I worked at Oregon Humane Society full-time (Less than a year)
Animals are great
Managers are easy to talk to
"Upstairs people" (finance/HR/ect) look down on "downstairs people" (the people who actually work with the animals)
Terrible to no training
Advice to Management
Actually train your workers with a schedule instead of randomly checking off boxes of things to do
I have been working at Oregon Humane Society full-time (More than 3 years)
Dedicated, hardworking people; good mission.
Upper management seems out of touch. Disconnect between staff who work directly with animals and customers and administrative workers.
Advice to Management
Listen to what your employees are telling you and implement the changes they want to see, not what you think they want to see. Allow employees to do what they do best.
I have been working at Oregon Humane Society part-time (Less than a year)
Everyone there is incredibly kind and wonderful to work with. As a volunteer I feel incredibly supported and appreciated by staff and other volunteers.
If you lead a busy lifestyle the 12 hour per month minimum time requirement might be difficult to keep up with, but I imagine they would be willing to work with you
I have been working at Oregon Humane Society full-time (More than a year)
Amazing co-workers/team, straight forward work, cute animals
No way to make progress within company, overworked, understaffed, not enough compensation,
Advice to Management
I used to love coming to work, but that has changed recently and I hate that I hate it. Appreciate your employees not with pizza and Chipotle (although its great) but with a livable wage. AKA I would rather have a pay increase than a yummy lunch.
I have been working at Oregon Humane Society full-time (More than 5 years)
The crew is incredible. Most of the staff is here because they are driven to help animals. They are hardworking and care deeply about what we are doing.
The truth: OHS is a pet store. Anyone with money can walk in an adopt any animal they choose whether it is a good fit or not. Staff is completely disempowered to deny adoptions for any reason. A coworker told me they saw a client strike their dog in the lobby and we still adopted another animal to them. So, as a staff member you will have to be prepared to show and adopt animals into homes that you know are a terrible fit. This has only happened in the last handful of years as OHS is becoming a more corporate environment. There used to be trust in the staff that doesn't exist any longer. The organization is all about the adoption numbers and whatever it takes to reach them. Fact: every adoption counts towards our yearly total even if an animal is adopted and returned multiple times. Kind of seems like cheating.
Further, you cannot complain about the things you witness that don't sit well with you. I have witnessed personally and heard from coworkers about multiple types of retaliation and bullying from leadership, up to and including, termination for speaking up. A former colleague told me they were told by HR upon reporting what they felt was retaliation, that they were not being retaliated against because "retaliation isn't allowed here." So it was handled by informing the staff member they were just wrong in how they felt. They have lost so many incredible staff members that simply couldn't take the bs anymore. If you do not have the ability to detach from all sorts of things that seem unjust, you cannot make it here.
There is a complete disconnect between salaried employees and hourly workers. Salaried employees generally work upstairs, while the hourly staff do the back breaking work downstairs in adoptions, animal care, admissions and the hospital. I would bet a year of my meager income that every positive review on here was written by someone in our PR department or someone who has never had to adopt a dog to a client who reeks of alcohol. Yes, that has really happened on more than one instance.
I keep hoping that things will get better, but I have only seen a continual downward trend. The moral is terrible among staff I know and talk to across multiple departments and the consensus seems to be: how did it get to this point? OHS used to be a great place to work. I used to be excited every day to come in. The last big pill to swallow was a widely respected, long time member of leadership being terminated because he continually spoke up about things that were not right and tried to defend himself against bullying from his manager. I have to say, if this is who they choose to cut loose over a manager with multiple complaints on file who I have personally witnessed making staff cry, I no longer believe in this organization.
Advice to Management
There is nothing to say because sadly, I know that management is completely aware of what is going on and there is complicity. Our last shelter wide survey results were abysmal.
I worked at Oregon Humane Society (More than 5 years)
The animals of the Portland Metro area are lucky to have the Oregon Humane Society. The organization accomplishes great things, keeping the animals of our area safe and healthy, and finding homes for tens of thousands of homeless pets. They offer much needed services to residents who would otherwise not be able to access them.
I don't want this review to sound like the bitter rant of a disgruntled former employee. I'm happy to have worked at OHS. They do good things for animals. But this review is about how they treat their employees. Therefore...
Management receive no training in how to manage employees, even if they have no prior experience. This results in managers who don’t know how to manage without their personal feelings ruling their decisions. Managers’ personal friends will enjoy benefits not experienced by other employees.
