Operation Smile Reviews | Glassdoor

Operation Smile Reviews

Updated November 16, 2017
28 reviews

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3.1
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Dr. Bill Magee, Jr., D.D.S., M.D
27 Ratings

28 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Terrific way to make a difference"

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

    I have been working at Operation Smile full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Amazing mission, great benefits, dynamic and driven co-workers, work-life balance, great atmosphere, opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children

    Cons

    Somewhat lower salaries than other industries

    Advice to Management

    Make a solid plan for future growth and stick to it.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Founders Dilemma"

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

    I worked at Operation Smile full-time

    Pros

    Operation Smile has an amazing network of medical volunteers, an inspired and dedicated staff, and a tangible, high quality, and permanent result for patients. There is huge potential to reduce costs and and increase overall programmatic activity.

    Cons

    Antiquated processes, inept leadership (including board members), inappropriate nepotism, unnecessary wasteful spending, and obsolete operational structure.

    Advice to Management

    Develop and communicate a clear succession plan for founders. Replace ineffective and/or polarizing executive leadership. Reduce USA headquarters overhead and administrative costs. Decentralize programmatic delivery strategies.

  3. "Best job ever"

    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 Operation Smile full-time

    Pros

    flexibility, family atmosphere, opportunity for learning, benefits

    Cons

    like every organization or company there are downfalls


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great opportunity to grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Virginia Beach, VA
    Current Employee - Associate in Virginia Beach, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Operation Smile full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible
    Great benefits
    incredible mission

    Freedom to pursue and explore your professional interests
    lots of development opportunities

    Cons

    a little disorganized at times


  5. Helpful (11)

    "Garbage. Garbage. Garbage. Garbage. Garbage."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Virginia Beach, VA
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Virginia Beach, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Operation Smile full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Travel the world
    - Lose your idealistic views of the world

    Cons

    I wasn't going to write a review, but after perusing this page and seeing what appear to be fake reviews - likely written by the HR team to cover up truthful negative reviews - I have been persuaded to comment.

    I'm going to keep this pretty simple: DO NOT WORK AT OPERATION SMILE.

    Within the first ten months of working at Operation Smile 6 out of the 9 people I started working with had begun seeing a therapist in response to the immoral, unethical and, at times, illegal things they were exposed to on a daily basis. The organization believes that all ends justify the means by which they come about. This often results in lower level employees being expected to do whatever is necessary to make things happen, even tasks that are at best immoral and at worst criminal.

    Operation Smile is run by selfish and out of touch co-founders who use the organization as their personal piggy bank. At the same time that they sent a representative from the organization to Congress to testify about why the Department of Labor should not change the rules on paying lower level employees overtime because it would be too much of a "financial burden" on the organization, our board of directors was signing off on a more than 33% raise for our co-founder and dear leader, Dr. Magee (as seen in public financial statements his salary went from $387,918 in FY 2015 to $518,471 in FY 2016). To reiterate: in order to not pay their lower level employees a living wage, Operation Smile sent a high level representative in front of congress to give a sob speech about how many fewer surgeries OS would be able to provide if the Department of Labor's new rules went into affect. In the meantime, I have heard nobody at the top of the organization sob about the number of kids who won't receive surgeries because Dr. Magee retired from his surgical practice and doesn't want to have a reduced income (if you were wondering, based on their math it would be 540 fewer kids receiving surgeries).

    To be clear, it is not as if Dr. Magee deserves this raise given the state the organization is currently in. Just a cursory look at public financial forms show that over the same period of time that Dr. Magee received a 33% raise, Operation Smile's revenue decreased by $5 Million and their spending increased roughly $10 Million, leading to a yearly deficit of $5,135,906. To save money, the organization has gone through waves of layoffs over the past few months, the yearly hiring of program coordinators was not able to take place because of budget cuts, and projects around the world were put on hold until the organization could find itself in a better financial situation.

    I would go on, but most of the negative reviews on this site give a pretty good idea of the problems at this organization. Please note that the positive reviews are all short, use HR lingo, and even appear to be written by the same person who, oddly, keeps starting sentences without capital letters. They are so inept they can't even fake Glassdoor reviews properly. Please don't let them fool you. This place was by far the worst place I have ever worked and I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy.

    Advice to Management

    You created something impressive, but now you are mishandling and mismanaging it. It is time to move over and allow a new generation to take over while you are ahead.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Budget Crisis"

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

    I worked at Operation Smile full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The mission of Operation Smile is a noble one. Employees and volunteers care about creating beautiful smiles for kids all over the world.

    Cons

    Co Founders and Senior Mgt lacks the leadership ability to motivate staff/volunteers. Employees in Virginia Beach have no trust in management and will not offer alternate ideas for fear of being "blacklisted" by the Magees and the insider Club.

