Critical Mass

  www.criticalmass.com
  www.criticalmass.com
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Critical Mass Reviews

Updated May 6, 2014
Updated May 6, 2014
82 Reviews
2.9
82 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Critical Mass CEO Dianne Wilkins
Dianne Wilkins
57 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Most people are great to work with (in 12 reviews)

  • Great culture of recognition and transparency (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • A willingness to bend over backwards on projects with little to no reward (in 4 reviews)

  • This company likes to exploit younger professionals who are less likely to complain about a work life balance (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

29 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Nice folks

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    Great folks, good attitude, nice office

    Cons

    Lack of inspirational leadership, direction

  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good Stepping Stone

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

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

    Pros

    - Management promotes from within
    - Fair salary and benefits
    - Casual environment
    - Execs have an open-door policy and know you by name
    - Strong office and company culture
    - Good work/life balance for an agency

    Cons

    - Clique-ish, gossipy -- we're all back in high school again. While the culture is strong, it's not for everyone if you want some level of maturity in your work day
    - Most accounts are not very interesting and offer little professional growth
    - Lots of turnover

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look at ways to bring in more interesting clients with diverse work--this will allow employees to build on their skills and possibly keep them longer. No one wants to work on insurance accounts for the long haul.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good starting point, but you'll find better over time.

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

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Incredibly fun culture and the people are great. There are benefits to working hard with these guys.
    - Potential to work on some really cool projects for brands people recognize.

    Cons

    - Pay is great for people out of college and hungry. Those who've been around for a while can get paid better elsewhere.
    - Losing swagger, partly due to client roster fading over the years and burned out employees.
    - Home office doesn't know how to operate outside their geographical space, making expansion and sharing of great opportunities messy and poorly strategized.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    A good place to start out. Don't expect long term career growth unless you are in with the right people.

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

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    There are some smart, fun people. Like other agencies, the culture is a lax jeans and t-shirts kind of place with beer in the fridge. Random fun office events like Bacon Fest will happen. These things make the cons tolerable for the short term.

    Cons

    Weak client roster. A willingness to bend over backwards on projects with little to no reward. Poor communication with employees regarding vision and expectations as a company. If you cannot fend for yourself and stand up for what you want, you may as well be invisible.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Transparency to some degree would be nice. Provide clear career paths and opportunities. The fun stuff is nice, but in the end people want to feel rewarded and respected.

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

    Great times, Good people but little Growth

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

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    -Great atmosphere/ culture.
    -Good people.
    -Always free food.

    Cons

    -No non-billable love.
    -Little to no growth in Chicago IT (no next level to move to).
    -A few cliques run the whole operation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make non-billable a priority.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Talented People, Agency Capable of More

    • 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

    Really good clients, some super talented people, nice people, Calgary is ridiculously cold so it is nice to be able to work for the company in other cities, some projects are very exciting, overall management is good, although my manager was a world class douche. Some reviews say hours are crazy but I've worked at various agencies and CM's hours are nothing compared to much of the industry. Definitely some very long hours at times but nothing consistently crazy.

    Cons

    Lack of big ideas, big thinking, not enough of a creative agency. Much of leadership aspires to more but it seems to fall a part at some part in the process. Unfortunately I think the agency cannot attract the required talent to Calgary to change this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't give up on becoming more of a creative big idea agency. CM started and grew utilizing talented designers because that's what drove digital work in the late 90s but the agency has grown and the world has changed and it'd be nice to see CM creating bigger and better ideas, not just pretty web sites. I think CM can get there but management needs to fight for it.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good tactical digital agency, but you'll be limited

    • 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

    Great culture of recognition and transparency.
    Very "Canadian" agency--the people are nice and they like to drink.
    Good place to get your hands dirty building stuff that works.
    Pretty good work/life balance.

    Cons

    You have to fight for a seat at the big kids' table with lead creative agencies.
    Strategy is not taken seriously. This is not a good place for planners unless your definition of planning is "wireframes and usability testing. (Leadership within the discipline is trying hard to build it out and professionalize it, but clients don't want to pay for planning. They just want their websites built, and agency leadership is happy to oblige.)
    Uneven project managers--some are awesome, some are unprofessional.
    The agency talks about creating "extraordinary experiences." The creative is decent, but it's not extraordinary. You're making websites.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing, it seems to be working for you. There's a good living to be made building websites.

    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Some good, some bad

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

    I have been working at Critical Mass

    Pros

    Surrounded by smart coworkers in a fun working environment.

    Cons

    Limited opportunity for advancement and career growth.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide more opportunities for career development and advancement.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    A balanced scale of pros/cons

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

    I have been working at Critical Mass

    Pros

    a lot of big interesting clients; relatively flat org structure; really smart and fun people; company is the perfect size; still growing despite hard economic times that have hit our clients hard; fun culture

    Cons

    centralization--doesn't work with all the offices they have and it takes forever for things to get rolling; employee retention--no career pathing, poor middle manager skills; pay--generally lower than competitors; nepotism; lackluster support for internal needs/initiatives; not as creative as they like to think they are; uphill battle for exposure; exec doesn't present a unified front nor communicate well-enough (or regularly enough) down through the ranks

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    when you see a problem, address it. when you make a decision to do something... actually commit.

    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    work you hard

    • 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 for more than 5 years

    Pros

    work you hard, you will learn a ton but will likely be exhausted and burnt out most of the time. The best opportunities were had there for me...

    Cons

    do more with less, constant state of chaos with staffing, turn over, lose the great people and keep the mediocre ones. Salary review process non-existent...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do not just replace the leaders that have left with who was next mediocre person that was in line - recruit and hire stronger ones.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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