Samasource Reviews

Updated March 4, 2015
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3.7
14 Reviews
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Samasource Founder & CEO Leila Janah
Leila Janah
11 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. A social enterprise that has matured its overall management without stagnating its impact growth.

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Everyone is super nice with an array of talents from different backgrounds. The company still feels small enough where I feel like I'm making a significant contribution. And there are lots of exciting things to work on throughout the Sama Group.

    Cons

    Pay is still below market, and hiring can be a challenge with such a competitive market in San Francisco.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focused on impact and don't diverge too much on time-consuming distractions.

  2. An exciting, innovative place to work.

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of new perks and policies committed to employees. Fun place to work. Probably the biggest perk are the people at Sama. Everyone is incredibly smart, accomplished, and motivated by our mission. The mission and values are pervasive at Sama and are incorporated into everything we do. Managers are great, a culture of open feedback. The direction the company is heading is very exciting and I expect a lot of growth as we continue to move forward with our mission. Open office space, no one is stuck at their desk, there are lots of couches and other areas to work. Plenty of activities to encourage office bonding and cross-team interactions.

    Cons

    Not enough space! We have outgrown our space and its starting to get crowded. Also, it can get very hot inside of the office and there are not enough windows.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you've been doing! Things have really changed in the past year for the better and there have been many improvements.

  3. Great mission, sometimes needs help with execution

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Samasource is full of smart and enthusiastic people. People are generally eager to help you when you need it. There's tons of room for growth. For a non-profit, their compensation packages are pretty competitive.

    Cons

    While there may be tons of room for growth, the path for that growth is not always well defined. Also, the passion about the mission can actually lead to burn out quickly. The company needs to be more proactive in not allowing its people to get to that point.

    Advice to Management

    More focus in priorities and projects -- just like you can't change the world in a day, you can't do all you'd like to do to end poverty and its effects "right now". Sometimes doing really well on a project will mean saying "no" to another equally powerful initiative. That's just the economics of time and energy.

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  5. Growing company doing great work.

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

    I have been working at Samasource

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people - lots of talented, interesting people. Rewarding work that makes a difference in peoples lives. Open start up culture. Strong management team that is working hard to build relationships. Company looking at different ways to improve the employee experience and continue doing meaningful work.

    Cons

    Location - right in the heart of the mission and can be a difficult place to come to work. But the company knows that and is addressing it. Also, because it is a start up, it is sometimes easy to get pulled into something with very little notice. This can make it stressful to stay on track and get everything done. And there can be some hostility between certain departments that needs to be addressed.

    Advice to Management

    Work towards transparent communication, sharing information between departments and addressing issues as they come up. Growing causes growing pains and adjustments have to be made to accommodate that.

  6. Helpful (2)

    Fabulous Working Environment, With a Few Kinks!

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    -The people here are by and large the most intelligent, hardest working, and wonderful you could hope for. It feels like a family much of the time!
    -The office itself is quite nice, with fun amenities like lots of snacks, beverages, and it's dog-friendly!
    -The mission of the organization is fantastic, as are the people we work with overseas.
    -Schedules are very flexible, and though there is a ton of work to be done, you are still able to work around your other commitments.
    -Benefits are more than adequate, and include full health, dental, vision, life, plus little bonuses like cell phone and gym stipends.

    Cons

    -Leadership can be garbled at times. Individual teams are wonderful, but there is sometimes friction between teams and C-Level staff is often too distant or ill-informed to provide any assistance.
    -The actual building that houses the office and the area of the Mission are pretty awful and scary. Once you get off Mission St there are lots of wonderful restaurants and shops, but the immediate area is gritty and dangerous.
    -The CEO is a visionary and very intelligent, educated, and hard working, but extremely difficult to relate to. I think this is typical for big-idea people, but it can be grating on an interpersonal level. Most frustratingly, you can expect that it will always appear that Sama is a one-woman show (it's not, really, there are dozens of incredible people behind the scenes who make it happen!). Of course, we wouldn't exist without her, but it would be nice to feel a little more valued by her for making Sama what it is today.

    Advice to Management

    Overall, management is hard at work scaling the organization, improving processes, recruiting fantastic people, and making the organization all that it has the potential to be.

  7. An innovative social enterprise and a great place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Junior Chief of Staff in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Junior Chief of Staff in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Samasource full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Sama is one of the best young, innovative social enterprises to work at today, having been one of major organizations contributing to the early growth of impact sourcing as an industry. Unlike other organizations in the space, the leadership is truly working to create a sustainable, break even business that has a huge social impact globally. The team is fun and passionate - all with diverse, unique world views, and most with previous experience working in developing countries in the field. The Founder and CEO, Leila Janah, is able to clearly and passionately communicate her vision and mission in a way that compels people from all backgrounds to contribute to the cause: providing opportunity to those born into poverty. I highly recommend working at Sama, especially if you want to have a career in social enterprise or social entrepreneurship.

