SAA Reviews | Glassdoor

SAA Reviews

Updated May 16, 2018
30 reviews

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3.0
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Nelson Algaze
21 Ratings

30 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Entrepreneurial culture; company built to develop industry leaders and experts in corporate interiors and architecture."

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

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

    Pros

    - Great structure and support system to develop industry leaders and become experts in all aspects of corporate architecture.
    - Better than most in vacation days, benefits, and work atmosphere
    - Transparency in all aspects of projects, project teams are trusted to plan and execute projects and thus be held accountable
    - Availability and direct access to all levels of the company including upper management and executives
    - Company encourages employees to build relationships with clients and would not interfere

    Cons

    - Company is constantly evolving and morphing the business to the changing market and business climate (to some may be a negative because of a fear of change). Truthfully the company doesn’t always get it right the first time and can be frustrating. But is adapting to stay ahead of the market better or continuing with a system until it fails better? Depends on employee mindset.
    - Communications of initiatives from upper management to staff have room for improvement
    - Office and team cultures varies
    - Not a good fit for those who like to be GIVEN information and solutions
    - Growing pains and failures; to be successful and become an expert employees will face a lot of challenges and failures along the way. Some people embrace this as fuel and others view it as career ceilings, it depends on your personality and mindset

    Advice to Management

    - Unifying the message and executing initiatives across all offices can be improved
    - Vulnerability lies in individual teams’ operations and culture. Team leaders should meet regularly for feedback and discussions.
    - Measuring systems for team performance and efficiencies are well established from a financial standpoint but lacks a system to measure team chemistry and compatibility


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Mediocre at best"

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

    I worked at SAA full-time

    Pros

    Involvement of all roles to be a part of the process.
    PMs take JCs and Designers to client meetings at times so everyone can learn.

    Cons

    Little to no mentorship
    Promotions and raises are scarce unless you aggressively fight for it. Makes staff feel like they are underappreciated.
    Cut back all staff events outside of birthday celebrations.
    Compartmentalizing of design vs production is not preferred.
    Management unorganized and unresponsive. Complaints are acknowledged but problems are not fixed. Nonsensical solutions to have upper management staff performing tasks that is completely outside of their role.
    Most higher level staff have major superiority complex. Rude design team leaders.
    Not many design projects. Mainly Landlord TI so just be aware if you join.
    Required to utilize internal team services but fees are so high and hard to justify to clients.

    Advice to Management

    Consider what you would feel if you were in the staff level and how management is running things. Everyone should know their role and treat all with respect despite level of employment.
    Why is Marketing and IT taking on HR roles?

  3. "Great place to start your career."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newport Beach, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newport Beach, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Ability to lead projects and run your own course was beneficial for me as I’m a very independent worker.

    Chair massages, snacks, wine downs and goodies celebrating special days were nice advantages to coming to work.

    SAA recognizes talent from entry level to higher Job Captain status. It’s difficult to move into a PM role and after you’ve peaked at the top designer / JC role, you become quite stagnant.

    Marketing does a great job placing special touches on every bit of collateral. Unified branding which is identifiable against other firms.

    Cons

    Transparency is not prevalent in SAA culture. Many rumors spread about office changes due to unclear communication to teams. Team members gossip about each other and do not lift one another up. When one team member is slammed and another team member is slow, management does not equalize workload to ensure everyone is contributing.

    The reputation in the design community with SAA is sub par, cheap firm that has turnover. Not recognized or acknowledged for producing high design projects, as they may be few and far between.

    Toxic employees who have hurt culture or team morale have not been booted out. Holding on to entry level employees who have poor work ethic, slow drive and lack of care for one another has made going into work unenjoyable.

    Due to open work environment, screens are very viewable. Many employees tend to look at celebrity gossip or online shopping throughout the day. It’s demotivating for the hard working employees who are constantly bringing work home. It’s bizarre how many sites are able to be accessed during work hours.

    Acoustical issues with talking on the phone to clients in an open environment. Culture is to yell across the room at one another instead of allowing someone on the phone to hear their conversation. Very embarrassed on many client calls due to sounding like I was working in a barn.

    Advice to Management

    Place your employees as top priority. Ensure all management have certifications and accolades to warrant their position. Allow for employees to serve on organizational boards. Share best practices across offices. Share design projects case studies across the offices so we are aware of what one another is doing. Allow employees to review their management, versus top down.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Not a place for someone to learn and grow up the ladder."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Weekly chair massage, one on one conversations with the CEO.

    Cons

    This company doesn't have setup standards, employee are compelled to work with what they learnt prior to joining them and as a result, the final product is not consistent and have errors. If you are new in the industry, you are not learning things correctly here. The company doesn't have an appetite to allow employee to learn from their mistakes and pressurize them to work under tight deadlines and budgets without providing proper resources and training. As one of the previous reviews mentioned, don't expect anyone to tell you what to do, meaning you are not going to get any guidance here & you are on your own.


