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HKS Reviews

Updated February 23, 2018
113 reviews

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4.2
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HKS President and CEO Dan Noble
Dan Noble
59 Ratings

113 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • HKS cares about their employees work/life balance and I don't feel like I'm working in a sweatshop (in 10 reviews)

  • HKS proved to be a great place as a young professional starting my first job in an architecture firm (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Pay is low, health insurance is terrible (in 6 reviews)

  • Work/ life balance was also not seen as valuable in my experience (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (4)

    "Excellent firm, culture and people!!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Architect in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Architect in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    There's alot of talent here and the people are great to work with. Although it's a big firm, it's a warm and welcoming environment where you're not just a number. Upper management cares about their employees and the CEO is awesome. HKS cares about their employees work/life balance and I don't feel like I'm working in a sweatshop. Of course there will be deadlines that require working long hours, but for the most part I have a life outside the office. The company understands our personal needs and allows flex work schedule. They also provide laptops to all employees to access technology from anywhere. The firmwide and office resources are excellent. They also pay for parking and transit subsidies. Other benefits such as 401k, health/dental, etc are pretty much on par with other large firms. Oh and they even offer pet insurance!

    Cons

    There's always going to be pros and cons at every office. I think there are way less cons at HKS than at other large firms I've worked at. If had to think of some, it would probably be the benefits. They have a good vacation/sick policy which adds up to about 5 weeks total whereas other firms only provide only 3 weeks PTO for vacation/sick. My biggest complaint would be the dental and health insurance. They only offer HDHP/HSA health insurance plans which I suppose is becoming the industry standard. The HMO dental insurance is cheap but not all that great in terms of their in-network dentists...however the PPO dental insurance is expensive. Other than that I don't have many complaints.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work and continue listening to your employees. Happy employees make HKS great which result in well executed projects and happy clients. As Richard Branson says..."If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients"


  2. "Good place to work."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Passionate and dedicated people with the resources one expects from a large firm.

    Cons

    Can sometimes be pigeonholed as a production individual if not careful.

    Advice to Management

    Scheduling can be rushed sometimes.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Interior Designer in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Interior Designer in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at HKS (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people, office culture is positive.

    Cons

    Long hours inhibits work life balance 50% of the time.


  4. "Great opportunities - if your manager supports you"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at HKS full-time

    Pros

    There are plenty of amazing opportunities within the firm if you are able to connect with the right people.

    Cons

    Mentorship is strongly desired, however, it seems to be forced, uni-directional, and unsupported by management who care more about the productivity of work, than the education behind it.

    Advice to Management

    I suggest hiring more 'leaders' than 'managers'. When employees talk about they work for HKS because of the "people", they are not referring to the senior staff who support 50-60 hour work weeks. They are talking about the day-to-day people who sit by their sides, hard at work right along with them to get fast deadlines and even smaller budgets out the door.


  5. "Great Firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate
    Current Employee - Associate
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    HKS provides great opportunities for growth and a great network of experts.

    Cons

    There is a need for more mid level expertise to cover the growing workload


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Look elsewhere"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at HKS full-time

    Pros

    Most employees Intern to VP level are great to work with.

    Cons

    Employees consistently try to push positive change but leadership doesn’t follow through leading to a general atmosphere of confusion and distrust, work life balance doesn’t exist for most, culture still needs a lot of work.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Admin Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Los Angeles, CA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    A beautiful environment, nice co-workers, beautiful and interesting projects. Free coffee and parking. Centrally located. Integrates new technology well. The rules are well laid out for new hires.

    Cons

    Misogynistic glass ceiling. A weird, late 1940s culture towards women that makes it feel like nothing much has changed with regard to the upward mobility of their female employees since the days of Howard K. Smith. Like stepping into an episode of “Mad Men.” Covertly unfriendly to those without white, straight, Christian lifestyles. If you didn’t go to A&M, you’re not a part of this fraternity.

    Advice to Management

    Leap into the 90s. Amazing that a company who leads the industry architecturally could be so sociologically backwards, professionally. A darn shame.

  8. "Project Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Family atmosphere, thoughtful and talented leadership

    Cons

    Constantly looking for ways to improve.

    Advice to Management

    Would benefit from project management software solution.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Mentorship / Retaining Talent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Designer
    Former Employee - Designer
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    HKS proved to be a great place as a young professional starting my first job in an architecture firm. I was given the mentorship I needed to learn the skills that I developed over the last few years. Working in the commercial sector, I had the valuable experience of working on a campus headquarters project from start to finish. I was also given experience with other projects that had faster timelines and smaller scale; so the variety was educational. Felt that I was given the opportunity to grow, learn, and enhance my career here.

    HKS also provides amazing opportunities to use your talents to give back to the world in a philanthropic manner. I enjoyed working on several pro-bono projects, knowing that my efforts were in charity and providing a greater good.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed my coworkers and felt that HKS hired a cohesive and talented group of individuals, many of whom I call friends in my personal life now.

    Cons

    Leadership talks about the importance of helping young designers become well rounded with a wide variety of experiences, but in practice wasn't always the case. There is a tenancy for individuals to become "pigeon-holed" as a young designer. I saw this in an array of ways; while I think it's valuable to hone a craft and become skilled; it is crucial for young designers to be offered an array of tasks, as their career is in its early development.

    Work/ life balance was also not seen as valuable in my experience. I was told by upper management that more hours in the office can be better. It seemed that more hours worked are seen as someone who is working harder. I disagree and value the efficiencies that we may achieve through proper training and technology. The industry has grueling deadlines, but for this to be a norm did not agree with me.

    Low salary compared to other firms.

    Corporate culture- in the sense that there are 1400+ employees, and some small-scale decisions or movement require a large chain of decisions and command.

    Advice to Management

    Trust in younger employees and invest in them. They are the future of the firm. Look to compete more evenly in salary with other firms in respective cities across the country. Train upper management and project leads in communication and leadership skills. I think senior designers can be severely lacking in this necessary skill. Align leadership, and make sure they are all on the same page.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at HKS full-time

    Pros

    Good working environment. Good benefits.

    Cons

    Bad and expensive health insurance.

    Advice to Management

    Listen more to the forums employees. They have much to offer...


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