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Freedom House Program Officer Reviews

Updated Dec 26, 2015

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Found 15 reviews

2.5
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43%
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Michael Abramowitz
0 Ratings
  1. Helpful (1)

    "Be sure it's what you like - human rights work isn’t for everyone"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Staff’s commitment to human rights is impressive and they are very knowledgeable about events around the world; Decent flow of communication through several meetings, and event and travel announcements; Frequent promotions--depending on nomination by your director, and the president’s approval—promotion from SPA to PO can be a hurdle as it depends on a program’s ability to fund the PA or SPA position; The benefits...

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    Cons

    Ongoing "Intermittent Technology" (I.T.); Research output is painfully dull, largely because some directors don't have new research skills and have been using the same old methodology for the past ten to fifteen years; Some programs have little or no impact, in most part because they are poorly planned and implemented--this is particularly true for the one run in DC by multiple management staff; Skill level of some...

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    Advice to Management

    Assess usefulness of some publications and programs—start with those such as FoE and RF, which are already embedded in regional programs; Implement some sort of plan to exit long-serving staff who've all run out of fresh ideas.

    Freedom House2014-02-24
  2. Helpful (5)

    "Executive Staff - Asleep at the Wheel"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Genuine commitment by staff to human rights and democracy.

    Cons

    New President is condescending, out of touch and self serving. The Executive staff - out of touch and show very little regard for anyone below the title of Director. Staff are at the mercy of their supervisors who manage their programs with impunity - there is no room for true collaboration, due to toxic environment of competition. Staff are disregarded, overworked and grossly under appreciated.

    Advice to Management

    Stop traveling around the world and take a serious step towards righting this ship. Look around how many staff members have to leave before you wake up.

    Freedom House2015-12-26
  3. Helpful (6)

    "Freedom House needs to do better."

    StarStarStarStarStar
      Former Employee - Program Officer 
      Doesn't Recommend
      Negative Outlook

      I worked at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      Good place to earn valuable experience in DC. Great connections. Mission is admirable.

      Cons

      The same problems have existed for years, and will continue to exist for years because there is absolutely no will to change the status quo. Abusive, harassing, and incompetent managers are the norm, and suffer no consequences for inappropriate actions. New president is condescending and out of touch with the reality of the institution, despite an intensive "listening tour," that has been followed up with nothing more...

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      Advice to Management

      Hire an external account to review financial protocols and procedures and balance the books. Respect ALL employees.

      Freedom House2015-09-08
    • Helpful (7)

      "Disaster."

      StarStarStarStarStar
      • Work/Life Balance
      • Culture & Values
      • Career Opportunities
      • Compensation and Benefits
      • Senior Management
      Former Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
      Doesn't Recommend
      Negative Outlook
      Disapproves of CEO

      I worked at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      Because the organization is so dysfunctional, new staff get lots of hands on experience very quickly. Somehow, it still has a good reputation.

      Cons

      Where to start... Freedom House is a mess from start to finish. TERRIBLE executive management affects the entire organization. You will find roadblocks to good work at every avenue. You will also be under-appreciated, overworked, undermined, and frankly traumatized by the time you leave. On top of that, the organization just keeps doing the same type of programs it has for decades without any real evidence that they...

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      Advice to Management

      Impose term limits on the Board so they don't continue the terrible cycle of micro-managing leadership positions and driving the organization into the ground. Have a truly accountable management structure and don't be afraid to replace people who can't demonstrate real success. Empower your staff instead of undermining them at every opportunity. If you want to do human rights work, start at home and value people.

      Freedom House2015-04-29
    • Helpful (1)

      "Great opportunities for the focused"

      StarStarStarStarStar
      • Work/Life Balance
      • Culture & Values
      • Career Opportunities
      • Compensation and Benefits
      • Senior Management
      Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
      Recommends
      Neutral Outlook
      Approves of CEO

      I have been working at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      The executives, senior and junior staff are committed to democracy, freedom, and human rights, and thankfully, care enough about the organization to stay on and focus on the important task of making it a freer world for all. My interactions with HR, IT, Finance, and Ops have always been extremely positive and professional. I respect their policies and don’t ask that they bend rules in my behalf, which unfortunately,...

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      Cons

      FH has made some poor decisions in the last few years. Some directors have brought in some senior level POs with huge egos who have thought they were the smartest kids on the block and yet expect to be mollycoddled. They seem oblivious to how exhausting it must be for directors who have to hand-hold them. They blame execs and senior management for all the problems in the organization but don’t think their lack of in-depth...

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      Advice to Management

      There are quite a few program staff who have their hearts in the right place. They are quiet, keep their heads down, work hard, don't play politics or back-stab, and got where they are today purely on merit - reward them! Stop picking favorites - it's wrong and they'd leave and tell the world how weak (rightly or wrongly) you are anyway. That some of the senior staff and execs have risen above the fray is to be...

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      Freedom House2014-10-19
    • Helpful (5)

      "Organization in freefall."

