Samasource Reviews | Glassdoor

Samasource Reviews

Updated Apr 7, 2020

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3.8
86%
Recommend to a Friend
92%
Approve of CEO
Samasource Founder & CEO Leila Janah
Leila Janah
111 Ratings
Pros
  • "Good working environment and structured management(in 16 reviews)

  • "at sama you get to meet new people and learn new things each passing day(in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • "working for long hours,and working under tight supervision(in 6 reviews)

  • "so far so good there is no cons since its a very good company that encourages everyone to work(in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (2)

    "Serious about technology and impact."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Samasource full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I've been at Samasource for a little over a year. The company treats employees well and has a positive culture. There is a clear vision for the organization which helps drive our day to day work. I didn't think it was possible to work for a company that is working toward a positive social mission while working on the cutting edge of technology - Samasource is doing both.

    Cons

    At the beginning of the year, the organization went through a structural change and transitioned from a non-profit to a for-profit majority-owned by a non-profit. This was a big transition that was felt throughout the company and caused some attrition. Things now feel much more stable and new team members have joined the company.

    Samasource2019-09-23
  2. Helpful (4)

    "Perhaps a good place to start, not for serious professionals"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Samasource full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I left Samasource a little while ago, around the same time as half a dozen or so other staff people (several of whom were on the management team). I don't know if the reasons they left were the same as mine. After having had some time to reflect on my years at Samasource, one positive thing I can say is that the mission is admirable. They seem to struggle with executing on it and my experience was that senior staff subordinated the mission to growth for the sake of pleasing investors. But, this is a company that at least puts on a convincing show of pretending to care about something more than profit, which is more than can be said for many companies.

    Cons

    Samasource embodies some of the worst aspects of corporate America. The first red flag is that employee churn is through the roof. I believe this is because of weak leadership at the company. There is an army of micromanagers with no vision and enough anxiety to induce it in even the calmest employees. Vastly more hours are spent in meetings about doing stuff than actually doing stuff. People are resources at Samasource, used and abused to meet arbitrary targets that the people expected to meet them have no say in determining. There is no humanity in the way people are treated. Those in charge have no concept that their monthly "change of priorities" actually affects people's lives. The company is run like any other VC-funded "tech" company. Anyone who doesn't drink the koolaid leaves. There is an army of middle-managers severely micromanaging skilled people. There are some people suffering through the malarkey for the paycheck and benefits, some idealists who truly believe in the cause, but the management style at Samasource kills both productivity and creativity so people seeking some agency at work don't stick around. And of course there's a nascent HR department to politely threaten anyone who dares to question the wisdom of growth for growth's sake. If you just want a pay check for a few years, this might be an ok place for you. The policies and structure are so rigid that your job is really just to keep up with them, enthusiastically participating in the corporate theatre. There's not much time left between planning, performance reviews, presentations, and interviewing to get any work done, so it's easy to give minimal effort and just hit cruise control. If you like contributing your own ideas to a business, want to advance in your career, or stay somewhere for more than a couple of years, I'd avoid Samasource. If you want a strict set of rules to mindlessly follow for money, this is one of those companies.

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    Samasource2019-09-15
  3. "Project Manager"

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

    I have been working at Samasource full-time

    Pros

    Supportive Culture and AMAZING people.

    Cons

    Pay is not that great.

    Samasource2019-01-19
  4. Helpful (5)

    "Dream job"

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

    I worked at Samasource full-time

    Pros

    -the best coworkers: intelligent, mission-driven, all around wonderful humans -incredible leadership who take a personal interest in your well-being -effective and impactful model: Samasource is changing lives in a sustainable way -org wide commitment to excellence, transparency, and innovation -approach to international development is built on respect and empowerment -autonomy and creative freedom in your role -flexibility to work from home -paid a living wage (which is saying a lot for a nonprofit in SF)

    Cons

    -constantly shifting priorities -too many hats, which sometimes made it difficult to be successful in specific functions

    Samasource2018-04-12
  5. "Summer Associate Intern Samasource/Samaschool"

    StarStarStarStarStar
     

    I worked at Samasource

    Pros

    -great colleagues and work environment

    Cons

    -lots of turnover and some politics

    Continue reading
    Samasource2017-10-31
  6. Helpful (4)

    "Social Enterprise with Incredibly Talented Team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Samasource full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    As somebody who has been at Sama for many years, I can say quite sincerely that the org, the leadership and culture has evolved substantially in my time here, and that I feel very happy and fortunate to be here. I'm also looking forward to being part of Samasource's future as a leader in the world of social impact, as well as a provider of high quality services in the world of tech and machine learning in particular. I can confirm that the org has evolved and matured considerably. I am super happy that I was able to ride out some early growing pains to be a part of what is happening now. There has been very strong leadership, including an incredibly talented Managing Director that came in with a lot of consulting and BPO experience that helped to professionalize the operations and delivery processes. The culture is positive and there is a strong sense of focus and performance. There are a lot of exciting growth initiatives on the horizon, including expansion to Europe, a delivery center in India, and Advisory Services to help companies measure and understand the impact they are making.

    Cons

    The office location is not my favorite, as 16th and Mission can get pretty rowdy, and the building itself is a bit old, but it's something I can definitely live with, especially since there is flexibility to work from home more often than other jobs I've worked at.

    Samasource2017-06-06
  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great people and mission, fast-moving and ever-changing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Samasource full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I thoroughly enjoyed everyone I worked with. My co-workers were smart, dedicated, and fun to be around. I feel the organization is making a meaningful impact in the world. Management actively seeks out feedback from employees and works to improve areas that are challenging for employees.

