The Humane Society of the United States Reviews | Glassdoor

The Humane Society of the United States Reviews

Updated August 7, 2017
81 reviews

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2.8
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Wayne Pacelle
48 Ratings

81 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The work HSUS does is unparalelled and they truly move the needle to help animals (in 9 reviews)

  • The most effective animal protection group in the world (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • I believe the low pay leads to a lot of turnover in certain areas (in 14 reviews)

  • There is zero work/life balance (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (7)

    "Amazing staff, great programs, horrible leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Gaithersburg, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Gaithersburg, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Humane Society of the United States full-time

    Pros

    The work HSUS does is unparalelled and they truly move the needle to help animals. The staff are dedicated, passionate people who are there for all the right reasons and support each other fully. Good animal saving policies.

    Cons

    Upper management, including COO, and CEO among others are not good leaders, and do not listen to staff. Its very old school with a lack of good infrastructure. There is an old boys club here that allows sexual harrassment to go unchecked, and one VP was even promoted to get him out of the dept where 8 women came forward about sexual pressure. Unacceptable.
    Salaries are also much too low.
    Very little opportunity to move up or ever be a senior executive.

    Advice to Management

    Pay attention to what your staff is asking for. Update your practices and get into the 21st century at the very least, and support your staff with recognition, and opportunities to move around.


  2. "Not bad"

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

    Pros

    passionate people. Dogs in office, can leave at the end of the day feeling good about what you do,

    Cons

    HR department is pretty hard to work with

  3. "only to get through this page"

    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 The Humane Society of the United States part-time

    Pros

    cool place to work.
    love animals

    Cons

    no complaints, no cons, location great

    Advice to Management

    n/a


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Policy Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Passionate individuals and an amazing office culture (can bring your dog to work).

    Cons

    All hires go through the HR Department, and they have no record of past interns/interviews. If you do not meet every minute qualification, you will be rejected.


  5. Helpful (8)

    "Work culture is out of whack"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Food & Nutrition Coordinator in Gaithersburg, MD
    Current Employee - Food & Nutrition Coordinator in Gaithersburg, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Humane Society of the United States full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You get to help animals

    Cons

    Male-dominated workplace despite the fact that lots of women work here. Getting promoted is slow-going.

    Advice to Management

    More transparency.


  6. Helpful (9)

    "Unless you are best friends with the C-Suite, don't bother. You don't matter."

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

    I have been working at The Humane Society of the United States full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    You help animals, more than what meets the public eye-- more than 150 THOUSAND a year; it's impressive and awe-inspiring. Most people are kind and dedicated to the cause and willing to collaborate. Dogs in the workplace! Flexible schedules. Decent PTO accrual. More coffee than you know what to do with.

    Cons

    All of the pros are well-known, which is why the few terrible people get away with treating others horribly; they know employees are dedicated and have many perks beyond salary (which, as a con, is very low for the industry -- especially for being in Montgomery County/D.C.) that keep them coming back. You are more disposable to management than the chopsticks from Hunan and you'll be chewed up and spit out unless, of course, you're one of the elite that the CEO & COO has deemed a favorite. And those "favorites" get away with deceit, bullying, belittling and generally slacking off while the ones who actually want to pull their weight are tossed around to the point of utter exhaustion, humiliation and degradation that they are forced to leave. Instead of utilizing the talents of staff already in the organization, management would rather hire new people, pushing the dedicated staff to the side (both theoretically and physically), leaving no options but the EXIT. And that's fine to management because for every one person here, there are 20 more people wanting to take their place...that would do so for less money.

    Passion, mutual respect, tenure, willingness to hit the ground running and learn, experience. None of that matters if the C-Suite has decided you aren't one of the "cool kids".

