SERA Architects Reviews | Glassdoor

SERA Architects Reviews

Updated January 3, 2019
19 reviews

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4.2
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SERA Architects Managing Principal, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB Joe Pinzone
Joe Pinzone
11 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    "Entrepreneurial Spirit, Commitment to Community"

    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 SERA Architects full-time

    Pros

    Good place to grow as a junior designer. Flat organizationally (best idea culture). Innovative work. Dedicated to sustainability.

    Cons

    Larger firm means you may not meet everyone, or it will take longer.


  2. "Extremely Supportive and Encouraging"

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

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

    Pros

    The culture of the company is very open and accepting of people from all sorts of backgrounds. The CEO is always looking to improve and stay on top of workplace trends -- looking for new ways to improve the companies "wow" factor to both employees and clients. If you fit with the culture, it's a very comfortable work environment with many people of different backgrounds.

    SERA tends to be a bit less traditional when it comes to looking for viable employees, allowing people to explore what their interested in (as long as you express it). Each studio has a different feel to it but by no means does that mean you're constrained to one particular discipline. SERA will often pull people from one studio to another in order to utilize strengths and promote personal growth.

    In no way do I feel like I can't express my opinion nor do I feel like no one is listening. My particular studio has an immense amount of collaboration with virtually no tension/discrepancies between employees. My time here has mostly been extremely positive but, like most things in life, you get out of it what you put in to it.

    Finally, my opinion on the work/life balance HR talks about so much is a matter of how you frame the situation. I've heard many people feel like the work/life balance is definitely skewed toward more work less life but I've also heard and seen first-hand management be very flexible with the things that come up in life (e.g. sick kids, needing to work from home, medical leave/unexpected events occurring). Nearly every team I've been on has always been willing to pick up the slack or help you out in one way or another.

    Cons

    Large company so you may not be able to get to know absolutely everyone... but that's really up to whether or not you attend company events or put yourself out there to get to know people.

    The company is growing quite rapidly. Therefore, the higher up you go in the company, the increased likelihood of working longer hours until they finally fill those crucial roles.

    The company is employee owned (which is a very positive thing) but because of this, SERA tends to make big decisions at a slower pace

    Advice to Management

    I just wish we lived in an America focused on high productivity with lower working hours... but when you work in an industry focused around billable hours, the outlook for that is dismal.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Extremely disorganized and lacks structure"

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

    I worked at SERA Architects full-time

    Pros

    Pay is decent.
    Benefits are good.

    Cons

    Everyone tries to step all over each other.
    People are extremely unfriendly.
    There's a lot of favoritism towards people who have been with the firm for a while, which is understandable, but in a lot of cases, these people don't always have the best qualifications. Management keeps promoting individuals who have no experience and lack leadership skills. At the end of the day you get a lot of bossy folks running the show which just creates an extremely unpleasant work atmosphere.


  4. "Progressive awesome company culture"

    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 SERA Architects full-time

    Pros

    Encourages creativity and not a stuffy work environment. Really great perks like a free Trimet hop card and other benefits. The firm also has really impressive projects and clients. Really great structure in place for onboarding.

    Cons

    Expectation to work 50+hrs a week even though they often talk about work life balance. Be ready to work hard and long hours.


  5. "Awesome work place!"

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

    I have been working at SERA Architects full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Employee-owned
    Great work-life balance
    Friendly staff & office
    Great benefits

    Cons

    Can't really think of a bad thing about the office


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Interior Designer"

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

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

    Pros

    SERA creates an egalitarian environment where all voices, ideas and input are heard. Very supportive upper management encourages flexible schedules that help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. Upper management really cares about employees personal and professional development and strives to help employees navigate a path to successfully reach their goals.

    Cons

    On the flip side, protracted decision making is common at SERA because everyone’s voice is considered.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to listen, be supportive and engaged in employees welfare and development.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Supportive, Autonomous Environment"

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

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

    Pros

    No palpable hierarchy, incredibly talented people, ability to create your own workday, HR is proactive and supportive, great work/life balance, employee owned with great benefits

    Cons

    Management could implement a stronger path to success based on individual skills and company needs, ESOP buy-in could be shorter (6 years to be fully vested)

  8. "One big family...."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Specification Writer/Architect in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Specification Writer/Architect in Portland, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    SERA is employee owned, which makes you feel as though you are a part of the whole process of making SERA a success. Everyone is friendly, motivated and eager to learn and improve which makes SERA a fun place to work. Like one big family...

    Cons

    Nothing I can thing of at the moment, but I guess I have to put in 20 words so that I can move on....

    Advice to Management

    Good management group, very transparent with the success of the firm. Approachable group, concerned about employee happiness, and career advancement.


  9. "Collaborative and engaging environment"

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

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

    Pros

    Employees and leaders at SERA are passionate about the impact we have on our environment, community, and each other. Inspired and proud to be a part of what we do here.

    Cons

    Our culture encourages a high level of involvement / collaboration which is very positive, but can also be challenging to move initiatives forward at times. People have to be comfortable with that.

    Advice to Management

    Keep being flexible with staff, advocating for work/life balance, focused on career development opportunities for all staff.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at SERA Architects full-time

    Pros

    The work environment is really fun, there are lots of "extra-curricular" activities (charettes, etc) and the people are nice. Management wants to help you become what you want and help you you hone your interests within the company.

    Cons

    The job is not very enriching itself, there is a very regimented way of designing things. The mentality is just to push things through Design Review by using the formula that works, without exploring design options or examining the social and economic implications on the neighborhoods the projects will affect.

    There is also a lot of kowtow to developers, which is sad. I think it undermines the profession and leads to lower quality work.

    Advice to Management

    Allow young people to have more of a contribution to the entire process! I think because SERA has grown so quickly in such a short amount of time, the organization and hierarchy of the studios has gone a little awry. I think it is important to talk to new people and get their impressions of the functionality of the firm, they might have valuable initial impressions.

    Also, assess the quality of the projects we are producing! One or two people producing all of the projects in a studio (especially the housing studio) does not allow for diversity of ideas. There is no checks and balances system to ensure that we are always producing the highest quality work, and it often seems like the lead architects are too busy to invest time in the consideration of every aspect of a project. Divvy up the work more proportionally, and let others play a hand. That would make me feel more invested in SERA.