Children at Risk Reviews | Glassdoor

Children at Risk Reviews

Updated April 5, 2017
15 reviews

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1.9
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Children at Risk President & CEO Robert Sanborn
Robert Sanborn
11 Ratings

15 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great Place to Work!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    I have been working at Children at Risk full-time

    Pros

    The people and mission are wonderful. Unlike other reviewers, I have had a very different experience. I am treated with respect by all senior staff, and my ideas are heard.

    I have been here for multiple years and there has been a significant reduction in staff turnover since the previous reviewers' comments on this page. If a person was working here for only a year (or if this was their first "real job"), it is hard for them to appreciate the stability and strategic growth of an organization.

    There are opportunities to move up in the organization if you produce good work and are reliable. Also, the work environment is fast-paced with high standards, but the people are so fun and the work is incredibly rewarding.

    The research conducted here is not as rigorous as in academia--because that would be impossible to achieve without the resources of academia--but the research is well thought-out, well-informed, and conducted by seasoned researchers.

    Cons

    At times the work load is quite heavy, as they give staff a lot of responsibility and independence with projects. Ultimately, it can be manageable if you prioritize, delegate, and aren't afraid to set boundaries.

    Advice to Management

    Hire people with a good work ethic, a good attitude, and a commitment to being great at their job.


  2. "High Staff Turnover, Senior Mismanagement, and A Weak Board"

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

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There are some passionate staff members who truly aim to make a difference in addressing the dire needs of Texas children and families.

    Cons

    Senior Staff and Board Members won't properly react to mounting evidence of mismanagement by Dr. Bob Sanborn because of fear of "rocking the boat." The leadership continually ignore sound judgement and advice in all areas - research and methodology, fundraising, marketing, hiring, human resources, and Board involvement. This eliminates any chance at success staff or Board members may have in their attempts to create a respectful and professional work environment, fair compensation and benefits, honorable fundraising and reporting to donors, robust accounting and analytics, a serious focus on marketing and communications, any attempt at even basic human resources, and the ability of the few passionate and devoted staff members to uphold the organization's mission.

    Advice to Management

    CHILDREN AT RISK's Board should be relentless in solving the organization's many structural issues and should require that Senior Staff (including Dr. Bob Sanborn, who is already the cause of many complaints) report to an external human resources entity. The organization should have followed recommendations provided by external consultants hired to assess CHILDREN AT RISK's persistent problems, as evidenced by their financial statements. Leadership should also stop using the excuse that the many negative reviews of the organization are due to a lack of understanding from young employees who find it hard "to appreciate the stability and strategic growth of an organization." That is both insulting and laughable when one confirms that the organization is neither strategic (not meaningfully updating nor following the strategic plan), and is not growing or even sustaining. The Board should ask for reports related to the extremely above average turnover rates, many staff exit interviews, high fundraising costs as a percentage of revenue, lack of achieving most fundraising goals as set at the beginning of each fiscal year, peer and academic review of their research, and questionable hiring and salary-setting processes. Also, if staff turnover has decreased slightly if at all (as with all areas already mentioned, the Board should request actual data on this), this is only because the organization eliminated several positions in the past year without true strategic thought or care for remaining staff most affected by the changes. As leaders of a research-based organization, the Board should allow all staff to anonymously respond to evaluations aimed at addressing all of these issues.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Good mission
    Overall vision for increasing education among children

    Cons

    Favoritism
    Unclear and uneven salary structures among staff
    Too much work load and very little guidiance


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Beware"

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

    I worked at Children at Risk (More than a year)

    Pros

    The people (except for senior level staff) and mission are wonderful. They are one of the best organizations I have seen that is engaged in the legislative session in terms of creating policy as well as providing the public summaries and updates of what is happening in the legislature.

    Cons

    Working at Children at Risk was a traumatic experience. From the beginning, I was lied to about what senior staff expected from my performance. I was overworked, confused, and treated with immense disrespect. The "evidence-based" research is actually the result of senior staff manipulating the initial work in order to ensure the results reflect what they "think" they should be.

    Also, sadly, the previous sentiments shared about Bob Sanborn are true. His behavior towards employees ranges from inappropriate to hostile.

    Advice to Management

    Be honest with the board about where the organization is financially, prevent senior staff from manipulating research to achieve the "desired" results, and treat your employees with the same respect you would hope for. The unheard of turnover exists for a reason and it is fixable if senior staff and the board are open to and enforce change. Also, to start with, the board should be given the results of the hundreds of exit interviews that have been conducted over the past few years as I think they will shine a light towards the right path for the future of Children at Risk. If this does not happen and treatment of employees in changed, I believe it is only a matter of time before the organization crumbles.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "Beware!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great mission that attracts really smart, hardworking people.

