Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) Reviews | Glassdoor

Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) Reviews

Updated August 3, 2017
24 reviews

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3.2
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Dennis H. Rice
12 Ratings

24 Employee Reviews

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  1. "awake overnight counselor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Awake Overnight Counselor in Uxbridge, MA
    Current Employee - Awake Overnight Counselor in Uxbridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing how they support and reassure all the resident,so that is why I rating them with a 5 star rating.

    Cons

    Very low pay ,low coverage need to step up ,they have been but need more help.

    Advice to Management

    Communication,support ,listen ,because not all staff learn the same way. It doesn't mean they can't do it the Management are doing a good job some need help ,but all and all great.


  2. "Tired and disconnected senior management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) full-time

    Pros

    The individuals we work with every day.

    Cons

    Everything else. The culture and values of this storefront are tired and decayed. They, senior management, has not bothered to evaluate nor update anything since the 1980s. They are only interested in the padding of their own pockets while throwing the token "bone" of a mere pittance to staff to "shut them up."

    Advice to Management

    Time to MOVE ON! Get out and let someone who is qualified run the organization. This means all of you on senior management! Not one of you should be spared! Eradicate each of you!

  3. "teacher review"

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

    I worked at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) full-time

    Pros

    Minimum direct instruction required. everything online, lectures,test you are only a facilitator to answer student questions and reset test if you like this teaching format

    Cons

    unfocused disrespectful students with little regard for their own education and your peace of mind fellow employees have complained of late checks


  4. "Residential Counselor"

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

    Pros

    Fellow residential counselors love and care about the individuals. Alternatives Unlimited provides decent living space and amenities.

    Cons

    Management cares only about appearance. Will be unscrupulous to maintain that appearance at any cost, regardless of well-being of individuals or workers.
    Beware of Alternatives Unlimited.

    Advice to Management

    Keep a closer eye on what is going on with house managers and coordinators.


  5. "Residential counselor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Small, close knit teams. Directly make a positive impact on someone's life. Good health insurance. Lots of vacation time.

    Cons

    Almost impossible to take an unscheduled day. Poor communication between teams. Upper management has no idea what's going on.

    Advice to Management

    Should actually learn what every day staff do. Need to understand that the professionals who work with individuals on a daily basis are more aware of their needs than a vague generalized program plan is.


  6. "Worst Place Ever!!!!!"

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

    Pros

    There are zero pros. The HR Department is the worst. Their were only a few good supervisors and they were treated like garbage.

    Cons

    I worked at many houses and it was impossible to avoid issues with problem staff throughout the agency. Further they had supervisors who treated foreign employees from other countries like pure garbage. I was horrified to see employees put under such unnecessary stress. They are hypocrites because they treat people very poor and it was agency wide. It was very frustrating to try so hard to come in and work. You wanted so desperately to mind your own business and to want to get along with everyone and supervisors and staff would go out of there way to cause problems for you. When issues were escalated to HR they took the side of higher ups due to their status. They even acknowledged that issues similar with certain people would come up but then they would reason their way out of it. I cant believe that a place like this can still exist without having gotten in some serious trouble.

    Advice to Management

    Most management reflect those in control. Those in control are frauds. Stop treating employees like disposable objects.


  7. "Counselor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    When you get placed with a good manager, you will learn a lot.

    Cons

    Some of the part time employees are doing just the minimum amount of work. This affects the teams that they sub into because even though they have the right number of people, there is extra work falling back on other employees.

  8. "Counselor"

    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

    Pros

    This agency is valuable for their individuals served by also valuing their staff as individuals and not replaceable workers, by supporting staff they will become an effective resource of support for their clients. They have provided relevant training for the staff (nothing is more useful than experience), but learning advanced responding skills, goal oriented interventions, and countless available training's that do not include DBT or IMR, will help a counselor communicate with a variety of people. So-far I have been treated with respect and do not see staff working in fear of getting written up and are praised for their strengths and not their weaknesses. I have experienced from alternatives that working on weakness can cause one's strengths to weaken, which is what I did at my last job. I know not every program is the same, but there are there are four interviews and a probationary period of 3 months until you become part of the staff.
    Also their mission statement is a good approach to the mental health field. I used to see residents treated like patients and adults like children, but am not seeing it anymore.

    Cons

    The pay increases to the posted hourly amount after the probationary period, but you will get the difference paid to you after the probationary period. Also this field is not for everyone. Understanding how CBFS or DDS systematically works is important and most agencies are evidenced based practices and towards the employees as well, which can sometimes overlook one's intangibles in the work-place.

    Advice to Management

    Invest time with the individuals served and be there to help staff . Value teamwork over accountability, which is what I have experienced so-far here.


  9. "Reviews"

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

    Pros

    You do get a lot of earn time. You get 9 hours every two weeks starting off. Just started getting yearly raises. Offer a lot of trainings.

    Cons

    Only get raises for six years. Hard to move up and a long process to get hired.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Good work, dysfunctional organization"

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

    Pros

    Depending on your career goals you'll get a lot of different experiences and exposure to the facets of human services and direct care. You'll learn or develop a lot of skills that are transferable to other fields as well. Good amount of time off earned.

    Cons

    As a counselor (especially in Supported Living), you are the least paid in the organization yet seem to have the most intense & varied workload, responsibilities, and scheduling. You have a caseload of at least 10 individuals (though you will likely have more, and will definitely be asked to work with many others on a frequent basis) who you are responsible for providing transportation for to appointments/errands/misc., documenting and coordinating medical care (a lot of the people served have medical conditions that require a lot of appointments outside of their "mental illness" status, which puts you on hook for meeting those needs as well), performing assessments and composing rehabilitation plans/documentation, implementing rehabilitation plans, administering medications, dealing with crisis situations, and pretty much anything else that comes up falls on your plate.

    In conjunction with the massive workload you juggle, there is a lack of understanding and appreciation from client's stakeholders (family, doctors, etc.) about what you do and are able to do. I've sat through multiple team meetings where I've been asked to do more for clients I already dedicate a disproportionate amount of time and resources to, or have been accused of not doing what I should be doing to help my clients. These ranked as some of my most frustrating moments, as you realize you endure this for a pay rate that doesn't even qualify as a living wage in Massachusetts.

    There is a very large pool of management that oversees this operation, though they rarely get involved in any meaningful way. I can't count how many times I had an impossibly full schedule and list of demands I had to navigate on a given shift, and the management would rarely go beyond "problem solving" how I could make it happen. Despite chronic turnover or deficiencies in staffing levels for the "front line," management rarely practices the flexibility it preaches in helping staff meet the needs of the clients.

    There is also a pervasive conflict between quantity and quality of services provided, and the inconsistency of which is more important changes from moment to moment depending on which of the levels of management you happen to be addressed by.

    I also witnessed a lot of skilled, high-performance counselors skipped over for promotions in my few years in the agency because they were deemed too good and essential on the front line, which was demoralizing for everyone involved. Just gave signals to other counselors "we won't promote you because we don't want to have to replace you."

    Advice to Management

    I would recommend that you practice the flexibility you emphasize and get more involved in the delivery of services to understand the pressure your front-line is under. And as broken as the CBFS model and funding is, the distribution of pay, responsibilities, etc. is ultimately an internal matter.


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