National Renewable Energy Laboratory Employee Reviews

  • Job Work/Life Balance
  • Compensation/Benefits
  • Job Security/Advancement
  • Management
  • Job Culture
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Compensation/Benefits
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A culture of fear and an enviroment that is prohibitive to production.
Building Engineer (Current Employee), Golden, COJune 25, 2015
Pros: Close to home
Cons: Overboard on safety concerns to the point of disrupting building and facility operations.
Budgets and funding are poorly managed, it would appear that some in the leadership may be involved in corruption and misappropriation of finances.
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Terrific place to work
Research assistant/intern (Former Employee), Golden, COMay 23, 2015
Pros: Just about everything
Cons: Hard to find positions at times
Amazing facility and an amazing town. There for only a short time in one department, but it is a fantastic place to even visit.
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Professional work place
Graduate Research Intern (Current Employee), Golden, COMay 17, 2015
Pros: Excellent work facilities.
Cons: Government.
National Renewable Energy Lab is the excellent place to work with very high tech equipment and very helpful and skillful employees. Definitely recommend.
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Intelligent People, High Expectations, Little Support, Not Secure
Former Employee (Former Employee), Golden, COApril 16, 2015
Pros: Good benefits intelligent people
Cons: Not secure, bureaucratic, little guidance
You better make sure you are an expert at what you're applying for before you accept the job offer. NREL only hires the best, the flawless, the ultra-intelligent systematic super humans.
There is little training and zero to little mentoring for your specific job. You are expected to learn quickly and independently, without much guidance. Most people are willing to help, but your manager will most likely be informed and irritated if you are continuously asking for help (even if it's a new type of task). Don't put your trust in everyone, because if they do not like you or are unsatisfied with what you are doing, they will tell on you like a tattling child. If management decides that you are not performing to their expectations (they are usually so busy, they don't actually know what you are doing half the time and go by what others tell them), or you are not intuitively catching on to the functions of federal government fast enough, or your manager doesn't like your personality (combined with pointing out every flaw and not praising the positives), they will fearlessly terminate you without warning.

Tips:
Make sure you treat your managers like superiors and always act professional around them.
Treat everyone with respect because they all deserve it.
Read about NREL's programs and research in your free time (after work because you won't have time while you are there) to become more familiar with everything, but don't report those hours on your time sheet.
NREL highly values education, so the more you have the better.
Dress professionally, act professionally, do not share about your personal life.

