Conservation International Reviews | Glassdoor

Conservation International Reviews

Updated September 28, 2017
63 reviews

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3.4
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Conservation International Chief Executive Officer M. Sanjayan, PhD
M. Sanjayan, PhD
2 Ratings

63 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Many managers (not all) respect work-life balance and provide opportunities for professional development (in 8 reviews)

  • Good benefits, they care about your professional development, important conservation mission, kind, impressive and inspirational CEO (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Changeable and crisis-oriented management style, some lack of transparency and consultation in decision-making (in 3 reviews)

  • Low level employees gather to discuss the horrendous behavioral trends from their bosses just to get through the day (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "review of conservation international"

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

    I worked at Conservation International full-time

    Pros

    Great passionate colleagues committed to conservation. Will from managers for yong professionals to grow.

    Cons

    A lot of work, very long days.


  2. "Great Mission - Toxic Workplace"

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

    I worked at Conservation International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    So many passionate people that want to make a difference in the world. A mission that anyone can get behind and a history to be proud of.

    Cons

    Terrible office politics, where a few bad eggs that create a toxic working environment for everyone around them. CEO is egotistical and unethical. Beware favoritism and back stabbing, yes-men/women are rewarded over independent thinkers.

    Advice to Management

    Grow up and institute a culture of professionalism and respect. The building blocks for greatness are all there, but the politics get in the way of great work happening.

  3. "Tread Lightly"

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

    I worked at Conservation International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -At HQ there are a lot of amazing and talented individuals who are passionate about the mission of the organization.
    -Very casual dress-code.
    -Laid back atmosphere.
    -Amazing benefits.
    -Great office (open space, shower for those who bike/run to work, nursing room etc.)
    -Majority of staff are "young professionals/millennials."

    Cons

    -At HQ there are a lot of burned out individuals with egos.
    -Office politics.
    -Seriously watch out for HR department (there are a few great members, but you can't trust the rest)
    -Very little opportunity for growth for Jr. level positions (don't expect any bonuses or promotions)
    -There is no work-life balance, expect to check you email well into the night and weekend.
    -Don't expect to work with "team-players." I witnessed many times poor behavior from Sr. level staff members who ignored and belittled Jr. level staff and failed to involve them purposfully.
    -Very little diversity at HQ.

    Advice to Management

    When I left the organization, they were in the early phase of bringing in a new CEO. CI has a fantastic mission and I truly applaud the staff members who are working at HQ and out in the field, because they are making a difference.

    As for management advice, there needs to be more opportunity for growth. For a few years, I watched several talented co-workers leave CI because the were not moving forward and didn't feel as though they were valued. For an organization that has been around for 30 years, CI still has a lot of learning to do.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "In turmoil"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Conservation International full-time

    Pros

    People believe in their cause.

    Cons

    Constant reorganizations. Confusion. Very fragmented organization with insufficient inter division collaboration.

    Advice to Management

    Spend more time building organization effectiveness.


  5. "Great experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great place to work with a great culture and good opportunities for interns.

    Cons

    No cons as an intern


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Great people doing important work in spite of institutional identity crisis"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Director in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Conservation International (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    -Mission: protecting nature for human wellbeing will get you up every morning, or it ought to
    -Colleagues: extraordinarily committed, hard-working, knowledgeable, skilled, fun folks from across the globe. Vestiges of the tight-knit "family" that CI was in the 90s and early 00s still exist.
    -Network: On the best days you're part of a 1000-person team protecting nature in 20-30 countries, in government offices, corporate boardrooms, international negotiations, academic conferences, rivers, reefs, and rainforests. Their work is your work; their victories are your victories.

    Cons

    -Institutional identity crisis: the organization grew large on the strength of a single donor and a clear approach: identify the world's most biodiverse places, and protect them by supporting national protected areas. When the original donor funding was running out, CI broadened its mission from biodiversity to human wellbeing, and broadened its approach from protected areas to other mechanisms. In a perfect world this move would have appealed to a broader donor base. But unfortunately this mission change happened around the same time the financial crisis hit, when everyone's wallets were snapping shut. The practical effect is that a lot of world-class scientific expertise on the old topics was let go/left, without much growth in new directions. Ever since then the organization has struggled to find its identity.
    -Travel: one day you're flying sky high to a workshop in Ecuador (Pro), the next day you've burned out because you're flying to.....yet another workshop in Ecuador (Con). Not the case for everyone--some people travel internationally constantly; some never get to.
    -Management: hit-or-miss. Many promotions appear to be based more on ability to charm the CEO than competence.

    Advice to Management

    -It's long past time for the Chair of the Board to hang up his spurs as CEO (yes, one man holds both positions). His fundraising prowess is top-notch, but he checked out from the day-to-day life of the organization a decade ago and the organization has been suffering for this ever since. There are rumors this may finally happen but I'll believe it when I see it.


  7. "A mission-driven organization that treats people well"

    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 Conservation International full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    CI helps ensure the foundation for human well-being and sustainable development through better management of biodiversity and natural ecosystems. It generally takes good care of its people and provides opportunities for learning and advancement.

    Cons

    Due to shifts in strategy and funding, CI sometimes lets good people go through no fault of their own.

  8. "Fantastic place to work with a great culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Support Coordinator in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Technical Support Coordinator in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Conservation International full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    One of the best environments I've ever worked in.

    Cons

    The organization's structure is a little loose, but it is constantly improving.


  9. "Love this place!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Current Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Current Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Conservation International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Where do I start?
    Great benefits; great work/life balance; wonderful and approachable people (yup that includes lawyers, scientists, management and all in between); nice perks; flexible hours; promotes within; beautiful office; and of course fantastic mission!

    Cons

    None really... maybe Low yearly pay raise but pros make up for it! Ah... no windows offices for some but thats how the building is structured.....

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!!


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Great mission, passionate people, desperate need for budget restructuring and training for managers"

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

    Pros

    Great mission with many talented, smart staff that are really passionate about conservation. Good benefits. Opportunity for some really amazing world travel depending on what division you work in and what projects you're on.

    Cons

    1. Budget constraints are a huge stressor. Some divisions have a lot of unrestricted funds allocated to them, while others are running solely from grant to grant or donation to donation. Many lower level and even some senior level employees openly fearful for losing job due to lack of funding and as a consequence there is extremely high turnover of employees.

    2. Management is hit or miss. When it's a miss it's huge and destructive to employee morale. Firstly, all managers (employees as well, but managers in particular) are spread thin and extremely overworked due to the lack of funding mentioned in 1. Some managers do handle this well, manage their time and their own projects while also making sure to support the success of their subordinates and maintain open communication with their team. Others take out their stresses on their subordinates by handing off last minute miscellaneous 'extremely urgent, due at midnight tonight' tasks, or do not communicate well with their team (i.e. doesn't show up to meeting after meeting, ignores email after email), and seem to have no idea how to manage other people, and even worse, show no desire to improve/change their management strategies.

    Advice to Management

    Please start either providing mandatory training to managers or create more alternative pathways to promotion so that people who are good scientists, good fundraisers, or good policy negotiators stay in those positions as individual contributors rather than managers. Either that, or invest in making sure your managers have the skills they need to lead a team. I have known several lower level employees in the past year that have left the organization due to having a really difficult relationship with their manager, and certain managers even have a reputation for having employee after employee leave the organization because of them. This should not be happening so regularly and management should really take a step back and address this problem.


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