University Research Co.

  www.urc-chs.com
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University Research Co. Reviews

Updated Jul 18, 2014

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2.2 13 reviews

100% Approve of the CEO

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Barbara N. Turner

(1 ratings)

18% of employees recommend this company to a friend
13 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Glad I took a chance with URC

    Specialist (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsI've been here for a few months now and every day, I'm surprised by how much satisfaction I receive from my job. Pros are: (1) Brilliant, passionate people work here. In my department, I find I have the right mix of support/supervision and autonomy to get my day-to-day assignments done and still have the time and energy for some big-picture thinking. (2) People here work very hard, but there is a sense of camaraderie among the people who see each other every day. (3) A great place to work if you believe in doing good in the world.

    Cons(1) Growing pains. As with every business, growth brings changes and challenges, and it's a constant balancing act. (2) The different divisions are painfully silo'ed, but there seems to be some movement from within to alleviate that problem. Personality is key. My division is great to work for. Actual results may vary, depending on where you work.

    Advice to Senior ManagementProvide more training, business development and support for your employees. Invest in them and keep them for life.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Beats Wall Street

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsIf you do your job well, you will be benignly neglected. Generally easy to avoid having to take work home and ruin the weekend.

    ConsAbsolutely no coherent strategy, vision, or leadership roles. Senior management does more to criticize than to help. Little to no collaboration between departments.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRemember that your staff does the work, and that you should have their backs.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Fast Paced Work Place that Takes the Passion Out of Public Health

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsURC has large public health projects throughout the world and in general does good work. Lots of opportunity for business development work and travel. Typically lots of free food and your coworkers are well traveled, intelligent and a pleasure to work with. Frequently there are brownbags and lunch meetings that are educational and interesting. Depending on your division, there is always a group of younger workers that are doing a HH. As a woman, the maternity benefits are alright.

    ConsPay is low, and the benefits are far below the competition. Very high turn over rates that on the HQ side are normally about 30 - 40% of staff annually. Because of the turnover, there is little to no effort made to train and onboard new staff, especially junior ones, which has resulted in large errors going unnoticed for several years at a time.

    Most staff are exempt and not entitled to overtime which gets abused. Toxic management practices create an often poisonous environment where people get sick from the stress, favoritism is rampant, and people are afraid to bring new ideas to the table. It's an environment that turns normal, kind people into sociopathic managers.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSure, it's a for-profit company, but you still need to retain qualified staff to work on those projects and win new ones. Stopping the revolving door of people leaving should be your first priority, and then you should give them a reason to stay.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
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    Not a bad place to start out

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGood place to launch a career

    ConsNot enough training or opportunity to advance for entry level

    Advice to Senior ManagementDevelop a mentor program for the entry level

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work if you have a supportive supervisor/team. Upper management is relatively disconnected in day to day

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsI work for a small project within URC and have a great supervisor. I'm allowed a lot of freedom in terms of my scope of work and what I can contribute. I personally feel valued and have freedom to turn down tasks because I'm not full-time.

    ConsMy supervisor's supervisor, the person we often need approvals from is rarely in the office or always tied up in meetings so getting an "ok" on basic ideas or concepts is difficult. Full-time employees are overworked and people are often hired quickly with poor orientation and burn out quickly.

    Communication is relatively poor in terms of letting staff know when someone is leaving or changing positions, often you get an email that person's last day only to discover you've been emailing them requesting assistance on projects six months out.

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

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Former employee

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsPassionate and well qualified staff

    ConsThere are many inconsistencies across the various departments, and a lack of collaboration

    Advice to Senior ManagementManagement needs to value their staff's experience and ensure that employees are not overqualified for their given positions.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Employees need more opportunities for career development and advancement!

    Project Coordinator (Former Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsSome great people and interesting projects. Good maternal/parental benefits.

