Motley Fool Reviews | Glassdoor

Motley Fool Reviews

Updated November 8, 2017
140 reviews

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3.6
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Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner
Tom Gardner
95 Ratings

140 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work life balance and absolute commitment to customers as well as employees (in 12 reviews)

  • Innovative, collaborative, tech driven company dedicated to their mission of helping the world invest better (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • Fools love it here so much that there's very little turnover, meaning there's not obvious upward mobility (in 8 reviews)

  • Can become a slog after a while, especially when you have to SEO-optimize your articles (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (5)

    "Loved my time at The Motley Fool"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Several years after I left I still regard my time at The Fool fondly. Some of the smartest, kindest, and most fun people I have ever known worked there. I learned so much about business, company culture and leadership . I use those skills everyday, even years later.

    Cons

    Not everyone belongs there forever. Sometimes as a natural part of career progression it’s time to move on. There can be frustration when people don’t see their next step within the company. Instead of acknowledging that and moving on there are hurt feelings.

    Advice to Management

    You’ve all been together a really long time. Be careful that you seek and respect external perspectives. I know you are constant learners and like to promote from within - keep that up, but also embrace diversity of leadership styles from outside.

    Motley Fool Response

    Oct 9, 2017

    It's great to hear that you've benefitted from having worked at The Motley Fool. Employee happiness remains a priority, and our people & development teams work hard to coach individual employees... More


  2. Helpful (35)

    "Glassdoor rating is misleading"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Motley Fool full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    You will love working here for about a year… maybe longer if you drink the koolaid. Lots of perks like commuting subsidy, free office spinning/yoga/kettlebell classes, tons of booze all the time (sorry AAers), flex working depending on what dept. you are in, free books, tickets to Nats games, free financial classes. Still a hand full of smart/fun/kind people at the co. Try to hang w/them and keep your head down and don’t rock the boat and you will be ok.

    Cons

    Hard to know where to start…. a lot of lip service paid to being a self motiveated self starter, but that is because managers here lack of any real management training/experience. Mostly everyone spends a lot of time trying to CYA and put on a happy face so they dont become a target.
    As other reviews state, you have to be nimble… translation: Be able to follow schizo biz decisions and people running around trying to deliver on “whatever the CEO is hot on right now.”
    Popularity contests, self promotion, being a dude (like “dude” who can hang with the bros) are how you get ahead. If you are good at your job better pray that your manager is one of the “in” crowd and is actually asked for their opinion about you. Otherwise it is all based on whatever general impression about 5 people at the company have on you when they sit down to rate everyone at the company. (Ignore the hype about all the new ‘tools” they are building/trying to sell to other co.s to unleash talent. Even managers say that its more harmful than helpful.)
    The creepy cultish “people team” really does take note of who attends company events and participates in things like corhnole and ping pong tournaments. Seriously. Besides being kindergarten cops there other job is to keep top management from knowing how low morale really is.

    Advice to Management

    Your Glassdoor rating is misleading. Yes people like you but that is not what it takes to be a great CEO. That takes focus, discipline and a longer term view of the direction of the business and the company reputation/mission in the world.

  3. Helpful (24)

    "A Playground In So Many Ways"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Motley Fool full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The flexibility and autonomy are truly amazing when compared with the standard 9-5. Fringe benefits, like metro allowance, access to financial planning and theoretically unlimited vacation time are big bonuses.

    If you are ok flying under the radar and are more concerned with quality of life than advancement/accomplishment, many of the cons likely won't bother you.

    Cons

    The company offers such amazing fringe benefits because it's cheaper than competing with other companies on salary. Depending on your department, you will likely earn a fraction of the market rate, particularly if you work in tech or investing. Despite repeated initiatives to make compensation more transparent, few understand how the process works, who you can talk to or who makes the decision.

