Prep for Prep Reviews | Glassdoor

Prep for Prep Reviews

Updated October 2, 2017
24 reviews

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2.5
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Aileen Hefferren
15 Ratings

24 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great Mission and Awesome Student Outcomes"

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

    I have been working at Prep for Prep full-time

    Pros

    The work we do with and for students of color makes going to work worth it everyday. I love that I can have a direct hand in supporting great kids realize their full potential to become leaders and break the cycle of poverty. The people who work here are passionate about children. A truly great group of people to work with.

    Cons

    There are a few communication silos between departments. But these are gradually being taken down and the environment is much more collaborative. Compensation is improving but there is room to do better.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the feedback from your new executive talent, They have some great vision. Also listen to the less senior staff. As the Japanese proverb says, it is those who are closest to the problem that have the most isight.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Indifferent, Abusive Management"

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

    I worked at Prep for Prep full-time

    Pros

    Great mission, serving very talented youth.

    Cons

    almost all executive level staff are incompetent. The executive staff I worked directly under lacked even a passing understanding of the nature of the work of the department. Rather than learning the work well enough to assess whether it was being completed and correct, she turned to HR, asking them how she could know whether I was doing any work at all, and complaining about my incompetence to co-workers. This after more than five years' employment with stellar performance reviews. CEO turns a blind eye, even when presented with facts. Many exec staff passing off their entire set of responsibilities on middle management with no acknowledgement (blaming when overworked staff can't perform both their duties and their management's duties, taking credit when things go well). There are plenty of job openings, as all competent employees have left or are actively seeking to do so, but I strongly advise against working at this organization.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Post Placement Counselor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Post Placement Counselor in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Post Placement Counselor in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Prep for Prep full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Team of counselors are as close as family. Good training and PD. Children are good to work with, with a few exceptions.

    Cons

    Management needed improvement, work many weekends.

    Advice to Management

    Not micromanage, and be realistic of travel times and school schedules.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "GET OUT!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Prep for Prep full-time

    Pros

    Mission, Flexibility (depending what department you are in), Health Coverage, Location

    Cons

    If you are not an executive level staff member, the pay is horrible. Don’t expect to get compensated for any additional work because that will not happen unless you are executive staff. CEO ignores organizational issues (no communication, low morale, no room for growth, high employee turnover) and sees administrative staff as dispensable. CEO has allowed for the fostering of a hostile environment often not preventing morally wrong actions taken by executives. Often what is hung over employee’s heads is that the organization is “laid back” and staff members can walk in after 9am; this is absolutely not enough of a reason to continue working in such a polluted environment with poor leadership.

    Having the whole organization in one location would be ideal.

    Advice to Management

    Turning a blind eye to issues that affect staff members creates an incredibly negative environment. Falsehearted attempts to calm the storm are a waste of time. Communication, morality & cooperation are a few things that need to be created along with positive change and acknowledgement. The organization desperately needs better hiring decisions at the executive level! The (very few) good executive are being washed out by overbearing, egotistic personalities. Take a step back and look at employee satisfaction in each departments and evaluate the heads. Board members should not be the only party to evaluate executives. Performance reviews should be available to all staff. Great mission or not, no one wants to work for an organization that does not respect their time and work.


  5. "Hard Work, Little Pay-Off"

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

    I worked at Prep for Prep full-time

    Pros

    + Mission
    + Dedicated Peers
    + Look into private schools' admission

    Cons

    - Hours
    - Leadership
    - Pay
    - Technology Investment
    - Professional Development
    - Transparency
    - Communication
    - Recognition


  6. "A great place to learn"

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

    I worked at Prep for Prep full-time

    Pros

    Prep is a well-established, well-known educational access program in New York City. It has a strong base of support among independent/boarding schools, universities, its alumni body, and its funders, many of whom are long-time supporters. Working at Prep gave me a multidimensional experience interacting with all of these constituents which I believe has made me a sought-after professional in the field of education non-profits. I felt, on the whole, supported by my colleagues and management, particularly as I attended grad school while working full-time. Because Prep is relatively small and self-sufficient, I had the opportunity to get hands-on experience in many aspects of its operations, including marketing, donor relations, event planning, coordination of meetings, drafting of correspondence, and interacting with alumni, students, parents, independent school partners, and peer organizations. Prep's great reputation as an organization in New York City coupled with the diverse array of responsibilities I managed while there made my time there a great professional experience. I also had a great quality of life time-wise as my schedule was flexible so I appreciated being able to maintain a healthy work-life balance!

