Blackhawk Network Reviews | Glassdoor

Blackhawk Network Reviews

Updated June 23, 2017
57 reviews

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2.0
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Blackhawk Network CEO and President Talbott Roche
Talbott Roche
5 Ratings

57 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • People, culture, work life balance (in 11 reviews)

  • a nice, collaborative work environment (in 15 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance could stand to improve (in 11 reviews)

  • Senior management unable to empower employees to make decisions (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (10)

    "Not a smart place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Counsel in Pleasanton, CA
    Current Employee - Counsel in Pleasanton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Blackhawk Network (More than a year)

    Pros

    East Bay employment, interesting business model; not many pros. Don't work here if you can avoid it. Even the water cooler does not deliver well..

    Cons

    Uninclusive culture, lacks communication, process, lots of chaos, few have's mostly have-not's, facilities and technology resources substandard. Senior management unable to empower employees to make decisions.

    Advice to Management

    Get a professional management team. E.g., HR and Benefits is deplorable. Marketing, Sales, Legal, Finance all must be turned over. Hire new at the top. Old culture must go.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "If only they would listen"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Staff Software Engineer in Pleasanton, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Staff Software Engineer in Pleasanton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Blackhawk Network full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's a great place to learn when you are new and like being thrown into the fire to learn quickly. Stock options are good when you have a senior based position.

    Cons

    They are always trying to replace good engineers with contractors that are H1B Visa heavy which in the end leads to a lot of poor quality engineers and their solutions shows. Management Doesn't really care about quality, but only releasing new features even if that means more defects to the system

    Advice to Management

    Keep good employees and engineers and empower them to make changes when needed. Focus less on always delivering just or the sake of delivering, but rather focus on release quality and continually growing the products as if they were an organic living being.

  3. Helpful (16)

    "Pretty bad"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lewisville, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lewisville, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Blackhawk Network full-time

    Pros

    Busy company with opportunities for professional development. Management has been so bad, that it can't get much worse.

    Cons

    Too many acquisitions, callous handling, bad leadership, poor planning, disorganization, and total confusion. ALOT of long time staff cut their losses and left.

    Advice to Management

    You made the mess. Do your job and fix it.


  4. Helpful (26)

    "Executives need to fix things before it's too late"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pleasanton, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pleasanton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Blackhawk Network full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Company: Blackhawk is established and dominates the industry.

    People: Some employees are still talented and motivated.

    Location: If you don't like commuting to S.F. or the South Bay and every day, Blackhawk is great. Pleasanton is a nice, safe area with lots of restaurants.

    Building: Nice and recently renovated. Open floor plan, if you like that sort of thing.

    Perks: Gym membership, Thirty Thursday's, team events and parties

    Cons

    Most of these 5 star reviews must be coming from HR...

    Leadership: Much of the leadership (VP and higher) at Blackhawk is "homegrown" and lacks the appropriate breadth of experience to drive efficiencies. Many of them are lightyears away from being qualified for their jobs and others are flat out unintelligent (that or apathetic). Newer age executives are often handcuffed by budget or politics, but some of them aren't great either. It doesn't help that Blackhawk is very "top heavy." As a result, there are many highly paid executives who are terrible at their jobs. Blackhawk is also a very sales focused environment, largely ignoring other needs. Year after year, the inefficiencies remain and leadership either doesn't care or is too busy selling. Most commonly, leadership simply does not have the experience to even recognize that a problem exists. Their subordinates (Directors, Managers) either don't know how or don't have the resources and approvals to fix these larger problems on behalf of the executives. Intellectuals be warned: you will be one of the smartest people at the company and it will get very frustrating. If you inevitably recognize the many problems at Blackhawk and actually want to fix them, you'll drive yourself insane.

    Prospects & Innovation: Blackhawk innovates more than it's primary competitor. Yet, the company is also very reactionary to the competitive market and often makes moves before thinking about, and quantifying, expectations. Internal innovations are almost nonexistent nowadays. Blackhawk has a strategy of acquiring it's growth and innovation. This can be great if done correctly. At Blackhawk it just leads to more operational difficulties than before. It takes years for the acquisitions to be integrated. The strategy of connecting everything as an enterprise is often discussed but never executed.

    Compensation: In general, compensation is lower at Blackhawk than it is at other leading Bay Area companies because of the convenient location and historical connection to retail grocery. Blackhawk's compensation policies are very strange. There are useless employees who get paid well. There are strong employees who aren't paid well. If you don't get what you want up front, you're screwed long term. Bonus and stock options are nonexistent for most employees.

