Northwest Administrators
1.9 of 5 49 reviews
www.nwadmin.com Seattle, WA 500 to 999 Employees

Northwest Administrators Reviews in Seattle, WA

Updated May 29, 2014

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1.8 33 reviews

                             

19% Approve of the CEO

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Chris R. Hughes

(26 ratings)

16% of employees recommend this company to a friend
33 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    2 people found this helpful  

    company doesn't back up there employee's.

    Payroll (Former Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsThere are no good reasons.

    ConsNo one backs up any employee.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet a new Job.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Employer vs employee mentality; feels like working in a call center

    Auditor (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    Pros-Sometimes auditors can travel to cool cities
    -Opportunities for raises (but small)
    -They're understaffed and struggling to get new job applicants, so if you interview you'll probably get the job

    Cons-Very low morale. You can tell all the employees hate it here (including most of the supervisors)
    -Very high turnover rate, most people don't stay past a year or two
    -Northwest Administrators has been sued multiple times by employees in the past for harassment and discrimination, so they now view employees as a risk and liability and this shows in the way they communicate with you
    -Management seems to think that giving only negative feedback, yelling at employees (in front of everyone), threat of termination, and constant micromanaging and monitoring will speed up workflow. But it doesn't. Almost everyone is behind in their work.
    -Salaried positions are treated like hourly; must be in by 8AM and can't leave before 5PM, must not be late coming from lunch, supervisors might start timing and recording your attendance if they don't like you
    -Supervisors are immature and unprofessional, don't know how to separate work opinions from personal opinions, give easier projects and better trips to their friend employees, lack basic managerial communication skills (i.e. spending 30 min giving nothing but negative feedback without any suggestions on how to improve your work going forward), throw their employees under the bus to save their own image in front of upper management, can't take responsibility for their own mistakes and they encourage tattle-telling and gossip from staff. They use certain employees as "spies" to collect dirt, or sometimes even outright lie, about other employees so they can use it against that employee. Very tense work environment.
    -Managers & HR write phony positive reviews on sites like this as a desperate attempt to save their recruitment. Look at the 5-star review written on 5/12/14 and ask yourself if that sounds real. I don't think even a happy employee would write like that. Plus, I already know everyone in the Auditing, Pension Accounting, and Contract Review departments hates being here so none of them would write a positive review.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSorry to call you out, but people need to be warned about Northwest Administrators. You keep hiring all these naive college grads and people who lack desirable qualifications/experience for the competitive job market so that you can easily whip them around and talk down on them. But every time the job market picks up, you lose employees in chunks. I just hope I'll be a part of that next chunk. The company is slowly starting to fall apart.

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    Northwest Administrators HR Assistant responded to this review Jun 26, 2014 EditDelete
    We are happy to hear that you enjoy the business travel opportunities you are receiving, as well as the regular pay increase opportunities.
    With regards to senior management at NWA, during the last
    ... More
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    4 people found this helpful  

    A company lacking vision, mission, and morale where positive reinforcement is not practiced.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsGood benefits (medical, dental, vision, life, and Rx ins. paid by employer for employee, low premiums for dependent coverage; employer matched 401k, vacation, holidays, sick leave, commuter assistance), gained good work experience while there.

    ConsPoor management overall. Emphasis is placed on negatives instead of giving positive reinforcement to employees. If you perform well, it will not be acknowledged and rewarded. Bullying in the workplace is present, and upper management ignores it. Some policies are outdated (dress code policy from the 60's). No work/life balance whatsoever. Some employees are salaried and some are union employees, which creates conflicting policies and enforcement. Technologically behind the times.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSome managers and supervisors are hired/promoted without any management experience, and it shouldn't be that way. The company needs to have a vision statement and mission statement, and make its goals clear to the employees. Loosen some outdated policies, and allow some flexibility in schedules. The managers need to give positive reinforcement to employees who work hard and do well.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Living "Dilbert" cartoon is an understatement!

    File Clerk (Former Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsIt pays more than most entry-level positions, benefits are not too bad.

