Rainforest Alliance

www.rainforest-alliance.org
Engaged Employer

Rainforest Alliance Reviews

Updated August 12, 2015
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27 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great field work, weak management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Manager in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Rainforest Alliance full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great mission, exciting and innovative work, fantastic and dedicated field staff. The organization has been ahead of its time for many years, and its work is now recognized more broadly and accepted as a mainstream strategy for conservation and development.

    Cons

    Senior management is not transparent with decision making, and can be out of touch with realities on the ground. Decision making can be very slow at times, and management can be reactionary. Too many Vice Presidents in recent years, with more power concentrated at the top, in HQ. There is a need to invest in professional management training courses, and improved business systems and processes. Still has a small-organization style that needs to be upgraded.

    Advice to Management

    Recognize and promote your great people, and avoid becoming top heavy with new VPs. Invest in the systems and processes needed for continued growth and efficiency.


  2. Good career kick off, lots of room for growth

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

    Pros

    In my experience, if one proved his or her worth, demonstrated the ability to innovate, and had the right supervisor, greater responsibilities and independence were quick to follow. It was a great position for me to be in as a first step in my career. I feel like I made a real impact on the organization. I could have stayed longer - there were many opportunities to redefine the work I wanted to do. Good benefits. The office environment was great and the organization attracts interesting people. Some of my closest friends are still the people I worked with at the Rainforest Alliance.

    Cons

    I think one of the keys to my experience was how cross-divisional my positions always were; this allowed me to get to know the organization well. At the time I was there, the authority and room for growth that employees were given varied greatly based on the character of their supervisors. At the time I was there the organization was growing quickly, which provided many opportunities for short- and long-time staff to adapt. Some long-time staff took up those opportunities better than others.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Unique organization

    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Rainforest Alliance full-time

    Pros

    Rainforest Alliance is one of the most impactful organizations in the world. With less than a $50 million budget, RA impacts millions of lives and has permanently transformed the practices of huge global supply chains. For people seeking to "make a difference" in the world through their work, this is an incredible place to be. It is a creative, complex, dynamic place filled with hardworking, inspiring people around the world. Lots of opportunities to evolve and grow professionally and personally, as RA's "world" ranges from small farmers to the CEOs of huge companies, and pretty much everything in between.

    Cons

    RA's model of change has created a complex organization that is very difficult to manage. The pace of change can be a challenge to deal with - this is not a good fit for people seeking a "steady job." People looking to "senior management" for solutions, vs. taking responsibility, do not do well at RA. Nor do people who are not mission-oriented. For a non-profit, the organization is surprisingly conservative and risk averse.

    Advice to Management

    Hire people with strong personal alignment to RA's mission and core values. Experiment with more decentralized approaches to management. Loosen up.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Great place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Communications Management in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Communications Management in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Rainforest Alliance (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The Rainforest Alliance is a dynamic, constantly evolving, exciting place to work. It is a rapidly growing and evolving organization that responds to the ever-changing threats to biodiversity and communities around the world -- working here is never boring! It is the perfect place for dynamic, solution-seeking, proactive people who embrace and are excited by change. Across the organization, staff is comprised of motivated, smart, interesting and friendly people. In my time at RA, I've received the tools and training I needed to grow in my job, and now, as a manager, have always been able to secure the resources needed for my team to take classes and attend conferences. The Division I work in is run by a supportive, passionate, dedicated, extremely competent and intelligent veteran of the organization who regularly encourages staff at all levels to share questions, concerns and ideas. We work hard, and take the time to celebrate successes. Decisions are made collaboratively and in a transparent manner.

    Cons

    The organization has experienced very rapid growth over the past 5-10 years and has faced understandable challenges in making large-scale updates to internal systems. Leadership has made this a priority and the proper systems are now in place. There is not a particularly high turnover rate among mid-level management and advancement opportunities for junior-level staff may not always be available, depending on the division you work in.

    Advice to Management

    Continue efforts to increase communication with field offices and use the year-end evaluation exercise to make sure that all managers are effectively mentoring and building capacity among junior level staff.


