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Common Sense Media

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Common Sense Media

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Common Sense Media Reviews

Updated Jul 11, 2022

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Found 46 of over 69 reviews

3.8
67%
Recommend to a Friend
42%
Approve of CEO
Common Sense Media CEO and Founder James Steyer (no image)
James Steyer
24 Ratings

Top Review Highlights by Sentiment

Pros
Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
  1. 5.0
    Current Employee

    Supportive Company Culture

    Jul 11, 2022 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Wonderful people, mission-driven organization, great work life balance, and true remote opportunities

    Cons

    Some teams more siloed than others

    Be the first to find this review helpful
  2. 3.0
    Former Employee, more than 3 years

    Great place to get experience, not so much to move up

    Feb 2, 2022 - Manager in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Great benefits and nice people. Great mission to serve parents, families, and kids in this content-driven and tech-saturated world. The internship program has been improving in the last few years. Well-funded, big visions.

    Cons

    Needs improvement in diversity, especially in top leadership roles. Founder-driven, which can lead to a narrow vision. If you start as a coordinator or manager, it can be difficult to have opportunities to move ahead in your career. It seems they hire a lot of directors and senior roles and not enough coordinators and managers to actually carry out the visions. Then the teams are limited in bandwidth. For claiming they are about DEI, serving diverse audiences, and giving diverse people "a seat at the table", they need to do better at actually listening to diverse employees and implementing new ideas.

    2 people found this review helpful
  3. 3.0
    Former Employee

    Good at first

    Apr 7, 2022 - Manager 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Mission, some smart and nice people. Well-funded. Good benefits. Work-life balance.

    Cons

    No development tracks for most managers or coordinators. They play favorites. If you’re a favorite, great. If not, good luck with getting the support you need. Little to no training. Many times expectations do not match support levels. Some departments are supportive of their team, others are not.

    Continue reading
    1 person found this review helpful
  4. 3.0
    Former Employee, more than 5 years

    Good work-life balance and benefits, but poor management overshadows the perks

    Apr 19, 2021 - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    "Work-life balance" is not just a buzzword at Common Sense, it is actually respected at every level of the organization. Very family-friendly. No one here is a slave to their desk. There is a full closure of the office during winter break as well as other extra freebie holidays throughout the year. The benefits and pay are generous for a non-profit and in some roles comparable to the private sector. There is a fun and welcoming workplace culture with lunch and learns, free food, Thirsty Thursdays, etc. Most people working here are truly wonderful. Passionate, creative, hard-working, mission-driven, etc. The people are why I stayed so long. Some teams are less dysfunctional than others (Editorial and Education come to mind as two teams that seem relatively satisfied with little job turnover) and invest in their employees.

    Cons

    Jim (CEO and founder) is as bad as the other reviews say (and maybe worse.) If you want a leader who lives by the organization's values and who inspires you, do not work here. Jim is incredibly egotistical, arrogant, self-centered, and has delusions of grandeur. As a CEO, it his his way or the highway, in every area of the organization's key decision-making. As a personality, he is often a hindrance to the work that we do. He is also largely responsible for the constant mission creep of the organization and the inability to stay on track. However, it's not fair to only put the blame on Jim. The rest of the senior leadership team and a few others in senior management enable him 100% and often need to scramble and apologize for Jim's misdeeds when Jim won't apologize or demonstrate accountability himself. Common Sense has recently (in the last few years) embarked on a DEI initiative, but so far the results have seemed mostly performative and an easy checkbox to check (i.e., "hire a diversity consultant") and there is still deep transformational work to be done in order to make Common Sense an equitable place to work. I believe that as long as Jim and the existing senior leadership team remain, the organization's DEI efforts will remain surface-level and lack real impact. There is a general lack of transparency and accountability from senior leadership to the rest of the organization, and this has been repeatedly brought up in our staff engagement surveys as a problem area, but little has been done about it. Sheltering in place has only exacerbated this issue. Layoffs are a regular occurrence and don't seem to make any strategic sense. Meanwhile, Jim is able to hire whoever he wants and create roles out of thin air for his friends. Nepotism is a common practice. The way the organization spends money is questionable at best and there are definitely some ethical questions in this area.

