National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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National Renewable Energy Laboratory Employee Reviews

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4.0
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NREL is an excellent organization doing cutting-edge R&D. The work culture is balanced but can include bureaucratic challenges. NREL provides a great opportunity to make an impact in renewable energy.
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5.0
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very give you the tools to succeed and pay great. this is a place you want to work if you like being in control and making money while saving the world
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5.0
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NREL is a great place to work. As a research institution, it requires self-motivation and often expects a certain degree of independence from it staff in order to excel. Be prepared to manage your own goals and advancement, which sometimes requires being direct about what you need in terms of support from management. Communication is the main challenge, as the diversity and independence of projects often limits traditional collaboration and management strategy of a typical business.
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2.0
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If you are a PhD Research Fellow candidate, do not bother applying if you are over 40. If you are a Staff Engineer candidate, 30 would be the cutoff. I thought NREL would have a different attitude toward older workers than the private sector but it is just as bad or worse. You have to be young and well connected to be considered for any position there, which doesn’t always lend itself to the best nor most experienced people. Outside of a few rockstars, the place was frankly quite unremarkable and disappointing.
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5.0
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I worked there only for the summer as an intern. My manager was very helpful as a mentor. He actually won the best mentor award for that summer. We did several outdoor activities including hiking and exploring the mountains. We had a work-life balance and I never felt stressed while working there. Overall, the work environment exceeded my expectations.
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3.0
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Very long hours, typical day is about 12 hour day.
The hardest part is the distance.

What I learned, working in NREL are the government accounting.

It is quite defferent than for Profit. The hardest is driving every day.

I live in Erie and work in Golden. its around 1 hour in the morning and very long after work
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5.0
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The national renewable energy lab is a great place to work. The employees are very considerate and extremely knowledgeable. Work hours are flexible and pay is good.
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4.0
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Constantly learning something new, everyone is kind to me, flexible work hours. My manager trusts me to do my job! I have opportunity to move up in the company.
Pros
Constantly learning
Cons
Sometimes communication
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2.0
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The Integrated Applications Center is run by technically incompetent managers who don't actually manage and allow projects to be run by technically inexperienced project managers who select team members based on how little they can pay them not by how technically competent they are.
Rapid advancement into upper management is assured to those with the best ability to brown-nose and with little technical skill. These are also the people selected to weigh in on high level national technical panels, because these people need the hours and as managers they're in control.

In general the lab has no tools allowing them to track employee experience and select employees to work on projects based on their past experience. Instead, people are assigned to tasks based on who they are friends with or how little they will cost the project, often times utilizing students right out of college with no experience. In addition, projects are priced to clients by people with no experience themselves in doing projects so the projects are inevitably under-priced, leading to a vicious cycle. This organization is not a merit-ocracy. Excellence is not cultivated or rewarded except from a surface appearance standpoint.
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5.0
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I'm grateful for the time I was with NARENCO. NARENCO is a highly competent organization, comprised of some of the best talents in the industry. The workplace is friendly, supportive, and results-driven.
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2.0
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I kept receiving “need improvement “ ratings since I came back from FMLA, which were not grounded in facts Too much grievance in the past couple of years.
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5.0
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The information services group has very unstable management but the working team is outstanding. The laboratory is mission driven. Overall an outstanding place to work.
Pros
Great work environment, rewarding mission.
Cons
Unstable management structure.
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5.0
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Fascinating work, cool technology, a place to work that makes a difference worldwide.

I think there are people who are promoted to management who should not be managers, though. When I was working here, there were folks who manipulated the system for their own benefit and made others suffer for it.
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5.0
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Culture is laid back, friendly and collaborative. Despite tenure of the scientists working there, it feels rather flat in how everyone treats each other. Great place to learn from the best in the industry.
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3.0
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NREL is a great place to work located in a beautiful area of Colorado. The research done here is world class and there are many employee benefits such as flexible schedules, telecommuting, and learning opportunities. It’s a good place to gain personal development and experience, but career growth likely comes from moving out.

Above the worker level, management is a hierarchical, bureaucratic, siloed, political mess. It is a challenging environment to work in, where progress is held back by paper processes, territorial bickering, and external management hires. Internally, career opportunities for growth are limited, as most workers are hired for their technical skills and rarely move out of their pigeon holes and up the chain of command.
Pros
Great place, great benefits, interesting work
Cons
Bureaucracy, management, lack of opportunities
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4.0
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I enjoyed the people and moved around a lot. Funding and feeling supported was always an issue. It is hard to feel comfortable always living in a continuance resolution.
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5.0
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NREL is a highly research oriented company and there are so many new things to learn every day. The supervisors give excellent guidance and attention to fresh interns. Its a fixed term internship for me, hence, I cannot elaborate much. NREL gave me the a very good working experience in the field of research. I would love to do a full time job here if given an opportunity.
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5.0
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Overall it was good place to work. Enjoyed the work and the people I worked with. I would recommend NREL as a place to work. Only left due to personal reasons.
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2.0
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Timeline: Worked at NREL for 5+ years making a contribution, getting great reviews, winning "awards" for outstanding work. My manager retires. New Manager (yes, it was his first and only management job) suddenly finds a way to get several of my colleagues, (long time Lab staff themselves) to quit or retire. The manager clearly had favorites (those he hired himself) and spent a great deal of time and resources trying to get rid of those of us who were not.

Long-time staff here spend great amounts of effort protecting their tenure. If you are good at Machiavellian office politics, you will do well. For example, my manager thought it was fun to stare at me in one on one meetings until I said something. Or be 20 minutes late to them and not alert me in any way. I had coworkers who would not acknowledge my existence for months at a time. Truly frightening.


The last 18 months of my time at NREL was spent being bullied by New Manager (with help and support from HR) until I also just left.


What is most shocking to me is that many inside the organization find this kind of workplace attitude completely normal. All of this institutional bullying by New Manager was backed Directors all the way up the chain; endorsed and facilitated by HR themselves.


But, if that kind of work environment sounds fun for you, this would be a great job. Your skill with politics here is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than your actual skill. Good luck!
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5.0
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I thoroughly enjoyed my time working at NREL's National Wind Technology Center in Boulder. The members of my group were very supportive and taught me a great deal about ocean wave energy systems, mechanical stresses, energy economics, and other aspects relevant to my field. I would be excited to work there in the future if the opportunity arose.

However, I did feel that some aspects were managed inefficiently. For example, it took more than two weeks just to attain a software license that NREL already owned. This caused me to lose a lot of time, especially considering that the internship only lasted about 10 weeks.
Pros
Friendly people, excellent work environment
Cons
My mentor did not always communicate that he would be traveling, so I occasionally found myself unable to move forward at certain points in my internship.
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2.0
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This job was a telemarketing job at a call center.
It was ran very unprofessionally and it was unorganized.

The job would terminate employees unfairly and without pay.

The company didn’t care too much about employees.

The companies mane focus was on sales
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Overall rating
3.8
Based on 104 reviews
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Ratings by category
3.8
Work/Life Balance
3.8
Compensation/Benefits
2.9
Job Security/Advancement
3.0
Management
3.5
Culture
Ratings from women
3.0
InHerSight Score
2.8Personal Development
2.9Career Opportunities
3.3Family Support
Women rate the female-friendliness of their workplaces on InHerSight
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