Critical Mass Reviews

Updated March 13, 2015
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Critical Mass CEO Dianne Wilkins
Dianne Wilkins
61 Ratings

23 Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful

    A decent place to be if you're senior management, but not a great place for someone junior looking to learn or grow.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Designer
    Former Employee - Designer

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    Big brands, international network of offices.

    Cons

    Poor upper management. A lot of favoritism and not a lot of career development or communication.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on giving your employees opportunities to learn and grow. Challenge them to be even better. Be cautious about favoritism and its impact on overall morale.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful

    Too big for their britches.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Employee in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Critical Mass full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Offers a very good work life balance as employees are rarely required to put in late hours at the office. Office perks are inline with most creative agencies, including beer o'clock on Fridays, bonuses and recognition for a job well done, and decent employee benefits. Despite the cliquey culture there are some great people there.

    Cons

    Even though most everyone in the Chicago office seems friendly, it's mainly on the surface as it is very cliquey. Upward mobility seems hampered by said cliqueness, since the most interesting and engaging projects tend to be assigned to people who are close to upper management. Backpats in townhall meetings seemed self-congratulatory and hardly sincere.

    Teams and disciplines fail to share their expertise or project knowledge among each other resulting in inefficiencies across departments. Although there are some talented individuals, the Chicago office lacks the enthusiasm or creativity to produce award-winning work, which appears to be self-perpetuating. Sadly, this last year was fraught with such low morale and non-existent comradery that it became a depressing place to work. Expect to be siloed into project teams for years or months at a time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Culture trickles down from the top, so consider encouraging a more inclusive environment where employees are nurtured. These days lux perks aren't enough, employees want to feel engaged and proud of their work. Working in isolation does not encourage growth or innovation.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful

    No idea what's going on.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    The employees who do the actual work are good, but they don't stick around.

    Cons

    The management is disintegrating. Seriously, I had no idea who to submit my resignation to since so many people beat me out the door.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop hiring buddies from Calgary and hire some actual professionals.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful

    OK, if you can't find anything else

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Critical Mass full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Cross office sharing of ideas between US, CA, Europe, SA

    Cons

    Long hours (that's a given in this industry); top leadership gives little to no support; talent is lacking; CM is definitely a revolving door place and typically loses people every 6-8 months.
    Don't believe it if you think Canadians are laid back and cool to work with...not so. Hurts CM somewhat with credibility to have HQ in Calgary. Most of the talented, experienced staff has already left.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is zero culture here, and the constant turnover hurts everyone. Work-life balance doesn't exist and not even sure how to change that since people don't stay.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful

    Great For Entry Level

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    If you are just trying to get your foot into the door in the online space this is a great place to do it.
    The salaries are fine for the jobs.
    The culture is weird in that by 5:30 the office is -empty-. I've never seen a digital agency where everyone fled so quickly.

    Cons

    Honestly, the people you are working with are kind of idiots. Everyone I met was eager to jump ship during the 18 months I worked there. The programmers are overworked (and are frankly too skilled for the sweat shop conditions they are given), the designers are good but not great, and everyone else is just...a worthless parasite.
    it is an office filled with marketers that go around calling other marketers douche bags (without realizing they belong in that same category) .

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have created an interesting business. People pay you a boatload of money for moderately interesting web experiences. There will ALWAYS be a place for that...so why change a thing?

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    Regular experience, could be better

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    - Great people
    - Office in downtown, with nice view
    - Lots of social events
    - Good clients for resume
    - Typical American company

    Cons

    -Office is open space, sometimes too noisy
    -Work is like a consulting for clients, no clients - no work
    -Very bad management planning for projects and recourses (people), overtimes for employees
    -Not much challenge from technical point of view, all the projects typical and rather simple sites to display/save to DB something
    -Work with offshore services in Costa Rica
    -Lots of games around projects with Canadian guys (they have offices there), sometimes it's annoying, aka family with top management as parents, and teams as siblings hating each other.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Improve planning for projects
    -Try not to share work among different offices
    -Provide employees with performance review on a regular basis

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  8. Bad management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chico, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chico, CA

    I have been working at Critical Mass

    Pros

    great pay, flexible work schedule

    Cons

    no direction/leadership, lots of cliques

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    better recruiting

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful

    Life as a software developer at Critical Mass

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    The people are great and fun.

    Cons

    Bad project planning and management and employees expected to work their butts off to make up for it. No emphasis on career growth. Favouritism and cliques.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Evaluate people on more than just hours worked. Plan for the future instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  10. Playtime

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Planner in Chicago (Guatemala)
    Former Employee - Planner in Chicago (Guatemala)

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Good agency if you're a developer or a project manager. It's run by project managers, and the developers roll in around 10 and leave at 4:30.

    There's always lots of beer in the fridge.

    Cons

    The creative work simply isn't very good. The agency prioritizes timelines, "shipping", and keeping clients pacified over creative.

    There is no strategic thinking. The relationships that Critical Mass has with its clients are so far downstream from strategy that the briefs they get are of the "turn this campaign into an iPad app" variety. If you want to do strategy (not UX - which is all well and good, but UX and strategy are different things) then stay far, far away.

    Agency leadership is not strategic, either in the sense of "understanding how marketing and communications work", or in the sense of "having a plan and steering the agency in a clear direction."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Beer fridges and townhalls are not the same thing as having a culture.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. Foot in the Door

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Designer in Calgary, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Designer in Calgary, AB (Canada)

    I have been working at Critical Mass full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    -High level accounts
    -Gain digital experience
    -Free Breakfasts, Beer O'clock, and events
    -Time-Off and benefits are great
    -Most people are great to work with
    -Open and modern office space make it easy to communicate with team

    Cons

    -Cliquey
    -Management gets all the good work while entry level designers and seniors get "dog work"
    -Work lots of overtime to get recognized
    -Sometimes spoken to in not the most respectful tone
    -Lots of pressure on projects
    -Lots of work that is "hush hush" and the same certain people being chosen for that work

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take more initiative into getting to know your team and staff, and being genuinely interested in their work life. Making sure the staff is handling everything properly and if they are satisfied with the work they are given. Your team will stop being motivated if all they do is cut assets and do red-line documents

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

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