Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reviews

Updated February 18, 2017
217 reviews

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217 Employee Reviews

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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 (2)

    "Gates"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Ridgewood, NJ
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Ridgewood, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great mission, high quality talent, amazing resources

    Cons

    High prioritization of strategy at the expense of a parallel emphasis on execution

    Advice to Management

    Melt the snowflakes

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Nov 8, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. I appreciate your insights and hope that you are seeing positive changes since your wrote this review.


  2. Helpful (13)

    "Feeling the Churn"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Program Officer Global Policy &Amp; Advocacy
    Former Employee - Senior Program Officer Global Policy &Amp; Advocacy
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Great, dedicated colleagues at staff level. Great name value (but making a lot of enemies). Lots of frequent flyer miles b/c you are never home.

    Cons

    Internal politics and capricious management that starts and stops strategies so often it is dysfunctional. Uses and discards employees so much you lose count of the "he/she has decided to leave the organization to pursue other opportunities."

    Advice to Management

    Take stock of why a 15-yr-old organization has such a massive # of alums!

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Nov 8, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    First, I want to apologize for my tardy reply. I want to thank you for taking the time to give us feedback. I am sorry that the experience here at the foundation felt dysfunctional. We continue to ... More


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great Mission"

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

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

    Pros

    Great mission, great facilities, not resourced constrained, in the middle of impactful systems change.

    Cons

    Leadership doesn't always embody what they are saying. Mercer St.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Nov 8, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    I apologize for my delay in responding to your review. Thanks so much for taking the time to provide feedback. I chuckled a little about Mercer Street since I'm on it twice a day and completely agree ... More


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  5. Helpful (7)

    "Assistant"

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The benefits cannot be overstated, they are unbelievably generous. The mission and resources available to "drive toward impact" (a very gatesian term) is noble and lofty. You may also get to work with some of the smartest, humblest, and nicest people in the world and learn so much.

    Cons

    It is more likely that you will work alongside people who are just trying to do their job and stay under the radar. Too many reorgs, too many bad managers, and too much political lobbying for too few promotions from within the organization. Program staff can only get so far and then they just get more work and more responsibility dumped on them and support staff have nowhere to go. When opportunities do arise, it is always a cattle call and survival of the fittest. The most politically well-connected win the day. Skill, experience, competency, commitment don't always mean anything.

    Advice to Management

    Seek out those you don't see who have been here the longest and ask them what they think. Don't reward people just because you like them, and please stop rewarding people with management positions when they clearly can't manage people. Bad people managers stifle growth, morale and creativity. The very traits I would think you would want to draw out of your very valuable and costly human resource.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Overhiring is a Major Issue...."

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

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

    Pros

    This is a wonderful organization that does incredible work, and feeling like you're contributing to the mission is incredibly motivating and inspiring. The CEO is a brilliant woman and seems to generally care about the happiness and well-being of the staff. The work done by the program teams, in spite of themselves, is valuable and important work. We are making a difference.

    Cons

    OMG -- seriously, stop with the over-hiring! Just because you CAN hire a double- or triple PhD from Harvard doesn't mean you SHOULD. Overall the organization is STILL too large, too reliant on contractors and consultants (don't get me started on IT) and the scope of your work will be incredibly small, so you will fee like you just magically stepped ten years back in your career. Nowhere to develop, grow, or advance. Stagnation.

    Advice to Management

    A serious overhaul of roles and responsibilities is needed -- managers don't want to do the hard work of figuring out what their teams are doing and need to do, and as such, leave it all ambiguous to the point of the ridiculous. Middle management here is a serious problem, and there's a massive disconnect between the executive leadership team and the rank-and-file. It's not getting better. There's a lot to do.


  7. "A good organization"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Great mission and great people. The work is meaningful, and you know that you are working to make a difference in the world and to help those in need.

    Cons

    The work is often aligned along program lines and not necessarily across overall desired results across the overall body of work of the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Continue efforts to tell the organization's story and to integrate efforts across program areas to achieve desired results on both the issues and geographies of interest

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Nov 8, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. I know that we are focusing on how to best integrate the work and to prioritize our collective success. I'm thrilled that you seem to be thriving here.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Not for everyone"

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

    Pros

    You have the opportunity to be a part of doing something positive in the world and to meet some terrific people.

    Cons

    It can feel like working for a behemoth and decision-making is confusing and often senseless, even on small teams.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Nov 21, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. I apologize for the tardiness of my response. As you know, we are working hard on making improvements around process and decision making.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "program assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Benefits are wonderful and campus is beautiful

    Cons

    No upward or promotions for PA positions

    Advice to Management

    Would like to see internal promotions for PA's


  10. Helpful (2)

    "A great place stymied by formal structure and culture"

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

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

    Pros

    The scope and breadth of projects, the ability to influence, the ability to convene, the access to super smart and dedicated people

    Cons

    Experience entirely dependent on manager, lots of process

    Advice to Management

    Work on simplifying work and time spent on internal processes


  11. Helpful (9)

    "Great opportunities for hard working individuals"

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

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

    Pros

    The mission of the foundation is one that makes you proud to come to work every day. That coupled with an amazing facility to work in and smart, caring coworkers, make it a great place to work.

    Cons

    Opportunities for advancement are far and few between. It isn't impossible but it not only takes hard work but you need the good fortune of a manager who cares about your career. Not everyone finds themselves in this fortunate situation.

    Advice to Management

    You hire smart, accomplished people who are experts in their field and then you ask them to manage people. Some of them are able to do both but many fail and when they do so they not only fail the organization but not being able to contribute fully for what they were hired to do, but they also fail those who report to them. Hire managers to manage and content experts to focus on the grants and programs.

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Response

    Dec 1, 2016 – Head of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

    Thanks so much for your review. I appreciate your advice to management. As a matter of fact, we now have dual career paths; one for technical experts without management requirements and the other for ... More



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