I worked at National Roofing Contractors Association part-time
NRCA is a fantastic company/association whose mission is to advocate for the education and safety of roofers. The folks who work in the Chicago office are like a close-knit family and there's a lot of interdepartmental interaction. The department heads are kind and easy to work for, and they do their best to ensure each position's role is clearly defined. The office is conveniently located to public transportation, easy to reach by car, and houses a low-cost gym for all building employees. Each employee is granted an electronic key card and placard for secure entry to both the indoor parking garage and the building, and there's a gorgeous courtyard between the garage and the building.
The folks here tend to be very flexible with scheduling, there are always snacks of some kind laying around for everyone to munch on, they pay well, even for entry level, all employees can use their concierge service, full time employees get excellent insurance benefits, and someone is always willing to help when a problem is encountered.
While it's not really a 'con', it needs to be noted that although management is flexible with an employee's scheduling, once a schedule is chosen, it needs to be followed as precisely as possible. Many employees generally work 8 to 5, yet stroll in anywhere between 8 and 8:30 and simply make up their lost time by staying a little later. However, because this organization is very much like a family, if you don't involve yourself with inter-office functions and the social activities which take place therein, you tend to be looked upon as a sort of black sheep; a perception which then sees your every action as things to be scrutinized. For example, not becoming a part of the group results in being watched very closely by a "nervous" management, and suddenly, your 8:10 arrival is counted against you as an otherwise hard working employee when it's perfectly acceptable for everyone "in" the group to do just that on a regular basis without the fear of disciplinary action.
Also, it's important to mention that it takes quite a long time to make even a lateral move within the company, as, their budget for department positions is outlined in the prior fiscal year, so, when you are hired for a specific position, you're essentially stuck there until someone in the upper ranks retires or dies, as then people are shifted around from within. But if you're really good at what you do, you still may not be promoted because it takes a lot of time and effort to train the people as per each department head's preferences. Make sure that you negotiate your salary when considering an offer from NRCA because raises are few and far between.
Advice to Management
If I had any advice for the management, I would suggest that if you choose to be liberal about the arrival and departure times of any employee, whether hourly or salary, you should grant the same privileges to all employees, whether they're social butterflies or more private. In cases where work is going undone, and productivity suffers, it's completely justifiable to discipline or dismiss an employee when they continuously vary their schedule. However, when most everyone follows a general schedule without punishment rather than a strict in and out time, it's simply unrealistic and unfair to expect any single employee to understand being disciplined or dismissed for doing the same when they are otherwise a good employee.
- There are only about 50 employees here so it's easy to know and interact with people from different departments and various management levels.
- Good work/life balance. Scheduling is flexible and they're flexible about letting people work from home
- Salaries seem average, maybe a little bit low in some people's opinions
- Christmas bonuses and holidays. There are plenty of holidays.
- Decent/average amount of paid sick, vacation and personal days.
- Casual dress code
- Most people have been here for at least 10 years so from the perspective of a young, entry-level employee, there's not a lot of room for career development. Most people are set in their departments and positions.
- Most employees are 30 years and older. Not a very youthful office.
- I've heard complaints from veteran employees regarding how low to nonexistent the yearly raises are.
- The office environment is pretty unstimulating. Everyone kind of stays in their offices and those who mingle have their own "cliques" already (once again, mostly due to everyone being here for so long)
Basically, the biggest issue is if you're a younger professional looking to work your way up, this isn't the ideal place. I know a lot of people here who have worked their way through a couple of different departments but that took them a few years.
Advice to Management
Try something new. I know the industry can be more conservative and traditional at times, but there is a whole new generation coming in and the association needs to appeal to them. Also, communicate more with lower-level employees about certain changes in departments. Weekly staff meetings help keep us informed on a basic level, but more interdepartmental communication regarding association changes is what's needed.
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