Avalere Health Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

Avalere Health Washington DC Reviews

Updated March 1, 2017
27 reviews

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Washington, DC Area

3.7
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Dan Mendelson
17 Ratings

27 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • ability to work from home, which helps with work-life balance) (in 3 reviews)

  • Avalere is a great place to work with very smart people (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • sometimes direction, goals, and trust in senior leadership is lost because of so much confusion throughout the practices) (in 10 reviews)

  • Avalere has a handful of incredibly negative personalities at the mid to senior level (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (1)

    "Opportunities for Growth Among Junior Staff; Flexibility in Schedule"

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

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

    Pros

    - Positive, vibrant and smart colleagues
    - Opportunities for growth in the firm
    - Opportunities to develop expertise in almost every facet of the healthcare landscape
    - Competitive salaries
    - Flexibility in schedule, and work hours (e.g., ability to work from home, which helps with work-life balance)
    - Vibrant sense of community, with employee welfare events to show staff appreciation

    Cons

    - High turnover rate, so we oftentimes lose invaluable colleagues and friends
    - Vision and direction of the firm is often muddled by competing goals among the varying practices (e.g., sometimes direction, goals, and trust in senior leadership is lost because of so much confusion throughout the practices)

    Advice to Management

    - Invest in more professional development and training opportunities to increase confidence and skill level among employees
    - Try to improve retention. Constantly having to train new employees decreases productivity and personal growth among staff


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Avalere Health - Senior Associate"

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

    I worked at Avalere Health (More than a year)

    Pros

    Exposure to a number of health policy issues and clients
    Ability to develop subject matter expertise quickly
    Client project leadership opportunities

    Cons

    Work load is consistently higher than described in interview process
    Senior leadership can be very negative and difficult to deal with
    Overall quality of deliverables is declining as there are not enough associates to complete work


  3. Helpful (7)

    "4.1 out of 5"

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

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

    Pros

    The people are fantastic. I've never once been put down, humiliated, or insulted. I've been treated this way at prior places and I was relieved when I landed this job. Dignity and respect are often overlooked qualities at most employers and Avalere provides them in spades.

    Yes, the hours are long. If you don't want to work 50-60 hours a week this isn't the place for you. That being said, you can get involved in almost anything at the company. Lateral transitions to a different career path or focus is not unheard of and your willingness to throw yourself into the mix will be recognized. Be aware, you must be willing to work very hard.

    Flex work. This is the first time I've had the flexibility to plan my work around my life instead of the other way around. As long as deadlines are met, you can do whatever you want.

    I feel too many people unfairly harp on the company about situations that are within the individual's power to fix. I know someone will eventually say this, so no I don't work in HR.

    Cons

    This is where my feelings about Avalere get complicated. The people are great but some are clueless about business and client relations. This leads to poor communication, which then leads to frustration, which leads to hostility (some would call them heated debates), which leads to burnout. Most of the folks who have left have told me personally that they "can't deal with it anymore."

    Now, many other reviews highlight poor communication as an issue. However, this is a trouble area that shouldn't sit squarely on the shoulders of senior management (no I'm not in senior leadership either). All levels of the company have this problem. Common sense would fix many of these issues at the individual level.

    Now for the big, fat elephant in the room. Big brother. There is a great deal of unease related to the acquisition still. In my own opinion, we do not mesh well culturally and their goals do not align with ours either. That is not for me to decide of course but this sense of unease has many looking over their shoulders.

    Advice to Management

    We are headed in the right direction. Avalere has come a long long way since I started. I acknowledge that management has spent a great deal of time hammering out the kinks with many more to follow. We have the 4 pillars in place and we are chugging along. One suggestion, please identify the members of the different teams who are the go to communicators or compartmentalize the human communication network. I often hear too many "I don't knows" or "I'm not sures" about (insert anything) and then 50 people need to be included on 1 email to get an answer. Or, one person leaves the firm and then no one knows where (insert anything) is or what's going on. This would alleviate a great deal of the communication issues.

    That being said. Keep up the good work.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Well meaning"

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

    Pros

    Highly educated leaders who value the individuals who make up the company. Everyone has a voice.

    Cons

    Middle management does not agree with leadership.

    Some clients do not value the effort put in on their behalf.

    Advice to Management

    Get management on message. Either the tone is party politics and micro management down to whom does what. Or it is a free for all where the best rise to the top.

    You can't execute both and expect harmony.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Cultural Missteps"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Avalere Health full-time

    Pros

    Avalere is great, truly, for all the reasons given by others before me, and I don't want to try to restate what has already been said. The integration with Inovalon even has a lot of down-the-road benefits (stronger together sort of thing), despite acquisition growing pains.

    Cons

    In general, the Avalere culture is fantastic. One key area where there are problems, however, is in communication.

