Rubicon International

www.rubiconatlas.com
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Rubicon International Reviews

Updated February 10, 2015
Updated February 10, 2015
18 Reviews
2.4
18 Reviews
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Roger W. Smith
10 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    A firm with unlimited potential. Can it be capitalized upon?

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

    I worked at Rubicon International full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Overall, Rubicon is a good firm to work for, with a tremendous amount of potential to be GREAT firm to work for.

    The firm hires talented, hard-working people, who care deeply about their work and each other. There is a lot of camaraderie and fun in the office.

    There are opportunities for growth within the firm for those that do a good job, know their strengths and weaknesses, and advocate for themselves to craft a mutually beneficial career path.

    Nice benefits (good compensation, cell phones/tablets/home internet charges are reimbursed by the company), and beautiful office space.

    The firm recognizes it is growing rapidly and needs to change, although it is struggling a bit with how to implement that change.

    Cons

    Despite the fact that the firm has grown significantly in numbers over the past decade, it still operates with a small-firm mindset. The underlying culture, systems and daily operations are run more like a family than a growing business. While management cares deeply about everyone that works there, there is a tendency for that to materialize into an environment where personnel dynamics, traditional structure and historical tendencies overshadow the business needs of an expanding firm.

    Historically, hiring decisions are made based on whether the person is a “cultural fit,” and/or versatile enough to play different roles in the firm based on shifting needs or demands. As the firm grows, this “jack-of-all trades” mentality still hangs on. This leads to a lot of role ambiguity, resource management issues, lack of skillsets in specific areas of need, and overall discontent from folks who don’t have a clear direction. Potential candidates would be advised to know what skills they bring to the table, to articulate how they would contribute, and to get clarity on what role they would be playing BEFORE they come on to the firm.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make a decisive step forward, and commit to changing for a growing organization.

    Hire experienced talent based on specific roles/needs, and then provide the latitude and room to run with that experience.

    Evaluate and restructure internal tools, processes, and overall company structure to accommodate for future growth.

    Ask and listen to what your associates are asking for. A clear strategy and firm direction/organization vs. uber-flexible roles and an unclear product direction. Compensation and bonuses based on quality of work done vs. lavish parties. Mentorship, guidance and open, constructive feedback vs. traditional management and a hesitancy to empower associates to learn, make mistakes and grow. A work-life balance and more progressive/accommodating working environment vs. a traditional 40-hour in-the-office mindset. Listen to what motivates, drives and inspires your associates to be great. There is a lot of potential for the firm to do amazing things.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Beware! Don't get trapped at this ludicrous company.

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

    I worked at Rubicon International

    Pros

    Like others have said, they offer a competitive starting salary, cell phone, tablet, free snacks, good PTO, a lot of well educated, smart employees

    Cons

    Most of the employees there are either people looking for another job and are deeply dissatisfied, interns or new hires that don't know any better yet, or those that have been with the company for too many years and have so many non-transferable skills, that no other company would want them. There are a lot of cliques and it reminded me of being back in grade school. Employees can get away with bullying others and writing gossip to management in their joke of a review "tool" called twitter. There's no HR and absolutely no experienced managers (if you can even call them that) - instead, management is comprised of those that have been with the company since its inception or a few that have "worked their way up" that don't have any business leading others. Really, management is an illusion anyways because this whole circus is run by the CEO. There are "partners", but they have no ownership or power - they are figure heads. The focus is on absurdly expensive company parties and themes that have absolutely nothing to do with what we do as an organization. Priorities are completely out of whack, with everything is secretive, there's no business planning, no direction, wasted time in pointless meetings, and zero respect.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The culture is toxic and is deeply ingrained. I would say to trust your employees, be more transparent, have consistent performance measures, and prioritize better, but I think it's a lost cause. If the CEO is still sooo much in the weeds that he's still deciding everything from what type of granola bars to have as snacks, where people sit in the office (which changes every couple months), and salary (which is not at all tied to performance or reviews), I don't think there's hope.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    Bittersweet

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Rubicon International full-time

    Pros

    The people here are great and hard-working, with only a few exceptions. People are smart and want to make a difference in the world of education, which is very humbling and inspiring. Everyone has different strengths and usually they get leveraged appropriately for various projects. You do have the ability to say you are interested in exploring a different area of the firm and you may get the chance to, but not always. Office is nice (amazing 360* view of Portland) and the location is great, right downtown. People take pride in their appearance and are very active outdoors. As far as the work goes, each assignment is a bit different but overall repetitive. Rubicon is good at giving off an appearance that everything is calm and collected (though you'll quickly see it's a facade).

    Cons

    Work environment is challenging in that the office is at capacity but we keep trying to hire. And, with the way the interview process is setup, constant disruptions as they give office tours. We waste so many precious hours interviewing people to no avail.

