Checking In With The Movement To Improve Workplace Satisfaction

That last time we examined the value of improving workplace satisfaction within the orchestra field via grassroots efforts, we saw some improvement. Six months later, it is time to see where things are related to your efforts on increasing the quantity and frequency of reviews from arts administrators and staffers about their respective institutions at


Six months ago, there were 17 orchestra and opera organizations with at least one review within the last 12 months and there are now 32, that’s a 357 percent increase! This a tremendous jump from last time and although the overall numbers of reviews per group seem to be in the beginning stages, this large of a jump is terrific progress.

Note: all ratings use a 0.0 – 5.0 scale.

  1. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: 3 reviews; 2.4 (no record from last overview)
  2. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: 6 reviews; 4.2 (no record from last overview)
  3. Boston Symphony Orchestra: 17 reviews; 3.7 (no record from last overview)
  4. Chicago Symphony Orchestra: 13 reviews; was 3.7 now 3.6
  5. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra: 3 reviews; 4.6 (no record from last overview)
  6. Cleveland orchestra: 5 reviews, 3.4 (no record from last overview)
  7. Colorado Symphony Orchestra: 5 reviews; 3.3 (no record from last overview)
  8. Dallas Symphony Orchestra: 6 reviews; 2.6 (no record from last overview)
  9. Detroit Symphony Orchestra: 8 reviews; was 2.9 now 2.9
  10. Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: 4 reviews; 2.0 (no record from last overview)
  11. Grand Rapids Symphony: 5 reviews; 3.3 (no record from last overview)
  12. Houston Symphony Orchestra: 4 reviews; 4.0 (no record from last overview)
  13. Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra: 6 reviews; 4.4 (no record from last overview)
  14. Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra: 3 reviews; 3.7 (no record from last overview)
  15. Lansing Symphony Orchestra: 2 reviews; 3.6 (no record from last overview)
  16. Los Angeles Philharmonic: 15 reviews; 3.3 (no record from last overview)
  17. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra: 2 reviews: 2.0 (no record from last overview)
  18. Minnesota Orchestra: 5 reviews; 4.7 (no record from last overview)
  19. Nashville Symphony Orchestra: 7 reviews; 3.0 (no record from last overview)
  20. New York Philharmonic: 7 reviews; 3.9 (no record from last overview)
  21. Pacific Symphony Orchestra: 3 reviews; 3.9 (no record from last overview)
  22. Philadelphia Orchestra: 11 reviews; 3.2 (no record from last overview)
  23. Phoenix Symphony Orchestra: 2 reviews; 4.0 (no record from last overview)
  24. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: 2 reviews: 4.0 (no record from last overview)
  25. Quad City Symphony Orchestra: 1 review: 5.0 (no record from last overview)
  26. San Diego Symphony Orchestra: 4 reviews; 2.7 (no record from last overview)
  27. San Francisco Symphony Orchestra 15 reviews; was 3.1 now 2.7
  28. San Francisco Symphony Orchestra 15 reviews; was 3.1, now 2.7/5.0
  29. Seattle Symphony Orchestra: 5 reviews; 3.7 (no record from last overview)
  30. St. Louis Symphony; 5 reviews; 4.8 (this one is a bit unusual in that there are two mutually exclusive entries under similar company names)
  31. Toledo Symphony Orchestra: 4 reviews; 3.1 (no record from last overview)
  32. Virginia Symphony Orchestra: 3 reviews; 3.2 (no record from last overview)

Looking Ahead

Clearly, your efforts are bearing some fruit; as such, it is more important than ever to continue in this direction in order to begin implementing positive change by making sure more orchestra managers are aware that something like exists and can be used by both current and former employees.

To that end, be sure you reach out and encourage your colleagues to leave reviews for their respective employers; it will only help accelerate progress.

Why This Matters

Adaptistration People 023Regular readers know that the topic of Workplace Satisfaction is one of the more popular here at Adaptistration and even though it continues to remain firmly swept under the rug for the field as a whole, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it.

To that end, serves as a useful benchmark for gauging current and previous employee satisfaction and after a bit of research, it turns out there are enough orchestra employers listed in their database to produce a worthwhile overview.

Granted, there are certainly critics of services like, which allow members to post review content anonymously, but some Google sleuthing turns up more favorable reviews than not.

Come Back Tomorrow For Opera Organizations

In our last review, we included both orchestra and opera organizations, but the orchestra-only list added so many new groups, that it makes sense to begin breaking them into mutually exclusive articles.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

Related Posts

1 thought on “Checking In With The Movement To Improve Workplace Satisfaction”

Leave a Comment