core work is complex and challenging, involving the overlapping factors of international law, customary practices, language, culture, economics, etc. Added to that are the need to continually find and "manage" philanthropic funders, and governance in a multi-national environment. This work is not for the faint of heart. There's also organizational change to manage, to which there's strong resistance from some of the "old-timers".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maintain the focus on the "sweet spot" of work that's both mission-focused and able to be funded. Be clear to all employees - old and new - that they need to decide either to back the direction or get off the bus.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Landesa Response

    Mar 23, 2015Director, Global Human Resources

    Thank you for your encouragement and thanks for the time you spent as a colleague at Landesa. We appreciate your perspective and agree the work is complex and challenging. We remain committed to ... More

  2. Excellent mission, management dedicated to making jump from small to mid level organization

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

    I have been working at Landesa full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great mission, and has been successful for years. Long term history of success and excellent organizational values. Understands the necessity for internal structural changes and is committed to making them happen. The organization is making the jump from a small organization, to a mid level with multiple funders, and is dedicated to developing and refining the needed systems to satisfy both mission driven personnel, and needs of the funders who actually fund the programs. There are definitely growing pains, but change is occurring, with positive results. There has been an influx of excellent young talent who have new ideas and different ways of doing things, which is only to the good of the organization.

    Cons

    With multiple offices in multiple countries, trying to tie everything together under one umbrella can be a challenge. In the past, there have been difficulties with personnel not believing that policies apply to everyone. Change is difficult, and many of the long time personnel still don't see the need for it, and are not only actively resistant, but tend to see themselves as indispensable. The clash between the old way and the new way of doing things can be disruptive and unsettling. Much of the turnover seems to be due to these issues and resultant friction and frustration as newer staff can feel stifled.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue with the current program of evaluation and change. It's working!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Landesa Response

    Mar 23, 2015Director, Global Human Resources

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. As an organization looks towards new challenges, all employees, new and old, must evolve and change. This is never easy but we believe we have made great ... More

  3. Mission is lost by the Implosion

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

    I have been working at Landesa

    Pros

    The intended mission is great.

    Cons

    This organization is imploding and no one seems to care. Four women attorney's just left at one time to start their own organization - one was the person that started the Landesa Center for Women's Land Rights. They convinced the fifth attorney to stay. Promises - promises. This should speak loudly to all who consider joining and should serve as a warning to the board and leadership. 5 of the 8 listed on the Center website as leadership have left the organization in the last 2 months so presenting them on the web as current staff is a lie. Then there is the leadership if you want to call it that. There are "maybe" 2 or 3 on the whole leadership team who are respected but they can't get their voices heard. CEO calls it a leadership "team" but in fact he makes most of the decisions in what seems to be a vacuum often "Telling" the Leadership Team after the fact. This is just in Seattle but India is imploding under many of the same circumstances. China is trying. The Values are laughable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The only hope I see is "if/when" a new CEO is hired and IF they are strong enough and have the backing of the board to make changes - and deep changes. Many of us are talking and there will be more departures as soon as new positions can be found. There needs to be something done with the communication department and the bad blood that is created from that department across the organization. I only wish the 2 or 3 who have the right motives could make a difference but it doesn't seem to be possible. And my colleague is correct. Stop focusing only on the program staff and start paying attention to the non-program staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Landesa Response

    Mar 23, 2015Director, Global Human Resources

    Thank you for your feedback. We wish you were having a different experience working at Landesa. Landesa has grown from a small organization of a few dozen to more than 100 staff around the world over ... More

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  5. Great mission - difficult internally

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

    I worked at Landesa full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The mission is outstanding and the goals are meaningful. Benefits are decent and compensation is good for a non-profit. I met and worked with some incredible people both in Seattle and internationally.

    Cons

    There is a very real toxic environment which is basically within the leadership team - some worse than others.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They will deny toxicity is true (and claim it is those who left) but if you had a list of all those who have left (and it is very long) because of it and the very poor leadership you can see who have remained and surmise where the problems are (at the website under leadership team). People leave because of this. There are really only a handful that have lasted and that's where you will find the division and extremely poor leadership. The turnover is incredible and it hasn't been people who were only there just a year or so. The last CFO made an incredible difference and yet he couldn't stay - all leave with a "nice statement" but you know what you know. ( you just can't have this many departures if it's a great place to work) The amount of turnover on the leadership team is remarkable. Landesa has forgotten to keep the "main thing the main thing." Fortunately most who have left have gone on to other non-profits that are making a difference. We often heard from external partners as to their observations and they are not complimentary.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Landesa Response

    Mar 23, 2015Director, Global Human Resources

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We’re glad to hear you enjoyed meeting and working with some great colleagues. We recognize that staff turnover has been a challenge and can be a distraction to ... More

  6. Great mission and wonderful organization

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

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

    Pros

    Landesa offers an opportunity to make an impact on the world as its work improves the lives of countless poor women and men across the globe. The work is intellectually stimulating, my colleagues are dedicated, friendly, and supportive, and the compensation packages are more than fair. Overall, a wonderful place to work.