    For the many of us still holding out for the place to get better, we struggle daily. We leave more frustrated with the internal culture than with the cruelties we are combatting. We are defeated, discouraged, saddened and generally lackluster about the organization's future and our parts within. We've stopped encouraging our friends and family to get involved, take action and/or donate. And we are the ones that fought harder than anything to get in, willing to begin at the ground floor, and would keep fighting with all of our might if we knew it would ever matter.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to these reviews. And exit interviews. And those that are striving to find their place within. And those that have shown their dedication, passion and knowledge (or willingness to learn!). And those that come to address systemic issues. And the overwhelmingly high turnover rate. These are not incorrect, false, misleading or isolated incidents. They are each more factual and all-encompassing of the toxic, soul-crushing culture at The HSUS than the next. We've been told that HR is working to make things better but we've been told things will change many, many, many times. We need to see it, soon, or the organization will certainly crumble and our adversaries and opponents will claim victory.


  7. Helpful (7)

    "HSUS is a sinking ship failing its staff"

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

    I worked at The Humane Society of the United States full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The mission of animal protection

    Cons

    After a 15 year "career" at HSUS, there are too many cons to enumerate. A book on this subject would be more likely and perhaps I should write one. In this extensive period of time, I have witnessed corruption, waste, redundancy, mismanagement and ill treatment of staff by supervisors. In 15 years I never saw one promotion. As a long-term staffer, I also did not for the most part feel that my input, work or experience was valued. Getting ahead and getting respect at HSUS does not correlate to the work you do, but rather how close a buddy you are to executive management, particularly Wayne and Mike. There is a systemic lack of communication within the organization which creates waste, redundancy and consequently a waste of donor dollars. When I left HSUS, they were experiencing a serious financial crisis, all the long-term experienced staffers were quitting and leaving, and HSUS was just one bloated sinking ship. I wish them well as I have always believed strongly in animal protection issues, but if they keep up the status quo and treat staff poorly while claiming to be a "humane" organization, eventually donor dollars will dry up.

    Advice to Management

    Paying money to an outside consultant to run employee satisfaction surveys every other year does nothing to improve the morale, communication problems, or waste and redundancy problems within the organization. Here's a cost-saving idea: instead of hiring a 3rd party to talk to your staff or solicit their input, I suggest executive management make it a top priority to talk one-on-one to each of the HSUS staffers throughout the year. Get to know their names and solicit their ideas and input directly. Take the time to listen to their grievances or recommendations for improvements. Here's another suggestion: fire the entire HR team - they are incompetent and useless in every respect.

    The Humane Society of the United States Response

    Jul 11, 2017 – SVP Human Capital and and Development

    As the new Senior Vice President of the Human Capital department, I appreciate your feedback. Regarding promotions and management/supervisor issues, the Human Capital department is undergoing a... More

  8. Helpful (24)

    "A nonprofit failing its greatest asset: people"

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

    I worked at The Humane Society of the United States full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I’d estimate there’s three types of people who read Glassdoor reviews: one, jobseekers, hoping to learn more about the company or organization they’d like to work for; two, current employees wondering how their workplace is reflected in Glassdoor, maybe hoping that their personal feelings are reflected in the words of others; three, people in power at an organization who are curious about employee feelings or trying to do damage control.

    I worked for HSUS for over five years. It was, in many ways, the best job I ever had and I still miss it every single day. I truly defined my career there. I worked every day with people who became my best friends. I was able to bring my dog to work, and see other dogs every single day, which is as awesome as you think it is. I worked hard to save animals — a lifelong passion for me transformed further when I became a vegan — because animal cruelty is horrifying and impossible to ignore when you’re that close to it. And HSUS is working tirelessly to stop it.

    But.

    The Nonprofit Times recently released their “2017 Best Nonprofits to Work For” article, in which they identified what they call the “top 10 key drivers for employees across the 50 organizations.” They ranked things like leadership and planning, corporate culture and communications, overall satisfaction, pay and benefits. I’d like to give my personal view of these key drivers and where HSUS falls among them.

