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I worked at Thinkwell Group full-time (less than an year)Pros
Company events are fun and some people are really great. Staff is talented and hard working. Good bonuses are sometimes given. If you negotiate a great salary and maintain employment, it's bearable.Cons
Parking is terrible. Employees often resort to parking in neighboring residential areas.
Low pay. Most employees don't make a living wage. The pay is below earnings at unionized studios in California; in some cases you're better off working as a fast food manager.
No one's employment is 'safe' unless you are part of the 'core' team. The core team is management and the only members who never get laid off. They are also the only ones who make a living wage. Salary difference between management and staff are phenomenal.
Management is encouraged to push staff to work overtime when there is no overtime pay. Overtime is expected during project deadlines and reimbursed with personal days (paid days off) made available when/if it is approved (during down time).
Company structure is set to win when employees lose. Project managers (accountants) get a pat on the back when team members are overworked and underpaid; pitting 'team members' against each other. Contracts are sometimes won by setting low budgets. Low budgets mean unrealistic deadlines where working conditions become comical. Corners are cut everywhere they can.
Internal production is chaotic. There is no standardization or communication between departments. Details of projects are omitted, only known by the core team, hindering well informed work.
Good work is rewarded with words. Pay raises are menial. Bonuses are sometimes given if projects come under budget with a decision to share the surplus. Budget surpluses are achieved by working employees overtime.
Office politics make congress blush, though not obvious at first, but apparent with time. Some members of the core team are fiercely protective of their job and position. Attitudes are as follows: nice when you can be used and rude when you can't. Honesty regarding job performance is low and social manipulation are high because of it.
Company culture is a deception. Company events are fun and genuine for some employees, giving the feeling of 'being a part of a family', but it is so far removed from the truth. None of the company's mid to long range goals are made known to staff outside of the core team, except through gossip.
They have opened a branch in China, pushing for art directors to train Chinese employees. All signs point to outsourcing production and job loss for American employees is imminent reality.
Do not look to this company for long term job prospects. When projects end (even if you are NOT a contractor) so does employment... exemption is always made for the core team.
Good, honest, and smart employees are the first to leave. The rest stay because of their finances. Employees' turnaround are quite high.
This company is a dysfunctional family at best.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Problems lay directly with management. Presidents, listen up.
Company structure and values are deplorable.
Company culture is created by a set of principles, not elaborate parties. Your company is one of cloaks and daggers, where people care more about clawing their way to the top and securing their position rather than the products sold.
Competition is to be in the market against other companies, not within the company and against itself.
Create an open transparent policy on project budgets including salaries. Reward everyone's work according to what they can do, raise pay according to their contribution, and make everything transparent. All employees should be held accountable by each other in public and not in secret.
Staff turnarounds (leaving) is a tell tale sign that members of management are hiding the truth.
Some core team members have displayed attitudes of 'the end justifying the mean' for their job security. Manipulation of talented staff below for personal gain is a common occurrence. Employee concerns are filtered for their self-interest. It is an embarrassment to the professionalism of the staff working below them. FIX this.
You MUST request honest and anonymous company feedback from your entire staff regularly. Do NOT check solely with management for the health of your corporation. DO CHECK with staff below them.
Performance reviews of management should be sent by employees. The presidents need to collect, read, and present it to management during their yearly review while actively watching them.
Incompetent management should not be rewarded nor their position made secure. Abolish 'tenureship'. Promote new, fresh, and more capable staff members hidden below them. Employees have been working under incompetent management far too long. There needs to be a system in place to keep management based on their performance NOT just the length of employment. Request staff to grade them otherwise the quality of your product will suffer. Check against the manager's ego.
If management is a direct reflection of the presidents' attitudes and goals, I suggest everyone looking for employment here... run.Doesn't RecommendPositive Outlook