    Further, the company has very little discipline about developing and managing people -- despite high profile coaching initiatives. The majority of senior managers are long-tenured employees who joined the company during its startup stage. Few have worked in traditional settings, let alone have management training. In general, the company's expectations for employees are incredibly inconsistent and unclear, if they exist at all.

    There's no clear career path and managers aren't required to have set metrics for subordinates. This leads to an unhealthy focus on politics. The org chart is a mess, and the company has devolved into a series of fiefdoms. Authority rests with whomever can get the founders most excited in a given week, and this leads to a game of "who can build the biggest sand castle." Moonshots are a dime a dozen, and the company seems far more enthused by shiny ideas than execution.

    All in, the Fool talks the talk of an employee-focused company without actually walking the walk. The company makes a show of window-dressing with fringe benefits but falls down on meeting core needs like fair compensation, sensitive management and clear career opportunities.

    Advice to Management

    I'm all for flat hierarchy, but you need someone who can make a call when it counts to prevent infighting and empire building. Rethink the org chart, and who fills it, from the top down. Right now, nobody will tell the emperor, the CEO, he has no clothes, even when he asks them to specifically. This is for good reason: the CEO is also the founder, majority shareholder and public face of the company. He has absolute authority and little sense of restraint. There's no incentive for telling him the truth. Tom Gardner needs to either step down as CEO or make rebuilding communication and trust with his employees a top priority. We don't need another swarm, tool or retreat. We need fresh blood in senior leadership.


  4. Helpful (34)

    "Time for a wake up call."

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

    Pros

    The foundation of the company has good intensions and its top leader is inspiring and has a great vision. Although sometimes misdirected.

    Cons

    It is so sad to see The Fool blindly moving into the future with zero idea of how its employees are really feeling. Many of the negative reviews are very true and the positive ones are often written by the People Team who take turns writing reviews and encourage its team members to write whenever possible. The leadership is hidden from the true reality of the company by the lies and misdirects of a small group of people. Again mainly on the People Team.

    Energy at times is extremely high, collaborative, and truly a great place to work. Those “times” are often when the company knows a survey will be going out or during times of potential mutiny. Not sustainable.

    Other times days are filled with management plotting which employees they like the best, which ones will stick around in the tough times, and who doesn’t rock the boat. Rocking the boat can be anything from suggesting an idea that goes against what a “top performer” is planning. Even if it is in the very best intention. Assuming a leadership role on a team when the team leader is too busy playing video games to lead the team. Being so overworked that you decline to play said video game. (working hard and with your head down is considered “not-Foolish” and is graded negatively by leadership).

    I hope the Fool has a awakening and realizes what is happening right in front of them.

    Advice to Management

    Take a moment to slow down and really analyze what is happening within the walls of the company. People are not happy with the current environment and things need to change. It has been said for months now. Read the reviews and realize there is truth behind the words. We aren't all disgruntled employees - we just want things to get better.


  5. Helpful (20)

    "Was once great, now only great if you're part of the "in-crowd""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Motley Fool full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    + Flexible work schedule/unlimited vacation policy*
    (*If you have a manager that understands the Fool's own core values and the reasons people choose to work at the Fool, otherwise your flexible work schedule winds up being not so flexible.)

    + Employer matching 401k, good health benefits

    + Nice people

    + TMF's game room used to be utilized by it's employees rather than just a nostalgic relic from a time that has long past. The game room now mainly serves as a go-to spot for PR photos that are to be included in newspapers or really any trendy DC magazine that outlines "Great Company Benefits/Perks"

    + The walls are colourful (Whoa, just like Google!), and everyone has $650 Herman Miller chairs, ironically though they aren't much more comfortable than a traditional $50 chair. After all, you know what they say "A Fool™ and their money soon part"

    + We have an entire unused 2nd floor (another boondoggle) that can be used for drinking parties or tag

    Cons

    Those who can "see" what has happened at The Motley Fool over the past couple years are NOT pleased, but we are not alone and we are also not a small minority.

