Wikimedia Foundation Reviews

Updated August 27, 2015
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Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov
Lila Tretikov
1 Rating

34 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great mission and flexible environment!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation full-time

    Pros

    The mission! Awesome to work for a company that is focused on making a positive impact on the advancement of free knowledge and doing so in a very transparent way. What's even better is working for a premier non profit that pays well when stacked up to other non-profits, incl 100% paid medical for you and dependents and a 401k match. It's also a flexible environment that allows for a great work/life balance which is increasingly becoming hard to come by in our fast paced, digital corporate world. It's a convergence of a very intelligent work force, technology, and meaningful output where you can truly be proud and passionate about what you do for a living!

    Cons

    There was a major reorganization several months back that may have rattled a handful of employees, however, since then it's increasingly becoming clear that strategies are being aligned and we are forging ahead, using difficult circumstances to only make us better. As with any growing company, in particular one that has such a far reach and well known brand, it can be very challenging to appease everyone from staff, contractors, and even volunteers.

    Advice to Management

    Stay the course and continue to offer flex and telecommuting options for staff and engage with us. Also, while transparency is a positive, sometimes we need to set expectations more up front as this may be very unique to staff that have not been accustomed to this. Continue to bridge any gaps with staff and volunteers.


  2. Great place to work!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very flexible hours/location, incredibly smart & passionate coworkers, and a truly collaborative environment. Super mission oriented.

    Cons

    Low pay, compared to other tech jobs. Lots of change in leadership recently which has caused a fair amount of chaos. People can be not-so-friendly on mailing lists (both public and private).


  3. Helpful (5)

    Loved my Job | Management is Weak

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -I am proud of my accomplishments during my time at WMF -I made a huge impact on the outside world as well as within the teams I supported at WMF -I left with many warm and positive well wishes from most of my colleagues -I learned a lot from the teams I supported -Really talented, driven, and bright people, other than management -The Mission to share all of the world's knowledge to everyone on the planet is really important and that's what keeps most everyone there going and that energy is powerful and positive -Location is great if you live in the city -Cool events are hosted at WMF frequently -Good coffee, tea, and snacks -Ergonomic seating from monitor to desk to chair -Flexibility to work from home occasionally

    Cons

    -my manager was largely absent until it came time to jump into the middle of something without proper back story or perspective -working with a manager who chose not to be supportive on an individual or team level -many people there are unhappy with management and there is a chasm of confusion and mistrust between the 'C-Levels' and the rest of the `employees' -HR, beyond trying to get payroll right, is unsupportive and `bothered' when asked for help beyond benefits and pay- warning to people with questions they might not want to answer -Nobody there was aware or interested in how I did my job in terms of my work beyond the title until there was a slight hiccup or I proactively sought advice -there are many people flying under the radar doing nothing productive but they are `liked'

    Advice to Management

    -Remember that the world is watching and be mindful of the $$$ you spend on office furniture to furnish a floor you never really needed to open -Good people are walking out the door daily without WMF caring about why or giving real exit interviews -Get to know the people that are actually doing the work before you come up with some high level strategy as to how they will quickly shift to your ideas of what is important. If you get to know them they will ask challenging questions and help you come up with an executable plan to help you reach success with your high level strategy -If you say you are transparent then be transparent. Of all places to be semi shady WMF shouldn't be one of them -stop overspending on overpriced unnecessary items -start conducting real research, we already know where the concentrations of people in the global south need wikipedia- time to focus on why they are not able to contribute, beyond the internet and wireless connection thing.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    Amazing project (Wikipedia) that survives IN SPITE OF inept management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You will be exposed to the one of the most successful collaborative knowledge projects of all time -- Wikipedia --which is a huge draw for most people. And most of your colleagues are passionate people that care about the mission. If you want to work at a slow and safe bureaucratic institution that's well-funded, then this is the place for you. If you're coming from the non-profit world, it's a nice cushy gig. The pay and benefits are above average, and the politics and promotions more closely resemble this sector.

    Cons

    If you are NOT on a non-profit career path and want to grow and improve your skills and career, then this is NOT the place for you. It is difficult to find a career path at Wikimedia. Although there are still a few star employees scattered throughout the organization, most of the talent has left over the last couple years. If you compare the majority of senior level staff (C-Level, Directors, etc.) with their counterparts from other organizations, they are typically a notch or two below in experience, skill-set, and talent. It's almost ridiculous, how bad the leadership has been over the years. If Wikimedia did not have an amazing project like Wikipedia to lean on, it would receive a ONE star rating. Although you'll be working on an amazing project -- Wikipedia -- the phenomenal growth period is over and your contribution/impact will be marginal at best. Wikimedia also claims to champion several organizational values such as transparency, openness, and fairness, but it can't live up to any of them. If you want to work with the brightest and most innovative diligent minds in product/technology, you should go to another company (and there are lots of options out there). You'll also get compensated much better elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    Although the previous ED built a stable non-profit in Wikimedia, she new nothing about running or improving Wikipedia (bringing in a lifer from an old world news organization -- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -- to run one of the most innovative internet projects was a huge setback). However, it still remains to be seen if the new ED can improve the situation. She's already been in her position for several months but not much has changed, and it's still unclear where the organization is headed. Leaders in departments such as legal, HR/culture, finance, etc., have way too much power for an organization that needs to be more product and technology driven. In most companies, these areas would be seen as support services, but at Wikimedia they're almost running the show. The sad truth is that most of the management needs to be replaced.