The organization sets ambitious goals, and the mandate from the top is that goals are to be achieved at all costs. Achieving those goals provides valuable publicity, and therefore increases donations. One example: in order to reach a yearly adoption goal, adoptions applications are almost never denied. Staff don't have the freedom to deny an adoption that they believe is harmful to the animal, because that would hurt the adoption numbers. I personally saw many staff forced to complete adoptions that were obviously not in the best interest of the animal.
The work environment at the Oregon Humane Society is extremely toxic, and this toxic culture originates at the very top. The management of OHS view lower level staff as disposable and replaceable, and turnover is very high. There is no attempt at improving the work environment for employees, or to address employee concerns. If employees bring concerns about the work environment to HR or management, they are then viewed as a troublemaker, and often experience retaliation.
Retaliation often takes the form of a system of subtle or overt harassment in an apparent attempt to drive the employee to quit. I witnessed this personally on several occasions, and experienced it personally. A few additional things I witnessed personally while employed there:
• Negotiating with employees who management want to resign, and using "we won't contest your application for unemployment benefits" as a bargaining tool
• Firing an employee without cause, and writing a policy after the firing that they can then say the employee violated in order to create cause and deny unemployment (unsuccessfully)
These issues are pervasive throughout the organization, and are not particular to one manager or department.
If you are a homeless animal, the Oregon Humane Society is the place to be. We have a state-of-the-art medical facility, a dedicated animal behavior team, relatively new kennels, and an exceptional adoption/’live release’ rate. I am so proud to play a part in helping 11,000 + animals find homes every year. Employees also enjoy benefits such as paid time off and affordable health, dental and life insurance. We work closely with a dedicated army of volunteers that really help enrich the lives of our shelter pets. Lastly, you can’t very well mention OHS without giving kudos to our amazing executive director, Sharon Harmon. I truly believe that, even decades from now, Sharon’s legacy will play an integral part in both the history and the future of OHS.
Despite all of its perks, working for the Oregon Humane Society is emotionally and physically taxing. Though hourly staff are legally required to take two 10-minute breaks during our shifts, these breaks are extremely rare. If you need to make a phone call, take medication, or get a drink of water, you’re out of luck. On busy days, basic human needs like using the rest room are denied to you until you are on the brink of tears. There simply aren’t enough staff available to complete all the tasks that must be completed in any given day, and if your work isn’t finished, then an animal may suffer for it.
It can’t be said that we do everything for the well-being of pets in our community. The shelter only allows four adult pit bulls to be available for adoption at a time, and while our local shelters are overrun with pits, we continue to transfer Chihuahuas up from California by the dozens. Cats and rabbits are not given post spay or neuter pain control, and small animals are often housed in the same room as screeching birds. Most disconcerting, we’ll adopt a pet to just about anyone. Our customer care staff are pressured into adopting out as many animals as possible, and they’re not allowed to deny an adoption. Staff can make notes under a pet’s file in our computer system about the pet’s adoption. I’ve seen such notes as “Adopter seemed intoxicated during showing,” or, “Adopter did not appear to be listening during behavior consult and was in a hurry to leave.” I used to enjoy fostering kittens for the shelter, but after seeing pets placed into homes such as these, I’m no longer comfortable doing so.
Having said all of this, I believe all of the aforementioned cons can be improved. What worries me is the increasingly corporate business model that OHS seems to have adopted. For example, our Operations Manager has a background in banking, and the medical team’s newly hired hospital manager joined them after working at the Hannah Society—a local company that purchases pets from backyard breeders and leases them out. These managers, along with our P.R., Marketing, and Operations directors, have little to no contact with the animals. In contrast, those of us on the front lines—the customer care, animal care, medical and behavior staff—are not able to give any input on the way the shelter operates. In most cases, these decision-makers actually work on an entirely different floor than the rest of us.
The divergence between the ‘upstairs’ (upper management) and ‘downstairs’ staff is staggering. Though it’s natural for lower level staff to make less money and work in positions which are more physically taxing than those in upper management, I have worked for other shelters where there is still mutual respect between employees of all positions and departments. From the lowliest kennel cleaner to the executive director, each one of us is an invaluable cog in the machine that is OHS. If one were to break, the gears would stop turning, and our organization would stop running. Our entire body of staff should recognize that.
Much of this may sound like the rantings of a low-level employee who is jealous of his or her coworkers who are allowed to wear their own clothes, work in their own office, and are paid quite a bit more money—all without ever being exposed to the most difficult tasks that shelter work entails. Sadly, the one notable example that I could use to show the delusional image our ‘upstairs’ staff have about working downstairs could give away my identity, and I am very much afraid of retribution for telling the truth.
