HKS Reviews | Glassdoor

HKS Reviews

Updated June 15, 2018
122 reviews

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4.0
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HKS President and CEO Dan Noble
Dan Noble
63 Ratings

122 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 11 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 7 reviews)

  • "Maintaining a work/life balance is imperative" (in 5 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. "receptionist"

    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

    I worked at HKS full-time

    Pros

    passionate and hard working employees

    Cons

    none cons, loved working here

  3. "Great place to practice Architecture with a few flaws"

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

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

    Pros

    Company provides a lot of incentives to train and become licensed or another certification.

    Great office culture. You can tell everyone likes it here because they are energetic and have fun. A rarity in Architecture.

    Lots of social events in the office to see presentations and chat it up with co-workers. People also take it up among themselves to have company team sports.

    Los Angeles office has good leadership and great projects. One of the bigger outposts outside of the Dallas HQ.

    Cons

    As mentioned above a good place to become an Architect or Designer but if you want to break out of the mold then there is less support. Architects focus on what they are good at and don't typically explore new services due to unfamiliarity and overhead cost.

    Westwood location is not ideal for most people commuting to the office especially because public transport options are limited.

    Starting to get crowded around here because a lot of employees were added since 2017. Difficult to concentrate in some areas because of the noise.

    Advice to Management

    You're doing a good job in the LA office and in Dallas. I can tell you really care for the well-being of the employees. Keep it up and HKS reputation will only become better. One note for improvement is to create more flex time and telecommute options for employees to take advantage of. It would be a big relief to work at home every so often and not feel like an absentee from the rest of the project team.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Workplace In-Progress"

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

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

    Pros

    They are committed to adopting the WELL building standard in-house, although a bumpy adoption, operations are changing on local levels in Chicago, London and Miami.
    Active teaming workplace and technology in the Chicago office are fantastic for flexibility of work modes.
    Interesting and passionate people.

    Cons

    HKS is a Dallas-centric firm. They are striving to be better at empowering some of their regional office (Chicago being one of them) to be leaders in design, but the inertia of their HQ to utilize regional offices as production houses is strong. The Chicago location is relatively new to the market and slow to understand the competitiveness of hiring here, but their commitment to a budding culture and transparency is getting better.
    Employee base pay is very low in roles below VP and bonus structure is not transparent. Promotion process is very confusing and promotions often come without significant raises.
    Administrative employees are expected to wear too many hats to be effective and office management is not very supportive or tuned in to what it actually takes to run a global design studio, making it unnecessarily difficult. Dallas still sees administrative roles as ‘secretarial’ and do not honor forward-thinking or the technical competency of contemporary administrative professionals.
    Like any design firm in Chicago, there are fantastic and passionate people that are great to work with, but do not expect to be rewarded if you challenge management. They have a new firm wide directive to cull people who do not ‘fit the culture’, despite not really understanding what that is yet or taking a hard look at not-so-healthy people who have been with the company for a long-time.

    Construction administration (CA) practices are particularly archaic and there are a couple HKS-lifers in the Chicago office that are very unprofessional and toxic, especially toward women.

    Caution to anyone considering any administrative role, as expectations are not clear and respect for women is sorely lacking from local and firm wide management. You will be expected to handle or assist with everything from reception, HR, IT, Marketing, BD, CA and office management without the proper title, authority or pay.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in the people you have spent much time & energy hiring. Invest in proper software for project management and project delivery. Your ‘shoot-from-the-hip’ approach may have gotten you this far, but it makes for a particularly stressful work place that is not necessary. Upper management needs to be trained in being ‘Better Together’ and learn to be receptive to listening to solutions, especially if they come from women, especially if they were hired for their skills and expertise.
    Principals stop being overly focused on bonuses, as the trickle down to the majority of the workforce is questionable and not a good motivator.


  5. "Architectural Intern"

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

    I worked at HKS full-time

    Pros

    Had a great experience and people are really nice. Office culture is good!