  6. Helpful (4)

    Great co-workers, growing pains

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

    Pros

    Staff at WMF really care about bringing free and open knowledge to the world. It's a great opportunity to work on a global project with a huge impact. This isn't a traditional tech company, it's a non-profit that's able to offer it's staff more than other non-profits out there. Great benefits and an administrative team that cares about helping staff.

    Cons

    Leadership is a little all over the place at the moment. Some leaders act like WMF is a large for-profit and others caught in the past. Directors are not given enough space to make decisions, yet leadership decisions can be slow. Collaborating with the volunteer community is unlike anything experienced before. It's both a source of great satisfaction and incredible angst.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your staff, you hired them for a reason. Also don't forget that your staff are people with feelings, not data to be analyzed.


  7. Helpful (4)

    Miserable

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Passionate community, great mission, good location

    Cons

    Terrible environment, favoritism, very challenged leadership team


  8. Helpful (4)

    Chaotic non-profit that struggles with having start-up mentality versus non-profit professionalism

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good location in downtown San Francisco, great benefits package, international travel opportunities, idyllic mission. Good pay for non-profit, bad pay for tech firm. Many passionate people, too.

    Cons

    First career for many of the employees - HR tends to hire people they know or people who are volunteers in the Wikipedia community leading to an unstable, unprofessional, often weird environment. Staff have to answer to community members who contribute to websites and it's often confrontational and bossy. Community will override changes made to websites if they want and complain very publicly if they dislike actions taken by Foundation. Leadership often lacks professionalism when handling harassment, hiring, privacy, and community interactions. Nothing like you'll ever experience at any other company or organization. Turnover rate is fairly frequent, staff averages less than two years. Many good people leave this place broken, and have a hard time getting jobs due to the Foundation being a non-profit not a tech firm. Double standards about firings - one person does one thing that is terrible and they get a slap on the wrist, others do things that could have been helped and get fired. Recent firing of one employee was posted on a mailing list and was published in online news outlets, no other organization or company would do that to a low level employee. Lots of partying at conferences and sometimes in house - can be OK but sometimes excessive and can distract you from your job. Start up mentality leads to people sleeping at the office, expecting video games and special treatment.

    Advice to Management

    Hire people with quality non-profit experience. High professionals, don't just hire volunteers. Extensive training is needed for leadership regarding hiring, firing/resignations, harassment, etc. Training for staff about harassment should be mandatory.


  9. Mostly positive, with some cultural difficulties due to growth.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work in an innovative NGO with global impact.

    Cons

    Political culture hard to navigate.

    Advice to Management

    The political commitment to free knowledge matters more than product design.


  10. Helpful (4)

    Great Mission, Poor Management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The Wikipedia community is comprised of such wonderful people. It's an honor to work for them. At the Foundation, employees focus on such high and noble ideals. It's accelerating and contagious: the brand, the intelligence, and the mission are the top three things that will attract any individual to working for this company.

    Cons

    Cons in a nutshell? Great ideas but poor execution. I found the management team lacking and often felt the Foundation had to constantly hit the reset button. Management focused less on merit but more on popularity. It was all a bit dysfunctional (and slightly abusive mentally). It was not the flat organization they claimed to be. An organized, results-driven person will find themselves completely frustrated in no time at all.

    Advice to Management

    Hire good people and then allow them to do their job. Promote people based on skill and merit and not on how well they get along with the Executive Director (or Senior Management).


  11. Helpful (7)

    Great mission... but poor management.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The projects you get to work on are really interesting, and make a lot of difference for people around the world. Compensation is pretty good by most standards, but definitely lower than other similar organizations in San Francisco, which is fairly understandable given the non-profit nature of the company. Working for the Wikimedia Foundation looks great on your resume, and opens a lot of doors.

    Cons

    The management are extremely incompetent. Most of the accomplishments at the WMF are accomplished in spite of the management, rather than because of it. Managers do not safeguard the time of their employees very well, so frequently their employees are dragged into time-wasting meetings rather than just getting stuff done. It's not unheard of for employees to have irrelevant meetings back-to-back from 9am until 6pm for days on end, only to be chastized by their managers for not spending their "spare time" time developing their skills. If you're not willing to stand up to those that waste your time, even if they're way above you in the power structure of the organization, you won't do well at the WMF. On the other hand, the administrative side of the organization are somewhat heartless. Because the WMF is a non-profit, they take a lot of opportunities to skimp on costs, and it can often put employees out financially when things go wrong. They do not take much of an interest in the issues faced by the employees, instead deferring to each employee's (incompetent) line manager.

    Advice to Management

    Leave. I have suffered because of the senior management, but what's sad is that I've seen people suffer far worse than I have, basically having to juggle six projects at once all on their own while their manager attempts to micromanage their decisions rather than helping them achieve their goals.



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