When a job was well done, employees would receive recognition. Apart from recognition, the climate and culture of the studio and that of which came down from the corporate office was completely deplorable.
Support from management
After working for Andrae Michaels for roughly a month, I had an opportunity to share some ideas with the studio manager. During this discussion, I presented ideas on how we could improve some processes and broaden the client base. When doing so, I was met with opposition on every suggestion I presented from small improvements that could be made to large-scale ideas that warranted exploration. When I asked why these ideas were being belittled, I was literally told that "I had to earn my stripes". This was very hurtful as it validated my concerns for not being a valued member of the team. This concern only continued to get worse and by the time I left, there were no signed of improvement in any way. In fact, when I turned in my two weeks notice some time after the previously mentioned discussion, I was outcasted and was treated very poorly by the studio management as though I had done something terribly wrong. Three days prior to the conclusion of my employment, I was told I'm a very condescending manner by the local manager that she would never see me again as I left at the end of the day. It was incredibly rude and unnecessary.
The other members of the team were, for the most part, all very helpful and were great to work with. The reason for the poor rating is simply because of the lack of leadership a team requires for continued success.
Freedom to work independently
As previously mentioned, I had absolutely no opportunity to be heard for suggestions to increase the quality of the studio portraits, customer experience nor the "sales pitch" that was required of me. I was told to lie to the customers and when I objected, I was "coached" on how to use rhetoric to make it seem as though I wouldn't be lying.
The ability to understand what was happening within the studio, to include goals and expectations was good enough to keep informed of daily and monthly updates.
Everyone at this company has the same opportunities as long as they follow the rules set forth by the company.
Attitude towards older colleagues
Based on everyone I met, there was maybe only one person older than 35 (besides the owner). I don't know if this is a strategy during the hiring process or if it is simply haw things worked out.
There seems to be a lot of opportunities once an employee reaches a manager position however in most cases, you have to put your own money into opening your own studio to ever become a studio manager. Management positions in the corporate office are scarce.
Overall compensation for your work
Compensation was found to be nothing more than a ploy and silver-tongued trick during the hiring process. I was told that due to my degree and my previous work experience, I would make a certain wage. I later found out that everyone starts at that wage and that I was essentially led to believe that I was going to make more than normal. Even that though wasn't a great wage. It was minimal to say the least.
Office / Work Environment
The computers were often times having issues for various reasons. Either the Internet was having issues due to hardware being used for the studio network or the computers themselves were not operating properly sometimes causing the employees to be limited using only one shared terminal. Along with sub-par computers, we were forced to use very primitive filing systems that consistently had problems as it was a paper and binder system that required significantly high use everyday. This caused customer receipts to go missing as they would fall out of the binders, miscommunication between employees if there was an issue a customer had with their order and a general lack of organization that caused many issues regularly.
This company has managed to make its business off of "bait and sale" tactics that are strategically operating in areas that it works best. This sounds like an appropriate business strategy however the areas the "pre-sellers" for the Denver studio work in areas of the community that are known to have a working class demographic without a lot of disposable income. When a customer comes in after purchasing a seemingly low-priced package, they are photographed and then sat down for a very hard-sell in which the prices immediately offered are some of the highest that they could see being listed. When the customer isn't able to pay for something they weren't expecting, they are essentially hurried out the door and informed when the prints their pre-payed package covers will be arriving. The definition of fair trade and even socially aware isn't escaping this company but rather they are exploiting these issues to the companies benefit.
In this area, the employees and management all manage to make things keep running if someone needs time off.
Opinions of this company vary drastically as a few employees were content to be with the company. Others seemed very happy to be employed by this company but many felt unappreciated and undervalued.
This is all drivin by the financial goals the company has established for each studio. There were never more employees than we needed while I was with the company however there wasn't much room to have more employees come on because everything is based on customer scheduling.
Yes, the studio I worked in had accommodations where they were needed.
There are few issues that OSHA would be interested in at this studio. The issues that are present include a lack of an MSDS, adequate lighting when entering the studio in the morning or exiting the studio at night, PPE is limited for the cleaning responsibilities and improper storage of chemicals.
This is very simple work. It is the same images and poses for every family or couple as there is little to no time to do any sort of variety. This is a well oiled machine in a factory output setting so being able to catch on to everything comes very easily with you do the same exact thing 10-15 times everyday.
Inclusive / Diverse
As previously mentioned, ideas and opinions are not welcomed not supported by management.
Suggestions for improvement
- My best suggestion is to review my previous comments and make suitable changes to adequately support your employees growth and contributions to the company.
What I like about the company
In all honesty, the only thing I can say that I truly liked about the company where the select few people I had the opportunity to work along side of.
What I dislike about the company
I feel my comments under the ratings stand strong as my validation of discontent.