    Cons

    I feel I am valued in this organization:

    HSUS overworks and underpays. This is well-known; almost every review you’ll read here mentions it. “Valued,” to me, means something different, though: it means how work is seen by superiors, how you are treated by executives and fellow staff, how you’re recognized and communicated to about your work and contributions to the organization. People, myself included, leave HSUS because they don’t feel valued by superiors or executives. How a nonprofit in 2017 can hew so closely to the “cogs in a machine” model is baffling. My team had massive, transformative success in their field while I worked there — but that success went consistently unnoticed and unrecognized — and in fact, expertise challenged on almost every topic imaginable. It was assumed anyone could achieve similar success — that the person didn’t matter as much as the buttons getting pushed putting out decrees from executives. Strategy and experience were pushed aside, and instead, it was all about the next thing, about how that wasn’t good enough

    HSUS has experienced overwhelming attrition over the last few years. Not because people don’t feel passionate about the cause, or don’t like their coworkers. HSUS does not value its employees. Full stop.

    I have confidence in the leadership of this organization;

    If we are to trust our organization’s leaders, they need to trust their employees. If employees are hired for their expertise, executives should trust that expertise. Public relation blunders aside, related to reshuffling the golden children (read: “boys club” is real, and going strong at HSUS!) rather than deal with their inappropriate behavior, leaders have no confidence in the people doing the work. They value instead outside opinions from vendors and agencies who gouge them endlessly — donor dollars, mind you — and sycophants who hang on, barnacle-like, willfully ignorant of how others feel or that there’s a culture problem because they are “in” with executives.

    Leaders at HSUS have no confidence in their staff enough to foster, steward and retain employees — how can staff have confidence in them?

    I like the type of work that I do;

    Point in favor: I loved the work I did at HSUS. This kept me there far longer than I should have stayed and boy howdy does HSUS know exactly how to take advantage of that!

    Most days, I feel I have made progress at work;

    Are you working 10+ hours a day? And available at night, and on weekends? If you struggle with work/life boundaries, HSUS will take that to the extreme. And if you respect your boundaries, you aren’t committed to the cause. Even when progress is made, or a team achieves success, if that success doesn’t fall into an executive’s “pet project,” or isn’t something they understand, or doesn’t personally reflect positively on them — or doesn’t fit within the extraordinarily narrow scope of leadership’s myopic worldview, it isn’t progress.

    Everything is a priority. Work is piled on endlessly without respect for workload or prioritization. Want to focus on something? Too bad; on to the next thing. And the next. Oh, and while you’re at it, here’s breaking news you had no idea was coming until you had to be on a conference call at 12p on a Sunday.

    It’s often incredibly hard to feel like you’re making progress when you work in animal issues. Animals are suffering and dying every single day, everywhere around the world, and most of the public achieves the cognitive dissonance to allow that to continue. The people who work at HSUS should feel like they re making progress as they address this issue; they are among the hardest working people I’ve ever met. However, it isn’t there.

    At this organization, employees have fun at work;

    When among my team, yes. Many of my direct superiors worked overtime to provide some value and investment in my team — aware of work/life balance, boundaries, personal time, etc. That was difficult when not supported or invested in ways beyond that team. Without those people often killing themselves to rectify the otherwise suffering culture at HSUS, I’m not sure who would be left.

    I can trust what this organization tells me;

    I learned to trust that promises often went unfulfilled, concerns unaddressed and unlistened to. I trust that HSUS is working on their mission — but as far as executives and HR go, there was no trust.

    Overall, I’m satisfied with this organization’s benefits package;

    HSUS pays poorly and their HR is a mess; you can read any review here to find that out so I won’t repeat it. Promotions are fought for with tooth and nail, and during my tenure there, were often miniscule. Instead of investing in employees, they have to kill themselves to fight for career growth and raises. Or title changes. A colleague was told, “If you aren’t happy with this offer, you can keep doing your current job.”

    Benefits are fine. Flexibility is available, which is a plus. You’ll need it, because you’ll be expected to be available 24/7.