    Management likes to operate as if they work for the CIA and all information is top-secret. There is no transparency or communication with employees as to where the firm is going. We see clients leaving and yet we keep hiring. Also, management is not open to change. Everything, including seating arrangements, still go through the CEO as if there were only 5 people working here and it was the year 1990. Not willing to relinquish control. At. All.

    We collect so much data but don't use it to make decisions. We do not listen to any clients.

    Last but not least, the benefits are a major challenge..let's start with retirement because it is something everyone should think about. Rigid 401k entry dates (Jan 1 or Jul 1 after 6 months of employment) and the company match is contributed annually as a lump sum. On top of that, you have to work here for 6 years until you are full vested in the company match for the 401k plan. This leaves no room for any change in life plans.
    For such a family-oriented company (they threw a separate kids Christmas party in 2014 which was awesome), the benefits do not reflect this. The company pays NOTHING for spouses or kids on the health plan. Great if you are single, but if you have kids or want kids some day this is not ideal. Also, they pay for your home internet which is very generous but then won't let you work from home n lieu of coming into the office.
    There is no compensation for transportation (bus pass, parking stipend).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Commit to changes proposed by the new partner and employees, both new and seasoned. Establish a vision and communicate it. BE TRANSPARENT. Enough with the secrets! Practice what you preach.
    Review your benefits package as you are not competitive in the Portland market.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
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  5. 9 people found this helpful  

    25+ Years and They Still Can't Figure It Out

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

    I have been working at Rubicon International full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    • Great benefits, including iPhone, iPad, home internet
    • Downtown office location with beautiful views
    • In general, fun/smart/hard-working co-workers that are second to none

    Cons

    • No Real HR: You cannot file grievances and there are no consequences for unprofessional behavior. Reviews are meant to be punitive, as is the internal “feedback” system that has a “don’t let the person know” option.
    • Ignorant Senior Members: Blatantly racist and insensitive comments are heard commonly (we are very diverse with multiple nationalities represented!), including from employees with long tenures. Leadership is aware and does not take any action despite complaints. You will be discriminated against for having a name that isn’t of Anglo-Saxon origins.
    • No Incentives/Consequences: The employee retention program requires 8 years of service before any reward is given and is currently “under review” (aka canceled). Good performing employees are “rewarded” with more work (no pay increase) while bad performing employees are cycled from team to team. Real rewards within the company are promotions that are mainly based on how long you’ve been there.
    • Loss of Professional Identity: While the “flat organization” or “you can wear many hats” pitch can be alluring, beware! Skills learned are mostly non-transferrable beyond Rubicon as many business practices, communication styles and its products are way out-of-date. (They define any new sales as “business development,” and women had to wear lipstick until about 5 years ago.)
    • Tattling Encouraged: Certain employees have been tapped by the CEO to be “eyes and ears,” meaning they report on social circles, who’s saying what about whom, etc. Immature behavior is often the case, including throwing others under the bus to get leadership’s attention. He also seems to do this for himself, by recording meetings and interviews (see below).
    • Employees are an Afterthought: No care or attention to professional development for employees. Quarterly company-wide share-outs of conference attendance or growing trends heard through the grapevine are considered PD. Don’t bother asking for it either—it’ll take 3 years before anything is approved. The office is decorated and maintained for the 2-3 clients that actually visit our premises, with most rooms outfitted with video cameras and microphones. Also, business attire in Portland?!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Step out of the way. You have hired smart, capable, extraordinary employees—listen to them! Be open to change and development. Address the REAL issues instead of covering them up. You have an obligation to your workforce to make your business successful.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    An example of one career path

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

    I have been working at Rubicon International full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I have developed both personally and professionally in numerous areas with Rubicon. While friends working elsewhere have had to job hop to gain new experiences, I’ve participated on various teams including Operations, Marketing, Client Service, Professional Development (both internal and external) and the Rubicon Foundation to name a few. Some opportunities I have created on my own and some have been asked of me due to company needs. When I benchmark myself against peers in the community, I am comfortable with my depth in my area of expertise and satisfied I haven't been pigeon holed in to one career track. I have experienced Rubicon’s commitment to providing a broad range of opportunities to develop it’s associates and their capabilities.

    Cons

    Historically change has been slow, but that seems to be changing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue on the positive path you are on.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 7 people found this helpful  

    Brilliant people. Bright future.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Rubicon International full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Rubicon is full of brilliant, well-intentioned, staff members who look out for each other and the best interests of the firm. While Rubicon has gone through some growing pains and needs to update some process and roles to match the firm’s size, I’m optimistic about the firm’s ability to grow and innovate in the future.

