Academy for Educational Development Reviews | Glassdoor

Academy for Educational Development Reviews

Updated December 17, 2016
22 reviews

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22 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "A dream job turned disaster"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Manager in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Technical Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are OK, and the educational development benefit is useful; it pays for conference attendance or professional memberships.

    Cons

    Overall chaos and disorganization prevailed at AED even prior to their being banned from receiving further USAID funding. After that, even worse conditions developed. Payment of reimbursements and postal allowances (for working in a dangerous foreign environment) were delayed or denied for no apparent reason. Communication between management and employees became adversarial and fraught with mistrust. Promises had been made by middle managers in conflict with AED policy and resulted in employee disenchantment. Employees' adverse reactions to being lied to were not validated.
    A bait & switch approach to salary information was used to attract employees to positions as contractors, then they were switched to regular employees at greatly reduced salaries. Employees were expected to develop educational programs without access to libraries or textbooks. Orders for materials were delayed by months due to bureaucratic inaction.
    Employees in a country known for terrorist activity were housed in unsafe conditions and transported without safety precautions as recommended by their own emergency insurance plan.

    Advice to Management

    Hire managers who do not see their relationship to employees as an adversarial one. Get better contract writers; contract terms were unclear and unreasonable because the contract was written by someone without experience on the ground in the host country and without an educational background. Make sure that communication with employees is honest and is conducted on a professional level by all employees. Do not place managers in a position for which they are not qualified. Take better care of overseas staff members.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "A corrupted place with no credibility to work with corrupted governments"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst M&E in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Analyst M&E in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great location! Some very talented and competent staff.

    Cons

    I wonder how the organization can work on behalf of the US Government and lead programs that support, protect and promote values such as transparency, gender equality, anti corruption, advocacy, healthy lifestyles when it does not practice it! I'm at a loss for words trying to comprehend how AED continues to get ridiculous amounts of money from our government when the economy is so bad.

    Advice to Management

    Return the money to tax payers, stop corruption and treat your employees with dignity and respect. And fire some many of the top senior and mid level managers that perpetuate an environment of fear and corruption.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Broad range of options, much lost potential"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    AED has access to a huge range of options in terms of countries, projects and topics in which it works, and its staff is very competent and diverse. Climate is friendly, open and respectful. Provides opportunities and expects staff to be self-managed in terms of their time and tasks. Benefits are great. Location of the main offices is great too.

    Cons

    AED management is surprisingly weak considering its success in the industry - probably a reflection of growing up with its main source of funding (US government agencies). Incentives and compensation do not address the needs for development of the organization nor its staff, but rather compensate giving "110% because management messed up." Local staff in field offices are second-class citizens with few chances for advancement in the organization. Overall the organization is wasting the huge potential of its staff and knowledge.

    Advice to Management

    Be less hidebound. Break down stove-piping, commit in practice to your words: a global organization.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Good overall, but has its downsides"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Web and Database Developer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Web and Database Developer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice people, pleasant office space filled with art, frequent cultural and educational events open to all staff. Quite good benefits.

    Cons

    Serving in a technical role (web and database developer for one of AED's projects) I feel too far removed from having a direct positive impact on any of the areas in which AED works. I've also been frustrated by the IT department, which is inflexible when it comes to their policies. For example, Remote Desktop Connection is also blocked, which makes it very difficult for me to work from home. I'm sure that inflexible IT policies are not unique to AED, but it's new to me, coming from a college environment that was much more permissive.

    Working in a technical role in this organization can be isolating, because there is no network amongst other staff doing similar work for other projects. In my job, I have no technical mentor or anyone who can review my design decisions.

    Advice to Management

    On the right track.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "A great place to learn, move up, then move on."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    AED is a thought and practice leader in government contracting around so many types of social issues. It is a great place to start your career and gain transferable skills while you figure out your own interests and talents. If you get the right manager, AED central services provides great resources for personal and professional development. It is easy to move up and to gain great skills that are recognized throughout the international development community. They have great infrastructure and facilities for a non-profit and are located in a nice location to work. The roof deck is a major perk.

    Cons

    It's a large place and easy to get stuck with a less-than-forward-thinking manager who does not always see the big picture.
    They have major leadership pipeline issues: many upper level staff get too bogged down in administrative or programmatic tasks instead of being strategic leaders.
    Some senior managers have work-life balance issues and expect the same level of commitment from their underpaid staff.
    Compared to other organizations, there are very few opportunities for international travel for lower and mid level employees.
    The organization does not have a strategic communications strategy- neither internal nor external, and could benefit from some better reflection on the way that they talk to their employees.

    Advice to Management

    Do a social network analysis to compare the informal relationship realities with the formal organizational structure.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Good for international opportunities, bad for getting ahead."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Officer I in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Technical Officer I in Washington, DC

    Pros

    The breadth and depth of the knowledge of international projects that AED employees work on is incredible. They are in over 80 countries around the globe and have wonderful opportunities to participate in these programs.

    Cons

    Usually when you get hired, they low-ball your offer. You can talk them up however. They also offer full benefits, but watch out for the medical plan that the doctors you want to see are covered. Many of the popular doctors under the larger health plans in DC are NOT in the health plan they offer. Also watch out if you're a short timer -- retirement doesn't kick in until one year on the job.

    Advice to Management

    Truth in advertising -- please don't say one thing, yet do another. It's a bit disingenuous.


  8. "Great place to work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Academy for Educational Development full-time

    Pros

    Good organization. Possible to advance in organization with time.

    Cons

    Hard to advance to senior position without a Master's.


  9. "Great Colleagues, Top Heavy"

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

    I worked at Academy for Educational Development full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Wonderful and smart colleagues that are passionate about the work that they do and interested in your experience.

    Cons

    Stodgy corporate culture with a lot of senior staff that are more focused on protecting their jobs than anything else.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your junior staff as they will help your organization grow.


  10. "Great potential that ended too early"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Technical Advisor
    Former Employee - Technical Advisor

    I worked at Academy for Educational Development full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Smart, motivated people who knew what they were doing. There was a buzz and excitement working there.

    Cons

    A reluctance to break out of silos. A shame that AED became the poster child for accountability and that the toll was so high.


  11. "Nice people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great colleagues, great benefits, flexible hours

    Cons

    After the suspension everyone left and the work has been limited

    Advice to Management

    The six-month rule between positions should be flexible in some cases.


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