    ConsWay too stringent dress codes even for people who never have and never will be expected to converse with the walk-in clients. Crazy-making office politics created by the management and office lackeys AKA "favorites", cool kids, anybody related to upper management. Stay neutral and away from making anyone of these individuals upset with you for any reason.

    Advice to Senior ManagementApparently from the reviews, things have not changed. I worked there back in 2012. How is that your business still continues to thrive with a high turn-over rate? Management, you need to "clean" house and re-calibrate the people and policies you instill in order to be a quality company to work for. The means of data collection is archaic, and the lower management is out of control with improper training and styles of inter- personal communication.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Northwest Administrators HR Assistant responded to this review Jun 26, 2014 EditDelete
    We are so glad that the benefits provided are valuable to you. At NWA we have recognized the value employees place on benefits. We have worked with external consultants to ensure that the benefits we ... More
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    2 people found this helpful  

    Terrible place to work

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsYou stay busy as there is a lot of work to do. Medical and dental benefits are decent.

    ConsThis is by far the worst company I've ever seen. There is no gratitude for people putting in a lot of overtime as exempt employees. The unpaid overtime is making the company a lot of money but the attitude is you're never doing enough. No comp time, not even a thank you.

    Employees are spiteful towards each other to the point of being verbally abusive. They take micro management to the extreme. Some managers treat employees horribly.

    You get to work, sit down, don't talk to anyone, and put in your time. Depending on the department you work in you're not allowed to have conversations with people at your desks even if it's work related. It's a very depressing environment.

    There is no flexibility in your schedule. Even something as small as a 5 minute adjustment (come in 5 minutes early and leave 5 minutes early) to catch a bus isn't allowed. People are literally running down the stairs at the end of their shift.

    Work/life balance doesn't exist. At all.

    The dress code is outdated and fairly ridiculous when employees have no contact with customers or the public. You're required to dress like you work at Nordstrom but get paid a Walmart salary. The company owns all the parking lots in the area but you have to pay top dollar to get a spot.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLearn to treat employees with respect. Go to bat for the people on your team and try to create a better work environment. Challenge the owner to make it a decent place to work. People will be more productive and you'll have less turnover.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Run away from this one, living Dilbert cartoon!

    File Clerk (Former Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsGreat pay for less than standard work, employee motto, "Just work enough to not get fired", pension and healthcare is amazing, and not a minute of overtime if you don't want it. You might find another gem that is as miserable as you and make friends vowing to leave the place.

    ConsI wish I could type all of them, but I don't want to be stuck on the computer for hours.
    Treat people like animals, or machines, whatever gets the work they ask for done, and GOD forbid you try to improve the work flow with any ideas not brought by upper management.
      I once tried to help the work flow be easier and more effective and got written up for not following "the management's proposal." I didn't act it out in any way, but was written up basically for not agreeing with logic from the 1970's.

    You want high school, with ridiculous uniforms (business formal though few actual visitors), cult characteristics revolving around popularity and butt kissing of the elite; all the while in a business setting? Well you got it! right here. All of my friends have moved on out there with a great deal of pocket change and a resume starter, but lost a piece of their sanity.

    The management affects you view of the real world and how a good business should be run.... It's a toxic situation that you can feel molding you into an ineffective work horse.
    And if you plan on being there long term don't get on the "cool kids" bad side, I've been belittled, yell at, mocked and sexually harassed all in this company's setting but as long as you're the little guy, management takes the bully position instead of the leadership position.

    If you want the rest of the professional opinion, please read the rest because its all true, anything positive below I believe would be from someone who is still working with the company and is looking for a boost, or hasn't been there long.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease, listen to the people who work in the lower levels, instead of elitist nature restructure it in a place people want to work and you will find you get more done in a more satisfactory way

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Job itself is good, management is bad

    Auditor (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    Pros- Good first professional job for a college grad
    - Opportunities to travel to some interesting places, and they fund pretty generously when you're on long distance trips
    - Opportunities for raise, if you make it
    - Good central location in Seattle, beautiful neighborhood
    - Good standard benefits. They offer good options for commuters.