    Cons

    Inept and unprofessional management. No HR. CEO and CDO issues.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your staff. Focus on strengthening internal systems so external work can be more effective.


  6. Helpful (7)

    "Poorly Run, Unethical Organization"

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

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    In theory, the mission of Children at Risk is worthy and the people that work in non-management roles within the organization are wonderful. Furthermore, employees tend to be incredibly smart, passionate and capable.

    Cons

    An organization is only as strong as its leader and CEO Bob Sanborn is an absolute nightmare. He doesn't have any idea how to run an organization, finances were in constant disarray and fundraising practices were dubious at best. Fundraising events were more costly than beneficial, grant funds were mismanaged and turnover is abysmal. On top of that, the management team does not challenge the incredibly poor decisions made by the CEO to create an environment where quality staff cannot be retained and where the reputation of the organization within the community is being irreparably damaged.

    And finally, the references made to Bob Sanborn's sexist, homophobic behavior are unfortunately 100% accurate. A competent leader should understand it's not okay to ask female employees when they want to have a baby or speculate about an employee's sexual orientation to other employees. Completely unprofessional and an embarrassment to the organization and its Board of Directors.

    Advice to Management

    The Board of Directors at Children at Risk should challenge Bob Sanborn's false narrative about what's really going on behind closed doors. People are not leaving because Children at Risk is a stepping stone organization. They are leaving because it's a terribly run organization. At a certain point, the lame excuses need to end and the Board needs to hold the CEO accountable for his failed leadership. Unfortunately, Children at Risk will continue its downward spiral until the Board gets with the program, fires Bob Sanborn and finds a competent CEO.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Lots of Turnover"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The organization has a great mission and potential to grow. A lot of work is done in collaboration with other organizations which is a great networking tool.

    Cons

    There is a lot of turnover. Employees do not last here long and the hours can be overwhelming. The leadership at the top is hardly challenged.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Passionate people, terrible leadership"

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

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time

    Pros

    * Everyone is very passionate and inspiring about their projects
    * Dallas office seems to be improving while Houston is drowning

    Cons

    *CEO is inappropriate and over-personal
    *Nothing Bob says is challenged, everyone walks on egg shells around him
    *Leadership opportunities are given out arbitrarily
    *Heavy tendency towards micro managing while giving minimal directional support
    *Expectation is that you live to work, trying to have work - life balance or take a lunch break is looked down upon

    Advice to Management

    *Someone (board) needs to hold CEO accountable and challenge poor decisions
    * Employee retention needs to be seriously addressed
    *Allow employees to live outside CAR, the balance is non-existant


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Smart and Motivated Staff"

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

    Pros

    -Intelligent, driven, and well-educated employees
    -Flexible work schedules
    -Close-knit work environment fosters strong connection and dedication to organization's mission
    -Supportive and friendly staff

    Cons

    -Numerous job titles and functions can make organization seem disorganized

    Advice to Management

    Continue to develop infrastructure, policies, and procedures to legitimize organization and allow for professional development of staff members.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Exciting projects, overworked staff, no true middle management, a sprawling mission"

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

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time

    Pros

    -Since the organization is small, most employees get the chance work real, high level policymakers.
    -The projects that come through the pipeline are exciting and full of potential.
    -Some of their best events bring in big thinkers with great ideas.

    Cons

    -The CEO dislikes "negative" influences among senior staff, so strong-willed independent employees are more likely to toil in middling positions.
    -Employees are expected to accept whatever workloads are offered and make it work. That may not seem like a big issue, but a) this organization hires mostly very young employees who do not know themselves well enough to say "no" or "I need help" on a project b) a sprawling mission leaves staff spread thinly on many surface-level projects. A lot of talented staff left because they didn't feel like they were being used well, or that they had no opportunity to add value.

    Advice to Management

    -Hire a human capital manager who manages staff day to day, let the CEO focus outward and upward where he excels.

    -Support your strong self-starters, especially those who are willing to push back. They are the backbone of your organization. They care enough to push back, and will have great ideas if you truly bring them into the strategy process.
    -Bring your less experienced staff on slowly and temper expectations. Otherwise they will burn out, losing interest and confidence.

    Much of the 85% turnover can be directly linked to either of these management issues.

    -Reduce the size of the board and focus on fewer issue areas. The talent is there to create real change, but right now the best they can do is get in the news.


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