The Conference Board of Canada Employee Reviews about "conference board"

Updated Aug 26, 2020

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2.4
37%
Recommend to a Friend
40%
Approve of CEO
The Conference Board of Canada President and CEO Susan Black
Susan Black
28 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Several of the senior management and executive team members are known bullies, but HR has yet to address the issue(in 10 reviews)

  • "For many years, staff have sought to diagnose what ails the Conference Board(in 6 reviews)

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Reviews about "conference board"

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  1. COVID-19

    "Great work life balance and Employee Engagement"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Network Manager in Ottawa, ON
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Conference Board of Canada full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The Conference Board has been fully remote since March 13th when COVID measures were put in place. Our employee engagement and productivity levels have been great, maybe even better than when in the building so CBoC has decided to put the building up for sale and become a fully remote work environment. This is great for work life balance. The employees are putting in extra effort to connect and empower each other. The executive team has implemented several working groups to look at all areas of becoming remote and are committed to making it a good experience for all staff. The management team has really come together and seems to have weeded out all of the earlier issues from our organizational re-brand last year. I highly recommend working at the Conference Board.

    Cons

    Due to COVID-19 there are some temporary lay offs and spending measures that had to be done. I’m sure when we come out of this all will go back to normal and measures will be undone.

  2. Helpful (17)

    "Where research used to matter"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Ottawa, ON
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Conference Board of Canada full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    In theory, there's annual bonus pay (unfortunately, this never materializes in practice).

    Cons

    Ever since a few years ago, the Conference Board of Canada's mission and not-for-profit status has become a bit of a running joke. If there is one thing that is patently obvious while working here, it is that everything employees do, and are judged on, is about the margin, the bottom line, and profit. Nothing wrong with being for-profit, but there is an undeniable hypocrisy about a place that values appearance over substance and sleek websites over sound research . Case in point, the ever-increasing overhead and numbers of management at the expense of talented researchers who can actually do the work. Perhaps this is a good place to work as an administrative assistant or director, that I cannot say. But if you are a researcher, you have been warned.

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  3. Helpful (18)

    "The Conference Board is not a luxury goods retailer"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Conference Board of Canada full-time

    Pros

    -Flexibility -Friendly and smart staff -Decent benefits and vacation allowance. Average salaries

    Cons

    Wow, this place is a mess. For many years, staff have sought to diagnose what ails the Conference Board. The organization is in the same predicament as other traditional news/information outlets in the sense it is struggling to compete in an environment where many of the same services are being offered for free or lower fees by other sources. We all recognize this challenge but what really ails the Conference Board is its awful leadership. We have failed time and time again to hire the best and brightest leaders with a vision on how to get the organization out of its morass. Our leadership team consists of people with experience selling luxury goods, coins, or no pertinent qualifications whatsoever to even be a part of leadership (other than they managed to get a role on the executive team because of staff turmoil and they were willing to accept lower pay). One of the most perplexing developments in recent time has been the shift away from hiring economists, researchers, and people with experience selling/marketing services towards the hiring of staff who do not conduct any of these valuable activities. In spite of the recognition that our overhead costs are too high, we continue to staff-up on the corporate services side while our revenue-creating staff attrition.

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  4. Helpful (21)

    "Bullying is Welcome"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Ottawa, ON
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Conference Board of Canada full-time

    Pros

    Nice colleagues, good work life balance, opportunities to learn and try new things and pay can be decent depending on your role.

    Cons

    Bullying is welcome at the Conference Board of Canada and it regrettably starts at the top of the organization. Numerous members of the Executive Team have been the subject of bullying complaints in recent months and while each one of them remain in their roles, most complainants have been ushered out the door under the guise of cost-cutting, obsolete skills, or the complainant having an attitude problem. You would think that our new President's HR background would serve the organization well but she has weaponized her experience to shape the organization to her liking. Those that adopt a "win at all costs" mentality are getting ahead under her while genuinely good people are ushered out the door. Bullying has been commonplace at the Conference Board for years and while the organization has often been late to respond, it has in the recent past removed culprits. Under the new regime, this is yet to happen despite egregious cases of a VP, C-suite staff, a director and an associate director running riot knowing full well the President has their backing. In one particularly egregious case, an employee complained about their VP's behaviour and then weeks later that same VP sent out an email informing us that employee had been terminated. What message does that send? Perhaps it will take another "APTN News" scandal to shock the Conference Board for appropriate action to be taken. For now, the bullying continues and there is no recourse for staff.

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  5. Helpful (18)

    "Invaluable Experience for Recent Grads.. Just Don't Stay There Long"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Conference Board of Canada full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The Conference Board of Canada is one of the most accessible companies for recent graduates with little to no industry experience. The diversity of work and amount of responsibility given to new employees is invaluable to someone looking to sharpen their toolkit. If you are lucky, you may have an exceptional manager who provides mentorship and is a pleasure to work with (which was my case). Interesting work and flexible work arrangement available

    Cons

    But there is an equal chance you will be placed with a supervisor with little to no management training, people skills and general sense of humanity. Grievances with these managers have been brought to HR, however the lack of intervention leads to a revolving door of employees. My largest grievance with this company is the lack of research expertise. I wouldn't advise anyone to draw meaningful findings from the benchmarking reports (purchased at high costs), as sample size are below 150 organizations and lack any semblance of representativeness across provinces or industry. I left the organization before the compensation review was implemented, however my new job is associated with a 50% pay increase for the same level of education, experience and type of work. I believe researchers in this company are EXTREMELY underpaid, and they will simply use it as a stepping stone to a new company that is willing to pay market compensation after they've gained a few years of experience at CboC. The lack of a union means that the organization can fire pretty much anyone at their discretion, with little to now reasoning provided to terminated employees. There is little to no job security at this organization.