    I can acknowledge the management's point of view and why they instate such strict policies, explained below, but unfortunately it's counterproductive to workflow.

    ConsFirst, some things that don't necessarily bother me personally but bother many other people:
    - You're working in a cubicle and you cannot listen to any music
    - Very antisocial atmosphere. The co-workers are not downright rude, but this just isn't a very chit chatty environment so if you're a social person who needs to talk to co-workers, don't work here.
    - Dress code is way too formal for an office that doesn't have visitors most of the time.

    Some more discouraging aspects:
    - Low starting salary
    - Training was unorganized and ineffective. They toss you around to all different senior auditors and auditors to be trained, but most of them can't train worth jack.
    - High turnover rate
    - Vacation cannot be taken for the first year
    - Half the ridiculous rules they instate and their extreme managerial style are due to "bad apple" employees from the past who ruined it for the future employees. But I can say the co-workers overall are pretty responsible, reasonable people so I think it's time these policies loosen or go away entirely.

    And the real rotting core of it all:
    - My biggest complaint is the management and their practices. I honestly think the other half of rules they enforce is simply because they want to exercise their power. This job is not a sales job. There should not be any competition between my co-workers and I, but the management makes it so. They often assign auditors to assist other auditors on their work. If something goes awry, even an innocent or even harmless mistake, they interrogate both of you to find out who did it. This ends up pinning the two collaborating auditors up against each other and it becomes a finger-pointing game to find out who made the mistake so they can take the blame and get grilled by the supervisors. As a result, there is currently a lot of backstabbing, gossiping, and tattling amongst the employees and it really shouldn't be.

    You will be micromanaged until you can prove to them that you're "worthy" of not being under the microscope (usually done so by cleverly kissing butt). You are expected to have an EXACT estimate of how long EVERY step of the audit will take you to finish, and upon giving that estimate to the supervisor, they might start arguing or interrogating you as to why it will take that long. And sometimes there are just some projects of which you truly honestly DO NOT KNOW the estimated time frame, but you must tell the supervisor something and stick with it. This is ridiculous. I've had audits in which the supervisor might as well have just done it themselves, after they changed every single detail.

    Also, be aware that once you start working you here, you are being watched. If you can't keep up with the fastest auditors, for whatever reason, you're walking on eggshells with the management. One of the auditors was grilled hardcore about their work ethic and effort, because the supervisors saw them looking kinda tired and moving slowly one day.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou can have as many power trips as you want and do whatever you want to make yourself feel important. But just know that eventually these things have their way of coming back around. Don't be surprised if you lose a chunk of employees at a time. Management has gotten progressively worse, and pretty soon you won't have any auditors experienced beyond the year that's required to be there. Do you really want to continue this cycle of high turnover? Think about it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Northwest Administrators HR Assistant responded to this review Jun 26, 2014 EditDelete
    We are happy to hear you are enjoying the beautiful office location and our competitive benefits.
    With regards to senior management, we have a large number of new employees throughout the company
    ... More
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    My experience at NWA has been very good, and it provides a lot of opportunities to employees.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    Prossuccessful and stable company. While other companies have downsized or growth slowed over the last 5 years, NWA has grown. NWA expanded the office in Pasadena, CA and opened a new office in Las Vegas, NV. NWA has better than market benefits, especially the 401k plan (salaried staff). The benefits for the union employees are super great too—better than the salaried staff, I understand.

    ConsSome of the policies are not reflective of the Seattle area. NWA sees itself as a financial company, and the dress code is business professional to reflect that view. NWA has made some changes recently to loosen up but change happens slowly, especially when there is a lot business growth to focus on.

    As I read through the comments from others on Glassdoor, I’m a little taken back. Everyone knows before day 1 at NWA the policies. There is no “trickery” or “lying” just to get people to come to work here. NWA has doubled in size in the last 3 years…there are bound to be issues related to communication, training, etc. but the company seems to be focused on providing great service to their clients and making sure that employees are compensated fairly for the work they do. There are definitely some true statements on Glassdoor that I’ve experienced…I just think some of these “posters” are twisting the truth to create a negative view that isn’t 100% accurate (sour milk, perhaps?).

