Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated July 19, 2017
78 reviews

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann
Susan Desmond-Hellmann
28 Ratings

78 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great benefits for full-time employees, not interns or part time (in 36 reviews)

  • Great mission, fabulous people and actively working to get better all the time, with the resources to do it (in 28 reviews)

Cons
  • The issues that are worked on are so important that work life balance can be a struggle (in 17 reviews)

  • Decision making is often hamstrung by politics (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (7)

    "Potential to be a truly premier employer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    High caliber staff; mission-driven organization that is having global impact; challenging work that provides career development opportunities; exceptional benefits; very competitive base pay for most roles; workplace amenities.

    Cons

    High workload and ineffective prioritization by leadership and managers creates employee burnout/frustration and failure to focus on highest priorities (org wide challenge); ongoing turnover of execs on operations side; inability to figure out business and resourcing model for global strategies; ongoing strategy changes/new directions require employees to be highly change agile and comfortable dealing with ambiguity, reorgs, new managers, etc.; terrible commute for Seattle employees due to Mercer/S. Lake Union congestion

    Advice to Management

    Continue to turn the boat with cultural transformation work that emphasizes trust, respect, transparency and creating (positive) energy; find ways to simplify work and systems rather than creating additional complexity; develop and hold managers accountable for leading teams and developing direct reports; keep ego/arrogance in check; build muscles around prioritizing work and identifying work that will not be done or will be done at a slower pace given resource constraints - communicate broadly when these leadership decisions are made.


  2. "Recruit young talents"

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as an intern

    Pros

    Great area to work with amazing facility and limitless tools to ensure stress-free workday. Great benefits for full-time employees, not interns or part time.

    Cons

    Management strong on 10-20 years experience which creates gap in attracting young talents with new ideas.

    Advice to Management

    Recruiting new talents or former interns will prove more beneficial for project management purpose.

  3. Helpful (4)

    "Director"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It is the best of all worlds; mission driven, in a time in history that is unique, where our mission is understood and has such an opportunity for impact at scale; enough resources and investments to gain personal experience and personal growth; In the middle of defining and building a great internal culture;

    Amazing benefits, fulfilling work, good people, emerging values.

    Cons

    Get stuck in old stories, emphasize the complexity and difficulty in the work rather than the opportunity, put self care behind the mission and in turn lessen our impact.

    Advice to Management

    Keep going, look for opportunity to invest in our good people, seek humility and courage.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    May 12, 2017 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thank you so much for your review. I really appreciate your helpful insight and most particularly the need for employees' self care. If you have any thoughts on how best to help our employees do... More


  4. "MBA Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Summer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Former Intern - Summer Intern in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great access to smart people, deeply compelling problems, more resources than anywhere else in non-profit space

    Cons

    Really big, slow-moving, hierarchical. Can feel like people are territorial about status/owning grants.

    Advice to Management

    You're doing the right thing focusing on culture. The people care so deeply, but the systems, behaviors, and norms aren't the best.


  5. "Be flexible, change is constant."

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Pros

    Going to work everyday is like going to school. There are so many great colleagues and experiences to learn from. It's also exciting to work towards ambitious goals.

    Cons

    Collaboration is hard and we can be also risk-adverse.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Jun 24, 2017 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks for your review. I appreciate your insights and hope you continue to be excited about your work.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Fantastic Organization with a Great Mission (and some disfunction)"

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Pros

    The Mission - You feel great, that you have helped the world become a better place
    The Benefits - You will NEVER have benefits this great...
    The WorkPlace - Every office is new with a good focus on making the workplace world renowned for its staff

    Cons

    Shifting Priorities - The Foundation's mission is consistent, but constant revisions to projects and priorities creates a never-ending feeling of start/stop, re-org, starting new work, end work, sometimes restarting etc.
    Experts as managers - Bringing 'field' experts (educational or medical) in to act as managers...when that is not really their skill sets creates unrealistic expectations and sometimes poor management situations.
    Technology - with as much endowment as the foundation has one is always surprised at how poor/outdated their overall technology is (financial, Data, Grant Management etc.)

    Advice to Management

    Simplify. Be Bold. Take Risks. Update your technology. Develop Project Management skills. Let SME be experts and hire/organize yourself so you have strong people managers. Keep doing great things.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Mar 13, 2017 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your post. I'm pleased to see that your advice to management are all areas of focus for the ELT and other senior leaders as we work on improving the culture of the organization.... More


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Program Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Assistant in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Program Assistant in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Less than a year)

    Pros

    opportunities for growth, great compensation, amazing facilities, great people to work with

    Cons

    better knowledge management system and processes

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Jan 31, 2017 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. It's always helpful to hear from our new employees. I would hope that you could reach out to your leadership around the needs you and your colleagues have around... More

  8. "Program Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Pros

    Exposure to different areas that are about improving lives

    Cons

    Super fast paced, rarely time to pause and reflect

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Jan 31, 2017 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. We are definitely a fast paced organization with a desire to make a large impact in the world. If there are other things you'd like to share directly with me please... More


  9. "Program Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Excellent benefits; important work/mission statement

    Cons

    Few opportunities for growth and career development

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Nov 14, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. I'd love to chat with you about career opportunities. Please don't hesitate to reach out. pam.yanchik@gatesfoundation.org


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Dep Director"

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Pros

    Bright people, potential for impact phenomenal

    Cons

    Complex matrix structure; Many leaders are not necessarily team players

    Advice to Management

    Simplicity!

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Oct 11, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. We truly have a remarkable organization of bright committed people but as you mention, our organization can sometimes feel complex. I hope you see that there are... More


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