The Asia Foundation

  www.asiafoundation.org
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The Asia Foundation Reviews

Updated Jun 13, 2014

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2.8 16 reviews

0% Approve of the CEO

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David D. Arnold

(6 ratings)

23% of employees recommend this company to a friend
16 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Good jump off into international development work - in the field

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros19 different field offices throughout the Asia-Pacific - my advice is to get out to the field. based in SF and traveling sounds exciting, but it's living and working in a place were you gain experience and further insight.

    Consnot a lot of transparency around HR and salary/title negotiations. no set standards and disorganized which means a lot of young professionals probably get taken advantage of.

    Advice to Senior Managementclear guidance on standards for promotion and uniformity in titles and salary levels. more career development for young professionals.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Wish there was better career path development at TAF

    Program Associate (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsGreat salaries and benefits, very competitive with other large international development organizations. A lot of dedicated, hard working people who mean well and are mission-driven in their work.

    ConsLack of strategic vision communicated in a timely and clear way to staff. Too much focus outward by senior leadership and not enough "rallying the troops" in the headquarters office to support the mission. Lip service paid to career development and mentorship, but no real efforts by the organization itself to focus on this. Promotions seem to depend on who your manager is and how much they wish to serve as your advocate.

    Advice to Senior ManagementConsider holding town hall type staff meetings where people of all levels can discuss issues on their minds. Perhaps around a key issue the organization is facing. So many of TAF's meetings are formal and this reinforces the very archaic, hierarchical nature of the organization.

    Look at career path development for staff at all levels.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    A great legacy in danger of being squandered by drifting management

    (Former Employee)

    ProsThe Asia Foundation has a wonderful track record for attracting intensely intelligent, highly motivated people--few organizations anywhere can offer the same range of intelligent, interesting international colleagues. Opportunities to interact with visiting field staff and local partners are frequent for staff in headquarters, and many staff members have the opportunity to travel to Asia with some regularity (although not all--many staff members are exhausted from too much time on the road, while their junior colleagues resent having to stay behind). TAF has done some great, sometimes revolutionary, work over the past sixty years, even if there's been a tendency toward bloat and a conservative approach to programming that has not always been innovative or nimble.

    ConsFor more than a year now, The Asia Foundation has been wrestling with severe budgetary constraints, in large part dictated by the changing international development funding landscape. Multilateral aid budgets for TAF's biggest country offices have plummeted, and with them, overhead revenues. This, more or less understandably, has required budget cuts and other hard decisions.

    However, these cuts have not been handled at all well--the President's office has approached projected shortfalls by handing all departments a red pen and a pair of scissors, setting purely numerical cost-cutting targets. The cuts that have been made seem arbitrary and unfair, and reflect a lack of coherent strategy. Some departments have been forced to lay off productive junior and midlevel staff--in some cases, reducing the organization's impact and revenue-generating capacities in exchange for very modest cost savings--while the organization continues to pour huge amounts of money into line items that are not as mission critical, or are purely cost centers with limited impact. Repeated demands for cuts have created a culture of anxiety and interdepartmental resentment, while cost savings are rendered all but meaningless in the face of sustained high spending elsewhere.

    People have been laid off, sometimes with little notice, with no official end in sight. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of dollars have been spent on internal human resources trainings, other workshops, expensive global IT projects (some elements of which evidently require Asia travel for C-level executives with no relevant core competencies), multi-country boondoggles for the Board of Trustees (requiring the dispatch of advance teams of support staff from the executive suite, despite the general availability of expert local administrators on the ground in destination countries), and senior-level travel. As noted by many others, the fact that the most senior staff are, as of just last year, permitted to book business-class travel, often at very short notice, to sites across Asia, often for little purpose beyond attending a meeting, while other departments are forced to make drastic cuts to travel and other budgets, is a very sore point for most. This contributes to the low morale noted by many other reviewers.

    The situation is all the worse because the current administration makes no attempt at transparency. If there are coherent strategies behind the enormous spending in some areas and the painful cuts in others (and very few if any staff members believe that a real strategy exists), they have not been shared with line staff, who have been offered no opportunity to contribute, or even to provide meaningful feedback. The organization is the worse for it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSpend less, listen more (listen SOME), don't assume that employee churn will solve your problems.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Fabulous coworkers and unfortunate decor

    (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsThe coworkers are fabulous. I am surrounded by people who are passionate and smart and care about what they are doing. These mid and low level colleagues are a pleasure to work with and interacting with them is the high point of each day. I have the same opportunities that male colleagues have.

