Habitat for Humanity Reviews | Glassdoor

Habitat for Humanity Reviews

Updated May 31, 2017
44 reviews

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Habitat for Humanity CEO and Director Jonathan T. M. Reckford
Jonathan T. M. Reckford
11 Ratings

44 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • non profit there's not room permanent employment (in 37 reviews)

  • You would expect better benefits at a nonprofit to compensate for the low pay (in 19 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Dysfunctional SF affiliate needs to be liquidated and merged with a productive mission-driven affiliate nearby"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Habitat for Humanity full-time

    Pros

    The content of the work was interesting, personally fulfilling, and varied. A few really good people who have worked at this affiliate a long time understand the mission and are making a difference locally. I got to learn more about the community. Work/life balance was pretty good (no one rarely works more than 40 hours a week) and benefits are fairly robust for a nonprofit.

    Cons

    Working here was a complete 180 from my experience as an outsider (volunteer) and my previous impression of Habitat, especially in the office. Turnover is extremely high, and current senior management has no competency or experience in construction or real estate, which is kind of important for a homebuilder. Most employees (managers and non-managers) with talent or applicable experience turn over quickly because they get frustrated with the lack of common sense and bad decisions consistently made by management and quit, or they question that authority and bad decisions and get fired for hurting someone's ego. Since senior managers have no good experience in handling the business of Habitat, all decisions originate with board members, many who are very experienced and knowledgeable. Unfortunately those worthwhile board members are busy working and running their own businesses, so most time, decisions, and involvement fall to retired, non-working, or inexperienced board members that are busy-body limousine liberals and treat the affiliate like it's their own pet project.

    In my time there, I saw millions of dollars squandered in bad real estate transactions and in growing a bloated office staff that contributed nothing to housing production, operations, or raising money. Despite the fact that we all worked in the same physical space, every small department was extremely siloed and there was absolutely no accountability in terms of an individual's role or work output. As long as you talked the talk, you wouldn't get fired for not doing your job. No one was really cognizant or interested in what other departments did, or how they needed to collaborate to get any work done. Departments that did most of the real work and heavy lifting, such as construction and real estate, were chronically understaffed and unappreciated. Much of the office staff would choose to "work from home" and come in to the office 2-3 times a week and be out of touch the rest of the time. Some managers would shirk and take off months at a time just because, claiming disability for supposed accidents or injuries at home.

    Beyond that, it was culturally very weird too. Collectively we all knew something was dysfunctional, so managers would espouse in meetings how we could improve transparency, be more inclusive, and grow careers and reduce turnover. The more this was being said, the more things were getting opaque with major decisions being made by 1 or 2 board members behind closed doors that didn't even know employees' names. The new CEO who started last year liked to say she was instilling a "culture of accountability" but nothing really changed.

    Day-to-day amongst the "little people," the office felt very much like a sorority house, replete with gossip, backstabbing, immature goofing off, and a general lack of professionalism. Most of the staff were young millennials and suffered from special snowflake syndrome. They were unable to communicate any worthy concerns or constructive criticism directly, and instead thought that going behind your superior or co-worker's back to complain was the appropriate avenue. Anyone mature enough to communicate directly with a snowflake would risk said snowflake going to a corner to cry and melt over hurt feelings. Human resource and operations managers would also abuse their power by trying to reprimand employees that weren't even under their supervision.

    Advice to Management

    To Management - Just leave and hand over the keys to leaders in another affiliate who actually understand the mission of Habitat to create homeownership for low income families. This affiliate has become bloated and corrupt in that all decisions are made to stroke the egos of a handful of wealthy donor board members, and not for what is in the best practical interest of the families Habitat is supposed to serve. In the words of a handful of longtime employees who understand the point of Habitat, "When did this affiliate become about ego and ambition instead of serving our families?" and "Why are we trying to be a French restaurant when we know how to make really great burgers and fries?"

    Or do nothing - business practices have been wasteful and unsustainable for several years at least, and the affiliate now has to borrow money just to make payroll. I estimate that within a year the majority of the staff will need to be laid off to avoid complete insolvency. Current real estate projects are also millions over budget and unfunded, so it is questionable this affiliate would be able to remain a going concern and carry out its mission.

    Despite all of these internal problems, I still believe in the mission and ability of Habitat overall, and hopefully time and restructuring can correct these mistakes. Probably not the first time an affiliate has bitten off more than it can chew.


  2. "Review"

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

    I worked at Habitat for Humanity full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fun culture, fun people, they care about the mission

    Cons

    Executive leadership is a mess. It is a revolving door with people leaving almost on a weekly basis. There's no control over who's doing what and no clear direction. One week it's this, the next week it's something else. It's too big and needs to have a smaller workforce.

    Advice to Management

    It grew way too fast and now it's starting to show. They're trying to do too many things at once. Focus on the mission again which is building affordable homes for people who want one. There's no need to add multiple things to the organization.


  3. "It could have been so much better..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greensboro, NC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greensboro, NC
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Habitat for Humanity full-time

    Pros

    It is great to be in a job where the mission is to help other people
    Several friendly colleagues to work with

    Cons

    Little diversity in the top management ranks
    The pay gap for leadership versus everyday workers is totally out of whack
    Revolving door: too many layoffs and firings of hard working people for a small organization


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Sr. Director of People"

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

    I worked at Habitat for Humanity (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Non-Profit, Benefits, Autonomy, teamwork, Growth

    Cons

    Executive Leadership, Micro-Managment, Unhealthy culture.

    Advice to Management

    Change in Executive Leadership


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Feckless management obsessed with the brand, not the work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Habitat for Humanity full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    (All comments refer to Habitat International's Atlanta headquarters.) I felt great alignment with the mission. The strategic plan was inspiring if broad. General office culture is relaxed and prioritizes politeness. If you find the right supervisor, you can leverage the extensive resources to do cool stuff.