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

      I worked at Freedom House full-time for more than 3 years

      Pros

      There are some very nice and talented people who work here. We move to a new office soon, which could only be a positive thing. Upcoming change in leadership, will also be a potential positive... Previously controversial Human resources Director was replaced by a very kind and helpful person. Good job, Freedom House, Incorporated (Inc.). She and the HR staff are doing well to get things moving in the right direction.

      Cons

      In reference to the Washington, DC-based organization, there are many to consider. Liiterally dozens of the organization's staff members have left this year. Sometimes, it was due to funding. But in many cases it was due to they just could not take it anymore. They seem to have taken upper management's attitude - if you think you can get higher pay/more respect/a better work experience elsewhere, go ahead and try...

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      Advice to Management

      As a parting show of good faith, the outgoing president should get rid of the 3-4 execs who are not doing their jobs. Don't set the next guy/gal up for failure.

      Freedom House2014-10-14
    • Helpful (1)

      "Not a bad place to work, but some streamlining and narrowing of strategic direction is needed!"

      StarStarStarStarStar
      • Work/Life Balance
      • Culture & Values
      • Career Opportunities
      • Compensation and Benefits
      • Senior Management
      Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
      Recommends
      Neutral Outlook
      Approves of CEO

      I have been working at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      The work is deeply satisfying and fulfilling, and there's lots of room for creativity and meaningful work, if you really know your region or thematic area. The benefits are great, and the company health insurance and retirement are the best so far; the work environment is great - people are helpful and collegial. Freedom House isn't perfect---the pay is not fantastic, but neither is the funding – still, it’s gratifying...

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      Cons

      Operations department needs to be more functional---you never get a response to your emails on weekends or evenings - when you have the most emergency occurrences. Instead, programs frequently rely more on other departments, to handle emergencies. Lots of Freedom House staff come straight from college, with not much work experience and think that they have all the answers and are ready to set the world on fire---directors...

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      Advice to Management

      Focus on fundraising; strengthen publications; merge Africa and MENA – and get a strong director for the merged programs. Hold directors and execs accountable for their poor management and program decisions. Get rid of nonperforming directors, execs, and junior staff.

      Freedom House2014-02-16
    • "So much on offer"

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

      I have been working at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      Employees are committed to human rights and the plight of the oppressed around the world. Reports from field employees make program work more credible. Excellent information sharing through staff meetings, huddles, readouts, etc. Opportunity for frequent international travel for junior staff. The benefits are great and my supervisor is flexible when it comes to our work hours. Finance and human resources...

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      Cons

      The fundraising infrastructure is weak-- some programs are ineffective fundraisers, and development is not doing such a great job either. There is a pervasive sense of entitlement among some junior staff.

      Advice to Management

      Hire employees who want to get work done, not travel on Freedom House's dime. The proposal team should write proposals for programs. Most junior staff plan to work for 2 years and use the organization as leverage when seeking other opportunities -- execs should ease up on those promotions. Tell disgruntled and negative staff to leave. The proposal team should write proposals for programs.

      Freedom House2014-01-26
    • "Programs are meaningful and impactful!"

      StarStarStarStarStar
      • Work/Life Balance
      • Culture & Values
      • Career Opportunities
      • Compensation and Benefits
      • Senior Management
      Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC
      Recommends
      Disapproves of CEO

      I have been working at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      You get to work in all aspects of programs – proposals, work plan, partner training, finance, interviews. Incredible colleagues across the board. Good benefits –flexible leave policy, good promotion policy. Finance and HR are steady composed pillars of support. HR advocates for junior staff - they resolved an issue between me and my director, after much bungling by VP.

      Cons

      Every organization has its good, bad, and ugly.

      Advice to Management

      Publications need to raise own funds – some staff have definitely outstayed, and the NY office is good program money down the drain. Development department is under a significant amount of strain – they need more resources, while IT seems significantly over-resourced. Downsize exec team.

      Freedom House2013-09-26
    • "Growth opportunities"

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

      I have been working at Freedom House full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      - they’re trying to build a reputation amongst an ocean of well-funded competitors; - several trainings, brown-bag meetings, etc. – depends on your appetite for learning and willingness to take up these opportunities; - they value work-life balance – PAs and SPAs required to obtain supervisor's sign-off before they work more than 40 hours - definitely not the case at my previous job; - great relationship with...

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      Cons

      - programs require proficiency in specific regional languages such as Spanish, Russian, Arabic, etc. - this can limit cross-program opportunities; - over-staffed finance - staff occupy every floor in DC building.

      Advice to Management

      - some staff aren’t busy - underscored by time expended conducting surveys, and now - environmental committee - when there’s an office manager in the building; - provide substantive feedback and support to programs - our program had a time-sensitive problem that was referred to the VP - VP didn’t proffer a solution, instead, he said he understood our frustration - senior VP offered substantive feedback, and saved...

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      Freedom House2013-09-22
    Found 15 reviews