a la mode Reviews | Glassdoor

a la mode Reviews

Updated June 28, 2017
40 reviews

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2.9
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Jay Shafer
26 Ratings

40 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great place to grow professionally"

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

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

    Pros

    (Excuse the wall of text. It’s thorough.)

    This place understands the importance of employee advocacy. I have seen far too many companies allow their commitment to their employees fall by the wayside in favor of pushing revenue. This place doesn’t do that, and in turn employees are happier, more effective, and actually LIKE coming to work. I consistently see employers and employees actively working for each other to make the business better, and in my opinion this has created a really fantastic working environment.

    Work hard, and you’ll be given guidance (especially if you ask for it). I started as a CSR, moved into a Senior Tech position, and have since moved into a salaried position in relatively little time – and I’ve seen others do the same! Management aims to help nurture your strengths and give you a fair shake with opportunities that fit. You won’t get very far if you aren’t willing to put in the effort, though.

    The benefits are good too:
    • Base pay was increased to $30k over a year ago
    • We get awesome medical/dental/vision options
    • Optional 401k with company match and super quick vesting
    • Flexible leave time (even for phone based employees – I’ve seen this company bend over backwards for people with personal/medical/family issues, some of which would be grounds for termination in other places)
    • Free food in the café, an annual food allowance, and twice-a-week food trucks
    • Extensive training that really is available to you if you want it and ask for it. I’ve seen reviews here that talk about little training, and if I asked I was always given opportunities. They’ve even ordered books on employees’ behalf (if requested) for career growth.
    • Monthly surveys from management to see how they can improve the company/work environment from an EMPLOYEE standpoint – whaaat? A company wanting internal feedback?!

    Additionally, the people I work with are people I can be comfortable around. I have no fear of approaching anyone with a “stupid” question or email, or just to say hello, regardless of tenure or position. No one is off limits, and everyone welcomes new ideas and conversation about how to do business. It’s a really progressive, organic way to work, and the results speak for themselves.

    Cons

    No real cons here. I’ve seen plenty of “STAY AWAY” reviews. I’m a bit confused by this, as many people I talk to really enjoy what they do here. Every company will have frustrating points and communication gaps, but looking at the broader picture, this company outshines every other place I’ve worked. Most of the frustrations I run into are daily parts of [any] job.

    Advice to Management

    You're doing great at trying to be accessible and open, but sometimes it's hard to get you in a room to talk about projects/products or get timely responses to messages or emails. Other than that, you're awesome. I love that you're open to ideas from every employee.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Support Desk"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Support Representative in Edmond, OK
    Former Employee - Technical Support Representative in Edmond, OK
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The man who owns this company is a person who cares about the employees. He provided breakfast and lunch. Would hold meetings to get insight from the employees. He then Would Act on it. What a rare breed, he truly cares.

    Cons

    The people in mid management were to "green" to hold the job. The manager over the area was someone who did not seem to know what he was doing. I was at a loss over some of the decisions made. I had done well , at the last help desk job. Joined A La Mode and was excited. However, the popular byline was if you did not meet a stat goal was... Maybe you don't want to be here. I thought wow, never led a team this way. Maybe I don't need to be here. Funny thing is I had to leave because I was not making enough. Another interesting point, the next place I went I was back on top. Tons of CE, notable improvements, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Be team builders, take a few classes on how to lead a team if you are a Lead. I led a team of 23 and took them to the top. And they stayed there. It was alot of work, sitting with them, honing them, zeroing in on where the failure points were. All this while doing my normal job. If the change can be made, then you will get teams that will be built around success and not failures

  3. Helpful (2)

    "An intense, one-of-a-kind experience"

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

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

    Pros

    Join the brotherhood of former employees in the rapidly expanding support group for survivors of the 'mode! When you tell people you used to work at a la mode, others who made it out alive are quick to embrace you and comfort you with an encouraging, heartfelt "It gets better." It's actually really good for making new friends.

    Cons

    This company will treat you like a king! That king, unfortunately, is Sisyphus. It's a grueling job trying to support a bad, outdated product for leadership that has a hostile attitude toward employees and customers alike. There is a dark cloud of misery that permeates every corner of that building and slowly eats away at your soul.

    Advice to Management

    Stop saying you 'work hard and play hard' to dismiss the horrible working conditions and your obvious drinking problems. Just be better.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great company - one of the best in Oklahoma"

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

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

    Pros

    a la mode is right up there with some of the best companies to work for in Oklahoma. The leadership is hands-on and genuinely cares. I appreciate the Fourth Friday staff meetings where our CEO and other members of management share information on goals and new product releases. The company has a cool work environment where you can come as you are (no dress code). Not to mention, free health care, having just about every Friday off, snacks and food trucks, no vacation policy, etc.