    A number of us raised concerns that it seems sometimes like upper-level staff is hiding something based on phrasing; the response was immediate, but the message seems to have been lost: sometimes over-explanation is as bad as under-sharing. Transparency is appreciated, but if hands are tied such that you can only explain something in convoluted fashion, it's better to be simple and concise with what CAN be said. Messages like "I genuinely do not know" or "For confidentiality reasons, I can't say" go a long way and are starting to be utilized, but at times feel unprompted, as if answering a question nobody asked, which only serves to confuse all recipients.

    Another communication misstep: while I am glad for a vibrant and enthused culture at Avalere, and I like that staff feel comfortable enough with each other to go to Happy Hour or have alcohol at end-of-day staff meetings, etc., I'm a bit concerned with how the fun-loving aspects are communicated. I drink, but I also have a history of alcoholism in my family AND WORK FOR A HEALTHCARE CONSULTING FIRM, so it's a bit disconcerting the way Avalere can feel like high school/college: certain behaviors which are bad from a health standpoint can feel encouraged. The other day I actually heard "at least you were drunk" as if that were to be applauded; sleep deprivation is similarly viewed with respect, and overwork with admiration. We can work hard, play hard without feeding into unsustainable lifestyles.

    Cultural mismash also continues to pervade the merger, but it's getting better, I guess, and is to be expected, so long as the "old" Avalere vibe remains mostly intact, we should be fine.

    Advice to Management

    With mass emails, sometimes less is more. Transparency doesn't always equate to clarity, and burying the lede can result in giving a mixed message.

    The same holds true for promoting culture: supplying drinks on occasion is not the same as encouraging bacchanalian behavior;

    And as for Avalere continuing to hemorrhage talent, another trite aphorism holds: Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler. When we say "communicate more," that's what's meant, but there's nuance, as above. When we express feeling as though we have no work-life balance, that means expectations aren't being enunciated properly or that prioritization has fallen by the wayside, not that we need more fun activities to take our minds off of feeling overworked. Complaints about compensation packages not being sufficient for work produced means there are multiple levers to fiddle with, pure pay, other benefits/professional development, better-distributed work, etc., it doesn't JUST mean money is the only motivator, especially since we realize Inovalon is tight with budgets.

    Something to pass along to Dunleavy: Recognize some of the problem may be you, since attrition wasn't as high before and the Avalere/Dan Glassdoor ratings are higher.


  7. Helpful (14)

    "Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Manager in Washington, DC
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Avalere Health full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Convenient office location right off the metro, learning from the city's best and brightest, great pay that's very competitive. It will come at a price though.

    Cons

    Nonexistent work/life balance. As mentioned in most of the previous reviews, Avalere employees are made up of some well meaning personalities who are so committed to their job, there is no opportunity to spend time with family or explore personal interest. Forget about making it home in time for dinner. Despite recent hourly utilization (billing clients) 50-60 hour weeks are the norm, rather than exception. I've worked in an agency my entire professional career and I've never seen it get this bad. In fact, HR struggles to bring in the support the various practices desperately need in order to get the work done and recruiting firms are now used to lure in talent from various industries. Once they realize the unhealthy and relentlessly demanding expectations on them, that new talent is out the door. What good is 3-4 weeks vacation if you're required to answer email even on sick day? Take time off is frowned upon and you're expected to be responsive to email 20 hours of the day, 6 days a week. I'm sorry out an occasional fancy dinner or lunch in the company tab isn't worth this insufferable work life balance. It's time someone did something about this, starting with the directors.

    Advice to Management

    Don't take on more business than your employees can afford to manage and support. Associates and managers are completely burnt out, but no one across the practices is willing to speak up and say so until they've left. The attitude is that if you can't perform at a high level all the time that you are dumb or worse, lazy. I've been at Alavere for a couple of years now and the turnover is 100% due to employee burnout.


  8. "Excellent learning opportunity for summer interns"

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

    I worked at Avalere Health as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Avalere is full of enthusiastic mentors and brilliant and well-educated employees who are willing to teach you and guide you. There is easy accessibility to senior staff, and as an intern, they both challenge you and value your input.

    Cons

    There weren't many. If anything, the company as a whole needs to work on communicating what each practice is doing in a better manner so that subject matter expertise can be leveraged in a better, more productive way.

    Advice to Management

    The office location is very convenient and nice, but pushing back moving to a larger facility is not a good idea. While I think Avalere should stay in DuPont Circle, office space is becoming a bigger issue as the company expands. For interns, more training at the beginning is necessary since Avalere is very brand conscious with materials such as PowerPoints.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Great lateral experience"

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

    I have been working at Avalere Health full-time

    Pros

    Avalere recruits smart, driven employees, who are passionate about the healthcare industry. The opportunity to meaningfully contribute to clients' policy needs and translate into corporate strategy keeps me fully engaged. I am also encouraged by opportunities to grow outside of my comfort zone.

    While there is a deeply entrenched emphasis on the value of deep subject matter expertise, there are opportunities for strategists, who can synthesize across the spectrum.

