Open Society Institute (OSI)

www.opensocietyfoundations.org

Open Society Institute (OSI) Reviews

Updated December 23, 2014
Updated December 23, 2014
18 Reviews
3.8
18 Reviews
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Open Society Institute (OSI) President Aryeh Neier
Aryeh Neier
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Good to go

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

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI)

    Pros

    They are awesome, I was a fellow

    Cons

    There are none that I can say

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE!!!

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

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits, great vacation package (that you can never fully take because of your workload), daily lunch (that you must eat at your desk while eating), great location on mid-town NYC, colleagues that are some of the most interesting, cultured, traveled people that you will ever meet (with few exceptions), best parties for the employees in the summer and the holidays (all you can eat and drink... so be aware!) excellent supply of office equipment, etc.

    Cons

    The most horrible place to work at. It is like working for a corporation that pretends to be a non-profit organization. After 5 (five) of the most grueling stressful years of work I left with nothing but a red clot in my curriculum-vitae. The HR department does not help you. There's no accountability for your boss they can treat you like nothing. If you get an annual review that is negative you better know that you are out of the door sooner rather than later. Lots of internal politics and gossip: BE AWARE! They denied the benefits to my partner which in a Human Rights international organization could be considered as a disgrace. I was verbally assaulted by my boss with an F word, threats etc. and nothing happened. This organization with a national & international reputation is a farce. DO NOT LET their fame confuse you. YOU will be burnt out in no time and please leave on time so that you do not get a "bad" review on your second or third year. They will treat you like a dog! Believe me! They will try to make you resign not to give you any $$$!!! Their own past CEO used to describe OSI with this words: A SOFT DICTATORSHIP!!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be real. Stop trying to pretend and by showing the world that you are doing great Human Rights work while chewing and treating your staff like animals.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Great place to do good

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI) as a contractor

    Pros

    Good benefits - free lunch once a week, company parties, casual work environment. I was just a temp and the treated me very well and it was like a real internship experience.

    Cons

    It's unclear what the growth structure is.

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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    unique organization that straddles between casual nonprofit and large bureaucratic organization

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Program Associate in New York, NY

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI) full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    For 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.

    Cons

    The 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 ManagementAdvice

    Don'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.

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great working environment with modest compensation but great benefits.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Officer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Program Officer in New York, NY

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Young, energetic and intelligent staff.

    Cons

    Some dysfunctional office politics and little accountability at senior levels.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Consulting

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI) as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer more transitional programs for competent consultants to remain on board full time.

  8. 1 person found this helpful  

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

    Former Employee - Program Officer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Program Officer in New York, NY

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great 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),

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Support employees with a better HR department, ensure senior management receive leadership training

  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    The Pinnacle

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Program Officer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Program Officer in New York, NY

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI) full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be accessible to staff

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Very nice

    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in New York, NY

    I worked at Open Society Institute (OSI) full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

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

    Cons

    A 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

  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Excellent benefits, so/so room for career advancement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at Open Society Institute (OSI)

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    Due 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.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

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