Freedom House Reviews | Glassdoor

Freedom House Reviews

Updated January 22, 2017
51 reviews

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2.6
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Michael Abramowitz
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51 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The work is pretty standard for any DC based human rights NGO, but organizationally there's still a lot that needs sorting (in 13 reviews)

  • s a great place to start out your career for a few years (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Everything was great, genuine staff commitment to human rights and democracy (in 5 reviews)

  • The Executive staff - out of touch and show very little regard for anyone below the title of Director (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Good place, average management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Freedom House (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Competitive salary for industry.
    Opportunities for growth.
    Friendly staff.
    Flexible scheduling.

    Cons

    Some ideological bias.
    Execs have a tendency to run roughshod over the needs of research team.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your human capital.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Identity Crisis"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Freedom House full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Not many to speak of. The work is pretty standard for any DC based human rights NGO, but organizationally there's still a lot that needs sorting.

    Cons

    During my time, management was very complacent. There were several higher-ups who contributed little and knew even less. The new president and budget issues ushered in a bit of a spring cleaning of upper management, which was much needed. They almost never promote from within.

    Advice to Management

    Refine the structure and goals. Don't try to bid for every contract at once. There needs to be a clear vision of what Freedom House does, and then do it well.


  3. "Freedom House"

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

    Pros

    I work here and i think it's a great place with lots of opportunities especially for people just starting out in their career.

    Cons

    Top managers are not people savvy or do not necesarrily have the right managerial skills.

    Advice to Management

    Take some management course


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (5)

    "Executive Staff - Asleep at the Wheel"

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

    I have been working at Freedom House full-time (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.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Awful management."

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

    Pros

    There's great work going on at FH and staff are extremely knowledgeable/qualified in their respective fields. Most people around you are really driven by the mission.

    Cons

    The new President, Mark Lagon, is absolutely horrendous. Terrible leader, blatantly self-promoting, arrogant, and cares more about his title than the mission.

    His strategic planning process seemed to be "for-show" and I suspect that he will pursue his own ideas and ignore others. I left before I could find out.

    Run away. This place is plummeting towards the ground.

    Advice to Management

    Don't instigate internal politics. Learn to lead the organization.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "lofty mission."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Freedom House full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The mission's lofty. few programs are successful. most publications are well received. few employees identify with the lofty mission. for most, it pays the bills.

    Cons

    Freedon house isnt bad because of bad land, lumber, plumbing, electricals, or construction work. it's a toxic environment. we think it. we believe it. don't waste time splitting hairs separating execs from junior staff or senior staff. bad employees = bad place to work.

    Advice to Management

    get consultant to identify what programs are sustainable. get consultant to help get rid of toxic employees (90% of all employees). bad employees = bad place to work. get real.


  8. Helpful (7)

    "Disaster."

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

    I worked at Freedom House full-time (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 work and contribute to real change on the ground. It is not mission-driven, it is not results-driven, and it is not driven to retain talented personnel.

    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.


  9. "Project management for USAID-funded grants"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Project Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Freedom House full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Intelligent, caring employees who sincerely wanted to make a positive difference

    Cons

    Uncertainty of new business / funding / sustainability


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Great opportunities for the focused"

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

    I have been working at Freedom House full-time (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, is quite common within the organization.

    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 knowledge and experience of the regions, and deficient-proposal writing skills are in any way a considerable part of the problem. They believe FH is a bad place to work, don't leave because they can't find other jobs, and then complain about how bad the organization is - after 2-3 years. There have been a few cases of favoritism. Directors have on occasion had to take on staff imposed on them by execs, including their assistants.

    Most junior staff are extremely hardworking, knowledgeable, smart, eager to learn, and humble. A persistent problem at FH is senior staff’s fear of asking a few junior staff to grow up or leave. Unfortunately, the directors with the audacity to do so are seen as bad directors. Some senior staff and execs cringe and quiver and avoid dealing with these junior staff, instead, they refer problems which they should resolve to other execs. They place a greater premium on being liked by junior staff than telling them what they really think of them and their mediocre contribution to fundraising.

    My director emphasized the importance of fundraising when I joined the team. It’s mind-boggling that this is cited as a failure of the organization instead of our own failure. Our programs don’t raise funds yet some of us ask our directors for higher pay.

    The angst toward publications is startling. Freedom House is well-known for its publications, definitely not the programs. Program staff in DC relish telling others in the field what to do, when, and how. This is particularly infuriating when you realize how little they know of the regions. For some junior staff, their claim to field experience is a few weeks backpacking in some “foreign” country before returning home to start paying off their student loan debt. They don’t seem to particularly care about democracy or freedom in other countries. Most just want to jump-start their careers.

    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 respected. However, the incoming president should be more business minded and willing to hold everyone accountable, especially the so-called "superstars" who blame everyone else for their failures.

    Grow publications - they are credible, the staff are hardworking and respected professionals, and the execs are superb!


  11. "Focus on two things you do best."

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

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

    Pros

    With committed employees who make personal sacrifices for the mission, most junior staff and research team are dedicated. Great benefits, excellent work/life balance & work culture. Annual Freedom reports are revered. Elimination of previous Ops team was laudable. HR remains a strong advocate for junior staff - finally eliminated hole-in-the wall PM.

    Cons

    Senior staff have poor management skills. Execs & senior staff aren’t able to raise funds but, continue to draw a paycheck! Junior staff are now expected to raise funds. PM MENA was a nightmare. Finance is stretched thin. Development needs results-oriented exec. I.T is inappropriate!

    Advice to Management

    Merge the programs. Merge global and regional execs and replace with new veepee. Show leadership and hold senior staff accountable for their decisions and conduct. Hold directors accountable for junior staffs' professional growth and development.


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