Games Workshop
2.9 of 5 34 reviews
www.games-workshop.com Nottingham, United Kingdom 1000 to 5000 Employees

Games Workshop Reviews

Updated Jun 27, 2014

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2.9 34 reviews

                             

27% Approve of the CEO

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Tom Kirby

(11 ratings)

32% of employees recommend this company to a friend
34 Employee Reviews
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    Selling fun is still selling.

    Hobby Center Operator (Former Employee)
    Union City, CA

    ProsYou get to be in a game store every single day, spending time with variety of interesting people who all share a passion. You develop a relationship with your customers, which can be very rewarding. You have a huge degree of independence, if not autonomy, and the operational support is pretty darn good. You get to teach people fun things, and generally create a fun environment for people to enjoy. There are a lot of smiles to be had at Games Workshop. Because you run a single-person store, every one of your accomplishments is undoubtedly YOUR accomplishment, and you do get recognized for them. The benefits are also excellent, and the employee discount is fantastic. A typical hobbyist will save literally thousands of dollars by getting a job with Games Workshop.

    ConsYou are trained to have some contempt for the opinions of those same customers with whom it is so rewarding to develop a relationship. The job description, at the time of my employment, was "to deliver sales growth by performing the Retail Standards." The Retail standards were (are?) 20 axioms whose wording did not change, but whose definition developed further every three months or so. That means that the only thing that stays constant in your job description is the expectation that your store will make more money than it did at the same time last year. If you do that fantastically for two years and then fail to do it in the third, the first two years don't matter any more, even if you are performing the Retail Standards. In short, your numbers matter more than anything else. Because of this, there was relatively high turnover. You only see your fellow store operators at training camps every three months, and many of them don't last longer than two training camps (six months). Turnover was pretty high when I was there, and that has a negative impact on morale, even if everyone wants to put on a happy face. You will not be paid in proportion to the effort that you put in. It is a LOT of work to run a successful hobby center.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDistinguish between offering value to the customer and offering value to Games Workshop. Ask yourself with every decision of policy or product design, "what value does this bring our customers?" By "customers," I mean the majority of people who have purchased your products within the last three years, or a non-hobbyist who wanders into a Hobby Center. You charge a premium price for a premium product, but it doesn't matter if your product is the best if you are not delivering value in proportion to price. By the way, Tom, the best handbag in the store is not the most expensive one, it's the one that fits your needs. Fill a need. Create value, and sell that. Stop training your HCO's and HCM's to grasp at straws for reasons someone might enjoy a product, and start creating reasons for customers to enjoy product, including being happy with the price.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Some of my best and worst memories

    Assistant Manager (Former Employee)
    Westminster, CA

    ProsGetting to work with something you love
    Coworkers were awesome

    ConsDriving Distance was never compensated
    Inconsistent management

    Advice to Senior ManagementHave faith in your employees and don't set them up for failure simply because you don't have the exact same point of view,

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Dream job quickly realized to be a nightmare.

    Hobby Center Operator - Black Shirt (Former Employee)

    ProsGood medical benefits. If you are in to the hobby the discount is great at 50% off of anything in the store. Getting to spend time in the store and with the customer base. Constantly learning and teaching new hobby techniques.

    ConsHorrible communication processes. Definitely a club, not a culture as they describe it. If you are not embraced by management on a friendly level do not expect to be given any kind of chance to succeed. Management does not see staff as people with lives, but rather as disposable. Horrible training, with 100% of emphasis on learning how to have Games Workshop "Sales Conversation." No training on policy, or culture. Questions directed to upper management can take days to answer and then will be met with vague answers, or ambiguous responses rather than actual yes or no. Trainers almost seem to be there more to make you feel like you are not doing your job than they are to actually make suggestions that could help your job.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAdvice to upper management. Try to remember that even though you never see the people at the stores they are actually people with lives that depend on their jobs. The fact that there is zero direct reporting to management means that no one gets to know each other as people. That may be actually how they want it though so it is easier to fire willy nilly for any reason deemed fit. My only real advice is that I personally believe in Karma, what comes around goes around, and you should treat your staff the way you would hope to be treated by your bosses over in the UK.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Enjoyable if it weren't so unnecessarily stressful

    Hobby Specialist (Former Employee)
    San Jose, CA

    ProsLearn how to paint, teach Warhammer, get to be immersed in the hobby and get very familiar with it. Usually make friends with the regulars, and have fun running events.

