Golder Associates Reviews | Glassdoor

Golder Associates Reviews

Updated February 21, 2017
360 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.0
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Hisham Mahmoud
60 Ratings

360 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work-life balance highly emphasized with a plethora of extracurricular activities and events (in 27 reviews)

  • Employee owned company makes seniors accountable (in 26 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is non-existent (in 20 reviews)

  • Upper management did not really understand how to grow a consulting business work (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    Pros

    Very friendly, smart people; very reasonable hours for consulting; very organized and thorough file tracking and audit system; good focus on health and safety; thankful for opportunity to be a part of team.

    Cons

    sometimes searching for work to do


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Not the Place it Used to Be"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Coordinator in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Project Coordinator in Denver, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Golder Associates full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Multi-discipline format provides the opportunity for junior personnel to find the area of this field that they can excel in.

    Cons

    It was a great company a decade ago, but with senior management changes became too focused on money and power. The teamwork across disciplines that fostered the cooperative work environment that grew the company has devolved into nepotism and favortism resulting in groups fighting each other for work. If you don't have a Principal or at LEAST a high-level Associates on your side, no amount of good work will get you anywhere. There are far too many yes-men (and women) mucking things up and good people are either forced out the door or decide that they are done living in the toxicity.

    Advice to Management

    Redefine your management structure to focus on the VALUE your personnel contribute, instead of being degree-snobs who only care about rank.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Becoming a faceless corporation"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer in West Palm Beach, FL
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer in West Palm Beach, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Golder Associates full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    It is becoming harder and harder to think of any. There are still some good people who haven't been fired or left.

    Cons

    Golder now has the worst of both worlds of the employee-owned company and the stock holder publicly traded company. The bad parts of a public company is the ruthless drive of management to increase share value. The bad part of an employee-owned company is the sacrifice of money for employee ownership and freedom. We have lost our freedom, now having management who rules by command and seeks only lip-service input from employees, whether they be 30-year veterans and senior principals, or Level 1 junior engineers. Any advice or comments that appear negative are treated with immediate reprisal; I'm surprised that the upper management hasn't started using Twitter like our President. They do not accept any comments that don't acknowledge that they are gods and in command of the universe. So the freedom and collegiality has been killed. And we still have lousy pay and benefits, and while I do think that some senior folk in this company have been a bit lazy and not always deserved their salaries, the company keeps taking away money from them, most recently halving the 401(k) match, not giving them salary increases, and pitting them against one another in a zero-sum game for a few meager bonuses. Why should I aspire to become an Associate or a Principal in such an organization?

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the mantra, "Lead, follow or get out of the way!". "Lead" means following without question, and if you voice a concern, it is "Get out of the way!". Sorry, but this is what you have created.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "Still great...but changing quickly"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Golder Associates full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Multi disciplinary company to work for with lots of opportunities

    Cons

    Recent changes and reorganization have made the employee "numbers". Only the future will tell if that is for the best of the company

    Advice to Management

    Management no longer takes input from employees on a local project management level as well as on ideas for the future of the company


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Missed opportunities"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Golder Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Poor leadership, lack of mentoring, and a dearth of active proposal efforts forced me to go outside my comfort zone and develop better networking skills so I could survive by finding project work from other departments and offices.

    Cons

    Dysfunctional communication and collaboration within and among offices. Mid-level managers don't delegate work appropriately, nor do they act as champions for junior level staff (outside of nepotism and playing favorites), so there is a lack of opportunity and many good people's talents wasted. Upper management turned a blind eye to documented instances of bullying behaviors (including yelling and verbal abuse) that occurred within my group.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Mining Practice Leader"

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

    I worked at Golder Associates part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Well respected company, technically intelligent people, very good benefits. If you are brought into the organization early in your career, this is a great place to grow and become technically strong. The CEO, Hisham Mahmoud, has a great vision and if he is successful in turning this company around Golder will once again become a main stay in the industry. Unfortunately, some of the appointed lieutenants that run the company, while great individuals, are fish out of water when it comes to running a large company.

    Cons

    Very evident that you are working within a conglomerate of small consulting firms, i.e. not team oriented. There is a severe lack of standardization. New senior members have a hard time fitting into the culture. While 'collaboration' is the buzz word of the day very few practice it. If you are a senior level person joining the firm, you will need to bring your practice into the company. But ask yourself, if you already have an established practice ... why join?

