National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews | Glassdoor

National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews

Updated October 30, 2018
169 reviews

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3.4
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National Renewable Energy Lab Director Martin Keller
Martin Keller
30 Ratings

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Pros
Cons
  • "Lots of bureaucracy and subject to political whims" (in 6 reviews)

  • "Since most of NREL's funding is from the DOE, the oversight comes with more administrative burden than a private sector company" (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great experience as summer intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Good people, interesting work, good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Only a summer intern, so not much negative to say.


  2. "Senior Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    NREL provides a unique environment for innovative, driven engineers to work on the latest technologies in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. Its culture is best suited for self-starters who are looking to work on new challenges throughout the year. The type of projects and skill sets needed to complete those projects change often. Therefore, you need to adapt regularly to the needs of the project, wherever they end up taking you.

    Cons

    Since most of NREL's funding is from the DOE, the oversight comes with more administrative burden than a private sector company. Depending on your management level, the administrative tasks can be distracting from your focus on getting the tasks completed for you project load.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Complete Lack of Management But Incredible People"

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

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    Generous benefits, passionate colleagues, important and exciting mission, on-campus gym and café, focus on wellness

    Cons

    Support facility is poisoned by almost obsessive hierarchical and process-based thinking that creates a conformist mentality and inhibits difference. The lack of management and strong leadership is also overwhelmingly obvious and wholly detrimental to the mission. Technically, there are "managers", but they are so busy doing other things that they are completely unavailable to actually focus on building effective team structures. Communication is abysmal between higher-ups and other employees, and as another reviewer suggested, senior management is plagued with ivory tower thinking and is totally removed from the culture of the rest of the lab (excluding Martin Keller, who is quite refreshingly open and honest).

    Additional side note: extremely rare are the opportunities for employees across the lab to come together and bond. This creates an enormous sense of disconnect and alienation with other departments.

    Advice to Management

    Do your job: manage. And if NREL can't afford to have managers do their actual job, the structure of the organization should be re-evaluated.


  4. "Appearances over Performances"

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

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    Smart people, great facilities, world-class research, great location, good benefits

    Cons

    Appearances valued over performances, Ridiculous overhead(≥300%), 'support' staff lacking, unreasonable demands of research staff, 'work-free safe place' mentality

    Advice to Management

    Reduce the overhead by reducing excessive 'support' and 'management' staff, give research staff more resources and less burdens


  5. "OSEP - CMS"

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

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    Awesome co-workers, great bosses, beautiful campus

    Cons

    No different than any other work place. Your department may be seen as less than others even though you have a core presence in daily activities. Your bosses will support you and get you through any nonsense though.

    Advice to Management

    None to OSEP -


  6. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    Great mission, flexible schedule, good people

    Cons

    Lack of focus sometimes. Dealing with being a government contractor.


  7. "Great mission"

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    Work with really intelligent people who care about the work they do.

    Cons

    There can be some bureaucratic deadlock.

  8. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Researcher II in Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Researcher II in Golden, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible work environment. Interesting and challenging work. Mission driven with passionate people.

    Cons

    Experiences can vary a lot depending on center/group. There is enough interesting work to do that it is easy to be spread too thin (can be avoided, but not always easy to).


  9. "Intern"

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    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Strong mission, great location, welcoming community

    Cons

    Intern pay was not great


  10. "postdoc"

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    Pros

    benefits are good even for a postdoc

    Cons

    stressful sometime for fundings and resources