    Cons

    There is some disconnect between the Executive Staff and everyone else, including middle managers. Good experiences at Prep seem very dependent on relationships between supervisor and employee and the current hierarchy does not lend itself well to concerns being heard from non-managers who may not jibe with their supervisor. While being traditional is one of the traits that Prep prides itself on, a re-fresh and re-set of how the mission is being achieved is desperately needed in order to stay competitive and relevant.

    Advice to Management

    I think the organization is working hard to improve employee happiness but they need to take more of a bottom up approach rather than top down. Executive Staff regularly references the opinions and support of the Board, which is meaningful to those who interact with the Board, but not so meaningful for everyone else who feels totally alienated from that part of Prep's structure. In order to stay competitive and retain talent, Prep needs to promote from within and offer new opportunities for professional (and personal) growth to employees in a timely manner. Annual review process should be more in sync with budget approval for the upcoming fiscal year so that salary increases can be factored into that discussion.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great mission"

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

    Pros

    Very talented, dedicated staff; inspirational mission

    Cons

    Communication across the organization is not good.

    Advice to Management

    Take a hard look at which staff members are there for the wrong reasons and get rid of them

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Do Not Work Here"

    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 Prep for Prep full-time

    Pros

    1. Great Mission "Prep for Prep develops leaders through access to superior education and life-changing opportunities. Since 1978, Prep has identified New York City’s most promising students of color and prepared them for placement at independent schools in the city and boarding schools throughout the Northeast. Once placed, Prep offers support and opportunities to ensure the academic accomplishment and personal growth of each one of our students."
    2. Great students!
    3. Company credit card for professional employees

    Cons

    1. Pay is not competitive no matter what anyone says. Prep will continue to lowball hard-working staff. Only executive staff like their pay. When you get offered 6 figures it's hard to say no to that.
    2. Long work hours without any sort of compensation.
    3. No written plans for contracts. During my supervisor's paternity leave, I was told, by the second in charge "While it may be customary in other employment relationships to draw up such agreements, that is not how Prep has operated to date and is not something that will change in the near future." The message is always that Prep will take care of you and enslave you but never actually make a formal agreement. For an organization that is headed towards being corporate, they might want understand that corporate means written contracts.
    4. Executive level management does not have the basic skills to do their jobs.
    5. Executive level management is unsupervised. The CEO has focused on raising money and has turned over the internal ongoings to someone who has no interpersonal skills. Executives will make up their own rules and policies that are directly in opposition to what is written in the handbook.
    6. Human Resources is there to protect Executive Staff. Employees who speak up are either fired or restructured out. There is an attempt to silence smart, educated people who work at the organization.
    7. Not everyone is there for the students. I was underpaid and would have stayed until I retired. Unfortunately the Executive Level Staff at my department made in unbearable for me to continue. People do not do right by the students and their families and I had to make the decision to leave.
    8. High Turnover.
    9. Executive staff and CEO are bullies.

    Advice to Management

    1. Prep for Prep should begin to do assess all of the Executive Staff to make sure that they can perform all of the same tasks their employees can perform. The CEO, who is busy raising money and making the board happy, cannot be the only ones who assess the Executive Staff.
    2. Hold everyone accountable. Simple.
    3. Listen to employees and give them a space and environment to share opinions without any blowback. Instead of giving out free water bottles at all staff meetings, really take their concerns seriously and make changes.
    4. Promote from within.
    5. Follow through. If you say you are going to do something then do it and don't make excuses.
    6. Alums are your strongest asset. Don't shun them away with fundraising events and exclusive invitations to events. Be inclusive!
    7. There are two different locations for Prep for Prep. Use money to find a bigger working place for all employees. Departments have no idea what the other department is doing and it makes work much more difficult than it already is.
    8. Stop using the excuse of relying on the mission when times get rough. It's inexcusable.
    9. Be open to new ideas. It's 2016. The goals of the organization are outdated.
    10. The 2 Dean Structure is failing kids. Structure does not allow deans to consistently interact with children or families and encourages students and families to play the deans against each other. For similar reasons the structure does not allow for the dean to develop the same level of trust with families, which is very important during placement and financial aid.