    Budget deficits are mounting.

    Turnover is incredibly high, especially in development where they have run off about 6 VPs since 2010.

    Programs department does the best they can do to execute missions. But there's no real plan.

    Advice to Management

    Take a good, hard look at where you are and what you want to be. Being a provider of cleft care is noble. Quit trying to be something different. Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, World Vision, etc, etc etc are tackling surgery. Focus on what made you relevant to begin with


  7. "Great organization"

    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 Operation Smile full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Operation Smile is one of the best organizations I've ever worked for. Great staff, managers, teams, and vision.

    Cons

    Nothing major. All work places have its usual pluses and minuses. OS is no different.

    Advice to Management

    No advices

  8. "Employee"

    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 Operation Smile full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great people most of all, great mission !

    Cons

    none at this time that I know


  9. Helpful (24)

    "How does something that sounds so good turn out so awful?"

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

    I have been working at Operation Smile full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Our counterparts in country are amazing and become friends for life
    -Travel
    - Learn how an organization is NOT supposed to run so you better understand what you need and want in the next organization you work for.

    Cons

    - In the last year alone, 13 out of roughly 30 people from the international programs department have quit. Only 4 out of these 13 people left with jobs or alternative plans. Furthermore, though we are requested to stay for two years, five out of the nine people that I started with have quit before their two years are up. This goes to show how much dislike and distrust those who are on the ground the most have for this organization.
    - Though there are numerous reasons to leave, the majority of those who quit seem to blame upper management for their desire to get out. The complete lack of communication between those running the organization and the absence of quality strategic planning means that the International Programs Department, specifically program coordinators, are forced to clean up upper management's messes - sometimes with solutions of questionable legal standing. For instance, thanks to poor planning, on numerous occasions, program coordinators have been requested to hand carry medical items with them on international flights. This is technically against our policies and there have been instances where the person making the request will send an email stating that we are not allowed to hand-carry the items while, immediately after, telling us in person that we have to or the program won’t happen (ie. Saving their own butts in writing just in case something bad happens). In some instances, I have even seen the organization change the stated price of hand carried items in order to reduce or eliminate import taxes - actions that carry the risk of imprisonment abroad for the person carrying the items. When asked about this, I have been told by higher level staff that it is the program coordinators job to say “no” if they are uncomfortable. At the same time, my immediate manager has informed me that I should try not to get cast as the “no” person in the office. What gives? Do we say something when we think it is wrong or do we hold it in so as not to be ostracized.
    - Looking to grow in the organization? Unless your last name is Magee or you are willing to spend several years kissing up to someone in the Magee family, don’t bother! Like a communist organization, growth at Operation Smile is contingent on your standing in the ruling party and your ability to follow without dissent. Have suggestions for making the organization better? Better to hold it in or you might just find yourself out of a job or almost certainly out of consideration for promotion.
    - Think you’re joining an organization with their morals in check? Think again. Before this job, I had a generally positive outlook on marriage and family. After watching volunteers cheat on their spouses with other volunteers, prostitutes (help the kids AND the international sex trade woohoo!), and others for the last two years, my outlook has soured. Despite media attention about this matter, Operation Smile has done nothing to curb these actions from taking place.
    - But at the end of the day you’re making a positive impact and changing lives, right? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s easy to look at the before and after photos and determine that Operation Smile is making a positive impact. Get into the nitty gritty, though, and you might not like what you see. For all the rhetoric surrounding safe surgery, our quality assurance is truly abysmal and lacks teeth to actually make changes when they come across problems (and they come across plenty of problems). Furthermore, a greater focus on research and churning out research papers has reduced our focus on patient-centered care. This is especially true when you consider that the IRB approvals for this research, if they are acquired at all, tend to be acquired in sketchy roundabout ways from within the local country. When research, marketing, and the money that comes along with it starts driving our programs, you know you have a problem.

    Advice to Management

    - To upper management: quit or listen more.
    - To IP management: quit. But not because you're bad. Rather you don't deserve to be treated the way they treat you. Leave and find somewhere that actually values you.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Smoke and mirrors"

    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 Operation Smile full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    401 k match is good

    Cons

    Feeling like I'm being interrogated

    Advice to Management

    What do these overpaid VPs and SVPs even do? I'm new and right now it feels like I'm about to lose my job but we're just to suppose to keep working with our noses down like nobody notices all the consultants asking us what we do. We're not idiots. We're watching your every move and every person you fire and every penny you spend. Start acting like you have integrity or care about your employees because right now you don't. How about taking all that money you spend on alcohol and parties, and I don't know - keep your employees from being fired if money is so tight?


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