Northwest Administrators

  www.nwadmin.com
  www.nwadmin.com

Northwest Administrators Reviews in Seattle, WA

Updated November 23, 2014
Updated November 23, 2014
57 Reviews
2.1
57 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Chris R. Hughes
39 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Benefits: This job does offer better benefits than most other comparable entry level positions (in 4 reviews)

  • Great benefits, generous Christmas bonus, paid vacation and sick leave, and in my position there is no end to the interesting, complex work (in 3 reviews)


Cons
  • Some policies are outdated (dress code policy from the 60's) (in 18 reviews)

  • Bullying in the workplace is present, and upper management ignores it (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights

40 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    NWA has good benefits and opportunity; however, they have an outlook that hinders employee morale.

    • 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 Northwest Administrators full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    As a bargaining unit employee the best part about working at NWA is that you have a set schedule (weekends and evenings off), you get most paid holidays, vacation time (unfortunately vacation and sick time), cheap medical and dental benefits (we pay a small amount compared to most individuals in the working world; however, the company used to pay for them in full), a set pay grade so you know exactly what you'll be getting and when, and plenty of opportunity to move up if you aren't in some kind of trouble.

    Cons

    Dress code is a big con. I do not believe it has been modified more than twice since the company's origin in 1955. It is especially ridiculous for offices that do not see customers at all. Business attire; however, they recently omitted the rule that women had to hosiery with slacks and men having to wear ties every day. That was definitely a step in the right direction.

    Great leadership is hard to come by at NWA. There are many supervisors and departments I do not want to work under or work under again because of their views or how they lead. Some are great, on top of the game, fair, and understanding. Others are at times rude, inefficient, and have absolutely no compassion. That being said, it is hard to gage what is really coming from that individual and how much of it is influenced by upper management and company policy. All of the management team is not bargaining unit and often it feels like a rivalry of bargaining unit vs the company.

    Another disappointment of working at NWA is the time clock policies. It has gotten to a point where it feels like the company is attempting to gain control by insisting that everyone clock out every time they leave their desk for a non-work related engagement (bathroom visit, daily breaks, personal emergency, etc.). That attempt at control is very oppressing for employees, especially those of us who take pride in working hard.

    I could go on with more cons about working at NWA, but all anyone needs to know is that the environment can at times be hostile and draining. There are ridiculous policies you will have to follow and may frustrate the hell out of you, but if you can look beyond that and survive there is a life to live outside NWA.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice to upper management is to work harder on employee relations. Pass out surveys and get to know how your employees really feel about the company, the work, their supervisors, etc. Make improvements, policies, and rules that will benefit you and make your employees happy. There are a lot of studies out there that show if people are happy in their work environment they are more productive and less likely to take advantage of situations. It seems that there is a policy in the company if one person (or a small few) do something wrong then the rest of us get punished for it. Consider tracking your turnover, I feel as though in my department it is very high, and I believe that is a very telling sign about how unhappy your employees are. Some of us understand that this is a business, but we are all human beings and we'd like to be treated as such.

    I do appreciate that management is going through additional training, we've had recent updates to computer applications and training on those, and that the dress code has been modified for the better. I think these are all steps in the right direction and it makes me hopeful for the future. However, I am getting weary of how oppressed I feel at your company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    May be better than nothing, but that isn't saying much.

    • 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 Northwest Administrators full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Not really as bad as Afghanistan and the benefits are better than unemployment, NWA will deliver what is agreed to in your employment contract. The benefits they offer are the shining star NWA gets as an employer from this employee's perspective. The single shining star that bumps them to two stars in my opinion actually, with one star being reserved for the jobs I had when my choice was that or the street.

    Cons

    This is still the second worst job I have ever had. I had to laugh when I saw another reviewer suggest it was better than working at the Starbucks across the street, which is the same Starbucks I went to every day to be cheered up and remain hopeful that all workplaces aren't like NWA.

    I came in "off the streets" and got their typical sales pitch - NWA let me know that it is strong and growing and there will be many opportunities available for my growing career. I was super excited at the opportunity to make a positive contribution to a flourishing and proud Northwest-based company experiencing growing pains. I soon found out that the career opportunities they referred to were more theoretical than actual. I had the opportunity to apply for an advertised salaried position with anyone else "off the streets." The only thing I got from NWA for my career the entire time I was there was the only thing I had when I walked in the door, and every opportunity that became available above me while I was there was already filled with someone upper management wanted before I even knew the position existed. I accepted a pay cut at this job for the benefits and career opportunity at a strong employer, and my pay never came to market and I finally realized my time there was a waste for my personal career. The cherry on the cake was the extremely negative work environment I had to be in the entire time I was there. I went to NWA wanting to make a positive change, and I left having been changed by the negative environment.