  6. Helpful (1)

    The people make the difference

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager
    Current Employee - Senior Manager
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Rainforest Alliance full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The RA has built a knowledgeable, dedicated, down-to-earth team that believes in the mission and the work that it takes to achieve it. This is evidenced in the fact that it has a lot of influence for a relatively small organization. At the same time, colleagues are friendly and have a sense of humor - which is sooo important! The benefits are great. There is room for creativity and opportunity for advancement. Overall, a collegial and pleasant place to work.

    Cons

    The organization has undergone some growing pains, having developed rapidly in both size and effect. As is often the case in these situations, certain systems and processes have yet to fully catch up. But these have been steadily improving, with new strategies in place and a positive outlook for the future.


  7. Fantastic work environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Communications in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Communications in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Rainforest Alliance full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Coworkers are -- for the most part -- smart, competent, fun, and a pleasure to be around. People truly care about the mission. Time off is generous and work environment is relaxed.

    Cons

    Office politics at the most senior level can be frustrating when it trickles down. Having to deal with HR is the worst. Pay is low.


  8. review

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

    I have been working at Rainforest Alliance full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The impact made by the organization in the field is unparalleled. There are talented, dedicated people who work at RA and who enjoy working with each other. There is a strong focus on hiring locally in the overseas offices and the organization works hard at developing strong work plans, objectives and indicators. There have been many programmatic successes and the organization has always balanced its budget. Many, though not all, positions are filled by promotions within the organization.

    Cons

    There is a lot of work and everyone is stretched. There is constant change and evolution--both within the organization and in the field of sustainability, so people have to be able to manage change. There are too many things to do with too few resources.

    Advice to Management

    Better celebrate people's accomplishments and support a healthy work-life balance.


  9. Perfectly friendly, very bureaucratic

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. The organization is very streamlined and could easily make room for an intern, which is not always the case. The office is beautiful!

    Cons

    The organization felt very bureaucratic. A seemingly large amount of communication happened over the internet and not in personal interactions.

    Advice to Management

    While everyone is friendly and personable, the organization as a whole felt too bureaucratic and impersonal. It would be better if more one-on-one interactions were initiated.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Hit or Miss

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Rainforest Alliance full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The mission is amazing and my colleagues were smart, motivated and passionate. Exposure to global sustainable development issues; beautiful office in New York.

    Cons

    Very heavy on "politics." The organization is top heavy, there is a lack of transparency and very little opportunity for growth. They pay is awful and while the benefits are very good they hardly compensate for the low pay (you can check form 990 to get some perspective). Spread too thin and trying to do too much. Crazy turnover. Poor relationship between management at headquarters and field office teams. A big caveat is that some departments are significantly better than others; the forestry program is a highlight.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate better and more often to your employees through regular town halls, emails, meetings etc. Introduce 360 reviews. Hold people accountable and figure out how to deal with the growing pains.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Organization in Turmoil

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Rainforest Alliance (More than a year)

    Pros

    Organization with noble mission. Smart, passionate colleagues who try to make a difference in the organization. Decent salary for non-profit. Good benefits package which include Summer Friday scheduling.

    Cons

    Extremely weak, indecisive senior management. Organization spends too much time fighting internally (Programs vs Finance & Admin) than on what needs to be done to work more effectively and efficiently. Too much time and resources spent on preparing and planning for various organization-wide initiatives, with very limited follow-through, if at all. Overall, a shortsighted and highly reactive organization. Most Managers and Directors do not have the basic skills to manage and lead teams, and there are no funds to invest on their training, even if the organization were inclined to do so. High turnover rate, especially in recent months. More change to come especially with the recent departure of the CFO and the coming departure of three of his Director-level direct reports who resigned at the same time. The CEO is leaving as well. It will definitely be an interesting and challenging time ahead for those who remain in the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Put individual egos and agendas aside. Think bigger picture. Stop the paralysis by analysis, and be prepared to make difficult decisions, quickly and efficiently. There is a time and place for consensus-building - learn when and how. And be better at managing staff expectations.



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