ICF - adding to my previous negative review of 7/30/13: “ICFI is like several mini companies..." | Glassdoor
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Helpful (13)

"adding to my previous negative review of 7/30/13: “ICFI is like several mini companies...""

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Principal in Fairfax, VA
Current Employee - Principal in Fairfax, VA
Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Approves of CEO

I have been working at ICF full-time

Pros

same pros -- lots of very smart, experienced people, many of whom are well-known as speakers, authors, and subject matter experts in their respective fields

Cons

same basic cons (please see my previous review for details and examples) --
1. Difficult to collaborate across lines of business
2. Very difficult to move from one line of business to another
3. Seriously underpaid and undervalued junior- and mid-level employees
4. Significant lack of work/life balance

and one new con (an additional example of undervaluing employees):
5. High forced turnover -- As an executive, I'm asked routinely to help welcome new hires. Of course this orientation support is part of my role, and ordinarily, I'm more than happy to do it. In fact, I need no encouragement for this activity -- just help from HR identifying all of the many new hires in a line of business or division. What has started to disturb me, however, is the fact that ICFI hires several new employees weekly AND lays off as many or more employees weekly, as well! I approached other executives, hiring managers, and HR about this problem. Why do we lay off so many dedicated, experienced, and gifted employees when we are HIRING? I won't go into all of the details of looking into this basic problem. Suffice it to say that every week, we hire several managers, RAs, etc., oand lay off people with the exact same functional skills. It drives me crazy. Where is the business sense in this? Where is the loyalty to people who have committed their energy hard work, and expertise to ICFI's clients? Too frequently, talented junior and mid-level employees contact me, looking for billable work for fear of being laid off. These are not slackers, but people with exceptional skills. Yet, ICFI is quick to lay them off AND hire others. It seems so senseless, and it damages morale, corporate culture, client relationships, and even the bottom line!

After looking into it, I now understand the reasons this forced turnover happens.
1. Competitive advantage -- ICFI prefers bidding perfect/best fit new hires to bidding merely good fit existing employees, who are dedicated, skilled, and in need of work (due to contracts/projects ending or changing needs). ICF routinely hires new people with the EXACT experience match for a new bid and lays off existing employees whose experience aligns well, but is not as perfectly matched as the new hire's. For example, an employee with USAID experience in international health in developing countries may be laid off in favor of bidding a new hire with experience in local community health clinics, for an HHS public heath bid. The laid off employee and new hire could have the same functional skills and level of experience, but simply have worked for different agency clients.

2. Lack of internal systems and no accountability among senior staff for retaining employees and keeping junior and mid-level staff billable. So, in the above example, senior staff was aware of the issue, and chose to lay off the existing employee anyway for competitive advantage. But, more often, senior staff is unaware that there are excellent employees in other lines of business or divisions who could easily, readily, and seamlessly fill a role on a project or bid. Why? Because there is NO internal HR system that indicates when an internal candidate needs work, little or NO effort is made to place employees whose contract has ended, and so on. It's up to the employees to do all of the work to place themselves. The employee who is more outgoing and networked across the firm has a greater chance of landing somewhere internally, but even then, it's tough (because these employees run into competitive advantage -- are you the PERFECT fit?

Advice to Management

Same as my previous post:
1. Pay junior- and mid-level employees more
2. VALUE your employees
3. Significantly improve systems, tools, d aninfrastructure for matching existing employees with project work; and senior-level accountability for retaining and placing employees

Other Employee Reviews for ICF

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Unsatisfying"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Accountant in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Staff Accountant in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at ICF full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Some of my coworkers are a joy to work with

    Cons

    Increases are below 2% a year. No bonuses are available to employees except at the executive level. ICF does not have a reliable corporate structure or corporate philosophy. Management does not treat employees well.

    Advice to Management

    Employee welfare needs to improve.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "A mixed bag of experiences"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    You have the opportunity to work with some excellent colleagues that possess a wide variety of consulting skills, educational backgrounds, and career experience.

    Cons

    Disconnect between management and employees, combative culture, harassment and bullying, and inconsistencies with policies and procedures.

    Advice to Management

    Seek a change management consultant. Explore strengths within the organization. Take your employees suggestions seriously. There is a plethora of talent at ICF and much of that is exploited by management that is more focused on appearance than results.

There are newer employer reviews for ICF
There are newer employer reviews for ICF

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