    Cons

    No cons in my eyes. A lot of people complain about work - there are long days and stressful situations, but that's part of any job. If you can't handle that - it's on you, not the company.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work. Always be listening for new ideas and never be afraid to try something a little new and different.


  5. Helpful (18)

    "Lacks communication and heavy micromanagement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Specialist in Oklahoma City, OK
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance Specialist in Oklahoma City, OK
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at a la mode full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    There is potential to move up within the company. If you put forth the effort and hard work, you may have a chance at moving on to a new position. All health benefits (health, vision, and dental) are paid for by the company. Free snacks and fountain drinks within the cafe. Food trucks a couple times a week. The yearly Christmas party is great fun and no expense is spared. (Except they take away the Dom and Cristal, what's up with that?) The four-day work week for salaried employees is great. It is easy to make friends and get to know your co-workers. It's a great place to add some skills to your resume.

    Cons

    The project management team has no final say in what actually goes into the product. They basically make a mock-up for the owner to decide if he likes it or not. The owner is not quick to go over these mock-ups, so we start development and testing before the final decision has been made. This requires development refactoring and new development, as well as retesting. Many releases aren't given enough time to test thoroughly, new development testing or regression; so the product is buggy as a result. Releases were fueled by new development (not necessary bug fixes and stability improvements) and putting out fires that customers are complaining about.
    Communication is very poor. Long term goals with the product are not communicated with the development team. Plans are constantly changing. Choices are made hastily and not well thought-out.
    The most recent round of layoffs were pre-empted with a large hiring initiative (hence the food trucks, allowing more remote employees, four day work weeks (not 40 hours a week), etc.). However, not even 4 months later they stated we were overstaffed and all cutbacks would be done through cutting workers. The layoffs weren't done in a day, week, or even a month. The layoffs spanned a course of 2 to 3 months. Many employees were scared for their job, uneasy at work, and generally unhappy with no communication from management with what was happening. Morale was at an all-time low during my employment. Who would be next?
    Compensation is generally under what similar local positions pay.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs some training on how to run a tech company. The development lifecycle is poor and inefficient. Project managers need to have the power to make major project decisions. The owner needs be more hands-on if he is going to have the final say. His decisions are late to the game and cause of extra work which creates frustration and buggy software.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Great opportunity for a hard working kid with a knack for software"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Oklahoma City, OK
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Oklahoma City, OK
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at a la mode full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I started at a la mode in technical support and quickly worked my way into quality assurance and eventually into product management. It's been several years since I've left and I can't speak to how things are there now, but I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunities given to me at a la mode. I can't even begin to describe the amount of knowledge I learned from working at a la mode. This place can be an incredible opportunity for anyone that's out there that didn't do so well in school but that has a knack for understanding how software works and is willing to work hard. You'll be surrounded by incredibly smart people that bring the most out of you. That's where I was when I started with a la mode and I owe them tremendously for where I am in my career today.

    Cons

    Every job comes with negatives and I don't feel like those are what I want to focus on with this review. I highly recommend a la mode to anyone out there that's fresh out of high school or college with a desire to be in the software business. If you work hard you will get noticed and will get an opportunity to learn many lessons and build a career. It can be stressful at times but I wouldn't take back any of my time at a la mode. The stress forced me to develop many skills that continue to help me today.


  7. "Great opportunities if your willing to put in the effort."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Product Manager in Oklahoma City, OK
    Current Employee - Associate Product Manager in Oklahoma City, OK
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at a la mode full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    This company is willing to take a chance on someone if they show initiative and talent, regardless of degree or experience. They're passionate about their customers, appraisers who are, for the most part, a great group of people to support. They have creative benefits like food trucks twice a week and most Fridays off for Salary employees. This is on top of excellent standard benefits like fully paid health insurance.

    Cons

    Communication is strong sometimes and weak others. You need to be scrappy to succeed here. It's not for everyone but for those that can adapt quickly, it's a fun place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Talk to your employees like you talk to your customers. No bull corporate speak. Just straight forward, honest discussion.

  8. Helpful (21)

    "A soul-crushing environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oklahoma City, OK
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oklahoma City, OK
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at a la mode full-time

    Pros

    a la mode’s benefits are fantastic: Full health, dental and eye coverage (you don’t pay in unless you want to add family), 5% 401k match with 100% vesting, four-day work weeks if you’re salaried and not on the phone, free snacks and drinks, flex plan options for child care and health expenses, free food trucks twice a week and unlimited vacation/sick leave (if you feel like you can ever take it).

    At one time I would have said the people (a fun, intelligent, down-to-earth, nerdy group), but that crowd is dwindling fast as they jump ship and the “yes men” stay behind.

    Cons

    If you want to be a code monkey (putting your head down, doing as you’re told, never questioning the status quo while putting up with mental abuse), a la mode may be the place for you. Because if you do question anything or show passion about your work, you may get a meeting with your supervisor about “not being so defensive,” “not being a team player” or asked to stop pointing out potential red flags because "you’re not on the risk management team.”

