The Standard
2.8 of 5 86 reviews
www.standard.com Portland, OR 1000 to 5000 Employees

The Standard Reviews

Updated Jul 9, 2014
The Standard – US – “Standard Plaza”

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.8 86 reviews

                             

41% Approve of the CEO

The Standard President & CEO J. Greg Ness

J. Greg Ness

(44 ratings)

41% of employees recommend this company to a friend
86 Employee Reviews
in

Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Great location in downtown Portland"
    in 13 reviews
  • "The downtown Portland location is excellent for commuting by public transport"
    in 8 reviews
Cons:
  • "Of course, upper management received healthy salary increases while non-management salaries stagnated"
    in 7 reviews
  • "The news that layoffs were coming in favor of outsourcing to India was announced by the IT VP a few months ago"
    in 4 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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

    1 person found this helpful  

    Stability

    Supervisor (Current Employee)
    Portland, OR

    ProsI've worker here for about 20 years, through ups and downs, demutualization, recession, etc and it has always been a solid company to work for.

    ConsThings have changed over the years; not always for the good. Annual raises for the past 4 years have been low or zero. Staff reductions have resulted in more work for everyone, with not much more pay.

    Advice to Senior ManagementShare the wealth.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
    • Culture & Values
           
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           
    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Good place to work--at a stately pace

    Senior Individual Contributor -- IT (Current Employee)
    Portland, OR

    ProsReally nice people, good pay, considerate management, good benefits, flexible schedules, nice downtown location--for those in Portland Home Office.

    ConsCompany is very slow to embrace change and adopt best practices. People seem to be resigned to the fact that The Standard has limited ability to excel or achieve breakthrough progress.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCreate a clear vision for the future that everyone can get behind, and then drive execution.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
    • Culture & Values
           
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Enjoyed the experience, just found something better so moved on

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Portland, OR

    ProsCulture of conservatism appropriate for insurance organization

    ConsSlow moving
    Not a great deal of career opportunity for those inclined to push through the ranks

    Advice to Senior ManagementSolid in general, some are as yet untested and somewhat unsure of themselves

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
  • We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           
    • No Opinion of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Good, challenging, fast-paced, lots of work, long hours

    Disability Benefits Analyst (Former Employee)
    Portland, OR

    ProsRewards and recognizing talent, stock plan option for all employees, some really supportive supervisors, and always work to be done.

    ConsRunning on limited employees, work loads increasing without relief in sight, some unsupportive supervisors, long hours expected, and making hard decisions impacting people.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStaff for normal work loads, continue recognition programs from co-workers and management, find and train the unsupportive supervisors, and expect great work with hard decisions to be completed within 8 hour day.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           
    • Approves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    A pretty good culture, with a few caveats

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Portland, OR

    ProsThe benefit package is relatively generous, managers are reasonable for the most part, there is ample opportunity for development. Working downtown is a plus in my mind, and makes it possible to use transit to commute.

    The culture is quite benign compared to what I'm used to at other large employers in corporate America. Despite some passive-aggressiveness indigenous to the Pacific Northwesterners, the majority of people I work with are pleasant enough and avoid drama and histrionics.

    Another point is the community involvement. Most places don't care about things like volunteer time, or hosting employee art shows, or allowing military bands to use their front doorstep as a stage during Fleet Week.

    Now make no mistake that the Standard is a publicly-traded corporation and makes decisions based upon business value first and foremost, no matter how warm and fuzzy their published values might seem. But in their defense, if you find your position being eliminated, The Standard is not a place where you will find a box on your desk at 9AM and are asked to leave the premises by 9:30AM escorted by a guard - which is the modus operandi for most corporations today.

    ConsThe CIO, with the board's support, recently initiated a sourcing program which will shift many IT functions to India. I think there were other options available, but after making years of promises of a streamlined, leaner, cheaper and more responsive IT organization, our CIO had no choice but to throw this Hail Mary (or Hare Krishna, in this case *snicker, snicker*) in order to preserve his job.

    I think the drawbacks and repercussions to the sourcing strategy will most likely be severe enough to cost Mr. O'Brian his job within 18 months. In the meantime, we'll adapt as necessary to keep our operations afloat and projects on track.

    In terms of Senior management, there is a whiff of old-time stodginess apparent just below the C-levels, enabled by a consistently sycophantic cadre of yes men directly below them. The biggest impact is a systemic aversion to new technology and a torpid way of innovating processes, if innovation happens at all.

    My message to some of the other posters on the thread - if you see less than optimal behaviors and processes, become part of the solution! Present a new idea! Troubleshoot a flawed process! Don't complain when your'e asked to test a new product, since testing is integral to successful change management. Don't idly moan and groan while the world passes you by. Step up to the plate, or be quiet.

