Sasaki Associates Reviews in Watertown, MA | Glassdoor

Sasaki Associates Watertown Reviews

Updated March 29, 2017
19 reviews

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Watertown, MA

3.2
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Sasaki Associates Managing Principal James Miner
James Miner
5 Ratings

19 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Improving Design Chops"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Architect in Watertown, MA
    Current Employee - Architect in Watertown, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Sasaki is at an interesting point in its identity as a firm where it seems to be beginning to embrace the idea that it can have a global footprint. The planning and urban design work being done around the world is at the top of its class. Landscape architecture projects are also getting better. Architizer even named Sasaki one of the 15 landscape architecture firms to watch... It would be great if the architecture group embraced this design ethos. Architecture is still dragging the rest of the firm down, failing to really have any breakthrough projects with a very regional and campus focus instead of embracing an opportunity to do something truly cutting edge.

    Cons

    Still a very parochial feel in the architecture group, despite others in the office doing amazing work around the world. Maybe that's because we are stuck in Watertown. Leadership doesn't seem to embrace that they are perceived as one of the top international design firms and don't really celebrate that type of work.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on improving design quality of the architecture studio and try to lead the conversation in the industry by doing something bold instead of the status quo of safe project types.


  2. "Mixed bag at Sasaki"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Planner in Watertown, MA
    Former Employee - Planner in Watertown, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Flexible, fun and relaxed office culture

    Cons

    Limited advancement opportunities; management not transparent

    Advice to Management

    Pay more attention to employee advancement and overall wellness. Though nice, office perks like espresso makers don't replace work-life balance


  3. "Working at Sasaki"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Watertown, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Watertown, MA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Sasaki Associates (More than a year)

    Pros

    The best thing about this practice is great people who work here. It’s a very relaxed and friendliest environment possible. Easy hours and flexible work environment.

    Cons

    While the planning and urban design departments seem to be doing good work and getting international and domestic recognition, architecture is still struggling in terms of quality. A very top heavy firm (around 40 principals on 200 employees) is not finding a common language and unable to have a clear direction of what the firm should be.
    The same top heavy structure reflects on teams. It is a very though working place for mid-level and senior architect (who are not in the project management) with strong design abilities and knowledge of CAD programs. Instead of promoting and supporting this profile, letting them grow and giving more responsibilities, they end up doing all the production work, because “nobody else knows how to do it”. A paradox where people with less knowledge of the profession (technical, creative or production abilities) are put in managerial positions because they “can’t do things”, and the most capable end up being “punished” for that doing all the work (including the one that junior staff should be doing -and learning how to do it).
    It’s an unstructured environment where junior staff aspires to do project management or business development, while some principals are actively building Revit models. Very few people aspire of do design or a better architecture, as being a designer is perceived as the person who is coming in the end of the process to do the heavy production work and embellishments.
    Promotions don’t mean a salary raise nor a yearly bonus increase.


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  5. "Project Engineer"

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

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

    Pros

    It was really a collaborative environment.

    Worked on exciting projects all over the world.

    The experience gained cannot compare to anything else I have experienced.

    Cons

    Extremely clicky office environment. Office cliques tend to form most in corporate environments with weak management, and at Sasaki I felt this was the case.

    Promotions, project awards, and benefits were awarded to best liked employees/friends and not to most qualified individuals.

    There is a lot of pressure to go above and beyond the line of duty, and it is expected that one shall put in an enormous amount of time and effort into work. It seems that if you put your own family ahead of the company (especially if you're not "in" with the right people), then you will be passed over on future projects (which will put you on the fast-track to a layoff). It was extremely difficult to manage work-life balance for people with children.

    Advice to Management

    Understand that the core values that the founders of this once great company established do not exist anymore. There is quite a bit of nepotism. Showing off gets you more rewarded than a job well done. Even clients have sent letters explaining that your focus is not in the best interests of the clients, but in your personal accolades and awards.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Landscape Architect"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Landscape Architect in Watertown, MA
    Current Employee - Landscape Architect in Watertown, MA
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Interesting, nice people. A place that offers flexible opportunities to learn, interesting presentations, and a vast array or interests.