    There is room for me to advance at this organization;

    The gap between middle management and executives is endless; it’s a canyon from which decrees are made and minions are left to do the work. You might get a minuscule raise, but you won’t get that title change. Or vice versa! It’ll be a surprise, just like the offer letter you’ll get with no room for negotiation; take it or leave it.

    Many of my middle management colleagues worked double time to get their work done and also protect their employees from the unrealistic expectation of executives, especially as teams grew smaller, budgets were cut, people were fired, and revenue goals or project goals or priorities did not change or evolve to adapt to new circumstances. And since executives are so completely out of touch with middle management and employee satisfaction, they are left to do their best to try to retain employees who take their marketable skills and go elsewhere — for more money, personal time, and investment.

    So really, at HSUS, the room for advancement is often through the exit.

    I like the people I work with at this organization;

    As I mentioned before: I worked on the same team with people who became my best friends. Lifelong friends. I still miss them every single day — and without everything else on this list, I would still be at HSUS.

    However: I have also never been spoken to or behaved toward the way I was when I worked at HSUS. Many people are rude, downright mean or cruel, and dismissive. Sometimes contemptuous. Some of this has to do with the fact people are overworked and underpaid; some of it falls under the banner of lack of boundaries and “dedication to mission only.” Executives included — and some are the worst offenders at all: some play on their multiple phones while employees are given presentations, told their expertise doesn’t matter and that they know better, shut down, demeaned and made to feel insufficient, unqualified, under performing and pushed aside. I’ve been in my new job for nearly a year, and I can say no one here has ever treated me once the way I was treated regularly at HSUS and felt. My new job has never made me cry or feel worthless — that’s a huge plus!

    I feel part of a team working toward a shared goal.

    Again: on my team, yes — without a doubt. As part of the larger organization, I didn’t feel part of a team as much as a means to an end. I stayed because for a long time, that end (working to save animals) justified the means (see above). Eventually, I realized that unless or until I was part of the executive team, that would never happen. And that executive team is closed off in an ivory tower of unrealistic expectations and no true knowledge of how to run a successful business with happy employees.

    Advice to Management

    Leaving HSUS was the one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I will miss it probably the rest of my life. I left, in the end, because of lack of advancement and investment in employees, a suffering staff culture, and executives being out of touch, often disrespectful, either unaware or unwilling to make things better when the answers are all right there -- and the middle management desperate to retain staff and improve things are ignored, treated poorly, and discouraged at every step of the way.

    If HSUS would address these issues meaningfully, effectively and with purpose, and not stop until they were fixed -- including investing immediately in staff in a way that better addresses the points above -- people would be banging down the doors to come work for an organization otherwise so effective at their mission.

    Until then, it will merely be a pass-through for people getting marketable skills they'll use elsewhere, and disenchanted animal lovers who were asked to choose between their own sense of self and work/life boundaries -- and oftentimes emotional well-being -- and protecting animals. That's a false choice.

    HSUS, you could be so much better. I'm sorry that you continue to refuse to listen, and to change.

    The Humane Society of the United States Response

    Jun 14, 2017 – SVP Human Capital and and Development

    As the new Senior Vice President of the Human Capital department, I appreciate your feedback. I’d like to address the themes in your comments, as many are dependent on each other.

    Regarding... More


  9. Helpful (7)

    "HSUS is good, not great"

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

    I worked at The Humane Society of the United States full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you are vegan and love animals this is a great place to work. Great benefits.

    Cons

    The pay is very low for DC. If you are not vegetarian or vegan I do not recommend working there.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Specialist"

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

    I have been working at The Humane Society of the United States full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Passionate people
    -Dogs in the workplace
    -Good work/life balance

    Cons

    -No promotion opportunities
    -Lowest salaries among animal-focused NGOs
    -Few professional development opportunities

    Advice to Management

    Very important to focus on employee retention. It seems that management feels that there are plenty of passionate people who could replace current employees for a lower salary and therefore doesn't invest in employees that have institutional knowledge and expertise.


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