So much potential... wasted
No longer exists (Former Employee) – Seattle, WA – October 9, 2015
This review is about the animal management side, not operations.
WPZ used to be a leader in the zoo world for advancements in animal welfare (first to implement naturalistic enclosures) and technology (their website is zoo.org after all). Unfortunately, it's been riding on that reputation for the last 30 years without much continued progress.
The wages are unusually high for the industry, which leads to increased job loyalty and a very experienced and knowledgeable staff, which is great in many ways. This also means that new positions are rarely available, change or progress is extremely difficult, and money is always tight.
There is a huge emphasis on cutting spending. Staff are expected to do the work of 2 people in half the time. If you go overtime because unexpected things happen, you're scolded for not being more efficient. Those that are naturally more efficient are promoted to positions that do the work of 3 or 4 people so that other positions can be cut - leading to burn out, possible injury, or inevitable failure (which is scapegoated on the individual employee, not poor management). There is a huge lack of trust, respect, and general professionalism on almost all levels.
All this is exacerbated by the current (2015) changeover of CEOs and the new "interim" CEO wanting to show off at the expense of staff safety, business growth, and animal welfare. I sincerely hope they get a new CEO in there who actually cares about animal welfare, the advancement of zoos and conservation science, and the professional growth and safety of the staff.
Union positions equal good wages, Great environment for animal lovers and conservation enthusiasts, Front line staff care deeply about their animals and/or roles
Very difficult to get a benefitted position, Management is powerless and panicky, Business infrastructure is dated and updates are slow and difficult to implement