The Standard Reviews | Glassdoor

The Standard Reviews

Updated April 20, 2017
223 reviews

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2.9
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The Standard President & CEO J. Greg Ness
J. Greg Ness
130 Ratings

223 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    "Cannot Recommend as a place for IT Professionals"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Investment in the community. Internal training via intranet of significant quantity, but too general for a code developer to be of any real use, external training poorest I have ever seen at a company of this size. Salaries market competitive -- but don't expect raises. Policy of 1% raise for those who "met expectations" in 2008, and of 0% in 2009.

    Cons

    You're not going to advance beyond a level III, and with few exceptions make it only that far if that's where you're hired. VP of IT promotes individual innovation to advance against competition, against which they are admittedly behind (poor electronic services via web to customers has lost us accounts. They admit this is making them lose ground. VP evangelizes "Talk to whoever you have to if you see something that would benefit the company -- better yet just go ahead and DO IT!". Yet when trickles down through middle management, message is lost in favor of collective mind set that results in mediocrity. Never heard a personally directed "good job" or "thanks for developing a system that's saved us a whole lot of money." Lots of finger-pointing and overreactions to any sort of hiccup. A culture of a lack of personal accountability despite the "rah rah" message to the contrary. Old tech batch jobs still predominant over SOA, real-time data. Pendulum has swung very hard in direction no dev in-house / buy single point off-the-shelf. Extremely process-oriented -- being officially called "Lead" on a project, which is just a process-oriented label -- which is often political, weighted over actual delivered results -- as explicitly stated to me by managers!! Announced policy of replacing US developers as they choose to leave with adding staff to large outsourcing effort to India. Skill base in .NET in particular is very poor -- only about 4 individuals, and that's going to go down without US replacements when any of them leave. Any redevelopment of VB6 apps -- and there are LOTS of those -- just a port via automated tool with no OOAD. IT feels like a sinking ship.

    Advice to Management

    Replace middle management layer -- it's killing individual innovation. One manager told me, "We say we have a culture where people can speak up, but we really don't. The worst sin you can commit is to make upper middle management have to DO something." Actually reward innovation like you say you will do instead of the reality of high pain-point and accusations of bucking the system.


  2. Helpful (6)

    "Again, good for a job, not a career."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The benefits are good here. For me, the healthcare options are sufficient. There are some people who you can learn from.

    Cons

    There is definitely a closed-mindedness amongst the employees here. I once thought that it would be good to be at a company where there are people who have worked there for 10, 20 30+ years. Then, when I joined the Standard, I came to the realization that working with these people is tough as they truly believe that everything they do should be easy to comprehend as it is the only possible way to do things. They seemingly have never been exposed to other ways to solve the problems they face except for the ways they have always done them, which oftentimes is quite inefficient. Therefore, for someone coming in fresh, there is ususally a communication barrier between the newbie and the "old-timer" that never is overcome. A vast supply of fresh blood needs to be infused in this company before it's inefficiencies drive it into bankruptcy. The Retirement Plans group will probably be the first to go because of the situation described above.
    In short, there are some smart people, but unfortunately way more closed-minded people here. The Management structure here is based almost 100% on knowing someone higher up, and meetings are largely a waste of time as the management doesn't really know what is going on and therefore can't communicate anything worthwhile. Also, I have given up trying to even speak or ask a question to management as you are essentially looked at as a "dissident" for even talking, no matter if what you had to say was good or bad. A very stifling culture indeed.

    Advice to Management

    Promote people who actually know what they are doing AND can communicate; give clear and worthwhile information at meetings and let other people talk and ask questions. Also, it is not a bad thing when someone wants a system or process explained for their benefit; it is better to have two people know what is going on and tackling problems than it is to have just one. Do not feel threatened by people who simply want to understand what they are doing and not simply "pushing buttons". To me the blind obedience and dissuading of employees from looking deeper at problems to give possible solutions to management is simply backwards to me.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "IT rapidly sinking"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The company supports charitable causes. Benefits package is good. Location in downtown Portland is beautiful. Supports pre-tax payment of city parking.

    Cons

    IT is in very poor shape and continues to degrade. Management treats IT employees with little respect -- business analysts were recently told by our boss in a team meeting that a group of "monkeys" could do our job. Not doing business analysis work, more projects like text-file batch processing. No raises -- 0% -- for third year in a row for almost all employees.

    Big outsourcing to India continues. All the mainframe COBOL programmers were just informed they are being laid off and all their work is moving to India. Just a few months ago the VP of IT David O'Brien specifically told the COBOL programmers that some remote Indian staff were going to suppliment existing staff and no one would be laid off. So basically IT was lied to. Now some business analysts from India are being brought in, but we have been assured by the VP this is only to suppliment existing staff and none of us are going to be laid off.

    Advice to Management

    There's no point suggesting anything.


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  5. Helpful (8)

    "Incompetent hiring practices. The Standard does not ensure the employee's success. No training."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - The Standard in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - The Standard in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you need a little time off, they are flexible to a point. This is a positive for the organization.

    Cons

    Incompetent hiring practices. The Standard does not ensure the employee's success. No training even though training was promised. Overall, training is not provided in any adequate form. One hour here and there and that's the "2-week training." Additionally, they really sell the training for the Account Manager job. If you do not have experience as an Account Manager in Retirement Plans, avoid this job. It will be your worst nightmare. Work/life balance is not present. Management is not fair, and promotions are few and very far between. You will be stuck in a "white collar production" environment. Hamster on a wheel without knowledge as to how to keep in balance on the wheel. Turn and burn environment. Not very intelligent business practices.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Announced Plan to relocate IT to India"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The Standard has traditionally stood out for its customer service and charitable donations to the community. Competitive pay and benefits. Nice location in downtown Portland.