    Committed members of the board need to ask more questions instead of hearing everything from the CEO and the executive staff. If you are not an alum you don't really have a voice. If you are an alum, you still don't have a voice but people will hear you out for a while. I would love to see members of the executive staff structured out. It's the same excuse they use every time they hit a wall. Look at their history and look at the facts. This is not the place it once was.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Exploitative - do not work here at this time"

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

    I worked at Prep for Prep full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great mission, great kids, company credit card for work for professional employees

    Cons

    You will work really long hours, and sometimes go two full work weeks with no days off, which you will never be compensated for. Pay is not competitive, and you will not be paid for skill, education, or experience. Executive level management does not have the basic skill set necessary to do their jobs, and thus rely very heavily on staff to complete the most basic of tasks. With high employee turnover, this means that nobody remains to train new staff members, and staff in lateral positions are relied upon for training. Staff members often absorb work of parting employees without discussion or compensation. Excellent work performance and competence by staff members is not awarded, but punished. The better you are at your job, the more work you will absorb, and the less you will be paid.

    Executive management has little to no idea of what systems and processes are in place to make the organization run, and are not able to do tasks that each member of their departments are able to. Favoritism runs rampant, and you will not be awarded for skill, but for loyalty to executives. If you speak up, you will be reprimanded and silenced. Executive level management have their own interpretation of organizational rules and procedures, and use this to their advantage.

    Advice to Management

    Prep for Prep should begin to do skills assessments of all Executive Staff to make sure that they can perform all of the same tasks their employees can perform, and have honest assessments of manager performance. Set up a true accountability system, much like the one used for lower level employees, and consider bringing in an outside party explicitly for this purpose. If executive level staff seem to have particularly close relationships with one another, ask whether this helps or hurts the organization, and set up a system so that this is no longer an issue. Listen to employee concerns, and do not wait until it is too late to start changing things. Make sure that employees are being held to the job description they have signed a contract for year to year, and that middle management is kept in the loop about hiring and hiring decisions.

    Look into the distribution of labor across departments and analyze whether there is redundancy in positions. Is there a way to change this so that there are not two people in one department where one is doing no work and the other is constantly working? Appeal to the alumni base and ask for suggestions, which you take seriously. Surveys to current employees may not be effective because people may fear lack of anonymity, so see if employees who have left in the past 1+ year are open to discussing their experience with you. Chances are all of these people wanted to stay, so figure out what other companies are offering that Prep is not, and figure out a way to add this into the Prep employee experience. Be committed to changing systems that do not work.

    Promote from within, and be supportive of staff members - acknowledge efforts (this does not always have to be monetary). In the evaluation process each year, acknowledge excellence and hard work. If someone has been outperforming the job description, find a way to let them grow within the organization as soon as possible. Otherwise, your strongest employees will keep leaving for opportunities elsewhere.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "Appearances can be deceiving."

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

    I worked at Prep for Prep (More than a year)

    Pros

    Mission. Flexible schedule. Benefits (decent).

    Cons

    Management of the org has come undone. Credentialism runs rampant. Well known and highly regarded staff members in the Prep community exhibit unprofessional, disrespectful and outrageous behavior towards staff members. Executive leadership turns a blind eye. Middle managers and front-line workers bear the burden of being worked to the ground. The values governing the org are misaligned with the org's mission. The overall experience is unhealthy, demoralizing, and disheartening. The toxicity is palpable. Attempts to acknowledge and compensate hard working staff members are disingenuous and insulting. Executive leadership does not have a firm understanding of how systems and processes function within the org, which leaves departments vulnerable during turn over.

    Advice to Management

    If the culture of the org continues to deteriorate, turn over will increase, affecting the org's ability to fulfill the mission. Consider effectively managing and enforcing accountability for ALL staff members, regardless of tenure, if you expect to retain talented, qualified and hard-working professionals. The toxicity and dysfunction will drive away true professionals. Consider what this will mean in the long run. Salary equity must be considered and factored into performance as an incentive during evaluations, as those shouldering the burden of demanding roles are oftentimes the least compensated and yet the hardest working. Make Prep a positive and rewarding experience FOR ALL who come and go, as those who have invested their time and talent deserve to be recognized, compensated, valued and respected for their contributions. Staff members can't refer solely to the org's mission for motivation to get them through difficult days, disrespectful colleagues, and overwhelming workloads, that make work-life balance nearly impossible. Staff members need leadership and management that genuinely cares for and supports them in the ways that matter professionally. Put action behind your meetings that leads to meaningful change. You run the risk of doing more damage to morale by skirting around issues and not taking the time to address them honestly and effectively.


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