Open Society Institute (OSI)
3.9 of 5 15 reviews
www.opensocietyfoundations.org New York, NY 150 to 499 Employees

Open Society Institute (OSI) Reviews

Updated Mar 12, 2014

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3.9 15 reviews

                             

100% Approve of the CEO

Open Society Institute (OSI) President Aryeh Neier

Aryeh Neier

(6 ratings)

90% of employees recommend this company to a friend
15 Employee Reviews
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    Great working environment with modest compensation but great benefits.

    Program Officer (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsYoung, energetic and intelligent staff.

    ConsSome dysfunctional office politics and little accountability at senior levels.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    unique organization that straddles between casual nonprofit and large bureaucratic organization

    Program Associate (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsFor staff who are not at the most senior level, compensation is maybe only moderately better than the average range for nonprofits. Generous benefits such as tuition reimbursement, free lunch, and employer contribution to 403b are supposed to make up for the lower than average (compared to other foundations of the same size) compensation. There are always a lot of events going and it's a great way to be exposed to policy issues related to the foundation's mission. The foundation attracts really smart and passionate people and for the most part, your co-workers are some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet. If you're willing, you can develop strong friendships with co-workers. The current office has a lot of sunlight, compared to the previous office on 59th Street.

    ConsThe foundation is very large and each grantmaking program can feel like it's operating in its own silo within the larger foundation network. It's not uncommon to see people in the building and not have any idea who they are or what they do. Because programs tend to work in a silo, if you're unlucky and work for a program that has a director/manager with poor managerial skills, your work experience can be very unsatisfactory, even if the foundation as a whole is a decent place to work.

    The foundation has two main types of programs, those that make grants and those that operate programs. There are a lot guidelines and procedures to follow with respect to grantmaking and contracts; as such, the bureaucracy can be frustrating. If you're interested in philanthropy and grantmaking, this is just part of the package. If you're interested in operating/developing programs, the grantmaking programs may not be for you. At the same time, as a funder, the grantmaking program enables you to partner with organizations working in the field/sector that the foundation is funding.

    There's no real way for advancement internally, particularly for people below the program officer level. For grantmaking staff below the program officer level, the lack of growth and professional development for younger staff can be stifling, leading to regular turnovers after 2-4 years. This is a natural cycle of the foundation attracting talented and ambitious young people who are sometimes over-qualified for admin-heavy roles, but unfortunately there isn't the infrastructure (or organizational desire) to develop and keep young talents.

    The current office is open plan, so be prepared to work in a cubicle.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDon't hire over-qualified people-- they will be unhappy and disappointed in their experience. Hire for what the job is, not what the job could be. Hire more admin staff tho shift the burden from program staff. Invest in professional development and developing a strong office culture (not just holiday parties and summer barbecues). Be strategic, thoughtful, and consistent in your funding priorities based on the need of the field; don't revise funding priorities or make grants based on specific board members' interests.

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    Consulting

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsVery supportive management; collegial work environment with highly talented and competent colleagues

    ConsLimited vacancy openings to remain with the company following completion of contract

    Advice to Senior ManagementOffer more transitional programs for competent consultants to remain on board full time.

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Prestigious and substantive work environment, talented colleagues, and extremely fast paced

    Program Officer (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsGreat access to resources, a lot of travel, great international networking environment, lots of perks including free lunches daily, vacation between Christmas and New Years Day, good health insurance, ability to use frequent flyer miles for personal use (with a fee),

    ConsEasy to get burned out, high stress, intense travel, mid-level salaries are low compared to industry standards.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSupport employees with a better HR department, ensure senior management receive leadership training

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    1 person found this helpful  

    The Pinnacle

    Senior Program Officer (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsBenefits and perks, colleagues, meaningful work, fun work environment, opportunities for travel and to learn on the job, professional growth

    ConsIncreased bureaucracy, managers often not effective, varies greatly from department

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe accessible to staff

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Very nice

    Program Coordinator (Former Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsVery smart and interesting colleagues, diverse and varied workload, happy employees,

    ConsA lot of admin work, not much training provided in grant making or monitoring and evaluation even though most people who work there don't begin with a background in these areas

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Excellent benefits, so/so room for career advancement

    (Current Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsThe benefits of working at OSI are really great and working for an organization that has a professional presence in over 70 countries worldwide really does give you a taste of working for a leading INGO. There are many people at OSI, mostly at upper management level, who seem to have been at OSI for an extremely long time which is nice to see.

    ConsDue to the ad hoc structure of many aspects of OSI it's extremely difficult to wrap your head around the OSI structure of the network and what is considered 'standard OSI operating procedure'. Also, unlike upper management, there seems to be a somewhat consistent turnover rate at the mid to lower-staff level due to lack of career growth opportunities. Lastly, while there are excellent benefits to the job there is definitely some pressure to work long hours e.g. a culture of working through lunch.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Work/Life Balance
           
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    2 people found this helpful  

    Good place to start a career, few growth opportunities

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    New York, NY

    ProsGreat benefits, nice offices, and important mission. For entry level employees, it is very hard to move up. For mid-level career, it is rather static. But the work is constantly changing and there are great opportunities to travel internationally.

    ConsCompensation is low compared to other foundations, and senior management are not always aware of the staff burdens it takes to run grantmaking programs. Staff are often overworked. Easy to burn out quickly.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSenior management needs better training in management and allocating adequate resources and staff time to programs.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great colleagues, interesting areas of engagement!

    Senior Program Officer (Current Employee)

    ProsYou get to meet really interesting professionals, colleagues are generally nice and the organisation tries to keep bureaucracy to minimum. OSI is a great organisation in terms of connections and networks, although greater interaction and knowledge exchange would be helpful.

    Conslittle accountability at senior management level, not adequate career advancement opportunities within the local Foundations. Communication among various "departments" within OSI is an issue, but hopefully one that is being recognised as an issue and will be addressed. There is little focus on formal training opportunities for staff

    Advice to Senior Managementmore training and professional growth opportunities for staff would be great, some form of management assessment would definitely be helpful

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Very many good moments and an equal number of bad moments, some very bad

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat organizational vision; great potential for growth; broad coverage of issues and geographical space; amazing grantees and partnerships; great colleagues and good pay.

    ConsVery confusing structure leading to many turf wars among program heads to the detriment of program beneficiaries : there is also lack of consistency in programming and lack of control and accountability of program heads.I had an abusive program director who seemed accountable to no one. The lack of accountability at program head level also creates room for mediocrity since the program heads appoint whomever they want.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to the staff who keep the wheels of the organization turning. They are on the ground and they too have a story.

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Open Society Institute (OSI) reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Open Society Institute (OSI) CEO Aryeh Neier. All 15 reviews posted anonymously by Open Society Institute (OSI) employees.