Rise Interactive
3.4 of 5 40 reviews
www.riseinteractive.com Chicago, IL 50 to 149 Employees

Rise Interactive Reviews

Updated Mar 28, 2014

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3.4 40 reviews

                             

83% Approve of the CEO

Rise Interactive Founder & CEO Jon Morris

Jon Morris

(23 ratings)

69% of employees recommend this company to a friend
9 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    8 people found this helpful  

    Feel treated like a resource, not an asset

    Internet Marketing Consultant (Former Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    Pros- Coworkers
    - Casual atmosphere
    - Free snacks
    - Game room, if you're into that kind of thing
    - Solid training, I suppose, if you're new to the industry
    - Great downtown location
    - Beer Friday, but what agency doesn't have that

    ConsI'll admit it, when I decided to join Rise I was swayed by all the things listed above. Brand new downtown office, stocked kitchen with a regular fridge and a beer fridge, laid back atmosphere, a good set of coworkers, a chance to get valuable experience in a potentially exciting industry. I thought, eh, it might not pay that well, but maybe I won't completely hate work everyday. Maybe, if I prove my worth and stick around for a little while, I can get all these things and also get paid.

    Well, that's not exactly how it works at Rise. You see, there are two main issues with the concept above. One, you do hate going to work everyday when you work at Rise. And two, you will never be paid what you are worth.

    The Executives at Rise (aka the CEO and his buddies) like to convey a few central themes during their numerous company meetings; 1) Rise is kicking ass and taking names and everything is just dandy so no one worry about anything, 2) Everything is awesome because you employees are so awesome and talented and you work great as part of a team and you have so much room for growth within this company so let’s stick together and side by side we will win forever, and 3) We know it’s a little weird that 3 employees left in the last week but just know we care about you and want what’s best for you and you guys are the most important thing in the whole wide company, so if you ever need anything, anything at all, feel free to ask at anytime.

    The first couple of times you hear this spiel you don’t think much of it. You think, “I’m new here. I don’t know what’s really going on. People look happy. Everything is fine. I’m fine here. Everything is going according to plan.” But than it keeps coming and coming and coming, and you think, “Maybe people aren’t that happy. Something does seem a little off. All these talented people are leaving. Our clients do kind of suck. I don’t really know what the executives do with their time. I’m not making as much as I should. And I’m working way longer hours than I need to.” And finally, “Welp, I’m definitely not happy here.” Trust me, the words might be different but this happens to almost everyone. Some suck it up and keep working, others start interviewing, while many just quit to get out of there. But in reality, almost everyone who gets hired at an entry-level position goes through this at some point.

    It’s really hard to peg the nucleus of my unpleasant experience at Rise on one thing in particular, but if I had to, if there was one thing that I thought was the root of all things unpleasant about my experience, it would definitely be the executives. Broad, yes, but accurate, also yes.

    You see, the executives don’t really know what they’re doing. I’m not going to name names, so I’ll treat them all as one, but in reality some are worse than others. I understand it’s a start-up, and a lot of things are “learn on the fly” type things, but this group seems particularly bad at learning on the fly. In particular, they can’t for the life of them figure out how to make happy employees and retain their talent. They give us everything; game room, free snacks, Keurig, happy hours, beer friday, Christmas gifts. How on earth are the employees unhappy? Do they need 2 iPads each next year? Would another catered lunch do the trick?

    I’m rambling, so I think it’s time I get to the thesis. The executives don’t realize it, but they treat us like expendable resources. Sure, they put on this show that each of us is a vital asset to a successful company, but in reality they want to squeeze as much work as possible out of each of us before we inevitably leave and they hire someone new. Give employees a little more stuff, and postpone their breaking point for that much longer. Feed them a little more food, and prolong the façade that everyone at Rise is happy. As long as employee gripe is kept to a minimum, everything is fine (WARNING: when employee gripe isn’t kept to a minimum, a completely irrational and ill-advised firing may occur).

    The executives are so enamored with the idea of high employee morale, that I am sure they frequent glassdoor and monitor every review and are going to try long and hard to figure out who wrote this. They’ll certainly have the time for it, because after spending an extended period of time there I still have no clue what they do with their time, what value they bring to the table, or how they are at all qualified for the positions they are in. But bring up any issues you have with the executive team to HR, and they’ll thank you for your input and do absolutely nothing at all to change anything. Because, in the end, the executive team is the one making decisions.

    Long story short, I didn’t have a good experience at Rise. I don’t see the company going anywhere under current leadership, and I don’t see leadership changing anytime soon. If it does, that’s a different story, but based on experience, what is going to happen is your frustrations will build as time goes on and on and after a while you will realize you’ve just wasted A LOT of valuable time.

    P.S. (for the executives): I know how to improve employee morale. It’s really simple. Keep throwing stuff at them if you want, it is appreciated. But MUCH more importantly, make sure your employees feel as if they are being fairly compensated, and get rid of this whole time tracking obsession and 50/hr week standard. There is no better way to drain morale then to underpay and overwork.