    Cons

    The amount and importance of the work can be taxing, but that is more a result of being self-driven than management-driven. The organization has tolerated a small number of bad apples who sometimes create a certain level of toxicity, but the great majority of colleagues are incredible.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep making efforts to even further improve already strong programs. Move more quickly to address bad behavior and discipline the few who cause dissension. Keep your eye on those the organization serves as well as the morale of your great staff.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Landesa Response

    Mar 23, 2015Director, Global Human Resources

    Sounds like we need to continue encouraging staff to create boundaries to ensure no one gets burned out. Thanks for that reminder. We also appreciate the comment on the bad behavior. We take that ... More

  7. Not looking good. I think I need to find a new job.

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

    I have been working at Landesa full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    mission and benefits are reasonable.

    Cons

    Company values, relationships are terrible. Some really incredible people have recently left (in fact it's an ongoing event since I have been here - people who come in and are really good "see the problems" and can't help and leave. It's becoming clear that this is a very dysfunctional place. The leadership is really bad - they don't know how to lead and they don't know how to get out of the way of people who do. The communications department, as I have witnessed seems to stir up dissension as well. There are a few others as well. I am an adult and I would love to see adults working "together."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reorganize and get rid of some of the weak and/or disruptive staff - you know who they are and you take too long to make a change. Stop making decisions in a vacuum and often without any consideration - it's just announced. It would be really good if the board of directors knew what Landesa is about but it seems but what I see that they communication is only through the CEO so a very biased and likely somewhat colored perspective.Stop making promises to fix things. I have heard this promise since I walked through the door. More departures just announced - and very big ones - I'm running scared. Tim can't continue to paint these "stories" with Communications words and have them believable. We all know where the talking points come from.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Landesa Response

    Mar 23, 2015Director, Global Human Resources

    We’re sorry to read that a current employee is this unhappy. We certainly want staff to have good working relationships with their colleagues so the daily focus can be on our mission. If you have ... More

  8. 2 people found this helpful

    The work is so vital and important, I want it to succeed

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

    I worked at Landesa

    Pros

    Amazing mission and very passionate, intelligent colleagues. Heart is in the right place, however....

    Cons

    The funding agency drove the agenda and timeline faster than we could make it happen and things should have happened. Over reliance on one agency is very dangerous in terms of culture, workload, probabilty of funding, etc. There was a very unhealthy culture when I started aimed at senior leadership, but quickly moved into senior leadership. Work life balance is nuts because of the global nature of the business - have to address that or everyone becomes less effective and slightly crazy as insomniacs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A lot of people are faith based, a lot of people are secular humanists, they are all valuable and extremely talented. Don't let the work or the culture get hijacked by a few extreme faith based people that control access to the CEO. It causes division and isn't productive or necessary and frankly hurts morale and is a giant waste of time. This is an incredible cause and a good organization and it needs to survive beyond a few people's personal beliefs.

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Landesa Response

    Mar 23, 2015Director, Global Human Resources

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We value diversity and will continue to support a workplace that does not discriminate against anyone for their personal belief systems. This is part of what ... More

  9. 4 people found this helpful

    Organization has a good mission, but is not a healthy, functional work environment.

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

    I worked at Landesa full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Landesa has a unique mission and a majority of its staff are clearly dedicated to accomplishing that mission. Its salaries and benefits are above average for a nonprofit organization in Seattle. The CEO seems to be a genuinely nice, intelligent guy.

    Cons

    During my brief time at Landesa, there was an extraordinary amount of staff turnover, particularly at the executive level. The organization's leadership attributes the turnover to "growing pains," but I'm convinced there must be some other cause beneath the surface. In all my years of working for nonprofit organizations, I've never encountered as much dysfunction as I experienced at Landesa and I've never been so happy to leave a job. In a few years, it might be a better place to work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to invest in your systems (IT, database, etc.). Empower staff to make decisions or clarify who has the authority to make decisions rather than making every decision as a group. Hire an external consultant to diagnose why turnover has been so consistently high for so long.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful

    Hard to really break into the substantive work

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

    I have been working at Landesa

    Pros

    Interesting innovative work. Positive people.

    Cons

    They don't seem to promote within, or really invest in RAs.
    Everyone is overloaded with work

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in your own people.

  11. Slow, independent, but rewarding experience - great entry to Chinese NGO space

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Research Assistant in Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Former Intern - Research Assistant in Beijing, Beijing (China)

    I worked at Landesa as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    The staff were very inviting, sharing meals and involving me socially.
    I got to work with the country director, who trusted me and allowed me to work on assignments I found interesting.

    Cons

    Very small, so not a lot support. Had to do and learn things a lot on my own.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More opportunities for presenting my research to the full team would have been great.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Landesa Response

    Mar 24, 2015Director, Global Human Resources

    Thank you for the feedback. You are right. While Landesa’s impact is big, it is still a relatively small non-profit. Learning from others and sharing our work is a critical component to our success ... More

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