Opower Reviews in Arlington, VA | Glassdoor

Opower Arlington Reviews

9 reviews

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Arlington, VA

3.0
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Opower Founder & CEO Daniel Yates
Daniel Yates
6 Ratings

9 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The company was a fast moving, meritocracy, where smart people did good work (in 21 reviews)

  • excellent work/life balance with freedom to work from home (though you won't want to) (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • A terrible work/life balance has now been made worse (in 14 reviews)

  • Everyone's main complaint is the lack of a 401k match (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (20)

    "Good place to work, but the future is scary"

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

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

    Pros

    1. Great work/life culture. Everyone there is friendly
    2. Ideas are encouraged and people are open for feedback and conversations
    3. Benefits are outstanding with free snacks, drinks and catered meals weekly.

    Cons

    1. Management seems to make poor decisions on the line of hiring while we are losing money.
    2. Being a young company has some issues with the pipeline and the hiring practices.

    Advice to Management

    Stop hiring like crazy while we are starting to let people go. It was nice having a holiday party, cater meals, but I am now worried about having my job in the next few months with almost every quarter being Red.

    Opower Response

    Jan 27, 2016 – People Team Representative

    Thank you for the feedback. Our past financial performance is publicly available, and we can't talk about our financial future. However, our hiring plans include continuing to grow in areas that are ... More


  2. Helpful (8)

    "Company with great PR but...."

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

    I have been working at Opower full-time

    Pros

    Free snacks
    Dog-friendly
    Great place for the young and single
    Sharp bunch
    Fraternity like place

    Cons

    Lack of diversity
    Inconsistent about work flexibility
    Not great place for people with kids
    No transparency on upward mobility
    No flex time
    No 401K match

    Advice to Management

    Get some consistent policies in place and make it public, not leaving personnel policies to the manager's discretion.

    Opower Response

    Jan 5, 2016 – People Team Representative

    We appreciate the feedback. Our People team is working on a few initiatives for 2016 that will address your concerns - stay tuned!


  3. Helpful (10)

    "Some good, some bad"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Smart, generally engaged co-workers
    Opportunities for mentorship and learning from some of the best
    Unique company at the intersection of energy and technology
    Outside brand recognition and interest in company
    Contrary to what others say, good work/life balance compared with consulting/banking, probably bad when compared with working a more general "industry" role

    Cons

    Increasingly confused mission, value proposition of original energy efficiency product was direct and marketable, but increasing forays into broader aspects of utility operations have less clear value proposition from the outside and are problematically moving the company away from its pure play roots and focus on double bottom line

    Frustratingly, there's also a pervasive thread of elitism in the organization, which manifests itself in management seeming ignorant of significant problems with employee satisfaction and the company's product/mission (not sure if this is purposeful of not). This needs to change!

    There's also a huge amount of pressure on middle managers and lower level employees to deliver value through improving products and thinking of new products to design, build, and sell. However, there's so much pressure that some pretty shaky ideas move up through the organization, while the tenuous nature of these ideas is hidden behind powerpoint slides and other charades.

    Finally, compensation and perks are just not satisfactory. Many employees complain of taking a big compensation hit when they moved to Opower. While this may have been okay in the early days when the company had start up value and a sole double bottom line mission, now that it's an established company and the equity isn't doing all that great, compensation needs to be commensurate with the caliber of people Opower is trying to hire.

    Advice to Management

    Own up to what's going wrong with this company, show humility, and fix it. There's a lot of value to be had with all the client relationships, data, and products, but think deeply about what the industry needs and don't try to sell snake oil. The original ee product had clear, tangible value proposition. You have a behavioral design hammer that worked at least once, but the company needs to be more flexible than applying this hammer to every problem. You have the brand recognition, and breadth and diversity of talent to pursue many paths to growth in this industry.

    I'm really excited about what this company can accomplish, but there has to be change.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    "Lots of opportunities, lots of issues"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engagement Manager in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Engagement Manager in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Career growth opportunities, high level of personal autonomy, talented and highly motivated colleagues. Opower is a great place to learn how to work with different kinds of super-smart people all while working for a noble cause.

    Cons

    While the people are talented, a collaborative and constructive team culture is noticeably absent. When faced with challenges, the first reaction most often encountered is "how did this happen" rather than "let's find a solution", especially when working across different departments. The strongest leaders in the company are those that adopt a solution-oriented approach, but there are too few of those in the middle and upper management ranks.

    Professional development culture is basically non-existent. Opportunities exist as the company is growing, but upper management doesn't place a priority on people development. As a result honest feedback is hard to come by, finding mentors is difficult and most bosses don't take an active role in developing and creating opportunities for their reports.

    Finally, Opower's people practices are incredibly poor. The HR team seems to exist primarily to protect the companies interests rather than keeping employees happy. The fact that pay and benefits are slightly below average doesn't help, especially as Opower is no longer a hip startup but a public company whose challenges attracting talent will only grow.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in caring for your people, delegate more decision-making authority and really listen to clients and their needs.

