Mission: Mission: We will apply our precision mechanical, electrical and optical expertise to provide leading edge solutions and therefore become indispensible to our customers
I have been working at Cascade Microtech full-time (Less than a year)
I joined this company very recently, so this review is from the perspective of a new employee that comes from a much larger corporation.
When I joined Cascade Microtech, they had just announced they were going to be acquired by Formfactor. I was a little bit nervous about that, since I had just joined the team. My supervisor and his boss made sure that in the coming weeks they had Q/A sessions and alleviated most of the concern/anxiety the current workforce had.
Coming from a much larger corporation, which housed 100k employees, I was interested to see how things were done in a much smaller company. Most of the reviews, on glassdoor or indeed, were either very good or very bad.
Management and Training:
I was pleasantly surprised by the transparency between the technicians and management. They acknowledged, at least to me and the other new employee on day one, that they did not have a real training program but were working on it and were going to roll it out in a few weeks. They kept to their promise and gave out detailed expectations of each job function and what would be required to attain the last level. I noticed that a lot of the more senior employees did not like this, nor some of the new policies that had been rolled out under the new management. I think that had to do with the fact most of them had not worked anyplace else. I feel that the new management, of the factories at least, are very fair and transparent and that the policies are very generous and lenient compared to most companies in the area.
They delivered to me a 90 day new employee plan that had mapped out what I needed to be proficient in by the end of the time frame in order to keep my position. All of the expectations were fair. The actual training had some bumps in the road, as they were trying out a new training plan. The senior employees were responsible for the training, and executed as well as could be expected for people that had no previous training baseline or expectations. The one thing that I did feel was the trainers were holding back some of their "tribal" knowledge/BKMs. That could have been due to the fact they are updating their work instructions and most of the processes were not written down previously. Overall, they are going in the right direction and things were good.
The Supervisors and factory manager are all new and from much larger organizations. They are doing what is right to make the transition from a small company to a mid-sized corporation. They are very forthcoming about everything and take input from the employees and act on them. There are quarterly reviews with your direct manager, and weekly meetings to go over your progress.
The only issues with management that I notice are between tenured employees and the new management. The employees that have been here since this was a small company are having a hard time adjusting to the changes and letting go of the "old cascade". They seem to be the most resistant to the changes that have been implemented.
The team that has just left was very jovial and easy to talk to. I am not sure if the new executive team from Formfactor has a similar personality, but I hope they do. One of the nice things is that the current VP of operations will be staying and he great! He always comes down to the factory floor and has conversations with each employee and remembers everyone's name!
Work and Life balance:
Work is stressful. We have more and more products we have to get out of the door and it seems we always are working ridiculous amounts of overtime to complete it. While I feel the workload used to be manageable, I did not work here when it was not busy, we always have an insane amount of orders to work on. When we are not working on orders, we are working on process improvement. There is always something to do.
This is a great company to join during its growth. Management is great and are doing the right things. The Training program, work instructions, and growing pains of going from a small to mid-sized company are things that are being worked on and will need to continue to improve. It is a tough work environment and they expect a lot out of their employees. The benefits are average, but hopefully with the acquisition from a CA based company will improve. If you want to join a company where you can make an immediate impact where they expect a lot out of their employees, I would recommend it. If you want to just come in and collect a pay check, it might not be a good fit.
There is a constant struggle between the "cascade of old" and the new cascade/formfactor. The employees who have worked only at this company need to understand that things can not be as they were. There is some resentment from these employees towards the new management as I stated above, but long term I do not see it being an issue.
The benefits, specifically health, would be a grade C. I think they are doing the best they can, but hopefully it improves.
Upper management has shown tendencies to favor/protect tenured employees.
Advice to Management
Upper management: Please do not protect/favor the employees that have been there forever.
I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Cascade Microtech (Beaverton, OR) in October 2015.
The interview process was professional, well organized, and with prompt communication. My first interview was a phone screen with HR Recruiting and I was fortunate to talk directly with the company, not an agency. My next interview was talking with the hiring manager and we reviewed the company profile, job requirements, and my employment history. My final interview was at Cascade Microtech and I gave a 30 minute presentation of my work experience, met with staff from related departments in follow up meetings, and had a 1:1 with the hiring manager.