    Cons

    Upper and middle management is mostly feckless. They are obsessed with preserving the brand, which comes at the cost of exciting or daring new work. It's stuffed with long-timers who are satisfied with their work even when there are no results to show for it. (A significant portion of management started as volunteers and have been with the org for 20+ years.) If you want to innovate, don't go to Habitat. The self-satisfied attitude leaks from top to bottom, allowing large pockets of the organization to count activities instead of results.

    Specifically HR is a wreck. They defend long-timers at all costs, even when upper management is caught lying to subordinates. They empower that feckless management and rob the wider staff of ambition. A few go-getters stick around, but all-stars quickly move to other organizations. The shallow talent pool makes it additionally hard to accomplish good work here.

    Advice to Management

    Habitat is famous for volunteering, but inside headquarters, the volunteer programming division is rudderless. Take volunteering seriously again, or no one will remember the brand in a decade.


  6. "Great mission bad place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Norfolk, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Norfolk, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Habitat for Humanity full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great mission, friendly and caring co-workers, average benefits, and great volunteers! Great national name recognition. Average to good pay for full time manager and director positions.

    Cons

    Physical work environment below average and location of HQ is in an urban high crime area directly across street from public housing. VERY dysfunctional Board that does not contribute financially or participate in fundraising events and volunteer activities. Board run by ex-military officers, that bully other board members and Habitat staff. Inept and dishonest Exec Director who is very manipulative and a major micro-manager. Exec Director disliked by majority of staff because of trust issues and because he is a control freak. He manipulates every situation to his benefit and is always looking for a scape goat. Hours are long due to being short staffed and taking on many more responsibilities than promised at hiring. Also due to fundraising and community outreach events, expect to work some evenings and many weekends. Financial outlook is bad. Many times there is discussion of possibly not meeting payroll. This organization operates week to week, and are 30-60 days behind on most payables.

    Advice to Management

    Replace majority of Board members and definitely replace Exec Director!


  7. "Lives off of HFHI rep, not as great as they seem"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chapel Hill, NC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chapel Hill, NC
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Habitat for Humanity (Less than a year)

    Pros

    As dysfunctional as they are, they are getting stuff done.

    Cons

    Not a great office environment, cliquey and lots of miscommunication between departments. Lack of leadership coming from the top. Very "business" focused culture for a NON-profit.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Habitat for Humanity Affiliate"

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

    I worked at Habitat for Humanity full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The organization has a great mission and vision. The opportunity to serve others and be a help in the community is an extremely rewarding experience. The people who tend to work at Habitat affiliates are caring and dedicated individuals. The ability to be of service is also a great plus with this organization.

    Cons

    The downside of this organization is the local affiliate leadership structure. The Board of Directors and the Senior Leadership, in my opinion, are the biggest negatives about the organization. During my time with this organization, the micro-management, the inability to make timely decisions and stick with them, the lack of effective communication were all things that made my tenure there less than favorable. The accomplishments of those who are not "senior leadership" are routinely overlooked and their voices are disregarded for those who are politically connected (with the Board).

    Advice to Management

    The employees, volunteers and partner organizations and families understand that Habitat for Humanity is a non profit organization. This does not, however, give the organization the right to continually ask for more and more and more. Develop a sense of appreciation for the work done, contributions made, and sacrifices of employees and volunteers. Senior leadership and board of directors need to work on changing the attitude of give me more, more, more... faster, faster, faster. Develop a sense of vision, creativity (be like the other affiliates) and role clarity. A major focus needs to be implementing diversity of thought, experience, and resources. Finally, appreciate and take care of your most valuable resources, your people.


  9. "Sanctimonious and Cult-like"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Construction in Wilmington, DE
    Former Employee - Construction in Wilmington, DE
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Habitat for Humanity full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    There is a sense of pride to be connected with the name and world wide reputation. Gain lots of experience and move on

    Cons

    Lots of people come and go. CEO takes it as an opportunity to bring people on board at a lower salary. Since it is a Christian based company, women are second class citizens and are paid less money. Men advance faster. Hire educated, experienced people and treat them with respect. CEO likes a "sad story" and pathetic employees. Lots of talented experienced volunteers that are disrespected. CEO does not like opinions or suggestions.

    Advice to Management

    CEO needs more guidance from the Board of Directors. He seems to fight them instead. Advancement and salary is based on being buddies or stroking egos with CEO


  10. "Great Mission- Inept Leadership From Board Down"

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

    Pros

    The Mission, the people. The long hours and middle of the road pay were all worth it when you helped a family in need.

    Cons

    A lot of time spent banging head against the wall. Let's go this way, no let's go that way, actually let's go back where we were and go that other way. Micromanagement, lack of direction, waste of resources. Over staffed, most of the budget goes to keep staff paid instead of mission. In the for profit world, the same level of output could be done with about 15%-20% of the staff. Mediocre at most business lines. Can't get out of there own way, can't raise money effectively. A huge organizational ego that thinks they are greater than they are, loves to pat themselves on the back for very little impact. Have turned off most big players in building industry that could really partner for impact due to their start/stop mentality when it comes to construction.

    Advice to Management

    Quite catering to the $'s with strings attached. Board needs to figure what they even do and engage. Stores present a huge opportunity for growth yet they are content to get absolutely dominated by 2nd Use in the Seattle Market who has a great website with searchable inventory and pricing online platform. Seattle leadership tends to think that making an effort to improve online presence of stores would be too difficult so they choose to operate an archaic model. Do some serious self evaluation, I saw blatant racism and sexism tolerated in this place. Management's number 1 priority is to protect their necks and protect the brand. Anyone is fair game to be thrown under the bus at anytime.


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