Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated February 18, 2017
217 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-time Part-time

217 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date

Pros
  • This company is known for it's great benefits (in 33 reviews)

  • BMGF has a great mission - can be very inspiring to contribute (in 25 reviews)

Cons
  • The issues that are worked on are so important that work life balance can be a struggle (in 16 reviews)

  • decision making either drawn out or not thought thoroughly through (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (13)

    "Horrific culture, great benefits"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Program Officer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Program Officer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Benefits ( one year paid paternity/maternity leave; free health care)
    Access (influential individuals)

    Cons

    Leadership and employee base lacks cultural competence, particularly in light of the communities the organization works in. There is an overall lack of people of color. Employee surveys explicit reflect that there is a culture of fear, arrogance, and white is right. McKinsey and Deloitte clones run the organization. Look at the lack of racial diversity of the organization, especially within leadership. How does one justify this?

    Advice to Management

    Admit that you are a white is right organization.
    Change this- retain your skilled employees of color (the majority of whom are required to be ten times more qualified than the white employees)hire more employees of color and treat them well. Hire some leadership members who aren't so arrogant. Recognize that while gender is important, race and ethnicity absolutely are critical.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Aug 24, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    “Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful feedback with us. We believe, our employee workforce should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we serve, including in ... More


  2. Helpful (10)

    "Mission is good, the leadership is bad"

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Benefits are top notch. Salary is somewhat comparable. The backbone and passion lies in the people and the grant makers.

    Cons

    The challenge is that operations departments like HR and IT are run by egocentric people. If you look at these leaders, they are more interested in gettign an article in a magazine, working on fluff projects, and speaking to industry people, than actually running their operational teams. It is amazing how much money gets spent internally on remodeling for a "better IT" experience, instead of funding grants. In the programs you have the presidents doing pretty much whatever they want, so there is no congruity in the process and how money gets spent in this organization.

    Advice to Management

    Start acting hungry. Start acting like other non-profits, act humbly, not like the guerrilla in the room.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Nov 7, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your post. I'm sorry that you have a negative opinion about the leaders in HR and IT. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly with your specific feedback. We are always ... More


  3. Helpful (21)

    "Anonymous"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Pros

    I worked with some wonderful people.
    I had some great supervisors until I got a bad one.
    The mission.
    The benefits.
    I learned so much!
    Saw President Carter and Jane Goodall!!

    Cons

    I was overworked and then thrown away when I got an awful supervisor. It was a horrible demeaning experience, one that I will never forget. I was there for over 6 years and I was very dedicated. It was an amazing learning experience but terrible as well.

    Advice to Management

    If you have long term staff, don't let some one who just started managing them treat them terribly and then get rid of them. Try moving them to another supervisor.
    You need to help to lower the stress level.
    Listen to your staff, care about them and think about how they connect to the mission.
    Above all have a deep respect for EVERYONE.
    Remember All Lives Have Equal Value.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Aug 29, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    I'm sorry that you had a supervisor that created a demeaning situation for you. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you'd like to share more details. Best of luck to you in the future ... More


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Hard problems, amazing colleagues"

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

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

    Pros

    - Incredibly talented colleagues. Super sharp with deep experience in their field
    - Hard and meaningful problems (financial services for the poor, malaria vector control, agricultural development, etc)
    - Willingness to take bets and apply serious resources to promising solution

    Cons

    - Has become more bureaucratic over time
    - Overemphasis on presentation/performance in talking with leadership about team progress
    - unclear career path for younger employees

    Advice to Management

    Keep being willing to make big bets. Use strategy and analysis to make sure you're making the right bets; don't let it force smaller/safer ones.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Aug 4, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. It's always great to get such constructive feedback.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Program Assistant Role in Global Development"

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (More than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing network, great benefits, work from home Fridays, knowledge acquisition. There are always speakers and big events going on at Gates. Attending these events was like getting a masters in topic specific public health without paying tuition. There is a lot of opportunity to learn at Gates.

    Cons

    The culture can be quite cut throat and the tension around the office can get intense. There a many systems in place that do not work effectively and hinder performance.

    Advice to Management

    Work on organization culture. The elitism and ego of many of the higher-ups needs to be toned down.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Aug 24, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. I can understand why you were concerned about the culture and the intensity and tension you experienced which is why Sue Hellmann and the executive leadership is so ... More


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Noble mission and goals, but substandard management/execution"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Officer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Program Officer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great mission and visionary goals. The large endowment and payout make the Gates Foundation a true game changer in the development business. Advocacy by the Co-Chairs has tremendous potential.

    Cons

    Lots of shifting strategies. Lack of clear priorities and institutional policies - change in leadership/director roles brings change in entire teams. HR is not well developed. Country offices are a drag.

    Advice to Management

    Make clear policies that transcend individuals. HR and other operational functions need to be clear and not subject to whims of individuals at President/Director level. Create independent advisory groups to enable this. CEO has an opportunity to do so.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Sep 6, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback. We are definitely establishing more clarity around our HR policies but if you have specific feedback on this, please reach out to me directly ... More


  8. Helpful (5)

    "Real commitment to culture change."

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    An amazing mission, many wonderful caring people, challenging global problems, and incredible resources make for a stimulating and dynamic environment.

    Cons

    There's a serious effort underway to improve the culture, and unlock the true potential of this place. It will take some time, but I'm impressed with our CEO's commitment. Culture is a top priority for her and I'm seeing hopeful signs that we're on the right path.

    Advice to Management

    Please commit to culture change for the long haul. Thank you Sue for your leadership courage and vision!

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Jul 15, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    It's great that you see Sue Desmond-Hellmann and the Executive Leadership Team's commitment to improving the culture within the foundation. Thanks for taking the time to post about your experience ... More


  9. "Program Officer"

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

    Pros

    Great people and supportive environment in some teams.

    Cons

    The company culture can be challenging.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Jul 15, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks for taking the time to post about your experience working at the foundation. I hope you continue to see a commitment from the leadership on the cultural changes. If there's anything you'd like ... More


  10. Helpful (16)

    "Senior Manager, HR"

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Pros

    -Get to work with smart and dedicated colleagues
    -Good base pay (no bonuses) and outstanding benefits including 15% annual contribution (company paid) toward retirement
    -Interesting and challenging work in service of the mission

    Cons

    -Leadership is several degrees removed from the day-to-day work so they don't understand the challenges and therefore are unable to provide sound solutions to remove barriers
    -Workloads are very high and expectations are often unrealistic that often contributes to poor morale and retention
    -Several reorgs in any given year that cause havoc and confusion
    -Very little commitment to developing and retaining staff across all disciplines (this has been an ongoing issue for many years)

    Advice to Management

    -Survey the staff, and implement their feedback
    -Commit to developing and retaining staff enabling the foundation to deliver on its strategies in service of the mission

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Jul 15, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    I appreciate you taking the time to post about your experience at the foundation. While we are pleased that you found the work interesting, I am sorry that you experienced challenges during your time ... More


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Headed in the right direction"

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

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

    Pros

    The mission and vision are amazing. Our reach in the world is inspiring, and great for making career connections.

    Cons

    The internal culture needs some work. We are making efforts to change for the better, but it will certainly take time.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Jul 24, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post your review.



Showing 217 of 252 reviews
Reset Filters