Westat

www.westat.com

Westat Reviews

Updated January 28, 2015
Updated January 28, 2015
167 Reviews
3.2
167 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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James E. Smith
27 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work-life balance depends upon the particular project (in 9 reviews)

  • An opportunity to work from home if your home setup qualifies and you are out of state (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • Low pay and sometimes not many projects available (in 5 reviews)

  • Many supervisors are vindictive by nature (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Very good company with good benefits and laid-back management style

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

    I have been working at Westat

    Pros

    Go-getters recognized. They take care of employees pretty well.

    Cons

    Workload may be overwhelming when deadlines are tight.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Usual work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Data Collector At Home
    Former Employee - Data Collector At Home

    I worked at Westat part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The work could be interesting at times and the people I worked with were pleasant.

    Cons

    The work was inconsistent and many of the people we called were not interested in speaking to us.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    It is an odd place

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

    I have been working at Westat full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible work hours are nice, gym on location, and generally well qualified people. Telecommuting is encouraged

    Cons

    I watched good hardworking people get pushed out by poor management. I noticed that you can do nothing all day in your lonely office, but if you are see as wasting time by occasionally talking to co-workers that is frowned upon. It was like solitary confinement for 8 hrs a day. There is way too much entrenchment in management, so there is no pathway to move forward. The organization has a really odd reporting structure too, a person can have 2 or 4 or more people who you report up to, but for a company in the thousands the HR department is extremely small.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Follow the federal holidays and closings, up the salaries to be competitive, make advancement possibilities clear,

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  5.  

    I was an interesting experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Field Interviewer in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Field Interviewer in Atlanta, GA

    I have been working at Westat as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Freedom , flexibility to work when you want to durning the evening hours.

    Cons

    This job is short term and some of the respondents can be a little inconsiderate at times.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Overall a great place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Study Director in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Senior Study Director in Rockville, MD

    I have been working at Westat

    Pros

    Company has experience and is active in a wide variety of research areas
    Top notch in-house research methodologists and statisticians
    Ability to obtain experience on multiple types of projects
    Generally a collegial corporate atmosphere although competitive
    On-site fitness center with equipment and different types of classes.

    Cons

    Many projects staffed so tightly that many at all levels end up working long hours and/or weekends quite frequently. (Burn out)
    Newer in-house support groups and centralization of certain project activities placing a heavy financial burden on projects.
    As at all large companies, a mix of admirable senior management and those who shouldn't be in leadership positions given their lack of skills.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember the roots of the company and that your most valuable asset is your employees. Employees who feel valued will continue to perform at a high level.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Research Associate for close to 20 years

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

    I have been working at Westat full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good compensation. Salary plus 401K/ health, dental, vision, long-term disability, life insurance, employee stock ownership, profit sharing bonuses, stock dividends. Education is important and employees are encouraged to take part in professional development. Accommodation is often made for individuals pursuing master or doctoral programs.

    Cons

    With 2000 + employees there are always those managers who exhibit poor behavior toward their subordinates. Unfortunately, this is often tolerated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    360 degree review process.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    This was the worst job I have ever had. The company as a whole does NOT care for their employees.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Rockville, MD

    I worked at Westat full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The option to work from home during bad weather conditions.

    Cons

    Lack of proper training, Poor Management, poor work distribution, Decietful co-workers, poor salary, the worst job I have ever had.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    One Big Disaster

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Help Desk Agent in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Help Desk Agent in Rockville, MD

    I have been working at Westat as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    The receptionist is nice. The two Help Desk managers are usually nice and seem to be good people. The Help Desk Agents are amazing. The managers are lucky but they don't know it.