    Cons

    You don't get to speak with everyone. Everyone is busy doing their own thing


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Stay Away"

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

    I have been working at HKS full-time

    Pros

    Within HKS, there are a number of fantastic people. They've got compassion, a strong moral code, and a drive to do better. There are a number of experts who serve as great resources, and the small but mighty firmwide marketing and research groups work tirelessly to strengthen the firm's impact with limited resources. The exchange program is a great chance to spend time in different offices to experience different cultures for a quarter.

    Cons

    This firm epitomizes the old white boy's strictly hierarchical network of favorites and peons. The insensitivity to diversity is shocking. They have so many initiatives started by so many different little lords that they are unable to make progress in any direction, and the staff is tired. The promotions process is opaque and descriptions of how to advance are nonexistent. They are in complete denial--to a degree that is simply overwhelming--of all issues, and you will absolutely hear them say what you want to hear--unfortunately, what they say is in complete misalignment with what they do. This is very much an old school, deep Texas, monoculture of long term entrenched egos who work to preserve their power and status over any other value. If you're one of the golden children selected, or self elected, to stroke those egos you will do well.

    Advice to Management

    Work to recognize when people are truly leadership material, versus just ambitious. Incorporate 360 reviews, and actually acknowledge and act on the information that comes out of them. Don't ignore episodes of ethical lapses, or simply shift personnel to avoid addressing the issues that arise. Take a serious look at breaking down silos and the total lockstep of hierarchy. Forget about how long people have been around, and start thinking about who is admired and sought out by their peers and support staff, rather than promoting those who will crush anyone to get ahead.

    HKS Response

    Jun 18, 2018 – Vice President, Director of Human Resources

    Thank you for your candor. We take your feedback very seriously and would like to discuss this further. Please reach out to an HR team member to have a confidential discussion. We are committed to... More


  7. "System Administrator"

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

    I worked at HKS full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great company with good technical resources

    Cons

    Poor management, restructural of the management needed due to close friends in IT hired by a CIO

    Advice to Management

    Definitely, remodeling of the interior management

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Best of the Best at HKS"

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

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

    Pros

    Educational opportunities, employee recognition, working with true intellects and highly professional people, working with passionate collegues, great programs for growth and development and a culture that's always evolving instead of staying stagnant. Oh....and Beer Friday!

    Cons

    You can easily work too hard because HKS is so busy. We are very busy working and learning new skills to keep us in front of industry trends and not behind them. Maintaining a work/life balance is imperative.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the young talent engaged and committed to HKS's mission and vision.


  9. "Senior Designer"

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

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

    Pros

    Great opportunities to work on a wide array of projects.

    Cons

    Large office culture, sometimes can become just another face/number in a sea of people.


  10. "An evolving firm, trying to become more progressive and innovative, with a greater focus on design than in the past."

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

    Pros

    Working in the Dallas HQ brings opportunities to work among and collaborate with many of the firm’s most influential leaders and top design directors.
    Work life balance is a little better here than other large corporate firms I’ve worked for. The firm cares about their employee’s health and well-being, and is considerate not to burn them out. The firm is promoting more women to leadership positions, and is committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive environment where everyone has an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

    Cons

    Medical, dental, and vision insurance are poor, and well behind the industry standard in my opinion, especially for a global corporate firm.

    The firm’s computer hardware, IT infrastructure, IT service and support, and network need improvements to better facilitate work flows and employee productivity and efficiency. IT support lacks at HKS compared to my experiences at previous large firms.

    The firm could make more of an effort to actively mentor younger staff for leadership roles. It seems the firm is still run by a group of 30+ year HKS veterans and are just beginning to think about who will succeed them.

    Advice to Management

    Keep focusing on elevating design, mentoring and elevating young leaders within the firm. Hire more young, bright staff, empower them to pursue their passions, and give them greater exposure to clients at an earlier stage in their careers. Build a culture of entrepreneurial leaders and establish a clear vision of what HKS will look like in 5, 10, 15 years. Improve health benefits to become aligned with our competitors.


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