    On the surface, a la mode is a nice place for less experienced people because they’ll move you up in the company if you show enough gumption. However, they’ll also grossly underpay you for the title they give and abuse your good naturedness until you’re so stressed out you get shingles or pneumonia (not exaggerating, this has happened). Despite the four-day work weeks, work-life balance has always been a foreign concept to a la mode. Be expected to be on-call at all times, work through lunch and stay late. You should really be grateful since you’re getting all these cool perks.

    Even if you are an educated, experienced professional, you’ll be treated like a child who needs to be supervised and micromanaged constantly. Your team’s Slack usage high this week? Obviously too much “chit chat” going on. Have a creative, modern idea that’s shown to work at other tech companies? If it's not laughed off as "amateur" and you’re lucky enough to get to implement it, you’ve got a week to show huge results or it’s killed off as a “failure.” But Lord knows there are some time- and money-wasting processes that will never change because the owner implemented it 10 years ago and no one wants to question it. In fact, if it worked in the 90s it’s even more likely to stay or be brought back at some point. Every single task will need a sign off from an officer (who’s constantly in a closed-door meeting) and who will likely need a sign off from the owner who may be in Europe or the Caribbean.

    Communication is horrible and often times contradictory. No one knows what’s going on and plans, requirements and priorities change sometimes on a daily basis with little explanation. Goals seem arbitrary and not thought out so no one is motivated to get behind them. Those closed-door management meetings? Everyone would wait for them to come out expecting a plan or at least a run-down of what was discussed, but we would never hear a thing. This made everyone assume the worst, especially after a series of layoffs and demotions at the beginning of the year. After others started quitting for fear of their jobs, they finally began telling us that these weren’t “layoffs” they were “simplification” and “restructuring” and other such buzzwords that didn’t make anyone feel better.

    The problem with a la mode is it’s a small company that wants to act like a big corporation with its bureaucracy and red tape. The owner has one foot in retirement and the other foot in everyone’s business. Every upper level manager is afraid to make any decision without his explicit sign-off because he will make them pay for it if something doesn’t go to his liking (not necessarily that it went wrong, just not the way he would do it). And if the owner makes a call, no matter how risky or crazy it sounds, there is no questioning it. It no longer feels like you’re doing work for the customers there, but instead for what they perceive will make the owner happy at this moment. I often wonder how much could be accomplished if he truly stepped aside.

    Advice to Management

    Why do you put up with the abuse? I promise you there are better opportunities out there. Everyone I know who’s left is so much happier and stress free. Consider the time you’ll get back with your families and the positive effects on your health and mental well being.

    In the meantime, treat your employees like adults or at least like human beings. Challenge the status quo and give projects time to get results. Lastly, stop trying to fix the negative attitudes and instead fix the problems that are causing people to be so incredibly unhappy.


  9. Helpful (13)

    "Stay Away!!!!"

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

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

    Pros

    Can't even think of one...

    Cons

    Where do I start...
    1. Horrible bosses that are power hunger, dictator, and couldn't care less for their employees. Just want to make themselves look good to the owner.
    2. Unstable owner that will fire anyone who dares to speak up to him...
    3. Empty promises.
    4. On paper, you only have to work 4 days a week. However, you are constantly required to work at nights, Fridays, and weekends to meet unreasonable or arbitrary deadlines, so what's the point?

    Honestly, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I was miserable. It's a known sweat shop around town. When I talked to recruiters in town, everyone knows exactly what are going on there and refuse to send people to go work here.

    Advice to Management

    Treat people with respect. This is not the only place on earth people can go to work at. We spend so much time at work, we want it to be pleasant. We want to be treated with respect and dignity even at a lower level. Set reasonable expectation for everyone. Be a leader for once, and not constantly harass people to get result. Motivation is much more powerful than a whip.


  10. Helpful (28)

    "Unstable - Stay Away"

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

    Pros

    The benefits are great. Fridays off, a la mode pays all of the medical insurance premiums, awesome Christmas party, free food, ect.

    Cons

    The company is not stable. Turnover is high. People are fired without any chance for improvement. The management doesn't know how to lead, and they're willing to throw people under the bus. Product owners aren't allowed to actually own their products or make any real decisions. Management does not have a clear vision for products, and they blame people for not being mind readers. You are micro-managed, but aren't given any real guidance.

    The company is trying to modernize itself after years of being outdated; however, no one knows how to run a modern technology company. The software is antiquated. They claim to be employee focused, but they don't really care. They claim to be transparent, but they don't inform their employees about anything.

    The culture is horrible. If you don't want to get wasted after work, you probably won't fit in. There very few opportunities to improve your skills. The 4th Friday of each month is supposed to be used to improve skills and team build, but it is worthless and mostly used for normal work.

    Advice to Management

    Step aside and let someone that knows how to run a modern technology company take over.


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