    ConsThe fabulous, passionate coworkers are being pushed out of TAF. Some of the best people have been forced out or have resigned and as a result the institution is a weak reflection of what it was a couple of years ago. Morale shouldn’t be able to drop any lower but it does. There is a serious brain drain going on at the Asia Foundation and the best and brightest are being removed from our ranks. This is alarming to all of us except in the front office where there is more focus on new décor. Low morale used to just be in San Francisco, but the departures and sinking morale have now spread to Asia and historically that never happened. I'm not too worked up that they are focused on granting themselves business class travel but a lot of people are and it has added to the problem.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSome of the junior staff members at TAF have lots of experience conducting skills gap surveys. Senior management might have them conduct a survey internally to help establish a better management structure and clearer leadership.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Company doing great work in Asia, but frustrating place to work in headquarters, particularly for young professionals

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsLots of country offices to work with and be exposed to; interesting work being done in the field; located in San Francisco; some great middle managers with interesting experience to work with

    ConsVery little upward mobility, particularly for women; old boys club (of all places, right?); low morale in headquarters (SF office);

    Advice to Senior ManagementBetter value young staff both with pay, but particularly career growth opportunities; try and reward good outputs and performance; and improve overall work environment

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Buyer Beware

    (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsThe Asia Foundation generously provides free coffee and tea for all employees.

    ConsThe place is toxic. Leadership is inept. No organizational direction. No opportunity for advancement. No longer possible to make a long-term contribution. Salary ranges are pretty low for the San Francisco area. No strategic vision. No focus on the MDGs and no real impact on poverty. Programing is reactive. Thinking is shallow. Staff are demoralized.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop sipping your own Kool-Aid. Stop flying business class. Stop forcing ice cream socials on us. Come out of your office and find out how international development has changed in the past 25 years. We can show you.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Used to be fabulous, now everyone is running for the hills

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThe Foundation is engaged in interested and important work, which is why in the past people have opted to stay for so long. Employees at the Foundation are smart and dedicated to making a difference in Asia.

    ConsThe senior management in San Francisco has gone on a relentless cost-cutting crusade that has slashed more than it needed to. They have passed more costs on to employees in terms of insurance premiums, have decided that mid-upper level management needs to be put on contract (even US-based employees) and have begun the process of getting rid of COLAs. Foundation employees in SF don't make that much money compared to the cost of living in the area and are expected to travel and work just as hard as ex-pat management in Asia, who get fabulous perks such as paid housing and utilities. This is all happening while senior management has decided that they will fly business class everywhere.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMorale is low because of the decisions you have made. The exodus is just beginning. You wanted turn-over and you will get it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    3 people found this helpful  

    The organization is slowly drifting towards significant personnel problems

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsThe Foundation has a wonderful and rich history on which to build. The accomplishments across Asia for the past 60 years are noteworthy and significant. The level of professionalism in the work exceeds most other development organizations, most bilaterals, and all multilaterals. The Foundation frequently is at the leading edge of thinking and conceptualization.

    ConsThe current administration appears to have lost its way and is groping for the way forward. The mood among personnel in San Francisco and Washington is painfully gloomy, yet this appears to completely escape management. What was once a very stable workforce is quickly becoming a revolving door of people shuffling in and out of the Foundation. Longevity and credibility used to be the stock and trade of the Foundation, but that is slipping away as long standing staff members are ushered towards the door. For a professional organization of such good standing, there are some amazingly unprofessional aspects of how things are managed.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe more transparent.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    2 people found this helpful  

    WashingtonDC office

    Intern (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsThe best thing that you can gain from working for TAF Washington DC office is that there are tons of opportunities for conferences, events, receptions of your interests.

    ConsI guess since I have not get had a chance to get into the management level of the organization, what I do daily are just mundane administrative tasks which are kinda boring and don't require any skill.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    4 people found this helpful  

    People are passionate about the mission, but leadership is atrocious.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    ProsPeople are passionate about the mission. Generally interesting work. Good work-life balance. Reasonable pay for the industry.

    ConsManagement is terrible. No clear vision. No clear path to advancement. Too many "lifers" stuck in their ways hanging around.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHire better managers. Stop thinking TAF is the best aid organization around, because it's not. It's not that innovative.

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