    Employees are generally good at putting on their "Happy Face" though. As previous reviews have stated, if you don't assimilate than you will have someone (typically a manager, or their manager) talking to you about your behaviour and lack of perceived "Foolishness" (cult-speak for fitting in and not "rocking the boat")

    Many veteran ex-Fools painfully saw the rapid decline from the fun, collaborative, organic and free-flowing workplace, where it was understood that as long as you got your work done - you were free to be, now transformed into a place where only the chosen ones participate in that experience. Those days of equality are gone except for Chosen Ones: the Yes-Men, the Fantasy/Sports Enthusiasts and the in-crowd PartyCrew® all seem to have free rein to do whatever they please while others are held to an unclear litany of constantly morphing standards.

    Not to be misunderstood, EVERYONE is meticulously graded on multiple levels, scoring rubrics, metrics and tests. You will be analyzed and charted by a group of (?) not really sure...peers, superiors, managers? However, in the end it is all fairly irrelevant considering like other reviews on here have explicitly stated, it seems to be a select few people gathered in a room agreeing on who they like or dislike.

    Walking into the Fool anymore feels like one signed up for a clinical trial where they'll be monitored and charted, rather than the highly touted transparent workplace that TMF was once known for. The only thing missing is wires and monitors hooked up to employees reading their heart rates, blood pressure and stress levels. The Motley Fool is using an overreaching system in order to place it's employees into groups. Every metric seems to have been taken care of and is scored in a rigid, cold and non-transparent system that attempts to place employees into categories instead of looking at their actual work output, and to be honest, it feels more like segregation.

    Enough of this, let us work - judge us on our work and not our networking/beer-drinking abilities. It is tiring and demotivating.

    Many long-time and valuable veteran Fools have already left the company recently, and now we can all see why. I guess they too saw the writing on the wall.

    At The Motley Fool, it is perceived that there is a select group in the company that can do no wrong: take 2 hour alcohol lunches, watch sports, Netflix and play video games with no supervision, all while others are working around-the-clock worried about losing their jobs without even participating in any of these activities.

    It is a vast understatement to say that this has created a resentment from many employees toward the "untouchables" who seem to do as they please.

    How are some people failing to meet goals by astoundingly embarrassing percentage points (Think: actual final numbers = less than 1/3 of projected numbers) and being rewarded, while others who do not participate in the "bread and circus" activities are constantly having the bar raised for them causing burnout? Either make it fair for all or get rid of the "perks" and increase the pay, half of us don't even get to use the perks.

    Advice to Management

    Bring back the spark of what made The Motley Fool what it was. Quit over managing everyone and let them work organically, perhaps we just simply got too big too fast.


  6. Helpful (17)

    "Work here if you are outgoing, clique-y and foolish"

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

    I have been working at Motley Fool full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people are nice. Close knit group. People know a lot about each other's business-- could be a good thing (teammates stepping in during family emergencies) or a bad thing (nosy people wanting to find out gossip). Work / life balance not bad.

    Cons

    Much mob mentality, clique-y, you are either in or out, better hope you are in the in-group, or you will be on your way out. Not much personal space, everyone in each other's business. There is pressure to do and say certain things in order to appease the top people. Many colleagues have border-line ADD, hard to focus, distracting in the office. Performance subjective, depending on who happens to be rating you. No clear path of advancement and salary increases never discussed. Be wary of asking for too much as it can be seen as rocking the boat.

    Advice to Management

    You say you care about diversity. The reality is you want everyone to conform to the "Foolish" ways. Just because someone doesn't have an outgoing personality, that doesn't make him a bad worker.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "No longer about good investing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    I have been working at Motley Fool part-time

    Pros

    Good upbeat atmosphere. High energy.