    Cons

    There are so many all I can do is list them bullet style:
    1-99% of the NAEP Help Desk are minorities. 100% of the NAEP management are males or white. They bully us.
    2-The instructions we get and the instructions that are sent to schools and field staff are often incorrect resulting in dozens of calls daily for weeks just to correct minor problems.
    3-They hire staff who have no computer literacy. When they call in for help they are unable to tell us why they need help because they don't know what a website is or what the internet is. It's demoralizing. It can get so bad that they lack the skills to allow us to remote into their computers to help them.
    4-It seems as if they artificially increase call volume by not communicating or training any employee sufficiently in order to possible justify the contract price? It's bizarre.
    5-The system, website, servers, instructions, procedures are so lacking that the managers become so frustrated they either yell at us, completely ignore us like we don't exist or threaten us. Rather than empathize the enormous stress we endure.
    6-The most complex task schools have to do is to import student data onto an Excel spreadsheet and then upload it into the naep system. The instructions given to schools were incorrect and each column is not consistent with the other so rather than give each school an example of a completed template in which to copy, we give them a barely comprehensible graph, which is incorrect. There are so many ways to eliminate calls, errors and problems but management point their finger at us. Basic common sense solutions are not implemented to help schools.
    7-At least 2-3 people who call threaten to quit each day. The system and Help Desk's ineffectual service results in schools getting an exception to not participate and other schools to voluntarily opt out.
    8-Employees are not given a basic phone directory of who to call so they wait on hold up to two hours to get through to us and then find out they need to be transferred and wait another hour.
    9-We had 3 days of training and we are expected to help those who had far more training. We have one guide book which is not available half the time since we have to share it.
    10-Learning the system could have been extremely easy but management made it harder. One manager referred to our ticket system by the wrong name. For many weeks I was thoroughly confounded. I thought I was woefully under qualified until one day someone else asked what he was referring to. It turns out he thought it was easier to call our ticket system by the wrong name. If he had explained ahead of time we would not have been so confused.
    11-During a meeting one Help Desk agent commented, "Is this the first time we're doing naep?" "Are we the test group?" It's shocking to believe that Westat has had the contract for 40 years+. The way it is run it appears as if they've never done this.
    12-They don't train or communicate. We are not supposed to take calls from certain topics and groups of people as we have no access to the system but we are not told that until days to weeks after we begin taking calls and are confused, unable to help or receive a multitude of complaints.
    13-One manager wants us to take super detailed tickets which take an exorbitant amount of time causing the hold times to exceed over one to two hours. Two managers want us to ticket every single call even if it's just to transfer or give them the correct number which takes an exorbitant amount of time (one of them told us that if we want to stay employed we should account for every call) and another manager told us that we can't keep customers waiting so do not take tickets. 4 managers, 3 different procedures. Yet they point fingers at us.
    14-Management is very heavy handed. They threaten us, treat us poorly and try to own us by making the most tedious and petty demands. One manager in another department told us we couldn't use the restroom every hour and that she could pull up reports to see how many calls we miss. It isn't possible to live up to their standards. They will always try to find something wrong with us.
    15-The pay is so low and we are treated so poorly, I no longer blame the agents for not taking the job seriously and for not doing their best.
    16-Management fails to acknowledge their short comings but insist on focusing on ours rather than ask us how to improve conditions. When we do make suggestions they aren't taken seriously. They don't implement improvements.
    17-The system we use is regressive and light years behind software that I used 20 years ago when I last worked in a call center.
    18-We could reduce calls by 50% with no cost improvements.
    19-Management is not empathetic when agents get sick.
    20-When callers call in their information doesn't populate. The ticket system freezes so much and is made to be so difficult it causes unnecessary frustrations.
    21-Some of us agents found mistakes and learned things about the system management did not know. There is a lack of in depth knowledge. Each department is so individual and isolated there is no cross training or cohesion. When I bring up something they don't know like a systemic problem, they brush it under the table, blame us or pretend they are not contributing to the problems.
    22-The two managers at the Help Desk have ZERO support or resources. Upper management reigns down but does not resolve the two managers frustrations. They are left in the cold. They need another supervisor who can coach agents and be nice. Saving money is actually costing more money than it is saving.
    23-We are not paid for holidays so we end up working overtime other days to make up for it and end up exhausted. Management can't understand why people don't show up, come in late or are too tired to do their best.

    There are so many more problems I cannot list them all. The most unfortunate part about these problems is that there is a no cost fix for every single one. Bullying is not the answer. It can be a good place to work but they want to maintain status quo. It's dysfunctional. I'm not saying we are not lucky compared to a second world nation but at the same time conditions are not where they need to be.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to have fun and make friends with people. It may not make a difference in terms of dedication to the job as the menial wages, lack of benefits and security wouldn't benefit us but it would make life somewhat happy. CUT THE CALL VOLUME by making simple changes, you are not helpless. The agents could spend more time studying, learning, taking time with each caller instead of rushing and being over stressed. Promote women and minorities. When 99% of agents are female and male minorities, how could the demographics of management be so skewed? Do not blame agents for mistakes and for not knowing something. Allow agent to have a 30 minute session once a week to discuss callers, ideas, training. GET CREATIVE.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Interviewed for Position with Westat as a Field Data Collector

    Current Employee - Job Applicant
    Current Employee - Job Applicant

    I have been working at Westat

    Pros

    Very fast response and follow up my online resume I submitted with Westat.

    Cons

    Spent an hour on an overly long phone interview. I was told it was "mandatory" to study materials in advance of this interview, so in preparation I did do as asked.
    Next I was given short notice to meet for the third, in person interview - while previously being told I would be notified during an exact specified week and to expect a call in that time frame - instead it came a week later and in short notice. I drove miles out of my way for this last minute interview. I was kept again in a long interview for an hour during the face-to-face interview. Finally I was told I would be notified of the hiring decision soon, in a week or so. No word -- No letter, no phone call. Nothing. Waste of time, with no acknowledgement one way or another. I guess Westat does not have to bother with any follow through to job applicants. Speaks volumes as to how they treat people, so I expect Westat employees to be equally disappointed with Westat.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Respond to people who interview with you.

  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    A joke of a place to work for.

    Former Employee - Telephone Data Collector
    Former Employee - Telephone Data Collector

    I worked at Westat

    Pros

    It's nice to get paid weekly. Also the extra pay incentive to work weekends makes it worth it.

    Cons

    This is the worst ran company to work for! There are too many "chiefs" & no one has any answers! They tell you to go through the chain of command when you have a question or concern but they will just point you to the next person and you get no where! They're rules are always changing so their staff all afraid one little slip will get them terminated so they won't help you with anything and if you complain-again you won't get anywhere! Getting hours is also a joke! You have to compete & fight for hours on a website where thousands are all trying to access! Lord forbid you sleep in or your computer goes down (mind you that you will have to get up at before 6 am pst to fight for hours!) Then once you get hours & enter what's available there's no guarantee you will get those hours. You have to wait 2 days before the new week starts to see if you've been approved! It's a joke there! Don't get me started on the staff! One of the head honchos there does not do her homework. She will accuse you of not following protocol but have no proof! She's done this to almost every employee there & again you can't complain!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This company seemed to care for their employees 8 yrs ago when I first was hired. Those were the good ole' days. Now there's constant changes and staff "shake like a leaf" with constant fear of any slip will terminate them. A particular personnel supervisor is one of the worst people you can working in a "head department". She doesn't do her homework-she will call you on anything and has nothing to say when you prove her wrong or ask where she got that wrong info. She's extremely unprofessional and incompetent!

    Negative Outlook

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