I have been working at Headworks full-time (More than a year)
Great culture. You play a part in bringing clean water to communities all around the world.
Every department is understaffed and overworked. Management often sets unrealistic deadlines or goals and expects you to meet them, no exceptions. You'll find quickly that the entire company runs on fear. That fear comes from the top and quickly trickles it's way down to the bottom. It creates an unhealthy and toxic work environment. Your coworkers are all nice and enjoyable people but beware, any one of them is capable of throwing you under the bus at any given moment because they are facing the wrath of the CEO. Employee turnover is high. I was told by a coworker that in a roughly 12 month period, over 35 employees have come and gone from our Houston office. We have around 35 employees total at any given time at the Houston office so that turnover rate is alarming. I would say it is because the system used to get a project from start to finish is horrendously flawed and due to the aforementioned fear culture, each department and employee spends their time pointing fingers and making excuses instead of trying to mend a broken system. The company as a whole has communication issues. Don't be surprised when you are left out of critical emails or discussions directly involving your responsibilities on a project only to be notified at the last possible second. Management will expect you to accomplish whatever task it is despite the fact that they had knowledge of what changes needed to be made days or even weeks before they let you know. Next, let's talk about accrued sick or vacation days. You have these because Headworks is legally obligated to give them to you. Don't expect to be able to use them. Your personal time or illnesses mean absolutely nothing to Headworks. Need to go to the doctor? Too bad. Maybe a family member is getting married and you need to take a day or two off of your hard earned vacation time? Forget it. Headworks owns you and does not approve of your personal life. Mind you, the CEO can work from home whenever she pleases. Most days she will come into the office in the late afternoon and often keeps employees in her office until as late as 8pm, even though they have worked their 8 hours that day. While I do not doubt that she is working while at home, I can imagine that she is able to tend to personal matters at her leisure during the day. I imagine it must be nice to be able to take care of personal needs whenever you want. However, I would know nothing of that luxury because I'm likely to be reprimanded for missing even 15 minutes of the day. Working at Headworks is very stressful, even during slow periods where the workload is not nearly as demanding. You never know when management is going to blow a gasket. Sometimes the explosion is justified but more often than not they are making mountains out of molehills. It is very intimidating when you walk into a conversation or situation with upper management because you very well may be on top of all tasks and still get a proper chewing out. You don't know when someone has used you as a scapegoat and if they have, do not expect any chance to explain or redeem yourself even if you are not at fault. I have been yelled at for not sending emails and yet the emails in question are sitting in right there in their inbox, unread. Fear keeps the wheels turning but the machine is far from well oiled and functioning properly. With the environment that has been created by management, the high turnover rate will continue and Headworks will perpetually be training new employees which limits the growth of the company. This company has a wealth of potential but that potential is stagnated as long as things continue to run the way they are.
Advice to Management
Listen to your employees on the front lines. They are your ground troops who experience the policies laid down by management. The CEO should be more mindful of how her explosiveness affects not only the person she is upset with, but everyone else around them. If you blow up on someone in middle management, they will almost certainly take it out on those under them. It is horrible for office morale. Consider taking a deep breath and asking yourself if losing your temper with an employee is really beneficial in the long run. Each and every single one of your employees has a deep respect for you and the company and putting the fear of God into them over minor issues is not necessary and causes more trouble than it is worth. Stop putting employees on the spot when you want an answer to a question and getting angry when said employee cannot answer immediately. Do you want a quick answer that's inaccurate or a well researched answer?
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Headworks (Houston, TX) in November 2009.
Liked the company. They move a little slow, but seem to be thorough.