    ConsLow morale, few career development opportunities, little interest in building capacity of staff, poor human capital management, poor work/life balance, limited promotion potential, low pay. Except under certain circumstances (e.g people with favoritism benefits), employees without MPH, MD, and/or PhD degrees will not go far and will not get to do interesting work, because they are not "technical", even if they have advanced degrees and experience. Favoritism runs rampant with some great employees stuck in their positions for years, while others are undeservingly promoted once or more every year. It is a toxic work environment with in-fighting between departments, managers, and staff. Lots of micromanaging at every level of the company. The turnover rate is through the roof, with a revolving door of staff departures and new hires. Managers are sometimes abusive to staff and unconstructive blame is always being thrown around. Employees spend much of their social time discussing opportunities they are pursuing with other organizations and companies.

    Advice to Senior ManagementInvest more in employees and promote more from within. Many will be in the industry for much of their careers and may not want to work with/for URC in the future. Better starting salaries and raises. Recognize that employees without MPH degrees are capable of understanding and performing "technical" work.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great people, horrible work environment.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros1. People, of course. Apart from Sr. Staff, the people at the company are pretty wonderful.

    2. For all the flack that Sr. Staff get, while they're not great at the soft skills, they do bring a lot of knowledge and talent to the table if they could transfer that knowledge down.

    3. The President is probably one of the smartest people you'll ever meet; she's tough but, then, who isn't?

    Cons1. You are confined to your division, there's absolutely no cross division collaboration so if you find yourself without billable work in one division, you can't use that extra time to work with colleagues in another division.

    2. There's no room for growth nor encouragement for innovation. However, this is because the company is structured such that staffing is based on the design of the project and, since there’s no cross collaboration, the company isn’t built to move staff around without completely transferring divisions (which is basically the same as quitting in URC parlance). If you really just need a paycheck and aren't concerned with either building a more diversified skill set nor with working at a place that you can invest in, this may actually be a good fit. However, keep in mind that even people that have been at the company 15+ years can find themselves ‘mentored out’ of a job.

    3. I think this was said, but the employee benefits leave a lot to be desired. People generally take lower pay thinking they'll make that up in the benefits package - but this isn't the case. I actually think that people could get beyond their bitter feelings from so little vacation time, such low salaries, etc. if there was at least some encouragement from management that people should enjoy a work life balance.

    4. Lastly, there's no engagement. Information is on a one way road flowing down, there's no feedback going up. The company doesn't engage in any sort of employee engagement survey, HR doesn't do routine exit interviews, supervisors aren't trained in managing people let alone providing or receiving feedback. If anything, there is a sense that employees should be grateful to work their for low pay, which is why URC has been hemorrhaging staff over the last year+.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMy opinion: the company needs to be restructured into more of a pyramid structure, with less senior staff.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    1 person found this helpful  

    A hostile and toxic work environment due to abusive senior management staff and policies.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Bethesda, MD

    ProsMost of the staff at URC are good people and hard workers. The projects that the company does are generally well-run and make important contributions to the field of global health.

    ConsSenior management (with a very few exceptions) make this company a very difficult place to work. Policies and decisions often seem arbitrary and ill-made and do not reflect the best interests of the global health community, the company, or the staff. Most staff are denied opportunities for development and growth, expected to work long hours without compensation or recognition, and inappropriately accused, blamed, and punished for issues beyond their control. The atmosphere here is one of tension at its best and fear at its worst, and many staff (when not fired as a result of the company's decreasing revenue) are choosing to look for other opportunities.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTo turn this company around, you will need to start by changing your attitudes and policies. URC's very competent staff is its best asset, but they must be supported and empowered to do their best work. Your self-serving attitude is bringing this company down.

    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

    1 person found this helpful  

    Run the other way!!!

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat co-workers, amazing and dedicated field staff

    ConsNo growth opportunities at all, they don't treat their employees well. Too much favoritism. Horrible leave (sick and vacation) package, Senior management does not value employees' worth, education, hard work. They make you work like a dog, (14-16 hour days, weekends), you basically don't have a life and they don't care. Pay is a joke.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf you don't start valuing your employees (at every level, especially lower level employees), you are going to lose all the great employees who are doing all the hard work....

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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