    Cons

    Content is king. Actually, volume is king. Quantity over quality. If an author is a smooth wordsmith and can generate clicks for advertising purposes, that is all that matters. One well-paid author is in the bottom 4% of all investors/readers, yet is held in high regard and publishes an extremely high volume of money-losing stock pitches. That is a positive for the Fool because they get clicks.

    Motley Fool Response

    Oct 30, 2017

    The Motley Fool is dedicated to helping the world invest better, so we’re sorry to read about your disappointment.

    Our goal is to publish the highest-quality content on the internet, and we want... More

  8. Helpful (15)

    "Don't be fooled by this place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You can obtain valuable knowledge about investing while working for this company. The company tries really hard to make it a cool and hip place to work, after awhile it does get weird.

    Cons

    Management at the company is like working from within a concentration camp. Everything is very top-down and your input will be ridiculed constantly by you management. There's a lot of nepotism within the organization making politics a very big part of everyday.

    Privacy is not an option at this company. Desks are right up against each other, so that the company can pack as many people possible onto a single floor.

    Advice to Management

    I'm sorry that things didn't work out for you at AOL.


  9. Helpful (16)

    "Needs to improve overall employee satisfaction and morale"

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

    I worked at Motley Fool full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    During the honeymoon period (first 2 months of starting the position), everything is wonderful. They bend over backwards to help you, and most of all they talk up how great Motley Fool is to work for, and how fortunate you are for them to have chosen you to be with them. It makes you feel very special to be the "chosen one".

    Cons

    After about 2 months to a year, you start to realize who you are truly working for. The managers personalities finally reveal themselves and the culture creeps up on you. Unfortunately, it wasn't positive for me. Since the culture is "play as much as you like", and the desks with no cubicle walls to separate you from hundreds of others, you begin to realize how unprofessional this place really is. It was like a huge playground, with very poor management emotional intelligence (speaking of my three direct managers). Absolutely zero privacy, and every single phone call to your spouse, doctor and friend, was overheard by 10's of people, including your strange managers, who then all asked you about what you talked about on the phone with your spouse and doctor! I was horrified each time. When I was working on certain projects and needed a few others to complete their part of the project in order for me to continue on with my portion of the project, those other people were consistently no were to be found. Where were they each time I went look for them? In the game room, or "running late" for work. Sometimes they showed up at 1pm, sometimes at 11am. No one knew. It was especially frustrating for a professional like myself. I could go on about all of the problems with this company, but there isn't enough time and space. They desperately want you to believe it's the best company to work for (and continually tell you that while you work there) but in reality, it was the one of the worst. (I found it disturbing to have been told repeatedly that I'm "...lucky to have been chosen to work at the Motley Fool," etc., etc.)
    I quickly severed my employment with the Mostly Fool when I found an established professional company to work for. I'm still working for the same established professional company to this day. "Professional" makes all the difference.

    Advice to Management

    Perhaps hire a professional firm to oversee your management staff. You need to foster a professional level atmosphere. Hire not just intellectually competent management staff, but also hire emotionally intelligent individuals too. The "play as much as you want" culture is very disconcerting when you're working there and trying to be a professional. You wouldn't need to continually try and convince employees that it's "the best place to work in the world", if it truly was the best place to work.


  10. Helpful (21)

    "Great, if you drink the Kool-Aid"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Motley Fool full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Definitely no shortage on perks, whether you are in house or a contractor. The company encourages a casual, fun-first atmosphere. Freedom to chase down your own ideas and initiatives.

    Cons

    The culture here is cult-ish, and if you show anything less than undying love for all things 'Fool,' you are met with the antithesis of what the company claims to represent. Though the Motley Fool encourages a wide range of opinions, it is not the case if you are an employee. You must bow down to the chosen darlings and blindly champion the rhetoric they consistently ooze. Egos are a problem here, and management seems to support it fully. The company's ultimate goals are to capture email addresses for the marketing department.

    Advice to Management

    Get back to focusing on the best investment advice possible, and take a close look at the editorial staff.


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