ACDI/VOCA Reviews | Glassdoor

ACDI/VOCA Reviews

Updated March 11, 2017
46 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.0
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Bill Polidoro
16 Ratings

46 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great Talent but Major Organizational Issues"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at ACDI/VOCA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    They bring in some great talent and provide great benefits.

    Cons

    Talented staff don't last because they are overworked and frustrated.

    Advice to Management

    Implement some change management procedures and policies. Staff seem to make change decisions without analysis or planning.


  2. Helpful (6)

    "A sinking ship"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at ACDI/VOCA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    ACDI/VOCA was once a great place to work. It was mission focused, valued technical expertise, had strong operations and project implementation, employed smart and dedicated staff. Also really good professional development opportunities.

    Cons

    Today this organization is a sinking ship. There is a mass exodus of the smart and dedicated staff that made the organization great. There are perceptions of cronyism since a personal friend of the CEO has been hired and continually promoted into senior leadership positions, despite not proving any value or commitment to the mission.

    Experiments to improve operations have failed miserably yet are not being improved. Accountability is nonexistent and these problems are only addressed with the addition of more senior staff, making the organization extremely top heavy.

    Advice to Management

    Leadership needs to actually change - not by adding more or promoting current leadership. Listen to the staff.


  3. "Jefferson's Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Procurement Specialist in Liberia, SC
    Current Employee - Procurement Specialist in Liberia, SC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at ACDI/VOCA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Working here is very interesting, you learn new things every day and it challenges your ability to perform on different issues related to your work. There are time based procurement and issues and the people I work with are very good at what they do.

    Cons

    Most of the work are very bulky and the demand on time to complete them are very short. There are a lot of policies and procedures to be followed and a lot of conditions to be met before procurement are carried out.

    Advice to Management

    Management should look into reducing the document requirement for the time purpose and look at the procedures followed to conduct the procurement process.


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  5. Helpful (7)

    "Mission-oriented Organization"

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

    I worked at ACDI/VOCA full-time

    Pros

    Nice, smart co-workers who are dedicated to the organization's mission. Travel opportunities for junior-level staff. Nice office space. Generally managers are good with having a work/life balance. Good benefits and location.

    Cons

    There used to be a better trajectory for internal promotion of high-performing, junior- and mid-level staff. Now many high-performers have to leave to advance their careers. Some senior managers seem to be more concerned with keeping the status quo rather than advocating for their staff to develop within their roles and advance their careers. There seems to be an inner circle of senior staff who take lightly serious concerns raised repeatedly by junior- and mid-level staff. Some senior staff are located in roles that are not their strengthens or areas of expertise, leading to challenges in decision making.

    Advice to Management

    Examine how you nurture junior and mid-career professionals. Re-think inflexibility in processes when it comes to high performers. Consider the benefits and pay gaps among staff. Institutional knowledge keeps being lost as employees move on for more opportunities.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Not looking good..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at ACDI/VOCA (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The company has great learning opportunities and encourages staff to take advantage of them. They seem to understand the importance of work-life balance. They are generally friendly people who are great to work with. They have a great onboarding program for new employees that I have no seen at any other job.

    Cons

    The company seems to be going downhill. Recent changes have left employees frustrated, and many people who have been there for a long time are leaving. There seems to be a pattern of putting people in high positions that they are not qualified for, which hurts the people working under them. I would've given this organization a 5 at one point. Changes in leadership at the organization and department levels have made a big dent in how I view the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the employees more, the ones who are not senior leadership. If not, it's going to hurt in the long run as they'll just keep leaving. Institutional knowledge is important, and you're losing a lot of it.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "I work in a support area"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ACDI/VOCA full-time

    Pros

    Great mission, bright people, flexible, awesome benefits, caring senior management

    Cons

    Some program staff are entitled and not fun to work with; a positive, helpful attitude can go a long way

    Advice to Management

    Being innovative is great but change needs to be handled more carefully


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Use to be a great organization."

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

    I worked at ACDI/VOCA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The organizational culture at the time was strong and staff were great to be around.