    Advice to Management

    Break the 'me' and 'mine' mentality and force a true collaboration culture. Offer training for your people at all levels. Evaluate your current leadership, while many have seniority due to years of service and may be technically competent; they are not automatically qualified to be labeled as project leaders and managers in particular when it comes to the execution of large projects. Unfortunately, it is these large projects that put Golder at risk.


  8. "Administrative Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Golden, CO
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Golden, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Golder Associates (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Location was perfect for me. Very busy, typical engineering office.

    Cons

    If you can get past the psychotic office manager, who has NO patience whatsoever and is a horrible trainor/mentor; then you will be in with an established, well known company in the engineering industry.

    Advice to Management

    Hopefully you do not have the same (short blonde? hair) office manager.


  9. Helpful (14)

    "Was good, but on the downhill slide"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Geologist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Geologist in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Golder Associates full-time

    Pros

    Large company with world-wide presence means that, if you've got the skills and the wherewithal to make contacts, there are opportunities around the world for you. Brand name in Canada and in several market sectors around the world. Diverse service offerings means there is a place for most disciplines. Company used to be good about letting junior and mid-level staff stretch their wings in different divisions and technical areas, but that is changing...

    Cons

    Where do I start...

    The P&A culture has become nonexistent with the new management. We are no longer involved in the decision-making process in general, and the sense of ownership is largely gone. No-one has an answer any more as to why someone should become a Principal or Associate.

    Compensation and benefits, at least in the U.S. are on the decline with perpetual cuts that incompetent management communicates as if they were miraculous new changes! The message is that we need to be more in line with our peers. Well, our peers pay a lot better, so savaging the benefits makes it very difficult to attract top-tier talent or to keep mid-career professionals.

    In many (but not all) offices, a state of fear still exists that more layoffs are coming. Consulting is a performance-driven business and it has always been more than a 40 hour job. However, the pressure on mid-career and younger associates to maintain high chargeability levels while still managing projects, developing new business and dealing with the paperwork means a 12-hour day is sadly the norm. Work-life balance is a fiction, at least in the US operating company.

    The Canadian take-over of North American management isn't working; these are the same folks that helped drive the company to the brink, and they are being rewarded with higher management positions!

    Salary and benefits are middle of the pack at best, and trend towards the low end. Vast disparities between regions and even between personnel in individual offices.

    "Streamlining" of management has been done in name only; there are ever more procedures and policies to follow that only make sense if you work in the very, very small world of local engineering and environmental consulting.

    Advice to Management

    Quit talking about "Golder culture". You've effectively killed what was once a vibrant and fun place to work. Maybe go back to focusing on what made it a fun place to work: interesting projects in interesting places with interesting people. Stop the slide towards commodity consulting. And recognize the ownership attitude of your employee owners rather than driving the company with just a cabal of the CEO's hand-picked cronies.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Perhaps good for miners & environmental sciences. Other disciplines look elsewhere."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Employee ownership structure, "Golder Culture" (big company resources, small company attitude), and global footprint all look good on paper. Just don't look too closely at the man behind the curtain.

    Cons

    The Peter Principle is hard at work in this supposedly flat organization. Talented technical staff are pushed up the project management ladder regardless of aptitude and interest, then out the door when they don't succeed.

    Communication between practitioners is terrible/non-existent, as is and semblance of work-life balance. Engineers/scientists with backgrounds outside of Golder's core services will have a hard time establishing practices here.

    Pay is below average, and high performers are not recognized/compensated appropriately. Poor performance is tolerated with little accountability.

    Advice to Management

    Follow through on commitments made regarding improving the employment experience at Golder. Yet another revision to the Org Chart isn't helpful. Staff need to see meaningful change in the way they are treated and compensated. So far the new management is saying the right things, but has utterly failed to deliver on them.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Depends on your office"

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

    I have been working at Golder Associates full-time

    Pros

    Most employees really care about their work and are excited to provide clients with exceptional technical advice.

    Cons

    The culture is vastly different office-to-office. Some are more like "families", others are more corporate. If you get landed on a good team/in a good group, you'll love it.



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