Flexible work schedule, smart, mature colleagues; treated like an adult; work is valued internally as well as by clients.
Very few women rise to the top; doesn't appear to have long-term strategy for analytic engagement
I have been working at Homeland Security Institute full-time (More than a year)
As a first job out of school, it offers good compensation and lots of learning experiences.
Majority of the employees are veterans with decades of experience, meaning there is little room for advancement for a young analyst. As a result, a majority of young analysts tend to leave the company fairly quickly for better opportunities to further their career, while the older employees stay for years. Large disparities quickly form between the knowledge base and affordable workers.
The work that HSI performs is very interesting, relevant work. HSI has a reputation for providing solid work that supports a range of decision-makers within DHS. Also, the types of analysis being performed are generally fairly cutting edge, particularly in the Operations directorate. HSI also allows employees to gain significant visibility into DHS. As a mid-level employee I conducted multiple one-on-one meetings/interviews with some very high-level decision-makers. This type of exposure allows HSI to be a great stepping stone, either to other analysis organizations/companies, or to federal employment.
There are a finite number of leadership opportunities available within the institute. Because HSI is relatively top-heavy with Principals and Fellows, mid-level employees may have trouble securing leadership positions. There is a bit of a running joke at HSI that it is a great place to be either a junior employee, or a senior employee. Some people are able to get promoted into the more senior positions, but these are few and far between.
Advice to Management
Consider having fellows serve as subject-matter-experts supporting several tasks, and having "upwardly mobile" mid-level analysts assume more leadership roles. This will make broader use of the skills brought to the table by the senior people, while allowing the mid-level analysts/senior analysts (many who have 10+ years of industry experience) to gain experience running projects/tasks with senior staff in a position to mentor them.
-- 80-90% of HSI's employees are respectful, competent, and courteous.
-- Employees have a wide variety of backgrounds and strengths.
-- Good work is almost always met with praise.
-- Most people have the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks (projects) in different areas.
-- Certain managers are very flexible with working from home.
-- Schedules are flexible so long as the work gets done.
-- Almost everyone is accommodating for personal issues.
-- Benefits are great.
-- Shirlington's a great area.
-- As a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, HSI has to deal with a lot of governmental red tape.
-- There are a few employees who produce so little work it's mind-boggling. Most of them are infamous for it, and it's frustrating that it goes on for so long.
-- I had a particular task leader who was a complete jerk, and when I talked to my manager about behaviors that I felt bordered on abusive, he didn't seem particularly concerned.
Advice to Management
-- Always be responsive when employees express concern about their treatment or utilization.
-- Otherwise, keep up the good work.
Pay is pretty good. Great colleagues. You will learn a lot from your peers. Some great work and research has come out of here, despite poor leadership and an abusive culture.
Poor leadership. Abusive behavior on the part of supervisors is tolerated. No flexibility in working arrangements--if your rear end isn't at your desk, then you are not "working". Constantly changing priorities. Good work is not recognized or rewarded. Employees who do nothing are given performance awards and bonuses. Inflexible polices (no eating at your desk, no coffee or amenities, no lunchroom). Supervisors pressure employees to pay to attend the holiday party. If you work here, you will learn how to watch your back!
Advice to Management
Address the culture. Start treating people with respect and like the professionals that they are
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