    Cons

    My job title, manager, and responsibilities changed frequently due to turnover and shifting priorities. I was constantly taking on new projects and putting others on the back burner. It sometimes felt like we were chasing things rather than setting a strategy and pursuing it.

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    Samasource2016-12-14

    Samasource Response

    April 5, 2017CEO

    Regarding shifting priorities, we hear you. We're making an effort as a management team to develop a more robust strategic plan and had our first international offsite together in February. We feel like we've been running so fast to keep up with the changes in the tech landscape that we've not given this adequate due. Thank you so much for flagging it and taking the time to provide written feedback!

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  8. Helpful (1)

    "Cautiously optimistic"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Samasource full-time

    Pros

    This organization is outcomes driven; constantly striving to evaluate and re-evaluate how to deepen and broaden impact. Impact sourcing is hard, especially in a competitive environment. However, the desire to continue experimenting, investing, succeeding and sometimes failing, makes this an incredibly inspiring place to work. I am consistently amazed at the maturity and caliber of talent this organization has.

    Cons

    Working in a budget constrained environment can be challenging. With a mission as broad as solving poverty, it can be tempting to lose focus and drive too many initiatives.

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    Samasource2016-11-02

    Samasource Response

    April 5, 2017CEO

    This review really strikes a chord because I've been unfocused in the past and, with input from the management team, trying to learn from our collective experience -- we had to divest some initiatives that weren't tightly aligned with our core "give work" model. We've been promoting from within a lot more in the last year, with key roles in sales, project management, communications, and operations developed from our existing talent pool of amazing people. Thank you for believing in us!

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  9. Helpful (2)

    "Sharp, values-driven employees"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Samasource

    Pros

    All-hands meetings were well-attended and valuable Ops and product leadership are fantastic Office space is beautiful, conveniently-located, and dog-friendly Employees extremely welcoming of newcomers

    Cons

    High turnover leads to perpetual hiring cycles, which are difficult on all current employees Sama brand has fragmented into too many different directions, sacrificing integrity CEO is out of touch with daily operations

    Continue reading
    Samasource2016-10-19

    Samasource Response

    April 5, 2017CEO

    You make a good point here on hiring/turnover -- your feedback was timely and I'm happy to share that in the last year, we had the lowest turnover in our history with zero voluntary attrition in our core services unit. Regarding the CEO feedback, I've tried to learn from past mistakes and recruited two phenomenal executives to help run the company, a CFO and Managing Director, who've each been with the company for over two years and helped us achieve a doubling in sales, dramatic reduction in attrition, and the highest-ever employee satisfaction. I'm definitely less focused on daily operations (in an effort to get us to the next stage of growth) and less visible to all staff than I used to be because I now work more directly with fewer direct reports and am focused on strategic partnerships, customer acquisition, and brand-building. But to your point, we re-instated a few things like 1:1s and office hours that help me connect with staff more regularly -- that should help :)

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  10. Helpful (11)

    "Samasource is a great brand and therefore stepping-stone to launch your career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Samasource full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I am sharing my experience at Samasource after having left the company more than 3 years ago. (I am writing this in the Fall of 2016, and I resigned of my own accord in mid-2013. I didn't depart to join another company; I left Sama to take some much-needed time off and gain some perspective.) Within 3 months of my departure, 7 staff people (2 of which were on the management team) and 2 board members also severed their ties with Samasource, perhaps for some of the same reasons that I left. Perhaps for other reasons. After having had 3 years to think deeply about my Samasource experience, I must say that Samasource hires the best-in-class, mission-driven talent in Silicon Valley. That is its biggest Pro. You will get to work with some sharpest and coolest folks in the Valley and build your network unbelievably fast because of it.

    Cons

    Back in 2013, Samasource was a sinking ship. However, to Leila's credit she rebuilt the team from the ground up, and in 2014 reset the management structure entirely. And, importantly, she reset the Board. Nevertheless, I still hear of regrettable attrition and there is even a closed / secret Facebook group of ex-Samasourcers, seeking counseling and support, after their negative experiences. However the biggest con that I see is with the business model itself, which is fundamentally flawed. Impact Sourcing and the Samasource value model is better advanced within the for-profit world, not a non-profit. In fact there are for-profit competitors (that are hiring by the way) that are able to achieve higher impact scores by utilizing a for-profit model, rather than a non-profit one. Samasource will always be limited in its impact by its non-profit status. Therefore, be sure to learn as much as you can from Samasource, and then go enter the real world of business, and see how much more impact you can have therein. I think anyone who has worked, currently works, or is considering working at Samasource owes it to themselves to really ask how much impact they could have on the world, if the business model were different.

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    Samasource2016-10-18

    Samasource Response

    April 5, 2017CEO

    Hi there, I think a lot has changed in over four years since you left Samasource. Thank you very much for sharing this feedback, and trust that we've listened to it and implemented a ton of the suggestions we heard from staff. We have an awesome board, management team, and staff with very low attrition and, I'm proud to say, some of the very best people I've ever met in Silicon Valley. Regarding our business model and nonprofit status, I hear you. It's something that I struggled with for years after our founding, because at that time "B Corporations" had only just started, and the idea of impact investing was nascent -- we went the 501(c)(3) route because it was the only way I could raise capital with our stated mission of measurably reducing poverty. Now, times have changed and we are always open to understanding the best possible way to advance our mission of ending poverty permanently for as many people as possible with a sustainable, technology-driven business model. I encourage you to stay in touch with us as the company grows and develops :)

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Found 144 reviews