  5. "Sweat shop"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Job Captain in Culver City, CA
    Former Employee - Job Captain in Culver City, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The company will pay well if you ask for it because that will be the only reason why people will want to work here. Parking is free in Culver City office and there are free snacks...that’s pretty much it.

    Cons

    Gossiping, lack of management skills, lack of coordination within teams, mediocre design and designers

    GOSSIPING- A lot of people gossip in this office way too much (they should know who they are) and it makes it very uncomfortable to work sometimes. There’s a lack of professionalism and mannerism in this studio.

    There’s a lot of pointing fingers and blaming. It shows a lack of comradery.

    LACK OF EXPERIENCED LEADERS!!!


  6. "Toxic work environment & culture!"

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

    I worked at SAA full-time

    Pros

    Decent pay & free snacks, that's probably about it.

    Oh, and there's cake sometimes.

    Cons

    -Too many cliques and even more gossip. Co-workers say horrible things about each other on the Skype instant message system they have installed on everyone's computer, making it even easier to talk sh_t about people without getting caught. (Unless you accidentally leave it up on your computer screen...)

    -If you are not apart of the main design group, you will be 100% shunned and ignored. The people here are not very friendly, & I definitely didn't feel welcomed when I first started. Barely anyone introduced themselves to me, so here I was stuck with my couple of teammates shoved in a corner. Few people could even mutter a 'Good morning', 'Hello', nothing. They simply walk past you and avoid eye contact.

    -You will feel like an AutoCAD robot. Except you won't have much work to do. So you'll feel like a useless AutoCAD robot, with an unfilled timesheet.

    -The building is not the best, very dated and uninspiring. Just a white box, with white benches, with a sea of black monitors everywhere. No color. Zero privacy, no panels or dividers whatsoever. I found it extremely distracting to work this way. The acoustics were horrible, as there were all unfinished cement floors. The kitchen is horrendous and looks like it's straight out of the 80's or that ugly phase of the early 90's. I guess all the cool people get to sit upstairs.

    -The "Summer hours" ("half day Fridays") are a joke! They have "shifts" and sometimes you are forced to come in the later half of Friday, which completely defeats the purpose of having a half day Friday!If I can't beat the rush hour traffic, then what is the point?? Isn't that the point? Traffic was absolutely horrendous in that area, just to stroll into the office and have nothing to do. Not fun.

    -As previously mentioned, most of the time you will have no work to do. (At least I didn't.) Just picture 30 hours a week of just sitting there, doing nothing, pretending to be busy. When you finally DO get work, it will be the most boring project you could possibly imagine. As the previous reviewer said, "SAA is really nothing more than paint + carpet". I really wish I would have never taken this position. I do not recommend working here!

    Advice to Management

    Slap some color on those walls aside from that horrendous orange you put in the hallway. Maybe just demo the entire kitchen while you're at it.

    You need better business development so that you can get more work/ better projects. The CEO needs to be more present and train the leadership better so that maybe it will trickle down.

    Clean house and start over, like the previous reviewer mentioned.


  7. "Employee"

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

    I worked at SAA full-time

    Pros

    Great health benefits, Gym reimbursement, chair massages, Friday wine downs and for the most part the people on teams were fun to work with. Orange County office by far was the most fun.

    Cons

    New management, work environment became hostile. Upper management had little to no regard on how their employees were doing. All about profit and business. No appreciation for their employees who did all the work. Very litttle room for advancement.

    Advice to Management

    Take of care your employees and they will take care of your business. Clients don't come first, your employees do.

  8. "SAA review"

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

    I have been working at SAA full-time

    Pros

    Generally good benefits - cell phone and gym reimbursement. Organized production team, marketing, and accounting teams. Owners open to change and suggestions

    Cons

    Healthcare is fine for individuals, but very expensive for spouse and family


  9. "No loyalty to employees"

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

    I worked at SAA full-time

    Pros

    Good benefits, excellent PTO, partial gym reimbursement. The Managing Director of Culver City and Downtown LA is great.

    Cons

    CEO talks a good game but when it comes down to it, he is not a good guy. He badmouths his partner on a regular basis. The best people on the executive team were let go a couple years ago.

    Advice to Management

    Live by the supposed core values of the company.


  10. "SAA"

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

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

    Pros

    Many social events, everybody is polite and willing to help you, the opportunity to advance in terms of salary and position and training is good.

    Cons

    -like any other company salary could be a bit higher
    -work can become monotonous
    -project are mostly office spaces(Tenant Improvement)


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