Sasaki Associates Reviews

Updated August 21, 2015
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Sasaki Associates Managing Principal James Miner
James Miner
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6 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Sasaki

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Firm has a wide range of projects

    Cons

    Firm doesn't take care of its employees; you're just a number, churning out work making money for the partners


  2. Helpful (1)

    A Mixed Bag

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Watertown, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Watertown, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Sasaki Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    All the perks of the best design firms: In-house lectures, art exhibits, happy hours, you name it. Academic-tinted firm with close ties to interesting research going on at Harvard and MIT (which are feeder schools to the firm). Many amazing designers, with a number of standout professionals who I'm honored to call my coworkers. The firm’s software development group, “Sasaki Strategies,” is an industry leader. Open, casual, and relaxed atmosphere in a restored mill along the Charles River. A full range of ages represented, with young people looking to make friends and older folks open to mentoring opportunities (this coming from a younger perspective).

    Cons

    Very high turnover for those under age 30. Few young employees make it past the 2 year mark; work-life balance is a very real problem, as is recognition of contributions from junior level staff. Never ending deadlines foster a high stress environment (no overtime pay, nor a comp time policy). Very poor staffing and management processes that result in unexpected weekends in the office, overstaffed employees, and under-budgeted projects. Management of the company will always be a pawn to "design" in this office (some think that's good, some do not). If you are not a planner/designer, you are a [far] second class citizen. Opportunities for growth and recognition within the Marketing, IT, and Accounting teams are, plain and simple, very poor. The executive leadership team is inexperienced (fact) and it shows (opinion). The firm recently went through a leadership overhaul and there have been serious missteps throughout that process, some of which resulted in the departure of folks who many considered to be the firm's best designers. If you are popular with this new leadership group, Sasaki is a great place to be. But if you make waves or speak out, good luck to you.

    Advice to Management

    You have an amazing base of talented professionals capable of great work. Buzzwords like innovation and collaboration aren't going to make them stick around. Focus on actually retaining talent by implementing real management practices and giving people the space to do their best work.


  3. Landscape Designer, Watertown

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Landscape Designer in Watertown, MA
    Former Employee - Landscape Designer in Watertown, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Sasaki Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Various types of projects going on with good benefits. Many interesting lectures and happy hours.

    Cons

    Unhealthy culture cause talent people left. Poor management and staffing and less communication.

    Advice to Management

    Have more communication with your employee and get them to do their best work.


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  5. Sasaki Architecture

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Sasaki Associates full-time

    Pros

    Great work-life balance. "Easy" hours. Great working ambiance with little stress.

    Cons

    Proud of being a "horizontal" structure and non-hierarchical, but in reality very top heavy. Employees have to struggle on daily basis to be given opportunities to grow and advance professionally. The firm finds lot of difficulties in creating teams and the leadership is somehow unable to clearly define and communicate roles of each team member.


  6. Helpful (1)

    A disappointing work experience, largely due to a lack of leadership and poor management.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Landscape Architect in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Landscape Architect in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits, reasonable salary, some interesting project work, and a respectable level of commitment to quality work products and solid design. There are some good, talented people who work here. The multidisciplinary environment provides opportunities for better collaboration among the different disciplines.

    Cons

    Very poor, uninspiring leadership and mismanagement that lacks vision and big-picture thinking -- too many knee-jerk reactions and short-term solutions to problems that are systemic within the organization. A lot of micro-managers -- there needs to be a macro-visionary in the landscape architecture group. The SF office plays a very secondary role to Watertown, which diminishes the opportunities for the SF office to work on world-class projects, and the environment is overly corporate for an office that is not very big. Much of the design work, while competent, lacks imagination and innovation, and input from talented junior staff is too often disregarded. A severe lack of transparency regarding business decisions made by the leadership. Junior staff often get pigeon-holed very quickly into doing a certain type of work and certain kinds of tasks, which does not yield a solid foundation for professional development. Multidisciplinary office lacks interdisciplinary collaboration and is more "silo-ed" than many single-discipline offices.

    Advice to Management

    Management should nurture the talents of the existing staff and promote a meritocracy. Good work and efforts to show initiative often go unrecognized at Sasaki, which is demoralizing. While the company has laid off a number of people because of the economic circumstances, many others have left voluntarily because of such low morale. Management also needs to promote a more collaborative, interdisciplinary environment, and managers in the landscape architecture department need to push for more responsibility and leverage in design conversations by landscape architecture staff rather than relegate the landscape architect's role to providing assistance to the architects and planners.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Following the economy and going downhill fast

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Co-workers are great - for the most part, very talented, bright, fun, interesting people who want to do good work and make a difference in the world

    Cons

    Communication from senior management is laughable - they think they're great at it, but its meaningless white noise. The silence around the continuing layoffs is unsettling, to put it mildly. The feeling we get from senior management is that everyone is replaceable; we should all feel lucky to have a job; its the haves versus the have nots. Too many principals, and many don't like or respect each other, or want to work together; feels like high school, but at least in HS you have the excuse of being young and immature. So much for the 'collaborative, interdisciplinary' culture! Bottom line and utilization rates are all that matter. Level of stress in no way equals the 'rewards' HR is a joke; not advocates for the staff. People tend to show their true colors when the going gets tough, and those colors are not pretty. Many of the good people have left or will leave; unfortunately, some useless people remain. Too bad - used to be a respectable design firm and a decent place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Get serious management advisor in ASAP, before its too late Throw out (almost) everyone at the top and start over



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