    Cons

    The HR department was too big for the amount of staff and was segregated, everyone specialized in a different areas and were not willing to cross train or to teach others. One would be pigeon hold in your particular role and would not allow for any advancement opportunities.

    Also, Senior Leaders were interested in pursuing a more flexible work schedule, however when requested to work from home, they were not interested and advised staff that it was not acceptable.

    Since my tenure, the company has undergone some major changes. At the end of 2014, a new CEO took over and laid off about 10% of the workforce. From my understanding since then, it is still not a good time to join the organization.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "A once amazing organization coming apart at the seams under the strain of inadequate leadership and a changing market"

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

    I have been working at ACDI/VOCA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    some flexibility but it's fading fast as the organization continues to shed staff and suffer the effects of brain drain. Nice office space with and open floor plan that should inspire collaboration but seems to have had the opposite effect as it really just underscores the lack of staff and those left feel exposed and vulnerable to scrutiny. Short commute for anyone on or along the red line as it's directly opposite Union Station but I think I may be drawing at straws there. There's still a small amound of brand left that can be used to leverage a new position when needed.

    Cons

    Multiple unnecessary layers of senior leadership with minimal value added (but they do seem to know how to party though). Lack of downward communication from senior management on organizational goals and priorities unless your part of the senior leadership club. Lack of clear vision on new business development and bizarre allocation of financial resources by the incoming CEO directed toward hiring more executives, most of whom are friends and former colleagues from the past. Weak project management system led by even weaker managers which is resulting large scale failures within existing programs and creating challenges on the financial management side as well. You will likely be reading about them in the news like the former AED at some point in the near future. There has been little if any interest in developing leadership within the organization and as a result the brightest young minds are leaving while the few good managers are also on their way out. This used to be an amazing place for young people that were hungry and wanting to learn the business while working in a truly mission driven environment but for them it's little more than a sweatshop now with it's only real value is the brand they can use to market themselves to other organizations. Sadly that brand is also dissolving. They are still reeling from a 20% reduction in staff a year ago and it sounds like another, though smaller may be in the works now.

    Advice to Management

    Worry about perception! Senior leadership is seen as being more focused on filling their pockets with gold before the ship sinks than they are with righting the ship. Words like corruption and criminal are thrown around by staff too often to be funny anymore. This is especially true when all of the staff is walking out the door. Stop hiring your friends and flunkies as executive level leadership without any relevant track record. Far far too many Chiefs while all the Indians are walking out the door to other tribes. Focus on leadership training. Establish clearly defined career tracks within the company so that you can attract talent. Get back to doing what you do best and stop trying to imitate what competitors were doing 5 years ago. Focus on project management and audit. When field staff is warning you of issues it's time to take notice. This can be turned around but you won't be able to do it without staff. There are very few left with institutional knowledge and residual loyalty. Those people should be rallied for as much of a morale boost as you can get out of them.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Losing its luster"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Vice President in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Vice President in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at ACDI/VOCA full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Large enough organization to work in almost any country and almost any sector. Salary and benefits packages are highly competitive. Was once an industry leader in agribusiness and food security.

    Cons

    Senior management tends to lack focus and is inconsistent in organizational strategy. Cronyism at the senior and mid levels. Company culture is increasingly difficult for minorities. This was once a great place to work, but not headed in a different direction.

    Advice to Management

    Don't play favorites. Provide leadership with integrity.


  11. Helpful (5)

    "Clickish"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at ACDI/VOCA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great Work Life Balance. Has a number of good people working. Excellent training ground for young people starting out in the international development field. Lots of opportunities to travel and a very relaxed atmosphere.

    Cons

    Not a great place for people of color. The accounting and the human resources offices have the most diversity. It is one of the most frustrated places to work. No matter what you do, if you are not in the Senior Management crowd, you will not get promoted. It used to be a very mean-spirited organization; I am not sure if the culture has changed.

    Advice to Management

    Stop the favoritism and promote the people who have gone and beyond. Make an effort to diversify the rest of the company. People of color don't stay because they feel uncomfortable working there.


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