Seneca Family of Agencies

  www.senecacenter.org
  www.senecacenter.org

Seneca Family of Agencies Reviews

Updated October 16, 2014
Updated October 16, 2014
84 Reviews
4.4
84 Reviews
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Seneca Family of Agencies CEO Ken Berrick
Ken Berrick
61 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Seneca Family of Agencies provides exceptional services to kids in need (in 9 reviews)

  • They also strive to support staff's efforts to promote within the agency and will work with you if that's a goal (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • It appears that finding work/life balance is a thing to watch out for (in 6 reviews)

  • Working for a mental health agency can be challenging in the amount of bureaucracy and red tape that we deal with (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Physically and emotionally demanding job, but the culture makes the place special

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Residential Counselor in Concord, CA
    Former Employee - Residential Counselor in Concord, CA

    I worked at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The culture, staff and training are exceptional. My co-workers felt like a big family. I am still friends with the people I worked with.

    Cons

    Hard to promote. Pay is subpar. No retirement plan. Direct care staff are easy to replace, so eventually staff end up leaving if they don't get promoted or considered for future positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase the pay and offer better benefits.

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

    Supportive Foundation

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

    I have been working at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Seneca's commitment to supporting their employees is something I have found to be a truly unique experience, not only peer-to-peer support, but from management and above. It is very helpful in the work that we do to have a solid foundation of support in order to offer the same support to our client's. My experience working at Seneca has been such that even on days I might not want to go to work, I still look forward to the end of my day when I feel I have contributed something to the lives of our families and fellow employees.

    Cons

    Work/life balance can be difficult to maintain when working within Seneca's "Unconditional Care Model." This dilemma is an active conversation within the agency, and although discussed, is often easier said than done to manage.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    quality care and commitment to standards, only limited by the 24 hour day

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

    I have been working at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Seneca culture is dedication to safety and collaborative care. The standards by which we are expected to adhere are top notch, and it feels good to be a part of a community that never takes the "easy" route. I get to say I love all of my co-workers and supervisors and who gets to say that?

    Cons

    Finding a work/life balance working with vulnerable families and adhering to high standards can be difficult. It doesn't appear that many of the direct-care positions are geared towards longevity as the salary and retirement options are lower than comparable agencies. That said, I have appreciated the level of transparency about this from the powers that be and made the choice to work here regardless because the other benefits (supervision, licensure support, culture, training) outweighed the concerns. I may feel differently in another 5 years but I'll worry about that then.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I am so in awe of the company leadership I really cannot think of a thing I would change that I feel would be in their control. Collective discontents have been shared, heard and addressed by HR/management (for example: healthcare offering changes) and I genuinely trust our leadership. I guess my advice would be to keep at it...

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Unconditional Care

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

    I have been working at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Everyone who works here genuinely wants to be here and has a passion for helping children & families. There are regular trainings to keep employees up to date on current practices, and scholarship opportunities to pursue higher education. There are also opportunities to move to different programs throughout the agency and explore different career options.

    Cons

    Although the work is incredibly rewarding, it can also be challenging and there is high turnover. Also, there is no retirement plan.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As the agency has grown, there has been a shift away from taking care of the employees in the way SFA once did. Resources seem to be stretched thinner and the financial cost to employees has increased. It would also be nice to have a retirement plan.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    I work as a Case Assistant with Seneca and have never felt more inspired and supported by my coworkers.

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

    I have been working at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Seneca hires incredibly compassionate and friendly people who are truly devoted to the well-being of the kids we work with. Each person I have met shows that to me. All employees, whether clinical or administrative, are required to go through a Basic Training process that really emphasizes the organization's commitment to unconditional care. I have been working here for 4 months and feel rewarded every day. So happy to have found this organization.

    Cons

    Working with emotionally disturbed youth can be exhausting. Remember to lean on coworkers or the Employee Assistance Program for self-care. However, these kids are truly incredible and all the challenges are well-worth it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have met Ken twice since becoming an employee. He consistently speaks about his passion and devotion to the kids we work with. Such a genuine, kind-hearted human. Very accessible and friendly.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Meaningful work that challenges you

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

    I worked at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Staff are committed to the agency's values, agency provides a lot of room for growth, good benefits

    Cons

    Can be difficult to not take work stress home with you, the work is difficult for the level of compensation you get

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    A hard-working, compassionate organization with coworkers who are as dynamic in personality as the clients.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mental Health Counselor in Oakland, CA
    Current Employee - Mental Health Counselor in Oakland, CA

    I have been working at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    A strong organizational structure allows employees to communicate and address their concerns quickly. Coworkers are hard-working, compassionate, funny, and possess fantastic personalities. The work you do with the clients is rewarding and you are able to visually see the investments you make in the children everyday. The challenging environment encourages you to develop important skills such as leadership, critical-thinking, conflict mediation, communication, and relationship building. The relationships you build with individual clients leave a resonating impact on you and motivates you to learn and develop a deeper understanding of people. Feedback and communication are vital as your thoughts, values, and opinion are not simply heard, they can actually affect or change your location's policies and culture. Seneca is well respected throughout the Bay Area and it's name is usually instantly recognizable by other organizations.

