Thinkwell Group

  www.thinkwellgroup.com
  www.thinkwellgroup.com

Thinkwell Group Reviews

Updated December 14, 2014
Updated December 14, 2014
6 Reviews
2.4
6 Reviews
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Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Thinkwell Group - Burbank

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

    I have been working at Thinkwell Group full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    One of the larger firms in a small industry. Ownership is well intentioned. Great office culture. Perks and benefits are maybe a little above others. Compensations are adjusted according to a strategic HR plan. Promotions are timely based on semi-specific goals (being defined by HR as of this writing)

    Cons

    Regular Entertainment industry problems with up and down cycles
    HR is being revamped as of this writing
    Office space is old and cramped (we are told there is an imminent move to a new building at the end of the lease in early 2015)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management created a fully confidential program (meetings and surveys with a third-party consultant) for employees to communicate their satisfaction/dissatisfaction for anything and everything. This was definitely a great idea to continue as the company grows.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Avoid this place if you have any values as a human being.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Artist in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Artist in Burbank, CA

    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 Recommend
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    Factory-line Disney clone, with true aspirations for its Chinese-market.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Entertainment Designer in Burbank, CA
    Current Employee - Entertainment Designer in Burbank, CA

    I have been working at Thinkwell Group as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    decent pay, casual dress, nice innocent people, as long as you don't get too deep, you'll converse well with others!

    Cons

    Donuts & candy everywhere, makes employees fan-boys, not creators.
    Pretend to be independent, when they just copy & emulate corporate industry companies like Disney & Universal, without any originality.
    Window-less, hot stuffy interior w/ no landscaped exteriors to retreat from.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be a fan-girl or boy, and "geek out" w/ your typical fan attire.

    Doesn't Recommend
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  5.  

    Entrepreneurial Environment

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

    I have been working at Thinkwell Group

    Pros

    Surrounded by great people that are very motivating and highly creative.

    Cons

    It's hard to move from your position since it's such a start-up atmosphere and the majority of the heads of the departments have been there from the start.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Don't Work here. Your coworkers may even back stab you.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Showset Design in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Showset Design in Burbank, CA

    I worked at Thinkwell Group as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Drawing classes, and you don't really feel like a subordinate. The older guys tend to use a mentor tone of voice. good job of finding cool professional interns.

    Cons

    a lot of your coworkers who have been there for over 6 months tend to be backstabbers because many of them are afraid of losing their jobs to the new guy. The sketchup models aren't modeled properly, and poorly put together. lack entertainment industry professionals and experts with software expertise (hence why I am complaining about sketchup) the company doesn't do a good job of executing because they lack construction expertise as well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    unresponsive, coworkers will trip each other, unwilling to help. claims to be collaborative, but absolutely no checks and balances between various stages of design.

  7.  

    Fun , creative work environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Show Set Designer in Burbank, CA
    Current Employee - Show Set Designer in Burbank, CA

    I have been working at Thinkwell Group full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Fun atmosphere, Talented work staff.

    Cons

    Politics - there's a lot of whispering happening
    Constant feeling of job instability
    Lack of promotions or opportunities for learning and expanding ones skillset, instead you seem to do the same thing over and over.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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