On the plus side- they have great benefits and everyone who works at NREL is extremely intelligent and an expert in their field.
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A great place to work.
Project Administrative Associate (Current Employee), Golden, COJanuary 29, 2015
They care about their people and strongly believe in their mission.
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Cutting edge R&D in the renewable energy field
Subcontract Associate (Former Employee), Golden, Co,October 23, 2014
Reconciling vendor invoices against terms of contracts, including labor rates and occurrence pricing. Purchased goods and services for researchers in a laboratory setting.
I became familiar the regulations included in the FAR.
Micro management is still a large part of the culture, though there were practices in place to reduce it.
Coworkers were very supportive and usually very helpful.
The hardest part of the job was meeting the different expectation of various supervisors and managers.
The most enjoyable part of the job was completing and awarding a complex procurement.
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Great benefits and opportunities
Scientist II (Current Employee), Golden, COSeptember 30, 2014
A great location to work, but limited by management decisions
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Rewarding work with highly talented individuals, poor job security
Intern (Former Employee), Golden, COSeptember 5, 2014
Pros: authorship on publications, valuable experience
Cons: poor job security, uncertain funding, poor management
I learned much more at this job than I could possibly include here. Most importantly, I learned to independently conduct multiple high-level experiments, manage several projects, and communicate effectively with other busy co-workers.
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Wonderful experience!
Store Manager (Former Employee), Grand Rapids, MIJune 17, 2014
I worked for Autozone for a long time and most of the time i really liked it. As a store manager the demand from upper management was unrealistic.
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Not much room for career advancement
Scientist (Current Employee), Golden, COJune 6, 2014
Pros: work life balance
Cons: limited career advancement
Careen advancement for people without Ph.D. is very limited. Even with Ph.D., opportunity for those with hands-on and evolution instead of revolution mind set is not that great. Those who can charm others with their fantasy move to the top; those who do the hard work stay at the bottom.
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Patrol functions were very boring but yet very political. work environment with absolutely zero accountability of supervision and management.
Protective Force Officer (Former Employee), Golden and LakewoodJune 1, 2014
Pros: good benefits.
Cons: boring work, horrible management, hostile work environment
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory protective Force officer job is the classic situation of it "Much to do about nothing." The basic Patrol function is nothing more than checking and rechecking the same locked doors to the same buildings over the course of an 8 to 12 hour shift. The emergency preparedness procedures are overly detailed and convoluted. This step by step process for things such as fire alarms medical emergencies and HVAC issues is often used as ammunition against security if the slightest thing goes wrong or someone complains about how it was handled even if handled correctly. The communication and dispatch center for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory often doesn't work due to power issues, making it difficult for security personnel to do their jobs. The worst part of the National Renewable Energy Lab protective Force officer position is the security management and supervision. Security supervision will often hideout for several hours expecting the regular security personnel to do all of the work. Security supervision often will not make on the spot supervisory decisions and leave it up to the regular officer to "Make the Call" only to be criticized later for making the decision that they made. Often especially during shift change security supervision will argue and yell and sometimes use profanity at the other officers in front of other employees. These arguments were usually about last minute call offs, schedule changes and disagreements on policy and procedures. Sometimes these arguments escalated and almost became physical confrontations. When all of these above mentioned issues were brought to the attention of upper management, nothing was ever done and the behavior continued. Do yourself a favor and take your knowledge skills and abilities somewhere else and work where you will be appreciated.
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NREL
NREL Analyst/Web Developer/Environmental Policy (Current Employee), Golden, COMarch 25, 2014
NREL is a great organization rich with intellectual minds working on a great mission: to walk the talk in creating renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint.
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Great place to have a career!!!
Multifunction Device Technician (Current Employee), Golden, ColoradoMarch 26, 2013
Pros: benefits, hours, being a part of such a great mission
Cons: n/a
It's an amazing place to work! I love NREL and what it stands for. Truly making our world a better place. I've been able to gain an abundant amount of knowledge and have been guided by a couple of the best managers I've ever had. I don't have a bad thing thing to say about the place I work.
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Great workplace with flexible schedule, but standard worries for working for a government with financial issues
Energy Analyst Student-RPP (Former Employee), Golden, COFebruary 15, 2013
Pros: can work from home 1 or 2 days a week. flexible schedule
Cons: pay freeze and contract employment to start.
I enjoyed working there. There is a lot of beurocracy, but the company is great to work for. Most new hires get hired on as contractors or temporary to hire, and there has been a pay increase freeze for the last while, but they are expanding the number of workers on campus. The hours are relatively flexible and the workspace is very nice.
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Management is not held accountable.
Professional I (Former Employee), GoldenJanuary 28, 2013
Pros: pto
Cons: management
This position is with a quasi governmental agency: funding is through DOE and therefore attracts and keeps mostly slackers. Management is paid very well; works very little; screws up often, and blames others routinely. If you work hard you will be made to work even harder...if you don't work hard and cover for your bosses’ poor performance you will be rewarded. Management is not held accountable: bad behavior is rewarded; and, good behavior is punished. Management avoids work at all costs: they push work off onto their staff; they arrive late; they take two hour lunch breaks; they leave early; and, they commission spies to cover their inadequacies. If you try to mention, to their boss, all the inequalities and shenanigans that go on with management - you will be punished. If management makes a grave error they will blame staff. There is nothing staff can do about it as upper management covers for lower management and vise-versa. Management will then systematically give individuals that speak-out or “trouble-makers” poor performance reviews and those individuals will then ultimately leaver or be fired for speaking out. Everyone is so afraid of speaking out and therefore if you rock the boat you will have no allies. Be very careful.
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Great environment, great minds
Research Engineer (Current Employee), Golden, COJuly 25, 2012
Pros: work environment, active lifestyle, flexible schedule, appreciative management, cutting edge research
Cons: typical government contract salary, not as competitive as private industry
I'm shocked at some of the reviews about NREL here. Fortunately, poor work and poor effort are not rewarded here. As a new employee, the first thing I was told was that they were there to support me in my personal and professional goals and that I should come first. I've never worked in a place with such an employee-oriented environment. The work hours are standard but flexible schedules are encouraged and supported. Managers and Center Directors are involved and encouraging without micromanaging. Relevant, quality research is in no danger of short funding. There is an active and social culture amongst everyone I've come across. Overall, with the frustrations that come along with the research process, and the mangement at NREL, it's my favorite place to have worked. I'm thankful for my employment here and hope to stay for the rest of my career!
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Chaotic Circus
Electrical Engineer (Current Employee), Golden, COJuly 23, 2012
Pros: compensation is good for the area.
Cons: promotions non-exsistant, work life balance not good in my group.
Poorly supported by the DoE. DoE treats NREL employees like the second rate citizens (contractors) they are.
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very political, everyone trying to justifie their jobs
Senior Technician (Former Employee), Golden, COJuly 18, 2012
you always had to worry about the way you look to someone else and not graded on the quality of work you do
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Great People and friendly place
Service Operations Technician - NREL (Former Employee), Golden, ColoradoJune 12, 2012
Pros: stable
Cons: no advancement options for the first 5 years
Working for NREL is a great place to work if you are looking for a static stable place to work.
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Great place to work.
Shipping and Receiving Clerk (Former Employee), Golden, COMay 3, 2012
Pros: great culture
Cons: funded by the department of energy
Working on green energy is so important to us. Some of our greatest minds at work trying to help our planet.