    Cons

    At the February 4, 2011 "All-Hands" IT meeting, David O'Brien, the Vice President of IT announced that The Standard is evaluating a large-scale outsourcing of IT, QA, and Infrastructure to a single vender in India as a means to reduce costs. The Standard expects its assessment to be concluded by November 2011.

    O'Brien said he hopes IT staff remain at The Standard to cooperate with current and upcoming knowledge transfer to Indian workers who will be replacing existing staff.

    The process of IT lay-offs has already begun. The COBOL programmers were given notice earlier this week that their jobs will be eliminated by this coming July because all COBOL work is being transferred to India. Other groups have already had people from India introduced prior to today's announcement.

    O'Brien said The Standard's competitor companies have already out-sourced their IT department's off-shore as a means of reducing their costs. The Standard is, by his description, merely following suite by neccessity.

    For several years O'Brien stressed how behind the company is in terms of electronic services, and how this was a prime reason for The Standard not being competitive. O'Brien's answer then was to be more competitive by investing in The Standard's IT infrastructure to produce better product. Now the answer is to reduce costs by dismantling that infrastructure and outsource IT to India. The two are polar opposites.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Massive IT Layoff"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Professional in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - IT Professional in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice location in Portland, Oregon. The company has matching for its employee-giving charity campaign. It is unfortunate this company has fallen so far as a place to work.

    Cons

    On May 19, 2011, The Standard laid off over 130 IT regular staff members out of approximately 300.

    The news that layoffs were coming in favor of outsourcing to India was announced by the IT VP a few months ago. This layoff is ahead of the schedule previously announced by management to announce its first decision in June. More rounds of layoffs will occur throughout the rest of this calendar year. The intent to eliminate as many IT jobs as possible has been openly communicated.

    Last quarter The Standard posted record profits.

    Advice to Management

    Shame on you. The Standard hurts not only the economic base of the United States, but outsourcing exploits the off-shore countries in question. The reason employees can be had for approximately $5000 per year is that benefits, safety standards, etc., don't exist there. The Standard is adding to a global problem in favor of its own short-term bottom line -- because this strategy is not going to pay in the end.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "This company has great benefits but career growth is very limited."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR

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

    Pros

    This company has pretty good benefits

    Cons

    Certain people are not honest about your opportunities regarding your career at this company. Many people advance within the company if they become close to their supervisor or manager. The policy of informing your current boss any plans to apply for another job within the company gives certain bosses the opportunity to block your chances to advance. Dishonest practices are being used to keep deserving employees the opportunity to reach their highest potential to grow professionally. Also, the grade level system needs to be restructured so managers will not consider employees for higher level position if they qualify for the job. Work distribution is not divided appropriately. Some people have been there too long with closed mentality. The opinions and suggestions of the employees with seniority is valued.

    Advice to Management

    Take a closer look at the practices of supervisors and managers. Some employees are getting special treatment which makes for a toxic environment.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "The Standard is awful for IT jobs!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data Analyst in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Data Analyst in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    You can get away with doing nothing.

    Cons

    No accountability, passive-aggressive, better to be nice than to be productive, software is all ancient and out of support.

    Advice to Management

    Quit and get some people there with balls, especially David ??? the CIO!


  10. Helpful (2)

    "An insurance company should not be publicly traded."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Benefits in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Benefits in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Standard full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Standard has done a great job hiring smart, experienced and well-balanced people at the lower levels.

    Cons

    As the company is publicly traded we are always having to answer to the shareholders and the bottom line. What drives us isn't always about what is best for the company as a whole, but what is more profitable.

    Advice to Management

    You have a smart, educated and experienced workforce, use them! Decisions are being made from the top, but the people who are making these decisions are so far removed from the things they are making decisions regarding, it is almost ridiculous when we hear what they have come up with. One problem I see that influences this is there are too many layers of middle management. A few layers of middle management needs to be done away with so people who are making process and procedural changes are working more closely with the people who are actually carrying out the work.


  11. Helpful (10)

    "The outlook for The Standard is not positive"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Standard full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    - Great downtown location
    - On all of the transit lines
    - Some of the people left are great

    Cons

    - Management at the supervisory, middle and upper levels is, on the whole, incompetent and disconnected from the operations of the company.
    - Promotion above the individual contributor level is far more weighted on who you know and not that you are particularly competent or accomplished in your field.
    - The company is so management heavy that decisions can rarely be made in a reasonable amount of time
    - The company has gone through a few rounds of layoffs and has had a high rate of employee attrition the last few years. Thanks to a few years of a weak economy and weak financial results, the company has been loath to replace individual contributor positions. This has left many employees with workloads that are completely unreasonable. The burnout is palpable.
    - The technology at The Standard is years behind the times. The number of manual workarounds for functions as basic as simple reporting demonstrate how far behind the company is with basic technology.
    - The culture of The Standard is incredibly passive aggressive and you can easily sink your career by making any suggestion or critical comment that runs contrary to a decision that was likely made by managers without a reasonable grasp of the systems or material in question.

    Advice to Management

    - You need to have the fortitude to gut the many under-qualified managers and supervisors inhabiting your company, promote those with the competence and professionalism to restore some integrity to management and, in some cases, shell out the money to hire legitimate, proven professionals that can actually right the ship.
    - Foster a culture where critical thought and substantive feedback earn employees the appreciation of management instead the current culture where competence can, in many cases, be considered a professional liability.
    - Instead of the massive compensation increases like those given to upper management in 2012, give out some reasonable raises to your rank and file employees.



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