    Cons

    Rubicon is still catching up to its growth in many ways and still operates like a smaller firm in terms of both business processes and culture. As Rubicon continues to grow and scale, it will need to rely on a little more structure and strategy (as opposed to personality and opportunity) to be successful.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Prepare for growth. Take care of your staff. Be transparent with firm strategy and goals.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 8 people found this helpful  

    Extremely volatile and poor management, amazing team

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

    I worked at Rubicon International full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Good benefits: medical, dental, vision, disability short and long etc.

    401K eligible after 6 months with company match

    4 weeks vacation + 1 week sick leave

    Offers decent work-life balance if you manage to get a cool/understanding team lead. Not consistent throughout the company

    Cons

    Volatile CEO and management.

    Back-stabbing is the name of the game here. The CEO gets off on listening in on all the gossip. He literally has tasked somebody in finding out all the "dirt" that is going on in order to use it as leverage during reviews (if you ever get one).

    There is an internal tool they built called "twitter" to allow for anonymous (to the unlucky recipient) messages to be sent to management about anybody in the office. Obviously, it was and is abused to tell/complain about minor things that could be addressed with a simple conversation. Instead- it creates a suspicious and low morale environment since you never know which coworker complained about you. As a user, you can see that something is posted in regards to you but not the contents of it or who sent it. They sell the use of this tool as a "way to provide feedback of your coworkers". You only really find out what that "feedback" is... when/if you get a performance review. It then gets taken into account, while you get to be taken by surprise about something that might have happened weeks/months/years ago.

    Extremely irregular performance reviews. Some people get them yearly... and several members haven't had one in 2-4 years. In other words, some people have not had pay raises in 2-4 years and with no exception of when you will get one since they occur on the whim of the CEO.

    Decisions are made by only one partner. Everything is filtered through him. Even though the company has 5-6 team leads... they actually don't do anything except relay information to the partner who makes all the sole decisions. Months of work have been thrown away at a whim, or mood swing. There has been a lot of back-tracking on work. A waste of employee time and effort. Another reason morale is down across the board.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please retire. The endless cycle of terrible management has created a toxic environment all around. Allow the talented people you have hired to actually do their job. Kill Twitter. It is toxic and the most unproductive "tool" we have ever encountered.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 7 people found this helpful  

    job-seekers beware

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

    I worked at Rubicon International full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    4 weeks vacation
    higher starting salaries
    generally smart and nice colleagues. They hire ambitious, intelligent, dependable people but their talent is ultimately wasted

    Cons

    -no HR. This company thrives on gossip and arbitrary rules set in place by the CEO that essentially just likes to watch you squirm. Employees have no protection and are at the whim of "upper level management's" moods (if you can even call them that. they are just there to make it look like the CEO isn't the only one calling the shots when he is).

    -the lack of HR also allows actual illegal behavior to pass as acceptable. Several employees and former employees have either sued or discussed this as a viable option.

    -they try to advertise the company as a "flat organization." Do not be fooled by this. It is corporate jargon for "zero growth opportunity."

    -incredibly high turnover in recent years. some of the best people at the company have left within the last year or 2 years. the only people that are still there are either: new, looking for a job, or have been there so long that they know their skills most likely wouldn't be valued at a new company.

    -salaries: they may start you higher than other places but they are 100% arbitrary and not at all based on performance. They are NOT tied to performance reviews!

    -Performance reviews are basically an excuse to tell you all the things that people don't like about you. You have very little PD even though they tout this as a benefit.

    -Tenured and fulltime associates are treated with little respect, while interns are treated like royalty for whatever reason. It doesn't work though, because most are smart enough not to come back full time.

    -The product is incredibly outdated. It has not helped one single school.

    -the travel is a thankless burden.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    A highly educated and diverse team

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Rubicon International full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The team at Rubicon is highly diverse and educated. The culture in the office is highly cooperative and every associate is invested in the success of new associates.
    The atmosphere even though is very formal, the team is very laid back outside of the office and very active.
    Associate lunches are encouraged by the firm to be able to build relationships between team and feel connected and successes are celebrated firm wide.
    Overall the work is fulfilling because of the service we provide to teachers and personally is also enjoyable because of the people I work with.

    Cons

    Given that it's a rapid growth organization there are growing pains but that also provides great potential.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 6 people found this helpful  

    Anytime now, Google.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Rubicon International

    Pros

    -Nice kitchen, espresso and "treats"
    -Beautiful office
    -Amazing people
    -Amazing clients

    Cons

    -NO HR. BEWARE.
    -Manages by fear
    -Totally arbitrary dress code that doesn't fit the client base or modern times
    -Outdated software product, amazing it is still a competitor
    -90% of leadership is a joke
    -Mass exodus of talent
    -No clear vision or innovation
    -CEO is a loose cannon
    -No consistency in pay, mission, reviews, objectives, professional development, meetings
    -No message is ever simple. It has to be buried in metaphors and poorly written story lines.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Retire. Step out of the way for fresh leadership.

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