    Continue reading
    14 people found this review helpful
  5. 5.0
    Current Employee, more than 5 years

    Fabulous place to work

    May 15, 2020 - Senior Lead in San Francisco, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    I've been at Common Sense for several years and it's an amazing place to work. I've never worked with such smart, motivated, and compassionate people at any other job. Every department functions a little different, but the ones I've been most exposed to are all extremely diligent, very hard-working, and so smart. Our editorial and education teams are top notch, our product and technical team is so detailed and just always on it, business development is very strong, among others. I have found that many voices are heard, even those in lower positions have a strong say in the organization's direction. Some of the other reviews have noted the challenges for HR, but in my experience they have been a great resource and they care deeply about our staff and culture. The family-friendly work culture is very true, and the home/work balance is something that is encouraged and almost enforced, a nice change from every other place I've worked. Employees also seem to care deeply about the mission and we seem to continually hire and retain some of the smartest people out there.

    Cons

    New projects come up often and can get in the way of other strategically and well-planned projects, but it's also a sign that the organization is nimble at times when needed. Location is not easy to get to on public transportation.

    1 person found this review helpful
  6. 5.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Content Reviewer

    Jun 25, 2021 - Content Reviewer 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    good flexible hours to work with

    Cons

    not a lot of growth, mundane work

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  7. 3.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    ups and downs

    Jun 1, 2021 - Development in San Francisco, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    good for gaining experience, lots of smart and passionate people to work with and learn from, fast paced environment. mission and programs are important and worthy.

    Cons

    some of the leadership can be very frustrating to work with, and borderline abusive. top-down culture suffers from institutional sexism and racism. some work hard against it, and others are continuously problematic.

    1 person found this review helpful
  8. 5.0
    Current Employee

    Good place to work

    Apr 14, 2021 - Recruiter in San Francisco, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Fair and I enjoy it there

    Cons

    Can’t think of any now

    1 person found this review helpful
  9. 2.0
    Former Employee, more than 3 years

    Harmful, unprofessional environment – especially for junior-level staff

    Nov 16, 2020 - Marketing 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    First (and against all odds), the staff are kind, funny, hard-working, and bring a variety of specialties to the table (legislative, editorial, education, data privacy — it’s pretty incredible!). Second, the organization’s mission is one that many folks can get behind as issues like media literacy and safe tech use for families have only become more timely. Also, the benefits are decent.

    Cons

    Junior staff are shuffled around to accommodate leadership’s experimental whims, especially on the Marketing team. Within two years of working here, I had already experienced 5 managers and 3 titles changes, which seriously eroded my confidence and career ambitions. There are few legitimate opportunities for growth, though more than half of the organization is made up of VPs and Directors. It’s obvious that Jim suffers from “founder’s syndrome” and uses Common Sense as vehicle for advancing his political career. (Not to mention he once invited an ex-employee who had very serious allegations of sexual assault raised against him back into the office for a meeting – truly awful, in my opinion!) Only the teams that are shielded from him do well for themselves (like Education and Consumer), while the ones he feels personal stake to (like Advocacy) either flounder or become so enabled and entitled that they’re unbearable to work with and emotionally abusive. Unfortunately, I would never recommend this place to anyone, especially not to those early in their career.

    Continue reading
    11 people found this review helpful
  10. 5.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    The most wonderful community

    Jan 22, 2021 - ESL Teacher in San Francisco, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Warm, welcoming staff, hard-working students

    Cons

    Pay is hourly, but directors work hard to get you all the hours you want.

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Viewing 1 - 10 of 46 Reviews

Common Sense Media Reviews FAQs

Common Sense Media has an overall rating of 3.8 out of 5, based on over 69 reviews left anonymously by employees. 67% of employees would recommend working at Common Sense Media to a friend and 71% have a positive outlook for the business. This rating has improved by 1% over the last 12 months.

According to anonymously submitted Glassdoor reviews, Common Sense Media employees rate their compensation and benefits as 3.8 out of 5. Find out more about salaries and benefits at Common Sense Media. This rating has decreased by -3% over the last 12 months.

67% of Common Sense Media employees would recommend working there to a friend based on Glassdoor reviews. Employees also rated Common Sense Media 4.3 out of 5 for work life balance, 4.1 for culture and values and 3.6 for career opportunities.

According to reviews on Glassdoor, employees commonly mention the pros of working at Common Sense Media to be benefits, culture, coworkers and the cons to be diversity and inclusion, career development, senior leadership.

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