    Advice to Senior Management-Drive adoption of new technologies more quickly
    -Have the discipline to release the consistent low performers in operational roles
    -Give senior managers a more direct connection to the realities on the ground to provide proper context to business decisions driven by the competitive environment at large
    - IT must become considerably more responsive to the business's needs

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Very good and getting better.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThe Standard is making some very positive structural and cultural changes. There is a growing culture of mentorship. There is great corporate support and many opportunities for professional development and career advancement. The company is on solid financial footing so the recent financial crisis has been less painful for us than for many in our industry. We have developed some bold and industry-changing ideas that are making us all proud. Also, there has been a recent movement toward sharing with our own employees some of the same benefits that we offer customers through our products and services.

    ConsAlthough I keep hearing that progress is being made, the benefits package is really not what it could be. I was attracted to The Standard by starting pay that was about 15% higher than the top of my previous employer's pay scale for my profession. But at the end of 12 months, with family medical expenses, this move actually resulted in about 5% net loss in total compensation because of the relatively poor benefits package. It also doesn't help that the benefits are so complicated to manage. It's rather analogous to someone assembling a computer from cheap components, then having to use a dozen complicated work-arounds to operate it.
    There seems to be no practical way for an applicant to know about this before accepting a job offer, but neither would it have been a deal breaker for me. With generous merit pay increases, I was able to get back into the black within about 15 months.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWe have placed a lot of confidence in you, and I am seeing a lot of positive movement. Thank you for the recent initiative to finally allow your "most valuable assets" (employees) to "sip our own Champagne." I confess that I sometimes wonder why something so obvious took over 100 years to gain traction among the leadership. And I often wonder what it is about management culture that seems to drain many new leaders of their humanity as they rise up through the ranks from mailroom to boardroom.
    Still, as I move among the cubicles of our downtown facilities, I pick up the sense that people are pleased and relieved because the published corporate values (which some cynics felt were just marketing tropes) are now being applied in our own workplace family - and that bodes well for everyone.

    Greg - special thanks to you for your thoughtful, warm, and introspective leadership style. As individual contributors, we are in no position to judge your strategic decisions. But you have set a tone of humility, responsiveness and grace under fire that will have positive trickle-down effects on the "mental health" of the whole organization; and that means a lot, no matter where in the company we work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Good company to work

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThe company has a goo conservative approach minimizing risks on investment. Has a long term vision, good values toward stake holders and employees.

    ConsDue to its conservative approach the overall corporation growth is very slow. At the same time considering today's economy I will say it is good.

    Advice to Senior ManagementOnly advice will be to continue investing in growth for the future. Looking for potential opportunities abroad to enable an international expansion.

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Great place to work if you can survive the constant re-orginizations

    Policy Administrative (Current Employee)
    South Portland, ME

    ProsThe people and the culture in Sopo is something I have never experienced at another employer. Everyone is willing to help and jump in to complete a task or meet a goal. They share information easily with others and you never feel siloed into your particular job function or field. They offer many opportunities to grow and learn from others outside of your position. They offer mentor/mentee programs that enriched both parties. I have found that they also offer much more competetive salaries than other insurance companies in the area for similar work and resposibilites completed. Overall a great place to work.

    ConsThey are currently going through several rounds of lay offs.

    Advice to Senior Managementna

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           

    1 person found this helpful  

    Depends on what you are looking for in a job.

    Disability Benefits Analyst (Former Employee)
    Portland, OR

    ProsThe Standard has excellent opportunities for advancement if you are willing to work hard. I started out working in a clerical position and was promoted every couple of years despite not having a college degree. Standard is willing to train people to various insurance occupations. They are also supportive if you are attending college part time to complete your degree.

    ConsExempt jobs in frequently require working at least 50 hours a week in order to complete your work. In addition, the various departments at Standard sometimes have difficulties working together. There is only limited communication and it is sometimes difficult to get information that should be readily available.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTrying to recommend to people to use their health benefits less was just silly. Accept that insurance company employees are going to use their benefits more extensively than employees in other industries.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
    • Work/Life Balance
           
    • Senior Management
           
    • Comp & Benefits
           
    • Career Opportunities
           
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Basically a solid company and not a bad place to work.

    IT Consultant (Former Employee)
    Portland, OR

    ProsThe company is well managed from a fiscal perspective but often projects are looked from a very short term view rather than the long term. By that I mean that they'll tweak the definition of success to meet a budget target or delivery date rather than do the right thing for a projects long term success.

    ConsThere's a fair amount of indifference between the different business units and not much of a view of the overall company good.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLook a little deeper at the various proejcts going on and encourage more of a long term view.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    Was this review helpful?
    Yes | No
    Add Employer Response Flag Review
RSS Feed Embed

Worked for The Standard? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.

Glassdoor is your free inside look at The Standard reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for The Standard CEO J. Greg Ness . All 86 reviews posted anonymously by The Standard employees.