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The Challenge Reviews

Updated February 4, 2018
63 reviews

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3.6
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Oliver Lee
18 Ratings

63 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great diverse work environment; gain experience of leading a classroom of young people (in 16 reviews)

  • Lots of opportunities for entry level staff to move up or across the organisation (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Sometimes it can be difficult to deal with the young people due to age gaps but other staff always help with this (in 13 reviews)

  • Long hours on residential periods 7am- midnight, sometimes with little or no breaks throughout the whole day (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "A great place to work, if occasionally frustrating"

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

    I have been working at The Challenge full-time

    Pros

    The people here are largely super talented and dedicated to the work they do

    Cons

    Don't always get the resource to do the things we need


  2. "Good entry-level role"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Team Leader in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Sales Team Leader in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Challenge full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Amazing staff members
    -Feels more like a family due to atmosphere
    -Can gain a wide-range of skills which will help build your CV
    -Make a lot of connections especially in the community

    Cons

    -As a Sales Co-ordinator it is very tiring during peak season and can affect health
    -Sometimes short staffed and have to do extra hours (not extra pay though)
    -Sometimes difficult convos need to be had in regards to some employees' behaviour. But there is a desire not to upset anyone, which means some behaviour is often overlooked
    -Too much "forced-fun"- You have to take part in social activities which are usually very frequent.

  3. "Great mission and workplace but chaotic and unprofessional"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Central Services in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Central Services in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Challenge full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent place to stretch your abilities & skills - all roles require a roll up your sleeves approach and you constantly learn and develop beyond your remit
    Amazing collective - some of the most dedicated, resourceful, inspirational people I've worked with
    Fun & laid back atmosphere, some degree of flexibility around hours of work or location (working remotely is generally permitted for majority of roles)
    Mission, vision and culture - truly inspirational and worthwhile
    Opportunity to have a real impact and get noticed through your job regardless of where you sit in the organisation
    Informal recognition embedded in culture

    Cons

    Long hours if you work in programmes - a bit better in central support functions (though not much better)
    Over-reliance on the goodwill of staff to get things running, rather than through robust internal procedures, processes and systems/technology
    Appalling facilities (though I appreciate investment in facilities is not a priority given the tight resources)
    HR and systems provision unable to keep up with and respond to the needs of the the organisation (at its high, nearly 1,000 in headcount during my tenure)
    High performance expected in return of low pay - yes there are great developmental opportunities and this is the charity sector, but there is also a hierarchy of needs and if the hygiene factors are missing (for instance, a healthy pay), eventually staff will move on as the mission itself, worthy though it may be, won't pay your bills
    Lack of professionalism, despite great efforts to implement culture change - for such a dynamic and predominately young workforce, it is startling how much resistance to change there is!
    Directors make efforts to be visible yet they sometimes fail to really act on feedback from the grassroots.
    Again for such a young and non-corporate organisation, the language and tone of voice in most of the communications (and the way some of our directors speak) can be quite elitist, overly formal, disengaging and completely at odds with our brand (then again the brand in itself is an issue and not really consistent)

    Advice to Management

    Really listen and act on feedback from grassroots. Better performance management procedures and conversations - and stop tolerating staff mediocrity, particularly at management level. Get better at having difficult conversations (instead of asking overly qualified people to do entry level jobs to address a recurring problem, maybe deal with the shortcomings head on, push out the incompetent people that are perpetuating the issues and implement better strategies and tactics). Stop relying on the goodwill of people and put proper procedures and systems in place. Have more commercially minded people (it's all well and good having a great mission but if you don't have the money to pursue it then it doesn't really matter - it should be achieving the mission through having a commercially sound model).


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Terrible CEO, awful treatment of staff, director team not on mission"

    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 The Challenge full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good L&D programme and co workers

    Cons

    Put 100 staff at risk pre Xmas and CEO neglected to speak with staff at risk of redundancy for 4 weeks citing 'processes' and just telling everyone how much he cares (bull). He admitted responsibility to those staff but in senior management meetings blamed staff at level below him for the issues. Staff at risk had to fight to get paid until end of month (pres Xmas!), they held an Xmas party the day before everyone left (insensitive). 50 went and now they are recruiting again...for 50 staff in another team. HR an absolute joke - some things bordering on illegal. Awful handling of consultancy process.

    Director team (aside from 1) don't care about mission.

    As a company they are awful at handling performance problems - at NCS sales no one has *ever* failed their probation period (?!) and managers struggling with difficult staff are told to 'give them another chance' and work on their 'resilience'. despite evidence of gross misconduct. Poor performance of senior staff is not taken seriously either.

    I very much doubt this company will be around in a couple of years. They do not understand how to read or respond to their market (fatal) , are poorly disorganised and mismanage finances.


  5. "Review for The Challenge"

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

    I worked at The Challenge part-time

    Pros

    - friendly and relaxed, very fun and fulfilling

    Cons

    - can be long hours, very physical


  6. "Refreshing-"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - DAPM in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - DAPM in London, England (UK)
    Recommends

    Pros

    In my short tenure I found the factors below to be a highlight

    -Colleagues

    -Dynamic role

    -Rewarding

    -Autonomy

    -open minded

    Cons

    I was not there long enough

    Advice to Management

    Try and find ways of incentivising great people who leave due to limited opportunities


  7. "Fantastic values driven organisation"

    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 The Challenge full-time

    Pros

    Supportive, passionate people.
    Mission and values driven.
    Fast-paced and entrepreneurial.

    Cons

    The rate of growth means there is often change.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Appallingly run organisation kept afloat by dedicated staff."

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

    I worked at The Challenge full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I met some of the most dedicated, intelligent and hardworking people at The Challenge. They truly care about the young people they work with.

    Cons

    Despite having been running for seven years they use being a start up as an excuse for the many systemic problems they face. They lack basic essentials such as HR systems and a proper technology support. Under the current CEO 4 million pounds has been lost over the last two years. Financial controls are practically non existent and tax payer’s money is being wasted. The directors are arrogant to the point of stupidity and have displayed behaviour which could get them into serious legal trouble, esp with regards to misogynistic comments.

    Advice to Management

    Stop ignoring the serious problems plaguing the organisation and take steps to modernise systems and retain staff. Hire directors with actual experience of running charitable organisations.


  9. "Brilliant place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engagement Coordinator in Manchester, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Engagement Coordinator in Manchester, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Challenge full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Brilliant place to work. At The Challenge you will work with incredible, interesting and friendly people, striving for a really important mission. Would thoroughly recommend.

    Cons

    Can be quite samey after a you've worked a cycle if you work on the NCS programme.


  10. "Lovely place to work"

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

    I have been working at The Challenge full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly, vibrant atmosphere. Everyone is very helpful and there is a range of skills to gain and improve.

    Cons

    Can be very repetitive at times.


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