Orchestra Workplace Satisfaction: Spring 2018

It’s just over six months since the last time we examined the value of improving orchestra workplace satisfaction which means it is high time to see where things are related to your efforts on increasing the quantity and frequency of reviews at GlassDoor.com from arts administrators and staffers about their respective orchestra employers.

A Few Highlights

Since October 2017:

  • The average score remained unchanged at 3.5, which works out to a 70/100 percent satisfaction rate.
  • The organization with the largest increase in average score was the Utah Symphony & Opera (+0.5).
  • The organizations with the largest decrease in average score were Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Virginia Symphony (-0.4).
  • Houston Symphony, Pacific Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony & Opera, and Virginia Symphony all experienced no less than a 25 percent increase in the overall number of reviews.
  • Spring 2018 Results

A few orchestras were pulled from the last review due to them having less than five reviews, none of which were new in the past two years.

# reviews
current
# reviews
previous
Score, max 5.0
current
Score, max 5.0
previous
Alabama Symphony Orchestra113.03.0
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra332.42.4
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra873.83.7
Boston Symphony Orchestra28263.83.7
Charlotte Symphony Orchestra115.05.0
Chicago Symphony Orchestra23193.73.7
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra564.64.2
Cleveland Orchestra983.23.6
Colorado Symphony Orchestra663.03.0
Dallas Symphony Orchestra13133.43.4
Detroit Symphony Orchestra10103.23.2
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra882.52.5
Grand Rapids Symphony553.33.3
Houston Symphony Orchestra753.84.0
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra1094.54.4
Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra333.73.7
Los Angeles Philharmonic37344.34.2
Lubbock Symphony Orchestra444.24.2
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra122.02.0
Minnesota Orchestra874.54.6
Nashville Symphony Orchestra13133.83.8
New York Philharmonic11103.94.2
Pacific Symphony Orchestra1072.62.6
Philadelphia Orchestra12112.83.2
Phoenix Symphony Orchestra443.73.7
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra333.63.6
San Diego Symphony Orchestra542.52.7
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra32271.72.0
Seattle Symphony Orchestra1073.93.7
STL Symphony454.84.8
Toledo Symphony Orchestra663.13.1
Utah Symphony & Opera214.54.0
Virginia Symphony Orchestra432.83.2

Looking Ahead

Your efforts to improve workplace satisfaction transparency continue to bear fruit within the opera field; as such, it is more important than ever to continue in this direction. The more you contribute, the better positioned you’ll be at implementing positive change by making sure more opera managers are aware that something like GlassDoor.com exists and can be used by both current and former employees.

It’s worth pointing out that compared to the last examination, there were fewer new reviews this time around; that’s a trend we need to go out of our way to reverse!

Consequently, 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

Regular 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, GlassDoor.com 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 GlassDoor.com, which allow members to post review content anonymously, but some Google sleuthing turns up more favorable reviews than not.

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.

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