    Career Growth: This is the biggest problem at Blackhawk for talented employees. The company seems to pay low and dare people to leave under the presumption that they can always find someone else. They may be right, but that doesn't make for a great environment. Growth is nonexistent for most people, except for the squeaky wheels and top performers. When promotions finally do occur they're several years late and usually minor. If you were hired below the market competitive scale, you might as well leave because at Blackhawk "re-leveling" salaries is almost nonexistent.

    People: Beyond leadership, much of the stronger talent at Blackhawk has left or wants to leave. Every once in a while, Blackhawk strikes gold with a talented hire. The person's dismay is almost comical once they realize what they're dealing with. Most everyone else is a worker bee, collecting a paycheck. Lower talent levels make it very difficult to get things done. Some people are really, really bad. Budgets make it difficult to get the right people. Teams are concerned with performing the bare minimum to get their job done, instead of going above and beyond to truly make a difference. Cross functional teams are difficult to form if they aren't the ones that have already existed for years. Dealing with the Engineering teams is almost futile - if it's not in their primary roadmap, an initiative won't get done. IT data governance and warehousing is an embarrassment, making it difficult for Blackhawk to take the next as as an analytics-driven company. Most people are nice, but that only takes you so far. If you're a motivated person who wants to make a difference, then the people at Blackhawk with infuriate you. The worst part is that most people aren't held accountable.

    Advice to Management

    There is still hope for Blackhawk. Focus on the cons or you'll lose your talent.


  5. Helpful (10)

    "Think Twice"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Pleasanton, CA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Pleasanton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Blackhawk Network full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very little. Engineers are treated as replaceable components. Was told we need a good Indian outsourcing firm.

    Cons

    Weak technology management who's strength is managing up. Unrealistic schedules. No RSUs or bonus program for most engineers. Coin operated upper management. Lack of integrity is astounding.

    Advice to Management

    Package it up and sell it while you can.


  6. Helpful (13)

    "Corporate treatment of employees"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Blackhawk Network full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    None none none none none

    Cons

    Highly political environment. Performs poorly on keeping good quality employees by hiring employees outside of California to save money and increase executive management profits

    Advice to Management

    Recognize and maintain quality employees


  7. Helpful (11)

    "Process over progress"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Director in Pleasanton, CA
    Current Employee - IT Director in Pleasanton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible work environment, decent benefits, market compensation, elite executives in market strategy, vision, portfolio diversification, acquisition and long term planning.

    Cons

    Politics, passive aggressive tactics from the bottom up. Years of in-fighting and manipulation amongst C level execs, focus on red tape and process, over accomplishments and solid product delivery. IT is the worst. Lots of dead weight, ie under skilled employees doing bare minimum. Obedience valued over passion and quality.

    Advice to Management

    Specifically for IT: when engineering teams crank out crappy software and interfaces, don't allow them to move on to the next new project until they demonstrate they can fix the former mess. Otherwise they grow and improve.

    Raise the bar on expectations. Fire managers who contribute to and encourage internal undermining.

    Talbot, Jerry and Bill need undercover employees to get an accurate picture of how little forward progress is being made to fully apprecimade this feedback.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Service Center Agent in Reno, NV
    Former Employee - Service Center Agent in Reno, NV
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Blackhawk Network (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Company contests, win all different goodies, everyone is friendly and nice.

    Cons

    Strict goals and a lot to remember


  9. Helpful (12)

    "Selfish Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Developer in Pleasanton, CA
    Current Employee - Developer in Pleasanton, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Blackhawk Network full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good Location, good pay and good working conditions, newer technologies and constantly growing business.

    Cons

    Treat Engineers as worker bees. Clock in and clock out attitude. No recognition, motivation or understanding or innovation. They organize annual hackathons and the leadership never bother to implement a single idea that comes out of it. They don't want people to grow because they prefer people to work on their petty goals 8 to 5 pm. It is a small company where bad fish have creeped in the management and the entire environment is just stale. People even leave due to bad managers who in turn keep getting promoted. It is not about work or ideas any more, but more about political games and selfish attitudes. HR is in management's pocket so what else is to be expected.


  10. Helpful (12)

    "Management Cannot Manage"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in Pleasanton, CA
    Current Employee - Analyst in Pleasanton, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Blackhawk Network (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Benefits are great, many options to choose from and cost is comparible
    Matching 401K
    Smart, Good people trying to make a difference
    Location/Commute is great if you live in the Tri Valley area

    Cons

    Micro-Managers
    Lots of talk, no action
    No Career Movement, Use this place as a stepping stone to further your career somewhere else
    No quality raises (1% or nothing at all)
    Way below market value for salary

    Advice to Management

    Please re-train your management, they have no idea how to treat/mentor people. Being good at your job does not mean you are good as a manager. Invest in the worker bees, they make the company move. You're losing too many good people.


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