AARP Reviews | Glassdoor

AARP Reviews

Updated July 13, 2017
103 reviews

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3.0
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AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins
Jo Ann Jenkins
19 Ratings

103 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Most offices have normal hours so work-life balance is pretty good (in 47 reviews)

  • A very professional environment with great benefits (in 31 reviews)

Cons
  • Decision making is sometimes slow (in 12 reviews)

  • If you're a young contractor/intern, it can be difficult to become a full time employee (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "AARP Public Policy Institute"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Researcher in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Researcher in Washington, DC
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at AARP full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The benefits are terrific (this is one of the last companies to have a traditional pension). Most offices have normal hours so work-life balance is pretty good. Most staff are highly committed to improving seniors' lives and work collegially. Also, there's job security because AARP will be around for a good long time, even if the brand is getting a little dated.

    Cons

    As others here have mentioned, AARP manages staff through rolling layoffs. Every few years there's a new CEO who decides to leave his or her mark by laying off staff. The process always takes months and causes endless anxiety and insecurity even among staff who are spared (this time around).

    As others have also mentioned, the meeting culture is ridiculous. Most people attend 2-3 meetings a day, and managers attend many more a day. Many of these meetings are during lunch because all the available people are booked up during regular hours.

    The Public Policy Institute is a mixed bag. Some teams function well and have competent bosses. Others teams, not so much, with bosses who are overwhelmed and blame staff for their own delays in reviewing or making decisions. There's a lot of cliquishness, including among managers patting each other on the back and giving each other bonuses, and unfortunately this is modeled by the EVP (chief policy officer). Good luck getting hired for the EVP's personal staff if you're not blond.

    AARP wastes tons of money on various things. There are the gimmicky campaigns that have little meaning and are meant to give members a sense of participating without actually influencing. There's the $$$ innovation lab with moss growing on the walls that few use because it's inconvenient to get to.

    Finally, in a throwback to outdated management practices, the new CEO is moving most staff into cubicles. Everybody outside management is going to a cubicle, although some squeaky wheels have been spared at least temporarily. In PPI, the result is that junior and senior researchers who have to think for a living are squashed into cubes with little room for their research files and the noise level is high because they're surrounded by other unhappy researchers who have to talk to their bosses, the plumber, or anybody else during their workdays.

    Advice to Management

    Rolling layoffs are a terrible management tool, very bad for morale and not guaranteed to get rid of bad apples (some of whom remain after multiple layoffs).

    Get the meetings under control--ban them, limit them to 1 hour, have days that are meeting-free, whatever it takes.

     Stop the cubicalization while you still can.


  2. "Tightrope for Contractors"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AARP (Less than a year)

    Pros

    AARP has great people, great resources and an amazing infrastructure.

    Cons

    It's political. You can be doing a great job one day and the next you are sent packing.

    Advice to Management

    You really have to look at and respect the human resources you have. I am blown away by how you treat your institutional memory.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great name recognition - little advancement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Director in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AARP full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great name recognition and mission - especially for Government Relations and policy related issues. Some staff really care about the mission

    Cons

    Very little chance to advance beyond middle management. Innovation is lacking with senior management. For an organization opposed to ageism - they often practice reverse ageism and inherently are against the advancement of younger employees.

    Advice to Management

    Move on. Let a new generation shine. The EVP of a major unit has been there too long and should allow others to step up. SVPs should allow middle management to compete for promotions beyond the director level. The internal policy of only providing a 10 percent increase for internal promotions should be revamped.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "A company that has really lost its way"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Systems Administrator Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Systems Administrator Analyst in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AARP full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits, generally good working environment at the team level

    Cons

    Unclear focus and goals, often difficult to connect worker-level effort to larger effort of organization

    Advice to Management

    Decide whether AARP is an advocacy organization for older people or whether you really believe that people need to come to AARP for advice on how to live their lives. One leads to success, the other not so much.


  5. "AARP Foundation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AARP full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, brand strength, smart and mission-driven colleagues across the enterprise

    Cons

    Lack of vision means whoever is loudest gets heard, bureaucracy, over emphasis on process versus strategy, siloes, overall loss of trust in leadership

    Advice to Management

    Talk straight and stop chasing squirrels.


  6. "Project Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Specialist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Project Specialist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    At PPI, you'll have the opportunity to move to other departments within AARP which may lead to more exciting opportunities - I wouldn't know.

    Most staff are extremely friendly, though high turnover curtails camaraderie.

    Cons

    Several reorganizations have not yielded success commensurate with the effort invested in them.

    High turnover presents some opportunity for advancement, but has destroyed institutional knowledge.

    Many senior researchers are unmotivated.


  7. "Great people and work life balance but very limited opportunity for growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Financial Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Financial Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The people I worked with and the work life balance were great. You can telecommute most Fridays if there are no meetings. The benefits are also amazing and include a pension plan if you stay their 5+ years.

    Cons

    There is limited opportunity for growth and pay raises are poor. People are also bad at communicating what they want and there is office politics.

  8. "AARP National Office"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at AARP (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits including pension, tuition assistance, and caregiving leave.

    Cons

    Very similar to government--bureaucratic, slow, and manage-up culture.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "AARP Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great pay, excellent benefits, flex schedule

    Cons

    lack luster leadership, spends way too much money on projects that don't pan out. Retains and promotes employees who are not qualified.

    Advice to Management

    Too top heavy.


  10. "Data Entry Clerk"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Data Entry Clerk in Lakewood, CA
    Current Contractor - Data Entry Clerk in Lakewood, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AARP as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Easy job
    - Work with little to no supervision

    Cons

    - They don't train you in a good amount of things unless you ask.
    - Hard to tell who is in charge.
    - Extremely boring work

    Advice to Management

    - Take time to make sure new employees know what they are doing. Assign trainers for more than one day.


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