    Cons

    Top heavy management, poor communication between upper management and staff. Poor staff retention. Unbalanced staffing between extremely heavy and extremely light workloads. Lacking in built work integrity.


  7. Helpful (10)

    "A Mixed Bag"

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

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

    Pros

    All the perks of the best design firms: In-house lectures, art exhibits, happy hours, you name it.

    Academic-tinted firm with close ties to interesting research going on at Harvard and MIT (which are feeder schools to the firm).

    Many amazing designers, with a number of standout professionals who I'm honored to call my coworkers. The firm’s software development group, “Sasaki Strategies,” is an industry leader.

    Open, casual, and relaxed atmosphere in a restored mill along the Charles River.

    A full range of ages represented, with young people looking to make friends and older folks open to mentoring opportunities (this coming from a younger perspective).

    Cons

    Very high turnover for those under age 30. Few young employees make it past the 2 year mark; work-life balance is a very real problem, as is recognition of contributions from junior level staff.

    Never ending deadlines foster a high stress environment (no overtime pay, nor a comp time policy).

    Very poor staffing and management processes that result in unexpected weekends in the office, overstaffed employees, and under-budgeted projects. Management of the company will always be a pawn to "design" in this office (some think that's good, some do not).

    If you are not a planner/designer, you are a [far] second class citizen. Opportunities for growth and recognition within the Marketing, IT, and Accounting teams are, plain and simple, very poor.

    The executive leadership team is inexperienced (fact) and it shows (opinion). The firm recently went through a leadership overhaul and there have been serious missteps throughout that process, some of which resulted in the departure of folks who many considered to be the firm's best designers. If you are popular with this new leadership group, Sasaki is a great place to be. But if you make waves or speak out, good luck to you.

    Advice to Management

    You have an amazing base of talented professionals capable of great work. Buzzwords like innovation and collaboration aren't going to make them stick around. Focus on actually retaining talent by implementing real management practices and giving people the space to do their best work.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Landscape Designer, Watertown"

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

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

    Pros

    Various types of projects going on with good benefits. Many interesting lectures and happy hours.

    Cons

    Unhealthy culture cause talent people left. Poor management and staffing and less communication.

    Advice to Management

    Have more communication with your employee and get them to do their best work.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "Ship is sinking for senior staff that care about how the place used to be ..."

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

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

    Pros

    Great teams and people to work with. Our client focus is the ideal when trying to collaborate. Great benefits, and an amazing office to work in with great human & physical resources.

    Cons

    The office has not been listening to our clients. And this is reflecting on the projects we are loosing to other companies that do listen. This is fostering a culture that everyone is replaceable and not really key to the success of the firm. Collaboration happens in silos, and not across the firm as advertised.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to people and try to retain them by giving respect, opportunities and salary before they are ready and decided to leave.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Graphic Design Intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Graphic Design Intern in Watertown, MA
    Former Employee - Graphic Design Intern in Watertown, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Wide variety of clients, interesting work, definite appreciation for all iterations of design, very multi-disciplinary, clearly value their interns, didn't feel belittled

    Cons

    Not a huge amount of cohesion within the Graphic Design Department, some work was particularly tedious, graphic designers often were asked to do menial work because they were the only ones with knowledge of the Creative Suite

    Advice to Management

    Expand the Graphic Design department to include production artists and project managers that cater specifically to the work being done within the department.


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Great hands on experience with all phases of the design projects in a wide variety of design sectors"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Interior Designer in Watertown, MA
    Current Employee - Interior Designer in Watertown, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Sasaki Associates full-time

    Pros

    Flexible working schedules, casual and informal working atmosphere, strong focus on interdisciplinary design

    Cons

    Poor staffing strategies, continuous flow of projects with poor clients/contractors/consultants


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