Vanguard’s core investing business is top notch; otherwise, it is a highly fragmented organization.
Pros: a stable, respected, conservative company that offers job security, excellent 401k match, very good retirement plan, good benefits, and employee services.
Cons: it never felt like vanguard was a single company.
A corporate culture of mentoring, volunteerism, charity, and responsibility. A good work/life balance, flexible time, telecommuting, reasonable compensation, and advancement opportunities are all available, but are highly dependent on the department and/or manager. My time at Vanguard spanned all three of the CEOs. The company has changed (and continues – more... to change) from an idealistic, iconoclastic company to a much more mainstream, growth-oriented American corporation. You will succeed and be very happy at Vanguard if: You buy into the culture, you’re politically adept (and politically correct), you get satisfaction from tooting your own horn, and you believe that process trumps product. Cross-departmental / cross-divisional projects often felt adversarial. Lots of little fiefdoms protecting turf rather than collaborating for the good of the company as a whole. Very bureaucratic. Management’s general avoidance about taking ownership and actually addressing the issues. Best to push things onto subordinates (the lower the better) without clear expectations or the appropriate resources and maintain plausible deniability. Little evidence of a cohesive (company-wide), long-term strategy or vision. A strong focus on fixing the small immediate problem in a way that frequently results in more work / re-work later as well as squandered resources. The recent changes to compensation and profit-sharing reward job performance over tenure. While these changes may have been necessary, they have had a negative impact on morale. There are a fair number of employees that are netting less annually than they did 5 or 6 years ago. All incentives to stay with the company for any length of time have been removed. Performance standards and expectations can vary substantially from one manager to another, even within the same department. Some of the methods used by Vanguard to maintain the “never had layoffs” stability are: 1) Creating attrition by using a series of poorly-defined, impracticable negative ratings on annual reviews that will negate any possibility of a bonus, merit increase or finding another job within the company. 2) Changing the description and/or expectations for an employee’s current job or rank resulting in those same poorly-defined, impracticable negative ratings. 3) Forcing employees to re-apply for their own jobs and then rejecting them. Vanguard touts its diversity and employee feedback efforts. My experience was that diversity meant “don’t offend anyone” rather than recognizing and accepting differences. Year after year employee feedback was solicited, responses were provided, teams were created, projects were launched, and, after a few months, everything faded away with no substantive changes. – less