    If I had to give an opinion about what is most broken about this workplace, it would probably be the "us" versus "them" mentality with "us" being the inner circle and "them" being everyone else. Upper management has an "inner circle" - members, family and friends will have a completely different experience than other employees because it is quite clear that the company is only for their benefit. That probably explains why the reviews on Glassdoor.com are so extreme between reviewers. Obviously former employees are going to be more negative in their reviews, but that doesn't mean they are writing these reviews just to be a former disgruntled employee. This place is a seriously unpleasant work environment for most employees. If you are lucky enough to be in the inner circle, don't leave!

    Basically, if there was ever an employer where you needed to get it in writing, this is the one. Do not expect more than what's on paper. Anything that you get beyond that depends on specific company politics to which most employees will not be privy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have no advice to management because I think they know exactly what is going on and how to fix it, but it is to their advantage to not really do anything about the situation. They will say they are trying, but it's just to counter the unrest of the employees they don't care about and they are going to blame middle management anyway.

    My advice is to anyone reading my review and still considering employment here. I wouldn't recommend working here to anyone, but it may be a good opportunity for resume material if you really need it or a solid company to receive pay and benefits if you aren't focused on your career. However, I kept my head low and worked hard and still I was walking around just as depressed as anyone before long - eventually there was nothing I was getting compensated that could make it worth it to be there. If you decide to seek employment at NWA despite most of the advice on Glassdoor.com, please value yourself enough to know when enough is enough. There are many options out there, and getting back in the market was a great way for me to find out that I was being completely undervalued. My benefits aren't as great anymore, but a positive work environment and adequate compensation more than make up for it! Just keep in mind that if you are really worth it, then there are better options than working here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Stable Company, Improving Every Day

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

    I have been working at Northwest Administrators full-time

    Pros

    Excellent pay and benefits, lots of opportunity for promotion, great long term staff to learn from and a professional atmosphere. I have not seen evidence of the negative reviews on this site in my experience with this company. I have always been treated respectfully and have felt like my hard work was recognized and rewarded. The company is currently pouring a ton of resources into training all of the management staff and new and improved training programs are also being developed for all new hires. In addition, NWA has recently taken steps to improve morale, by recognizing employees on the company intranet site and offering things like a company BBQ/wear your Seahawks gear day.

    Cons

    If you can work hard and you appreciate receiving a steady paycheck with zero chance of layoff, you will not notice any cons. (It cracks me up to read so many complaints about the dress code - who cares? Better to dress up a little and have a steady job than be wearing an apron at Starbucks if you ask me...) If you have no motivation to succeed, want to slack off and enjoy wearing your jammies to work, this is not the place for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work. I see the improvements that are being made. I would love some flexibility in regard to telecommuting and scheduling (opportunity to work four 10 hour days instead of 5 days, for example).

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    If you are looking for an exciting challenge, you have come to the right place!

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

    I have been working at Northwest Administrators full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Northwest Administrators (NWA) has gone through many changes in the last year. I have been privilege to be part of that change. The management staff is going through monthly skill development training. The departments are enhancing their training staff and creating professional material. Communication between departments is getting better and there is a willingness to develop and increase the communication quality. I am very excited about the future of this company and the opportunities I have benefited from in my time and position at NWA. I see fabulous things on the horizon and I am motivated to give my best to creating an energized work environment.

    Cons

    Effective and consistent communication between each location is lacking at NWA. I am not sure this would not be the same for any company between their locations, but it is a problem that can be resolved with management support. NWA needs to work on communication and do more to get each location together to work on corporate issues. NWA did do a great step in this direction with a Team Building session this summer and invited all management from their four remote locations to Seattle for a day of training and a Scavenger Hunt. This was received well by all who attended. I would like to see more of the same in the future to promote quality communication and consistency in all locations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    NWA management should listen and support the professionals who are trying to enhance the work experience for the company and their employees. Efficient training and technology tools will go a long way to increase retention and promote harmony in the work environment at NWA.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Economy picked up and I'm finally free!!!

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

    I worked at Northwest Administrators full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    I still like the Eastlake neighborhood, but not enough to keep me there.

