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The Open University Manager Reviews

Updated 28 May 2017
11 reviews

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Manager

2.9
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The Open University Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks
Peter Horrocks
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • I found there was a great emphasis on work-life balance (in 11 reviews)

  • Excellent IT systems to enable work from home (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Bullying culture, micro-management, not a lot of support and no opportunities for career progression (in 7 reviews)

  • Sometimes people in Milton Keynes make stupid decisions but that happens anywhere (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Large Organisation with lots of opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Scope of opportunities available are endless, great for digital and data potential.

    Cons

    Need a map to navigate! Many areas of the campus which require layers of process, slowing progress down at times.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the balanced, leading edge skills high, fantastic business - keep it alive in todays digital world!


  2. Helpful (4)

    "A University in crisis again"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Location, free parking, annual leave of 33 days, supportive manager

    Cons

    Too many changes, too quickly, ineffective VC who spends more time polishing his BAFTA's

    Advice to Management

    The clue is in the name 'University'. It's not a business. Having employed the current and previous VC with no Education experience, the OU needs to go back to its core roots. Peter "look at my BAFTA's" Horrocks has made major changes in 2 years, bad decisions and is now putting staff under more worry and stress with OU Redesign. Senior staff have no clue what they are doing apart from running what was once a great british institution, further deep into the ground.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Marketing Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Former Employee - Marketing Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends

    I worked at The Open University full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great set of colleagues. Great support network. Flexibility offered in working patterns. 33 days holiday. Chance to work with a diverse range of talented people.

    Cons

    Limited chances of vertical progression

    Advice to Management

    Implement robust evaluation of performance of employees and provide roadmap for development. Recognise contribution and incentivise where possible


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  5. "Excellent employer!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Services Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Business Services Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great environment - green campus, lots of space to walk and enjoy a break from your desk. Great benefits i.e. pension benefits, sickness etc. Employees are well protected with policies and processes to ensure they are treated fairly in all things.

    Cons

    Too many levels of decision making. Senior managers / directors do not have the authority to make decisions based on their own budgets etc. Therefore processes take a long time and some authorisation workflows are beyond ridiculous! In some areas there appear to be far too many managers / senior managers at the expense of "workers".

    Advice to Management

    Make sure you treat your staff right and as you yourself wish to be treated.....the employees are your greatest asset.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Weak line management and no HR support"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Attractive campus, generous holiday entitlement, parking, working for an organisation that makes a real difference to peoples' lives

    Cons

    Weak management, an atmosphere of bullying and intimidation that is ignored or condoned. The central HR Department has a reputation for being a particularly unpleasant place to work with several HR Partners and managers having a reputation throughout the university for their bullying manner and having little empathy for colleagues on lower grades, colleagues with illnesses or family issues. This attitude has spread into the individual HR teams based in each Faculty or department. With HR being the worst offenders and failing to act as role models for the rest of the organisation, there is little hope that the culture of bullying and intimidation that is developing will improve.

    There is little scope for progression and no defined career paths or training and progression schemes. Staff can ask for their roles to be regraded but regrades are rarely successful and need to be approved and submitted by line management.

    The workforce lacks diversity with the majority being white and middle class and middle aged. Few men in lower grade support roles and few women in senior positions.

    Little niggles such as a laughably ineffective system for booking annual leave, constant illthought out system and process changes all add to a workforce who are frustrated and increasingly disengaged.

    Advice to Management

    Provide adequate training for line managers so that they can deal with situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner. Take steps to discipline line management who are not performing or behaving appropriately. Encourage more diversity in the workplace.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "In danger of a slow death"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great campus, fascilities, holiday and pension. Very diverse and interesting place to work. Study the courses for free.

    Cons

    Absolutely no reward or recognition programme. Appraisals are a pointless and time consuming exercise. A job well done is a job ignored. Sadly the PVC who looks after the Marketing Unit keeps making poor decision after poor decision to the point where Marketing has been run by contractors or interims for 2 years to make a series of ill informed organizational and operational expensive errors. Meanwhile the PVC continues to apply blame everywhere but look at his own accountability of letting this happen on his shift.

    Advice to Management

    Get some more commercially minded professionals that are not interims or contractors and that leverage the existing skills, experience, capabilities and commitment of a dedicated workforce.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Fancy a job with no fun? This is for you"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Open University (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Parking, nice campus, excellent pension and holidays. Excellent work life balance and flexible hours.

    Cons

    This has been the worst employment of my life. No recognition of any work well done (apart from the odd exception). Line management is weak and unhelpful and only interested in covering their backside. No fun to be had. Everyone is expected to get on with their work and any talking or laughing is met with heavy disdain. There is much telling off for doing things wrong but no praise for doing it right so if you are in any way thin skinned, AVOID. It's hell on earth and about as much fun as hard labour in a Victorian workhouse.

    Advice to Management

    Simply the organisation. Far too many stakeholders and a massive culture of mistrust and backside-covering.


  9. "It's great to work at the OU"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Communications Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Communications Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University part-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility - I work part-time and my department let me choose my working pattern to suit my needs.
    Friendly and approachable colleagues

    Cons

    It can sometimes take a long time to make things happen,

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work, but allow individuals more autonomy and a direct access to senior colleagues.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Like wading through gold-plated treacle."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time

    Pros

    excellent benefits, excellent work-life balance, some really nice people

    Cons

    few promotion opportunities, highly political, very challenging environment, slow and bureaucratic, bullying, undermining to employees, consistently uses consultants on hugely inflated day rates, doesn't value internal skills and expertise

    Advice to Management

    The OU is at a make or break point in the context of a significantly declining UK market. It must change its culture and working practices almost completely to allow it to sustain itself in the next few years.


  11. "Excellent worklife balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Insight Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Current Employee - Insight Manager in Milton Keynes, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Open University full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent worklife balance
    Good benefits
    Great camaraderie

    Cons

    Old fashioned funcitonally based management style
    Progression is difficult once reached top of band