The Conference Board

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The Conference Board Reviews

Updated Jul 21, 2014
The Conference Board – New York – “Council Meeting”

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.7 30 reviews

40% Approve of the CEO

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Jonathan (Jon) Spector

(20 ratings)

42% of employees recommend this company to a friend
30 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Organization with a good reputation but needs help.

    Director Associate Services (Current Employee)

    ProsWell respected non profit economics and business services membership organization. Publishes all of the Leading Economic Indicators on a monthly basis.
    Publishes the Consumer Confidence Index monthly.
    Councils are recognized as a solid membership opportunity that benefits the people who serve on them.
    Chief Economist, Bart van Ark, is a respected and recognized professional who does an excellent job. Is available to visit with clients and advise or make presentations.

    ConsNot enough support to effectively perform job duties. Requires long hours (60--70 per week).
    Benefits are OK but should be less costly to employees.
    Lack of committment by senior management to employees.

    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

     

    Great company to work for and grow with

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) New York, NY

    ProsFor 95 years TCB produced stellar content and thought leadership, relying almost solely on their reputation to maintain and build their client base. There are many changes going on now that are uncomfortable for some but the changes are 100% necessary for continued growth. When I first came to TCB it was a sleepy environment; a culture of people that were content with stagnation and resistant to thinking outside the box or evolving to adapt new, more efficient processes. Change is inevitable and necessary and for those that are on board with it are gaining tremendous personal and professional growth.

    Although some disagree, it is very clear to me that advancement opportunities are available to those that work hard for it and prove themselves. It's the kind of environment where if you see an opportunity for organizational growth you can approach senior management with your idea, explain how you would make a change and create a position for yourself. It's not the kind of environment where you can do mediocre to average work and expect to be approached with a promotion, but that wouldn't be an ideal working environment for me personally. When they are hiring they do interview internal candidates before opening the opportunities to outsiders.

    Work life balance, colleagues, compensation and benefits are all better than expected.

    ConsThere is a great deal of opportunity available to the remaining employees following the recent layoffs. There is an aggressive yet attainable plan for growth yet some people are only dwelling on the negative aspects of the changes. This is a time to be more motivated, more dedicated and more connected to the organizational goals. Change happens and it's not all ideal but why not make the best of it and rise up to the challenge?

    Advice to Senior ManagementI do think that senior management could have done a little bit of a better job at communicating in a very clear way why the layoffs happened and where the opportunity is. I was fortunate enough to have the why and where explained to me prior to the global staff meeting and I was excited by the opportunities. I was disappointed that the excitement wasn't mutual amongst some of my fellow colleagues and feel that the opportunity for motivating the staff was lost or perhaps yet to be seen. The layoffs obviously weren't personal and we've dwelled on that point enough. In some cases they happened because there just wasn't enough work available to justify maintaining the size of a department so it was clear that in order to increase efficiency and productivity it made good business sense to decrease the department and invest more money in growing the deficient areas, which will ultimately benefit that department. In other cases it made good business sense to exit certain activities that were not offering enough value to our members and were not bringing money to the organization. By exiting those activities we are able to focus on enhancing the deliverables that do bring value to our members and TCB. It makes perfect sense but if people are not engaged and excited by the opportunities there then we risk not achieving the end goals. I get that it's important to be empathetic but there's a point where coddling the remaining staff can become counter productive. I want to hear Jon Spector say, "As nice as it would be to keep paying everyone a salary even when their role is obsolete and their services are no longer needed, that's not a sustainable approach to business. Difficult but necessary decisions were made and it's time to move on. If you can't get on board with the goals and plans for growth that are ahead of you there will be no hard feelings if you choose to leave. If you choose to stay it is my firm expectation that you contribute to the greater good of the organization, you embrace the changes and engage in the mission that is set before you." When we sit around pitying those that no longer work here it's like we're assuming that those individuals are not competent and capable enough to handle the challenges before them. And as a current employee, sitting around and worrying about my future rather than accepting responsibility for myself and ensuring that I am delivering value to the organization is counterproductive. It's time to get real and time to get motivated and since many people take their cue from the top I think it's time to stop with the fluff and dwelling on the past saying "we'll never forget". Let's move forward.