    ConsPressure to perform in sales numbers sucks the life and fun out of the hobby, and cavalier attitude towards firing makes employees feel like they are not valued by the company, and are instead disposable commodities.

    Advice to Senior ManagementInvest in your people a bit more. Don't drive the sales stake into the heart of your employees, let them actually enjoy themselves, it will come across, and it will mean they sell more in the end. Look at successful independent stores, the passion and joy that goes into their store and the events that they run.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Long Term Employee, Content Creator GW Fan - No value to company once you annoy a connected Manager

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsHuge GW fan, played, collected, painted, wrote about the hobby in my dream job of writing for White Dwarf Magazine.

    1. Good benefits
    2. Good environment for creativity
    3. Peer respect (to a point).
    4. Impressive discounts

    ConsFired after my main Manager called me (rude word) to my face, in the middle of the office at the top of his lungs and I complained to HR over Managers treatment. I was a 15 year long term employee who was a hobby writer and recognizable face within the Games Workshop fan base. I would of happily worked for GW as it was my dream job to write for White Dwarf manager

    1. Egos
    2. Private Boys club culture in upper management.
    3. Does not value employees - see them as disposable.
    4. Low pay for professional positions - if they can they will low-ball you.

    Advice to Senior ManagementI have no advice, the culture will never change and planning is knee jerk reactions. Majority of staff are afraid to lose there positions on a moments notices or are reflections of upper management in terms of temperament and view of employees. No long term future.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Beware

    Senior Accountant (Former Employee)
    Memphis, TN

    ProsFlex time, 25 days of vacation.

    ConsPromises of promotions that never come. Turn over is tremendous. Understaffed. UK constantly changing US management.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake care of the employees you have and they will quit leaving.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Loads of potential to be a fantastic place to work, but isn't

    Back Office Worker (Former Employee)
    Memphis, TN

    ProsThis review is for the NA HQ in Memphis (not retail stores). Super casual, flex hours, laid back but things get done. Great to be able to take a break by going to the game bunker and browse around. Lots of hobbyists work there and you get 50% discount on most products. Great people. Overall, it's a fun place to work.

    ConsThe company is in turmoil as the parent company in the UK tries to figure out how to be the central figure in charge. They really suck at change management — for instance, shutting down NA manufacturing and telling everyone losing their jobs that the "experts in the UK" will be doing it better, and a UK tosser letting a manager find out that he is losing his job in a meeting with his entire department. In 2013 alone, they fired the CEO (5 years), CIO (< 3 mo.), the entire training staff (some had been with GW their entire career), trade sales manager, staff accountant (GW put through college), and more. The year previous they shut down US manufacturing and fired the NA CIO (position elimination). Major turmoil.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou make a big deal about the culture as documented in Tom's "Black Book," but that culture no longer exists. Instead, everyone is constantly on edge about losing their job and it affects moral, behavior and performance. All you need to do is return to those guiding principles. They grew the company from a nothing startup to an international concern.

    Note to Glass Door reviewers: Mark Wells is no longer CEO. Tom is both CEO and Chairman.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Not your average retail job. (Hobby Store Operator)

    Hobby Center Operator - Black Shirt (Former Employee)

    Pros1. Awesome benefits, including medical/dental/vision.
    2. Extremely easy labor workload.
    3. Great community of Hobby Store Operators
    4. Easy retail hours - No six day weeks or 12 hour days (unless you want too.)
    5. The hobby itself is a blast.
    6. 50% discount on merchandise

    Cons1. There will be a group of people that will basically set up camp in your store day after day after day, and buy little if nothing.
    2. A full review of what you might expect is below.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe potential exists for this to be a great job, however that potential completely depends on what you are looking for from this job.

