AARP Reviews | Glassdoor

AARP Reviews

Updated July 13, 2017
327 reviews

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3.7
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AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins
Jo Ann Jenkins
101 Ratings

327 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. "Satisfied"

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

    I have been working at AARP full-time

    Pros

    I like the hours. The flexibility to work from home.

    Cons

    They don't switch contractors to staff positions.

  3. "Intern"

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

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

    Pros

    Great co-workers
    High hourly wage
    Flexible hours

    Cons

    No cons I can think of.

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  4. "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.


  5. "I can't imagine working anywhere else"

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

    I have been working at AARP full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great pay, excellent benefits package, opportunity to relocate/move around within the company, career development opportunities

    Cons

    Political involvement / issues can affect personal life - so at times, you never really get away from work.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Fat and Happy"

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

    I worked at AARP full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The salaries and benefits are very nice because of the large royalty revenues from United Healthcare.

    Cons

    Bureaucratic. They try new initiatives and pump millions into them like Life Reimagined and their new Innovation Lab, but they never succeed.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on the core mission of advocacy and "member" value. You are all over the map.


  7. "Great Summer Internship"

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

    I worked at AARP full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Exposure to one of the largest non-profits and policy pushing

    Cons

    Things move slowly

    Large bureaucracy

  8. 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.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Lot of waste, slow, behind the times"

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

    I have been working at AARP full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good work life balance
    Supports a good social cause

    Cons

    DNA is research, policy and advocacy but want to influence market and develop products. Unfortunately do not have the DNA for that
    Significantly behind the times in terms of capabilities


  10. "Honestly, pretty amazing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Good pay and interesting work.

    Cons

    Hard time getting to know people in other departments.


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