Let me say this: I did not begin a career with a non-profit, particularly one that serves animals, to make money. Truthfully, it’s difficult to survive with the wages that I earn. But I LOVE what I do, and I want to keep doing it. I still believe that OHS is the best venue for me to help animals in my community, though I fear that the shelter is becoming more and more like a retail chain. It is perfectly acceptable that our directors would want us to continue to grow, to provide more services to the public, and to help more animals. I hope that we will continue to do so. But I also hope that we will not get so caught up in the ‘numbers’—our adoption, donation, and surgery totals—that the quantity of our work becomes more important than the quality. For now, it seems, we may be headed in that direction.
Advice to Management
Though there never seem to be enough hours in a day to finish our work, I believe that some interdepartmental job-shadowing could be immensely beneficial to our team. Perhaps the Director of Operations could spend a day with the medical team when they are completing a forensic exam on the mutilated body of what used to be someone’s beloved pet. The PR team could take a seat in Admissions and listen as the staff are verbally abused when they tell someone that we have no room to take in their recently deceased mother’s cat. The Marketing team might sit in the euthanasia room while a euthanasia technician, (usually one of our animal care staff,) has to euthanize a pet that they’ve been working with for several weeks, only to determine that he or she is unadoptable due to health or behavioral reasons. Hearing these things second-hand does not have the same effect as getting blood on your hands when handling a body, seeing tears in the eyes of a client who just wants to do the right thing for her mother’s cat, or injecting a life-ending drug into the vein of an animal you have grown to love.
At the same time, I’m sure that our misconceptions of each other go both ways. I can’t say with any certainty that the upstairs staff didn’t spend the early days of their careers as I do now. Even if they didn’t, I’m sure that there are deadlines to meet, budgets to approve, and countless relationships to maintain. I’d be very interested to spend a day in one of the upstairs offices and learn that day-to-day struggles that upper management face at OHS. Perhaps, with that insight, I’d see that their jobs aren’t as easy as I’d anticipated. If I we could all just see this first-hand, we could realize that we are all doing important work. With mutual respect among our peers, (and when I say peers, I refer to everyone from the custodians to the board of directors,) there is nothing that our organization can’t do.
OHS is such a great place to work. Both the employees and the clients makes it so special. I love the employees because we are all here for the pets, and petty difference doesn't matter when you are working to help save pets. I love the clients because they are coming in to adopt a homeless pet as opposed to supporting a breeding operation. It is a happy place!
It is hard to think of a con working at OHS. I think sometimes an angry client can get me down, but that happens so rarely.
Advice to Management
The leadership of OHS is on the right track. They need to keep listening to the employees to make sure we are all on the same page. It's nice to work at the best animal shelter in the county!
I have been working at Oregon Humane Society full-time
Helping the animals is so rewarding. Many co-workers are kind, hard-working, and way smarter and more experienced than their positions represent. So many people are dedicated and passionate about the cause and the animals. Hands-on time spent caring for the animals is so great!
Upper management is completely out-of-touch. Directors of some groups have little to no "real world" experience in their disciplines, and yet have stayed for many, many years thereby holding back the organization. Employees of several departments, both in the business offices and in animal care are treated with condescension and disrespect. Favoritism runs rampant and is not based on quality of performance, but personal preference. Employees do not feel they can speak up for fear of repercussions or, worse yet, that nobody listens and nobody cares about them. Salaries for the animal care teams are so low. (Not a livable wage. Not even close.)
Advice to Management
This advice is probably more for HR and the Board: Get to know the teams and departments. Spend time with them. Watch. Learn. Experience personally. Then, reassess everything and everyone. Regroup. Clean things up. Remove those who are harmful to others and to the organization. It should be all about the animals, and those who treat other people poorly (or are incompetent in their role) are not good for the animals either.
The people here are amazing. They truly care about the animals and work really hard to make the lives of the animals better. Pay and benefits are fair for a non-profit. The leadership team seems to keep the best interest of the people and animals in mind when making decisions. Overall, it's a friendly and satisfying place to work.
I wish there was more time to interact with people in other departments. Everyone is so busy!
Advice to Management
Keep your finger on the pulse of operations and the day to day activities.
This will replace the current featured review for targeted profile. Are you sure you want to replace it?
Are you sure you want to remove this review from being featured for targeted profile?