    Other than that I am in complete agreement with the decisions and actions of senior management.

    Yes, I would 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

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good training

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGood exposure to best practice research.
    Opportunities for a wide range of experiences.
    Generally positive working environment, though this is greatly dependent upon the department.
    Nice group of people, especially so in the lower and mid-level positions.

    ConsMediocre pay.
    Ivory tower mentality, somewhat disconnected from practical concerns.
    Tendency to rest on past laurels, rather than stay current with or ahead of the field.
    CEO pay and perks are way out of line (high) for a 501 (c) 3 of their size. They ought to reduce CEO total compensation to $500K and use the money saved to raise the salaries of those who are barely making ends meet.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHire senior execs who are inspiring leaders.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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

    8 people found this helpful  

    A great organization being destroyed by disastrous leadership

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) New York, NY

    ProsTalented colleagues, flexible work policies and a marvelous history of important research and social mission.

    ConsCEO Jon Spector is an extremely smart man with zero business sense or judgment. We change strategy every few months, chasing whatever shiny new idea he has picked up from his former colleagues at McKinsey, hiring a bunch of people and then running short of money. Three years ago, we came into the office Monday to discover that many of us had been assigned to entirely new jobs - top executives had redrawn big chunks of the org chart without informing the people ahead of time about their new responsibilities. When we recently laid off 10 percent of our employees (many picked seemingly at random, and none from the top), the same thing happened: people were given new responsibilities and roles without being asked or informed beforehand. We're known for publishing HR research about managing organizations people, and we follow none of the advice we give others! Spector himself is a bully who insists on winning every argument, so no one ever seriously challenges him. His hand-picked CFO is the only person at TCB with the clout to do so, and he never does. Neither does the board of trustees. If you're lucky, you can steer clear of most of the drama and bad management, but eventually the financial slippage catches up with everyone in the form of disappearing benefits, raises and bonuses.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIn the last two years, TCB has conducted two extensive employee engagement surveys. The most important result, way outside the normal range, was that staff said they had no faith in the business decisions of senior management. Since that first survey, no one at the top has been fired or demoted, and they continue to make terrible business decisions. There is zero accountability. The only difference is that we're deluged with communications from the CEO, explaining why each terrible decision was the exact right one.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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

    2 people found this helpful  

    Sinking Ship

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsQuality people working here, work at home flexibility and access to quality research and knowledge.

    ConsSenior Management seems to have lost their way, they don't have a clear vision and they don't seem to know what they are doing wrong or accept that they might need outside counseling. They don't want to take the time to come up with a coherent plan or analize their mistakes, therefore, we are running on a new idea every month hoping that each one will magically fix all of our problems.

    There's absolutely no room for growth and even if they accomplished to create opportunities it would be at least 10 years for new employees to get there since the opportunities would be owed to those who have been held back for so many years and not those who come with outside experience.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWe are going to lose the respect of our members if you don't get your act together. Charging more for far less is not how you gain and keep the member's loyalty (which is, btw, the only thing keeping us afloat).

    To the Board .. it seems quite simple .. you hired a CEO and a CFO to do a job and they have officially failed. It is hard to get back that respect once it has been lost. TCB is a sinking ship and we don't have time to have senior management attempt to gain our trust back once again.

    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

     

    Great Company

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsFlexible work, great work-life balance

    ConsI have nothing bad to say about the company. It really is a good opportunity if you are offered one.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNeed more opportunities for growth, especially for new hires

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

    2 people found this helpful  

    hoteling at it's best.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) New York, NY

    Prosflex schedule is a plus

    Conswork-life balance, lack of career advancement

    Yes, I would 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

    5 people found this helpful  

    So sad to see the demise of what was once a great organization

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) New York, NY

    ProsWorking from home encouraged - which can be a pro, but often times led to a con.
    I had some amazing co-workers that will be lifelong friends.