    The office location is fantastic. Even with an unclear relocation timeline, we have been reassured it will not be far from Dupont. Moreover, flexible work location arrangements encourage employees to find a profession-life balance.

    Avalere, instead of searching for and compartmentalizing pockets of diversity, seeks to be inclusive. Simply inclusive.

    Cons

    Avalere is a mid-sized consulting firm experiencing some of the growth-related challenges that similar firms, regardless of industry, face. That unexpected challenge will happen at the worst possible moment.

    The office space is dated (depending on floor) and a little tight (depending on floor and title). Leadership seeks not only new space, but creative use of the current footprint.

    Advice to Management

    Be bold.
    Be visible.


  10. Helpful (30)

    "Troubling trends"

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

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

    Pros

    The firm is conveniently located in DuPont Circle with easy access to the metro and plenty of food options. Given the smaller size, the responsibilities placed on managers are broad and you have the opportunity to work across different therapeutic areas. The people are great and it seems as though friendships are easily formed and last beyond your time at the firm. The travel requirements are also reasonable for consulting.

    Cons

    Leadership at the senior level is severely lacking as the firm struggles to define its identity. As a result, morale is very low across the entire firm. You need only look at the number of recent departures of senior leadership: multiple practice leads (Senior Vice Presidents), multiple sector leads (Executive Vice Presidents), and even the COO and CFO. Critiques about the opaque promotion process are commonplace but management fails to rectify the situation, leading to continuing and growing frustration. Projects can be repetitive and the firm likes to recycle work instead of bringing a fresh perspective to each client engagement.

    Advice to Management

    Instead of trying to inflate your ratings with coordinated Glassdoor reviews (see the three glowing June 26 reviews), take a close look at why people are leaving and listen to your employees. Create a plan to address these issues and commit to fixing them. This is the only way to build credibility and improve morale. Otherwise, the situation will continue to deteriorate and it will become harder to recruit new talent.

    Avalere Health Response

    Jul 8, 2015 – Sr. Human Resources Manager

    Thank you for taking the time to provide us with this thoughtful feedback. I’m glad you think the people at Avalere are great (I agree), that friendships established here are lasting, and that travel ... More


  11. Helpful (6)

    "Excellent first job for anyone interested in healthcare and healthcare policy"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Avalere Health full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I thought I learned a lot in college. I was oh so very wrong. The one year I spent working at Avalere felt like getting paid to earn a master's degree in public health and public policy. I came to Avalere very open with the company about the fact that I would only be joining for one year, at which point I'd be returning to school. Despite how temporary my time was there, I felt that my direct supervisors invested their time and energy in me as if my Avalere tenure would last for years to come. I was astounded by the truly phenomenal mentorship I received from all levels of brilliant staff, the types of meaningful and intellectually stimulating projects I was fortunate enough to work on, and the roles I was able to take on at such a junior level. What's really remarkable about Avalere is the diversity of experience among its staff- attracting academics, former government workers (CMS, OMB, etc), and business professionals of all types. If your eyes and ears are open, you can learn a ton just by observing and interacting with your colleagues. For anyone interested in healthcare policy, healthcare in general, or consulting, I cannot think of a better place to go than Avalere.

    Cons

    Though I genuinely loved my time at Avalere, it's clear that there's significant variation in experiences of employees at the Associate/Sr. Associate level. I was in a new small group, and was lucky to have FANTASTIC supervisors, which in no small part defined my experiences and roles taken in different projects. Other practices are much larger which can lead to a very different dynamic, and though I cannot speak for the experiences of Associates in those practices, I cannot definitively say that my own experiences are generalizable to what life is like for every new Associate. Avalere definitely has a turnover issue, which I think senior leadership is beginning to take seriously. That said, there's good turnover (employees going to extraordinary new opportunities that without Avalere most likely would not be possible) and bad turnover from great employees dissatisfied with opportunities for upward mobility within the company and other legitimate concerns. Much like at any company, turnover at Avalere is a mix of the two. Additionally, turnover at Avalere is at least in part a reflection of the city it's in, which is of course a revolving door. I will say that whenever I hear what someone is going to do after leaving Avalere, I'm always extraordinarily impressed. Avalere can also improve upon its professional development framework (Excel & PPT trainings for staff, opportunities for junior and senior level staffers to make content relevant presentations to peers to build soft skills, etc). I have a sense that senior leadership is quickly becoming acutely aware of the main weaknesses/rooms for improvement, and the recent hiring of a new senior leader and recent corporate restructuring are great steps forward.

    Advice to Management

    As I mentioned before, turnover is a serious issue at Avalere. I think senior leadership should revisit turnover at the junior and middle-manager level, consider who is leaving and why they're leaving, solicit feedback, and develop a retention strategy. Though much turnover is inevitable, you don't want to unnecessarily lose a lot of the high quality talent that comes through Avalere's doors. Avalere's in a transition stage from small to mid/large size firm, so kinks are to be expected. Embrace the fact that you have kinks, and address them head-on.


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