Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated September 18, 2017
236 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

236 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

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
  • Work life balance might be difficult (in 17 reviews)

  • Extreme bias btwn full time and contract employee (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (4)

    "Program Assistant Role in Global Development"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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


  2. Helpful (4)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

  3. Helpful (5)

    "Real commitment to culture change."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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


  4. "Program Officer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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


  5. Helpful (16)

    "Senior Manager, HR"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Great people, excellent benefits - and exhausting"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great people, some of the smartest and most interesting coworkers I've ever had. A mission to believe in and opportunity to learn a lot about the work and partners' work. Fabulous benefits.

    Cons

    Can be very political. No established/obvious track to advance, which means it's all up to the manager if you get opportunities to grow and develop. People management has only more recently started to be considered important; there are lots of smart people with very specific skill sets hired because they're experts in a specific field, now expected to people manage.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure people managers are adequately trained and supported to actually manage. Consider the ratio of 'doers' vs. 'thinkers'.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

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

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post about your experiences at the foundation. The ELT is focusing on the role of the manager in our culture journey so hopefully you will see even more... More


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Headed in the right direction"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Inspiring place to work but a lot of process"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Influential organization that can make a big impact. There is a strong commitment to the mission, which is inspiring and motivating.

    Cons

    A lot of process and bureaucracy that takes quite a lot of time and energy away from substantive work and innovation. With a group of such type-A personalities, it can also become a stressful work environment. You need to be able to set your own boundaries.

    Advice to Management

    Simply processes and develop a more transparent performance review process. You have a lot of ambitious professionals who need to understand how they may (or may not) be compensated for their hard work.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

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

    We appreciate you taking time to post about your experience at the foundation. Did you feel that your 4C's discussion (Career, Capability, Connections and Contributions) was a more positive... More


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Seems inspiring, but internal politics prevent impact"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    -Admirable mission
    -Passionate colleagues
    -Work with experts in your field and people doing interesting things
    -Good benefits

    Cons

    -Very political and bureaucratic, like working in a dysfunctional government department
    -Stuck in an "ivory tower", force implementation of strategies because leadership "think" they will work, without really gathering data or information from practitioners in the field
    -Lots of turf wars and political backstabbing
    -Because there is virtually no internal promotion, all leaders are from outside the Foundation. Many are experts in their field, but many are not, so combine a lack of expertise with a lack of competence.
    -Often tone deaf around how initiatives are playing out in the field
    -Has a reputation in the field of being unpredictable and prone to goose chases

    Advice to Management

    Clean house among leadership

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

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

    Thanks so much for your feedback about your experiences as a Program Officer here. While, it's always difficult to hear about your negative experience, I appreciate your point of view and would... More


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Not living up to its potential."

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

    I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time

    Pros

    The mission is powerful, the people are smart and passionate.

    Cons

    Turf wars and bureaucracy get in the way of good work.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

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

    I'm so sorry that your experience wasn't as positive as we'd all like to see. If you'd like to share more with me or my colleagues, please reach out pam.yanchik@gatesfoundation.org.... More


Showing 236 of 275 reviews
Reset Filters