    Cons

    Depending on what position you take coming into Seneca, you will quickly learn why this job is not for everyone. Although "sink-or-swim" is a hyperbole, only people with the strongest characters and the ability to adapt to changing situations can grow to become effective workers; those who lack those qualities tend to fall by the wayside. Thick skin and humor are necessary traits. A lot of times you will feel overworked and underpaid; you tend to forget about this when you realize how important your work is to your clients. It takes 6 to 8 months to hit your professional stride; the time before that is stressful and filled with doubt. The current direction of the organization is disconcerting. While Seneca is expanding it's services, it's commitment to it's employees is questionable. Wages offered to new hires and current benefits for employees have decreased over the years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The organization needs to take a pause in it's expansion throughout the Bay Area and others area of California. There seems to be have been some loss of focus internally. Seneca should look internally and work towards training culturally competent workers and provide reasonable wages and benefits to retain them rather than hiring inexperienced newbies every cycle to replace skilled workers.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Great people, rewarding mission, some questionable policies

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

    I worked at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Most of the staff at Seneca Family of Agencies are really nice. 4-5 weeks of PTO to use how you like, sick or vacation.

    Cons

    Lower than average salaries and maximum annual raise is only 5%. Your supervisors are not allowed to act as references after you leave Seneca, meaning they will not speak to any potential future employers of yours. Many of the San Leandro facilities are run down, lack adequate parking and bathrooms and have fleas and rats. If you're in the HR, IT, or Accounting departments then there are no opportunities to advance, mid-level positions do not exist.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Just because a department is small is not an excuse for it to be unstructured. If you want to retain your experienced staff, then provide some mid-level positions for advancement. The department I worked in only had a director, a manager, and the rest of the staff who will have the same position they started with for their entire time at Seneca.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Seneca creates rockstars

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teacher in El Sobrante, CA
    Current Employee - Teacher in El Sobrante, CA

    I have been working at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    This company offers a ton of experience in a short amount of time. It is cool place to work because most people are young and forward thinking. Fresh ideas and adaptability is welcome. The company is constantly growing and expanding; which offers new opportunities to develop professionally. The environment is open enough to speak directly to a person when there is an issue.

    Cons

    There is not much room to grow in the educational field and the salaries are not comparable to public/charter schools. There is no tenure, union or perks to remain a classroom teacher. Education jobs are not diversified to meet the needs of the student population.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please reevaluate the educational program as a whole. The agency is losing educators to other companies for just a few perks, consistent professional development opportunities, advancement and higher salaries. Seneca teachers look forward to growing in their field. It is important to recognize that Seneca truly creates rockstars! Once a teacher here, a gladiator everywhere else. But why train such amazing people to only leave here because their energy isn't properly manifested?

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Seneca Family of Agencies Response

    Aug 22, 2014Development Coordinator

    Thank you for your feedback. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to write this review and are grateful for your sharing your experience at Seneca.

  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Progressive, Compassionate

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

    I have been working at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    My Seneca story is different than most, but one that I definitely want to share. When I applied for a position at Seneca four years ago, I was (of course) looking for a position in a company that would match my values, skills, and interests, and that would lead me into a career where I could thrive and develop professionally.
    However, my primary goal was to find a company that offered same-sex partner benefits, and immediate medical benefits (instead of the three-month waiting period that seemed to be the policy for so many others). My partner was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and was losing her health insurance midway through the recommended treatment schedule. Seneca was the first company I found that respected same-sex partnerships in California (keep in mind, this was four years ago), and valued their employees enough to provide immediate health care benefits. When I think of Seneca's "unconditional care," I know that it applies to more than just our Seneca clients. It applies to us, our families, our team members, and all of the communities we serve.

    Cons

    I am going to be honest, the hiring process is selective. For my first position at Seneca, I had a group interview, an individual interview, and an interactive interview. The position I was applying for was very competitive (it was an administrative position at Building Blocks), but I was really impressed by how Seneca was able to individualize my application process despite the amount of applicants they were considering. My three interviews were scheduled quickly and conveniently, and I walked away knowing that I dearly wanted to be part of this organization. I was struck by the people I met, and the passion they felt for their work. I was so honored when I was offered the position, and I continue to feel honored and humbled to be part of the Seneca team.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Seneca Family of Agencies Response

    Aug 22, 2014Development Coordinator

    Thank you for your feedback. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to write this review and are grateful for your sharing your experience at Seneca.

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