NBBJ Reviews | Glassdoor

NBBJ Reviews

Updated July 15, 2017
98 reviews

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3.6
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NBBJ Managing Partner Steve McConnell
Steve McConnell
44 Ratings

98 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Company offers great benefits and work/life balance (in 9 reviews)

  • great atmosphere, great people, interesting projects (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Work/life balance is entirely dependent upon how well you assert your need to have work/life balance (in 7 reviews)

  • Their design work is not very inspiration or rigorous (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at NBBJ (Less than a year)

    Pros

    very nice people. great office environment

    Cons

    intern payment is not so good


  2. "Nice culture but lacks depth."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great projects with good coworkers for the most part. You can have a career there, as long as you maintain the status quo.

    Cons

    Studios can be siloed and operationally inefficient. Your ideas to improve these issues are seldom addressed adequately or not at all and creates unnecessary busywork and (unpaid) overtime.

    Advice to Management

    Find and fix operations and managers that don't improve efficiencies so the real work of design doesn't suffer.

  3. "Blind leading the Blind"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at NBBJ full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Inclusive culture, everyone has a say though that culture has started to change as the firm wants to grow and become more corporate it seems.

    Cons

    Long hours, though doesn't seem drastically different from other firms. Staff is underappreciated. Loyalty and growing with the firm is often unrewarded as they continue to hire instead of promoting from within. Culture is muddied due to newly hired leadership. Studio leadership only seek the feedback of high level senior leadership on projects, which seemingly is the blind leading the blind.

    Advice to Management

    Seek feedback from all levels. A leader should not just be evaluated by how upper management or peers view them (based on hearsay). A leader is only as good as his/her team. Would highly recommend interviewing staff to evaluate leaders (performance based).


  4. "Local large corporate architecture firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Associate in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    great people, good facility, good learning environment

    Cons

    incompetent senior leadership, lousy compensation

    Advice to Management

    treat your people right


  5. "Top heavy, political, leaders do not care about people, don't even want to give a reason after th lay-off happens"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Architect/Designer in Columbus, OH
    Current Employee - Architect/Designer in Columbus, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Office is cool, in downtown area. People in your team are nice and helpful.

    Cons

    Bad management, overtime not paid, top heavy, don't care about its staff.

    Advice to Management

    Care about your people and be transparent.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "NBBJ is a great place to work!"

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

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

    Pros

    A great place to work and grow provided you have the right support and mentor-ship; otherwise one could get lost in the weeds, especially if you are not a self advocate. Nonetheless, there are ample opportunities for self and professional growth with project work and various studio initiatives

    Cons

    The studio culture is often great and inclusive, however, it is very easy to get insular and studio focused, and as such miss out on the benefits of working at a large firm with multiple studios and practices.
    Additional, the ranking structure is very rigid and it takes a long time to get promoted to the next level. There are 6 levels within NBBJ...Entry Level, Associate, Senior Associate, Principal, Partner, and finally Managing Partner. Furthermore, promotions, while merit based, are also very heavily based on influence, design acumen and project management skills. In short, career advancement takes time and due to that, may not be suited form some people.
    And finally, salaries...in my experience, salaries at NBBJ, while not bad, are not that high. In your first 5 years, you can expect to make between 48k-58k a year. While this may not sound too bad within the industry, it is quite low when compared to the cost of living in Seattle.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to grow leaders from within and remember that employees are a companies best and most valuable asset!


  7. "Urban designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Urban Designer/Planner in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Urban Designer/Planner in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good place to work and progress

    Cons

    Could have more flexibility and diversity

    Advice to Management

    Give outstanding employees more benefits

  8. "Good values but Weak Follow-Through"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Architect in Columbus, OH
    Current Employee - Architect in Columbus, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at NBBJ full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The people who work there are great, very smart, driven, generally friendly. If you're the right fit you can go far there. Good place for ambitious younger architects. Mission statement is strong and something to refer to.

    Cons

    People who succeed work well with a chaotic and often undirected management structure. If this is not you, you'll either be invisible or fail. Management is disconnected from work needed to complete projects, so staff works very hard to fulfill management's promises.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs to be more clear about direction and organization of staff and projects. Leadership needs to step away from projects and keep their eye on the overall.


  9. Helpful (9)

    "Inhibiting hierarchy and unkind culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Marketing Manager in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Marketing Manager in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The coffee station is always fully stocked. There are plenty of nice receptions and events with appetizers and beverages. The office headquarters is beautiful. There can be a good work-life balance for most.

    Cons

    There is an extremely high degree of turnover, which leaves the company in constant disarray and lack of morale. (I saw at least 40/200 people leave the company in my 1.8 years there at the Seattle headquarters). There is a strong negative culture in which co-workers gossip and mistreat one another, as they are made to feel in competition. There is a widespread sense that supervisors are not actually empathetic to the needs or concerns of their employees. Leaders attend expensive week-long internal meetings on yachts and in four-star hotels, while telling employees there is no money for holiday parties or bonuses each year. Leaders are overwhelmingly homogeneous in age, gender and other demographic attributes. Folks with lower titles are discouraged from sharing ideas during meetings, and they are constantly talked-over when they do share them. People who try to improve processes and modes of communication are systematically alienated until they either leave or are let go for not getting with the program.

    Advice to Management

    Increase the amount of diversity in the company. Promote from within. Give people the bonuses and raises they deserve. Do not permit leaders to behave unprofessionally. Create a culture where new ideas are welcome, and where people are respected regardless of their title or other superficial characteristics.


  10. "Great Firm!"

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

    I worked at NBBJ part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Culture, great design. Firm always pushes forward.

    Cons

    Disorganized, management not strong. Not the best culture.

    Advice to Management

    Be strong!


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