The Standard

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The Standard Reviews

Updated August 10, 2014
Updated August 10, 2014
104 Reviews

2.6
104 Reviews
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The Standard President & CEO J. Greg Ness
J. Greg Ness
55 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great location in downtown Portland (in 13 reviews)

  • Good people, good benefits, fair location (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Of course, upper management received healthy salary increases while non-management salaries stagnated (in 8 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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Short, but nice.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sourcer  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Sourcer in Portland, OR

    Pros

    Great team. Downtown. Comfortable space. Was there only nine days so, not there long enough to cover all the pros. But was looking forward to becoming part of the team there.

    Cons

    Contract to hire ended too soon.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nothing at this time. My immediate manager was great!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Weathering the storm

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

    Pros

    The Standard cares about people. I have personally seen how this company has helped many employees with personal situations and allowed them the necessary flexibility to take care of their families. (Nursed a loved one through 2 rounds of cancer treatments, the unexpected loss of a family member, and divorce). Life is life and if you give to The Standard, they give right back. I have lots of flexibility and independence. I love it.

    We have so many avenues to get infront of leadership and hear what they have to say. Comments on organization announcements, the bubble, Coffee with our CEO, engagement events, President's forum, team meetings...you name it! We are active givers in the community. It is engrained in our values and mission. I love our benefits, PTO, good medical/dental/vision, match on 401k, and much more. This company even lets you buy more PTO if you want.....GEEZ! I have an open door with my manager, and my skip level and my Executive. If you want to say something all you have to do is raise your hand.

    Cons

    We are an insurance company that is slow to change. The good and bad with having good longevity is that some people just want to do it the way it has always been done. That is challenging when you are creative or innovative and want to create change and efficiency. If you have enough patience and persistence you can influence eventually, but it may take a while. We have some inefficient, archaic systems and processes. I wished there was more opportunity for movement. There are short term assignments and projects and you can volunteer for anything, but not always a move to another area.

    Although I have a great experience, the overall culture depends on your department. That is not abnormal but we are disjointed and inconsistent in our message.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have to move quicker. Don't get stagnant. Educate our managers on flexibility, motivation and empowerment.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Stability

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Supervisor  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Supervisor in Portland, OR

    Pros

    I'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.

    Cons

    Things 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 ManagementAdvice

    Share the wealth.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good place to work--at a stately pace

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Individual Contributor -- IT  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Senior Individual Contributor -- IT in Portland, OR

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Company 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 ManagementAdvice

    Create a clear vision for the future that everyone can get behind, and then drive execution.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Enjoyed the experience, just found something better so moved on

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

    Pros

    Culture of conservatism appropriate for insurance organization

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Solid in general, some are as yet untested and somewhat unsure of themselves

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Disability Benefits Analyst  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Disability Benefits Analyst in Portland, OR

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Staff 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.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    A pretty good culture, with a few caveats

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    The 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 ManagementAdvice

    -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

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Very good and getting better.

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

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    Although 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 ManagementAdvice

    We 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.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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