    During a period of time where so many companies closed or did layoffs, NWA did not. While other companies cut or eliminated benefits (like retirement benefits), NWA did not. While other companies withheld raises, NWA did not. If those things aren’t important to you, but texting versus working is…than you probably shouldn’t work here.

    Maybe I’ve been around the block one too many times and think that people should be more thankful for having a job. If employees think there is a problem with how the company is run…try and become part of the solution instead creating problems. Talk to supervisors, talk to managers, talk to VPs or HR. Talk to the President of the company. All are always available, and that’s another great thing about NWA.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThere are a lot of long term employees at NWA. That's great but at times it doesn't allow for new ideas when employees perceive the response to be "but that's not the way we do it here."

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    3 people found this helpful  

    A company without leadership, morale, or integrity.

    Manager (Former Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsSome middle and lower management employees who have been around for 30+ years. They are incredibly loyal and caring individuals who need some serious guidance.

    ConsTop Management hasn't broadened its horizons in 30 years. They have no idea how to communicate or empathize. Hiring another member of the silver spoon set didn't enhance management at all. Atmosphere is toxic.

    Advice to Senior ManagementShow some respect for your employees, whether they are labor or management. Give them some autonomy and step away.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Northwest Administrators HR Assistant responded to this review Jun 26, 2014 EditDelete
    We are incredibly proud of our loyal, long-term staff. In the month of June, over 25 employees celebrated 5 or more years at NWA. It should be no surprise that many of those employees would have ... More
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    3 people found this helpful  

    Unemployment would almost be better.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsDecent pay, okay benefits (the medical, if you know the subtleties of what makes medical insurance good, has actually been downgraded to pretty awful), pension. Lots of holidays.

    ConsPoor communication between departments, negative reinforcements to motivate employees, horrible work/life balance, dated and criminally ignorant approach to managing employees.

    The right hand NEVER knows what the left hand is doing - work duplication is so common it is laughable, which would be amusing if salary employees weren't pushed to work long hours to complete tasks. Hourly employees aren't much better off - mandatory overtime can be enforced at a moment's notice, regardless of your transit/childcare/other life obligations.

    This company sinks time and money into archaic practices in the name of employee morale - a Christmas lunch served to the people by upper management! A company wide race to donate to United Way! Prizes include winning the right to come to work for one day a year without the mandatory pantyhose or necktie! Sadly, they seem to miss what modern America's business force has discovered: allowing small freedoms and treating employees with respect actually garners a happier workforce, which indisputably increases productivity without major expense.

    It is shocking how aggressively NWA seeks to exploit it's union employees, being a third party administratior for union benefits. While upper management meets with it's client and talks the talk, behind closed doors employees are treated shamefully. Rather than sharing more anecdotes, I'll leave it at this - if you are a true union person, and believe in unions as a necessary force protecting the working class, you should not be doing business with this company.

    Sadly, the worst thing about this company is that you will most likely have to experience it for yourself. With it's above entry pay scale and attractive benefits, combined with the convenient location, people searching for an administrative position will flock to this company. NWA is banking on it - they pay higher for the right to avoid any reform from within, because employees are disposable. Once you're in, the gilded cage is firm. It will seem impossible to find other work as easily, with comparable pay. Before I managed to leave, I witnessed a nervous breakdown (literally) and another employee admit they started fantasizing about suicide, just to get away.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart treating your employees like people. Imagine those people as your family, and ask yourself if you would continue behaving in the same manner. If you cannot manage to change for the better, tell those poor souls the truth - they can find better.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Northwest Administrators HR Assistant responded to this review Jun 26, 2014 EditDelete
    We are sorry you feel that way. NWA has earned a reputation for expertise in third-party administration services. We have a highly knowledgeable staff of benefit oriented professionals that interface ... More
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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Northwest Administrators reviews and ratings in Seattle, WA — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Northwest Administrators CEO Chris R. Hughes. All 33 reviews posted anonymously by Northwest Administrators employees.