    ConsThis used to be a wonderful organization with great leadership (CEO, department heads, Chief Economist, VP of Research, etc.), good perks (salary increases, bonuses, Christmas bonuses and summer Fridays May-August), and a very happy staff who loved where they worked and loved working with each other. Everything has gone downhill since the arrival of the current CEO (and pal CFO he brought along with him). Given, we were told by CEO that he was hired by the Board to shake things up and bring drastic change to The Conference Board - and that he has done. Million dollar decisions are made by the CEO and CFO at a whim with no discussion with the lower level workers who know more about the details of the operation and why something may or may not work, may or may not be a good idea. Majority of staff doesn't dare challenge CEO because of previous experience of being beaten down or humiliated (some say bullied). CFO's ethics were questioned by many of us who heard of vendors not being paid on time deliberately putting the hardship on them (vendors). This organization used to end the year with contribution (profit) in the tens of millions which were split between employee bonuses and adding to reserves for a rainy day (which was needed in 2001). Since then, contribution has dwindled significantly, and senior management restructures the organization annually and changes strategy like a shell game, with zero accountability. The Board of Trustees are not paid so may not take positions on Board that seriously. At the same time, Manhattan apartments, hotel rooms, flights to Paris, etc. for management keep running up the expenses - so let's lay off some more lower level employees and "restructure". It's a shame to see what was once a proud and purposeful organization become a disorganized mess with horrible employee morale and disastrous leadership.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEmployees don't trust you with employee survey because they think you can look back by department and figure out who says something negative and then punish them. Sounds crazy, but I heard it more than once. An outside firm might be better trusted.

    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  

    A once prestigious organization I fear will soon only be a memory.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) New York, NY

    ProsIf you're seeking a senior-level management position and lack business credentials, management ability, and people skills...than this is the place for you, run don't walk! They'll even over-pay you for this type of position, and expect multiple promotions... All you need to do is cast a blind eye to the questionable practices of the CEO and CFO who seem to re-organize the company approximately every 6 months, so they give the appearance of making changes, when in fact it's a ruse to disguise that they're losing money for the organization, year over year.

    Sadly though if you're looking for one of these senior-level positions, none are available because they never seem to be negatively impacted by any of the re-organizations. All of those positions (and the people holding those positions) remain intact.....which of course help Jon Spector push through his changes with very little push back. And why would anyone leave a position like that? It's very little work with great pay off.

    ConsA company that keeps re-organizing and letting people go every couple of months make those left behind feel like there is a bigger mark on their head. Next re-org.....is it my turn? Will they just outsource my position? It's a terrible way to work...especially when these cut backs have affected (some) people in what I would consider necessary positions. And by eliminating their jobs, it creates more work for those left behind. How many times can you incrementally add work on to an existing position? If I looked at the job description I applied for and the position I currently hold, one would not resemble the other....all with no job title change, very small pay increases at best, increased insurance costs and the lack of a 403B which we once had.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSenior Management, some of whom are near retirement and have already mentally checked out, need to step back in the game (or step aside). They along with the Executive Board need to take control and stop the blood shed. As the saying goes....If you See Something, Say Something...or better yet, DO Something. Stop being part of the problem, and be part of the solution!

    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

    2 people found this helpful  

    It USED to be a wonderful place to work-sadly those days are long since gone

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsFlexible work schedule and remote working-that is pretty much it.

    ConsUnfortunately there is not enough space to elaborate. on what bad shape this company finds itself. All of the negative things you have been reading recently on this site about this company are true. We have a CEO who has no clue how to run a company. He spends most of his time looking internally at IT programs and writing applications for internal use while the company is falling apart. He has no interest in actually doing his job which is to meet with other CEO's at member companies and sell them on the organization. So because of that when he does do his job he is really not very good at it. Our base of company participation has dropped precipitously in his 7 years. It is so sad that such a well known and respected company for so many years has declined so much and come to such a sorry state. I worry that we will not make it to our 100 year anniversary in 2016.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThere is so much which needs to be fixed I have no idea where to begin. But replacing the current CEO would be a good starting point. To that end my advice is directed at our Board of Trustees who thus far have shown little engagement and interest to take any steps.

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

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