    Games Workshop is unlike any other retail company I've worked for. It's run far more like a multi-level marketing business then an actual retail company. It's basically Amway or Herbalife for gamers.

    For people who have no clue what Games Workshop does, they sell plastic models, or miniatures that are designed to be painted. There is a strategy war game built around them as well. The models are very expensive, but Games Workshop is the gold standard for fantasy miniatures. The company has a very loyal customer base, but the hobby is a very tiny niche.

    Games Workshop provides virtually nothing in the way of standard marketing or advertising to drive their business forward. They have a basic website and a facebook presence. Beyond that, expect nothing in the way of sales, marketing materials, signage, advertising or anything else you'd normally expect to be provided by the corporate office.

    Locations are generally not foot traffic friendly, and because they seek the lowest rent possible to minimize expenses, the adjacencies are a bit odd at times too. You will ring a few sales to people who know about the company from time to time, but 98% of your business will depend on your ability to recruit new customers while keeping existing customers challenged.

    Among the possible issues you'll face in driving your business forward as a Hobby operator are the Independent hobby stores that also sell the product and can do so at a discount, ebay, and your own customers who might sell off some of their own models.

    Basic salary is 33,000 a year, and chances are you will be between 33,000 - 37,000 for the length of your career with Games Workshop. Unless you are sandwiched between 4 military bases and 3 universities, you'll find it nearly impossible to break out of your limited pay band. That being said, if you are exceptional in your ability to recruit and build a community, it is possible to earn more, and they offer astronomical bonuses if you can beat last years sales.

    There are quarterly trips for training. It's a great opportunity to network with the other managers, but the actual training is pretty vanilla and won't offer much unless you are brand new to retail.

    This job definitely isn't for everybody, and it's crucial you do your homework to really see if this is the right opportunity for you. Games Workshop has a massive turnover amongst it's managers, most never make it past the first year. The job isn't about sitting around and painting models all day, it's about aggressively recruiting a customer base and community. The cycle never stops, ever. If you can retain an enthusiastic attitude toward the product and your customers, it definitely can be a fun and rewarding job.

    As far as actual advice to management?

    Every once in awhile you hire somebody with a deep retail background. Utilize that experience. Understand what "Best Practices" is. Evolve and move forward. Thirty years ago there was no competition for what you offered. Today is a completely different story. Hire somebody to oversee the retail operation that understands todays marketplace, the drivers that move it forward, and be proactive about where Games Workshop might be in 5-10 years, instead of daydreaming about the past 30 years.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Awesome job, but not much job security.

    Hobby Centre Operator (Current Employee)

    ProsGood Benefits and you get to meet some awesome people while sharing in a hobby that you are passionate about.

    ConsLittle Job Security
    Low Pay given responsibilities. You're pay can go up, but don't count on it unless you're running one of the top 20 stores.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Don't get too excited...you'll be let down

    Hobby Center Operator - Black Shirt (Former Employee)
    Los Angeles, CA

    ProsPay is ok considering not very hard work, your customer base is mostly very cool people who you get to spend a lot of time with, the product is pretty neat.

    ConsUpper management has no idea what they are doing. The American CEO of this hobby company doesn't even participate or understand the hobby. The company itself continue to alienate the customer base because upper management doesn't understand or care to understand them and then punishes store operators when they can't meet unreasonable sales goals. Also, the management team and the store operator scene is very weird, everybody has divided into little groups that kind of worship different upper management people. If you kiss up enough to management and make enough friends, your production doesn't matter and you'll be rewarded. If you are independent and quiet, chances are you'll be alienated and eventually fired regardless of your production. It's a pretty messed up company which is exhibited by declining sales and rising turnover.

    Advice to Senior ManagementQuit. You don't understand your customer base and every idea and move you've made over the past three years has hurt and not helped the company. You aren't respected and don't do a good job. Get true hobbyists in upper management who understand the hobby and customer base.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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