  6. Helpful (9)

    "Please, Enough!"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Director in Ottawa, ON
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Conference Board of Canada full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    I have been a part of the Conference Board for a long time and reading the posts here breaks my heart. This is a great organization with great people, many of whom I am proud to call dear friends. I admit though we have been directionless and really struggled. We haven’t even made basic financial results in 5 years. This has impacted me financially as I used to depend on the annual bonus. There has been lots of staff turnover and that’s been hard but it was time for many of them to go. So many people were being paid high salaries to do the bare minimum while a committed group worked double time for years to carry them. Some of these people were also were the loudest, most negative voices at the table and so entitled. This changeover was needed but I guess we need more. I don’t understand the animosity toward the new leadership. It feels like we finally have a President who cares about returning the Board to its former stature and I will speak up to say the things I see coming from the marketing department are a breath of fresh air and I hope they keep going. I feel for my new and old colleagues in that department as the posts here do not show who the Board really is and can be. What they show is that there are still people kicking around who are spending time spreading negative energy instead of working with the rest of us to put things on track. Things are changing for sure and if you don’t like the changes, the Board is probably not the right place for you anymore but please, please don’t ruin it for the rest of us who are excited to be a part of it.

    Cons

    Silos and remaining entitled people

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    The Conference Board of Canada Response

    October 6, 2018Director, Talent Management

    We appreciate you taking the time to share and highlight your enthusiasm related to the recent changes and your positive outlook. Thank You!

  7. Helpful (8)

    "Positive steps toward transformation"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    An Enployee Who Wants to See A Fair Review 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Conference Board of Canada

    Pros

    Exciting time for those with initiative to make inroads into their professional development. New CEO has an appetite for restoring the organization’s reputation, and is undertaking an ambitious campaign to refresh and refocus the company. She has proven consultative and collaborative. This is, frankly, a breath of fresh air for an organization that has been managed by fiat. A recent compensation review updated salaries at the principal economist/associate director levels and above to be competitive with the market. These rates were set with a view to attracting and retaining the best, and stabilizing the business model in a time of transition, so that the organization can focus externally. All sensible. The substantive work is exciting, and stands to become more impactful as the org focuses its vision. Significant attempts are being made to foster cross-team collaboration. The organization now has a capable marketing function and a coherent vision for updating the brand. Engaging and committed colleagues who are there for more than a pay check. The people ARE the company.

    Cons

    With a limited pool of funds available, the compensation review didn’t provide much additional support to non-management staff. This could put capacity at risk, and offend good staff, if not carefully managed. Total benefits, including flexibility and exciting work do, somewhat compensate for compensation that could stand a 5-10% upward revision for non-management. Government workers with 10 years of experience don’t get the breadth of experience and exposure of our 3-year staff do. Some remaining low performers have failed upward, and their underperformance is hurting morale among more ambitious staff who see imbalances in reward for effort. I don’t think this is unique to the Conference Board Frankly, senior management knows who these people are, and they should be reassigned to more appropriate roles or let go, but management is taking a gentle approach with these employees. There is some uncertainty in staffing, but this is mostly a question of how the new structure will shake out, not a universal concern about being fired, as some posts suggest. Despite sad comments about layoffs from other commenters, I can’t think of one that wasn’t based on serial poor performance or a role made redundant through cost savings on lower priority work. I don’t echo the “good riddance” mindset of some posters; these were all colleagues and they deserve respect even if the fit wasn’t right. A handful of great staff have voluntarily left, due to a combination of seeking bigger roles than the org had capacity to offer, fatigue from leading ambitious portfolios, and discomfort with the changes. They will be missed, and they’ve left big shoes to fill. Some cultural gaps still exist, and greater true collaboration is required between a new marketing team and content staff. The friction is two-sided; both groups could be more reasonable in the interest of serving the company’s best interest. Both sides need to listen, and both need to be valued for their expertise. Enough paranoia, already. Some old mindsets need to be laid to rest in HR, like the view that staff are easily replaceable, or the idea that a one-size-fits-all job description is the best way to staff. We need a more differentiated and individualized talent management system, from recruitment to retention, and I encourage senior management to act with more urgency in recognizing and rewarding talent at all levels, not just for management. A successful turnaround requires it.

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  8. Helpful (23)

    "Work you to the bone for less than competitive compensation."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Economist 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at The Conference Board of Canada full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Produce a lot of reliable, credible, independent, and high quality work.

    Cons

    The amount of work required to produce the quality work we do is absurd. On top, wages are way lower than at competing organizations in Ottawa. It is not worth it anymore. The other benefits offered (working from home, flexible schedules, etc.) are being eroded because other organizations are either offering them too or because the workload at the Conference Board is too large for us to take advantage of said benefits. As such, it is NOT a competitive organization when it comes to salaries and benefits. We are paid close to $20k less for similar positions elsewhere in Ottawa and our workload is arguably heavier.

  9. Helpful (14)

    "Low level of support provided to employees by senior management."

    1.0
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at The Conference Board of Canada full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Many bright people working there, some of whom are focused on making a contribution to the country.

    Cons

    Members of senior management maintain a strong clique. There are high expectations placed on staff, however little support is provided. One VP in particular sets a high bar for arrogance. It's a 'sink or swim' environment - you are on your own. HR standards are sub-par, which is ironic considering the Conference Board has an HR practice that it markets to corporate Canada. They should incorporate some of their own teachings. Join the organization but keep your professional network going, and your resume current so you are ready to move on at a moment's notice.

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