    Opower Response

    Dec 9, 2014 – Employer Brand Manager

    Thank you for sharing your insight. It’s always helpful to hear things from a different perspective. That said, I’m sorry to hear you are feeling this way. Earlier in 2014, we brought on our first ... More


  6. Helpful (13)

    "Wasted potential"

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

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

    Pros

    Opower has high hiring standards in most areas, and it's nice to be around so many talented people. It's also a company where people become close friends with their coworkers.

    The mission is legit. You feel like your work is meaningful because it saves people money and reduces carbon emissions.

    Cons

    Compensation is always the lowest possible amount HR thinks they can get away with. People get huge counteroffers, and most of them leave anyway because they were insulted. Of course, if management and HR thinks they can string someone along with the promise of a possible raise in a few months, they'll do that instead of a firm counteroffer. Always the lowest compensation possible.

    The CFO runs the company and refuses to invest in R&D. Teams go underfunded, maintenance gets neglected, quality slips in embarrassing ways, revenue is lost, and then there's a bunch of meetings where management thinks really hard about how to solve all these problems in ways other than hiring people to work on them. There are armies of people at Opower who analyze processes and organizational efficiency, though.

    Opower Response

    Oct 16, 2014 – Employer Brand Manager

    We appreciate your feedback and are sincerely sorry to hear you feel this way. Fortunately, the concern about compensation was identified in the recent Oployee survey and an action plan is already in ... More


  7. Helpful (12)

    "Great people and a worthwhile mission, but there is an incredible amount of tech debt. Also, the software stack is too complicated for its own good."

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

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

    Pros

    The people. There are some incredibly smart and interesting people at the company, and the mission is something that people rally behind.

    Cons

    Being an engineer on the operations side is soul sucking.

    Advice to Management

    Just hire a CTO all ready. Also, please stop calling the only product that makes you money, and the thing that all your clients are using "the legacy application". You are driving great engineers away with the crazy tech debt, the over-complicated software stack, and the dirty hacks "for now" that persist in production.

    Also, pay your operations people. Why do you pay $90k - 180k to engineers to work in a vacuum and eventually crap out the next version of abandonware, while operations engineers who are on call for this garbage make $60k - $100k?

    Opower Response

    Oct 15, 2014 – Employer Brand Manager

    We're so sorry to hear you feel this way and appreciate your feedback greatly. We've forwarded your concerns to HR leadership. Also, we expect to be sharing our compensation philosophy by the end of ... More


  8. Helpful (8)

    "Wonderful. Chaotic & disorganized. Poor compensation."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -terrific company culture on many levels
    -hire the most intelligent, hard-working people
    -semi-stocked fridge/pantry & fun events
    -open/flexible work environment

    Cons

    -semi-stocked fridge/pantry
    -HR is a mess that operates with the disorganization of a small start-up and the snail's pace of a large company—the worst of both worlds
    -another HR issue: compensation is low; they hire the best ppl, but don't do well to retain them
    -general chaos, disorganization, lack of processes/guidance in many aspects of the company

    Advice to Management

    At a behavioral science company, HR should be utilizing forward-thinking practices based on behavioral science to motivate and retain employees. Also, the general expectation of a much-more-than-40-hour work week does not align with the low compensation.

    Opower Response

    Oct 14, 2014 – Employer Brand Manager

    We sincerely appreciate your review and are sorry to hear you feel this way. Hearing from Oployees is crucial to maintaining our culture as we continue to rapidly expand in the U.S. and globally ... More


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Still a decent place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    * Very smart people. Lots of very intelligent, very dedicated people. Most have a good attitude and make it enjoyable to collaborate.
    * Great company mission.
    * President Alex is very inspiring and a true leader.
    * Good location in Arlington. Not far from DC with lots of restaurants and housing options for those who move to the area.
    * Fun office distractions -- lots of parties, happy hours, free shwag, to keep things exciting and wow employees who have never seen anything similar at a workplace.
    * Many opportunities to perform well and earn promotions.

    Cons

    * Work-life balance is terrible. People are expected to be always on and prepared to produce under unrealistic deadlines.
    * Client delivery teams perpetually operate under impossible deadlines and their chaos drives people out of that organization. It's also hard to attract the right kind of talent here. Chaos rains down on other parts of the company from the delivery teams.
    * Compensation is not very competitive, and Opower is stingy with stock. S1 filing indicates that the founders own 39% of the company still, but nearly every employee, new or old, was granted a negligible number of options.

    Advice to Management

    Still a pretty decent place to work. Try to be more generous with stock and compensation because it will give employees a feeling of ownership and loyalty. We are generous with our time and effort on a daily basis and want to feel valued. Try to get more training for your middle managers, some of them are making their employees lives miserable.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "The people are nice."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Recommends

    Pros

    The best reason to work at OPOWER are the startup culture, the nice managers, and the friendliness of the employees.

    Cons

    The downside of working at OPOWER is that it is growing so fast that there are some real culture and process issues from the difference generations of employees.

    Advice to Management

    I would tell them to try to better structure departments and define roles. It can be hard to keep employees if they end up doing work different from what they were hired to do or are put so far out of their comfort zone, they are destined to fail.



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