    Cons

    Finally!!! I wrote earlier about my desire to leave and after just a month, I was finally able to do so. If that isn't telling about a company, I don't know what is. As I came back to see if my last review may have helped others, I couldn't resist as I read more "positive" fake reviews, which is not right for this company to submit. There is an HR response, use that to make your point, and not writing fake reviews. Who in their right mind, even if you like the place you work at, not have any cons? Especially when you use a cons section to tell people to work hard. Now with everything that has happened in past month, I can say wholeheartedly, there are better places out there. I was able to join a company that pays more, offers 6 weeks (yes, 6 weeks) vacation in the first year and most importantly, a management that treats me like an adult, are true professionals, and truly appreciate the value and work that I provide them, in my case it really feels more like an "us" to me. I believe other reviewers have mentioned it before, but it's true that they want recent college graduates so they can manipulate them, as they have to frame of reference of how a real office is run. Run as hard as you can away from NWA, and if you're unlucky enough to stumble into them, make your escape plan as soon as possible, or you'll end up miserable 5 years later, like so many others there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I really did want to disbelieve the other glassdoor reviews when I first started, but after one day I already saw what these reviewers were writing about. It's sad that these reviews have been running 3-4 years straight and still you can't make changes. From my brief time there, I saw how a new employee (less than 10 months, from what I was told) brown-nosed a supervisor there and got a promotion. People are leaving left and right and even after years and years, you still don't care enough to do anything about it. That is a shame!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    High school all over again

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

    I have been working at Northwest Administrators full-time

    Pros

    A bad job is better than no job?

    Cons

    Typically, I read Glassdoor reviews with a grain of salt. But when a company has 40+ negative reviews spanning over three years, don't you think it's a little obvious that there are plenty of unhappy employees working there? The low morale spreads like wild fire. So even if you otherwise like the job duties, you will likely be sucked into the miserable environment. It feels like all the negative aspects of high school all over again. Everyone from management down is involved in all sorts of gossip and favoritism. Management at Northwest Administrators is a joke. When you see the management style and skills of the supervisors (or lack thereof), you'd think they just hired anyone off the street. That's the best they can get, because qualified people usually run for the door after realizing this company is awful.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Worst employer I have ever worked for in my entire career

    • 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 Northwest Administrators full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Decent pay, annual bonus, good medical/dental
    Made me move out of my comfort zone to talk to people in other departments, just to enjoy my time there.

    Cons

    The dress code is so old school, that I had a hard time even buying pantyhose in the store to wear to this job
    The environment is the worst I have ever seen, with people walking on eggshells constantly, for fear of getting let go.
    Forget about getting to know your co-workers on a more personal level, I was berated by one for even attempting to inquire about their pregnancy. No one speaks to you in the hallways, half the time they won't even look at you. It seems that if you want to even socialize at lunchtime, you have to go OUTSIDE of the building to do so. They give the impression that they are "always watching", which is really creepy and unnerving.
    The department I worked in seemed to ENJOY getting their co-workers into trouble for things and the entire office would have to listen to the way they talked to each other, with NO respect whatsoever.
    If you have any kind of normal personality, they try and try to snuff that out, to make you a robot, just there to work, nothing more.
    They had me double checking my EXCEL spreadsheet with a 10-key (!!) and some were still using paper ledgers to keep track of things. Catch up with times!!!
    Since I have left, I have heard of many quality employees who have been "let go" for one reason or another, some were just personality clashes with their manager, which is completely uncalled for, IMO.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Catch up with the times. You are in Seattle and it's not the 70s anymore, let go of the dress code a bit, especially since most of your employees have virtually NO interaction with the clients. And not only that, but these clients are typically union workers, who come into your offices wearing jeans and dirty old t-shirts and you still think that your employees have to present a perfectly professional dress code?! Liven up the atmosphere around there. Your employees are spending HOURS and DAYS and WEEKS of their waking lives there, only to feel depressed and scared and paranoid when they are there. PRAISE your employees for their hard work instead of always ridiculing them for every little tiny mistake. Learn from EXIT interviews and try and grow from them, instead of just saying, "oh they are just a resentful former employee, who cares what they think".

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Non Friendly Employer.

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

    I worked at Northwest Administrators full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    There where no Pros to this job.

    Cons

    No one got treated as an employee, just another number.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No Management, Lots of Micro managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

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

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

    I have been working at Northwest Administrators full-time

    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 ManagementAdvice

    Sorry 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.

    Northwest Administrators Response

    Jun 26, 2014HR Assistant

    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

  11. 7 people found this helpful  

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

    • 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 Northwest Administrators full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good 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.

    Cons

    Poor 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 ManagementAdvice

    Some 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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