    Cons

    Because the organization is still relatively young, it operates like a startup. For some from big corporate and traditional non-profit backgrounds, this can be a little shocking not having a lot of established processes or certainty in strategy. For others, it's a dream. You need to have a complete sense of accountability and transparency with your work to be able to fit in with the culture, and for some, that can be an adjustment. Because the organization is still firmly registered non-profit legally, salary packages are not reflective of the for-profit rates, although they're able to recruit some of the best talent from the for-profit world regardless. The organization has a tough application and interview process, and has a tendency to offer contract to hire positions instead of immediately providing a job offer. This works well to find a good cultural match internally for the longer term, but can be stressful and irritating to new hires initially.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to recruit mainly for-profit and technology background experience, especially in more senior roles. Avoid hiring for experience in political fundraising and traditional non-profit management.

  8. Run away

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Social Cause which great concept

    Cons

    Terrible CEO
    Good at MARKETING
    Good in self promotion only

    Advice to Management

    Treat people with respect the way you sell your services

  9. Helpful (4)

    Promising mission but not executing properly

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - CEO is inspiring, hard-working and highly visible leader that has brought significant attention and funding to the business
    - Tackling a real problem and making a tiny, but genuinely helpful, impact
    - Non CEO employees are nice, hard-working and aligned

    Cons

    - For all her benefits, the CEO is the biggest issue. Quite simply, the company will never succeed until they replace her
    - Turnover has probably been 75% in the past year, and includes entry-level employees all the way to the COO and board of directors
    - Low morale in an environment that should be the opposite; people don't seem to enjoy coming to work, and that starts at the top
    - Talented employees are not incentivized to stay or to work on other things; without high pay or stock options, the company needs to give them other reasons to stick around
    - CEO has unreasonably high expectations which not only frustrates employees but in turn affects current clients

  10. Helpful (5)

    Get ready for a rocky ride.

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    1. This IS a cool company in 100 ways.
    2. Most of the people here are amazing, great and interesting people.
    3. You will be given the opportunity to really own and build something to drive change -- not always, but at times.
    4. General management team (including current COO) are strong, passionate, and reasonable.
    5. Culture is good: respectful, fun-loving people.

    Cons

    Turnover is above and beyond what is 'normal' for a start-up or for a nonprofit. These are what I believe are the biggest reasons why:

    1. Constant irrational demands from the top with unprofessional and patronizing delivery.
    2. Money, HR, processes, and high level decisions are not managed well.
    3. No efforts have been made to retain high performers. Their exits have hurt the company, year after year, since inception.

    Advice to Management

    Your employees are not solely your pawns and are not stupid -- you need them just as they need you. You should trust your employees. Do not talk down, frame, misdirect, or ignore them. Try to resist "going through the motions", "quick fixes", and "checking the box" -- especially for major decisions. Continue to make steps in the right direction which will lead to improvement in both the short and long-term success of the company. The last few months have been promising.

  11. Helpful (6)

    Lots of Promise, But Ultimately a Disappointment

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - Located in SF
    - Smart, talented, dedicated, fun staff
    - Social mission
    - Genuine respect between most employees
    - Great outward facing company image
    - Excellent at framing/storytelling
    - Hiring a COO is a step in the right direction but she needs full control to be successful

    Cons

    - Extremely high turnover: out of a 30 person office, in the last 12 months 18 FTEs have quit, 3 have been let go
    - Highly inexperienced, micromanaging senior leadership (CEO, VP Operations)
    - CEO is arguably the biggest reason for people leaving (difficult personality, lack of true business experience, egotistical behavior)
    - Unstable business model -- missteps on the business side are gravely hurting the social mission
    - Serious lack of focus and direction, major decisions and opinions change daily
    - No alignment between Sales-Delivery-Marketing-Development team goals and direction
    - Poor HR practices (no escalation process, no formal HR, no managerial oversight)
    - HR and Finance are run uprofessionally by people without any experience
    - Sensitive information (i.e. HR, pay, role changes) are handled without professionalism and stored in public folders
    - Very tense/awkward office environment (negative culture)
    - Little to no financial transparency
    - No career path
    - Arbitrary promotions and raises (not based on tenure, merit, or path)
    - Not family friendly (long hours, no PTO for working or expectant parents)
    - Lack of work-life balance is what is valued, not performance
    - Favoritism (those “close” to upper management are out of the office 40% of the time)
    - Acts like a start up when it’s convenient and a nonprofit when it’s convenient
    - Wasteful with resources

    Advice to Management

    - Be honest!!! Do not deceive or “frame” constantly
    - Trust and value your employees
    - Do not lead by fear, threats or intimidation
    - Do not lead by negativity and criticism
    - Bring in experienced leadership
    - Focus less on short term fixes and address the real reasons why employees are unhappy
    - Don’t just go through the motions of pretending to care about employees
    - Make sure employees have a real career path
    - Follow HR/legal practices

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