    P.P.S.: I left out a lot of things. Just know that I am extremely happy with my decision to leave Rise, and everyone else I’ve talked to who has also left has said the exact same thing.

    tl (1098 words, sorry);dr – Executives are incompetent and without realizing it are creating a morale draining environment.

    Advice to Senior Management- Restructure and bring in more qualified people to lead the company
    - Actually offer competitive salaries instead of just saying you offer competitive salaries when in reality you do not offer competitive salaries
    - Set the norm for employees to leave the office at 5 if they are done working for the day, instead of making them feel guilty because other employees still have work to do

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Don't cope with problems. Fix them.

    Internet Marketing Consultant (Current Employee)

    Pros- High energy & fast-paced
    - They try to keep a fun culture (Ex. the game room -- but employees, except for execs, rarely have time to use it)
    - Great learning experience and training if you're starting out in internet marketing
    - The young employees

    Cons- Upper management is disconnected with rest of employees
    - Found some teams frequently worked much later nights than others, but pay was the essentially the same for Internet Marketing Consultants across the board. Very uneven.
    - Growing pains
    - The young employees

    Upper management is unorganized and communication between teams is often cold and abrupt. You'll learn quickly and, for the most part, your coworkers will help you learn. So if this something you're looking for, I would suggest Rise.

    Rise has plenty of talented people leave for larger agencies or other opportunities; unfortunately, this has become a trend. These talents are trained, tested, and taken through the grinder until they eventually find greener pastures.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet to know your employees. Embody your culture. And be genuine about it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Overworked and underpaid

    Internet Marketing Apprentice (Former Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsI worked at Rise Interactive as an apprentice. Rise has a great mission statement and a true drive for success. I also admired the time they took to organize the staff's input into the goals and values of the company.

    ConsDespite enjoying the relaxed agency style, I was very unhappy most of my time at the company. I was hired as an apprentice, one level down from the position I applied for, but I took the job because I was told that if within 3 months or less, if I was a good fit for the company I'd be offered a full-time salaried position. Along with countless other recent graduates working at the company at that time, I was willing to work long hours with a meager hourly pay to earn my promised place in a few months.

    Soon, however, I was told I'd need to work even longer hours, but if I impressed them I could be promoted within the next month. I pushed myself even harder, co-leading a new team and managing the responsibilities of an account executive - for example, a client was even calling me on my cell phone at home. After 3 months I tried to plan a meeting to discuss the contributions I'd made and my future role. After several attempts to evade the meeting, we sat down and I was told that the annual budget was not yet set in stone and they could not promote me, but to check back in a week or two. This is how it went for the next several months: every week, stringing me along with empty promises of a salary. I was barely able to pay my rent and student loans, meanwhile working over 50 hours a week so there was barely any time to look for another job. I checked back each week or two, and countless conversations concluded with supervisors confirming that, Yes, I could either be hired or fired the very next day.

    My coworkers were being fired at a rate of multiple per week (which for a small firm is immense), meanwhile the company brought in interviewee after interviewee to fill new positions for low pay and the same empty promises. The overall assessment among the staff was that everyone was on the chopping block and our replacement was being interviewed nearby. We discussed wanting to warn each new person as they came through the door about what they were getting into.

    This was a terrible way to work and live, and I finally quit after finding a position at another company with a much better work/life balance. While I gained marketing experience in the process, I am disappointed by the way Rise Interactive takes advantage of recent college graduates for inexpensive labor.

    Advice to Senior ManagementI hope that things have changed since I worked there, but if not I advise the management to value employees and be more sensitive to their needs. I believe that what makes a company great is its people; their long hours and high blood pressure are the reason your business make a profit. Invest in employees and they'll work harder and stay with the company longer.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    SEO

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Prosgood working environment, young people

    Consunprofessional interview questions, young people

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Rise has some of the best people I've worked with, but is not dynamic enough to sustain itself

    Internet Marketing Consultant (Former Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsThe best aspect of Rise is the people. Intelligent, driven and interesting people come to Rise to work, but after several months realize that there's nowhere to go.
    The management can be supportive from time to time, and the culture is the best I've worked in.

    ConsAs much as I appreciated the connections I made at Rise, it was overall a disappointing experience. As one of the longer-term employees to stay at Rise, I saw a lot of talented people come and go, mostly because of lack of good management.
    I believe that the intentions of the people running Rise are the very best, but I also think that they do not know how to change to keep up with the pace of the company.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRise needs a review system for both employees and managers so that everyone can get feedback and also so that managers are aware of the performance (good and not so good) of the employees. As much as I felt that Rise valued my abilities, there were many times where I felt hard work that I did went overlooked. On the flip side, there were never any real opportunities to give anonymous feedback to the managers.
    The management team also needs to change. I know that this core group of people have been chosen because of dedication and loyalty, but new people need to join the ranks of management in order to grow with the expanding company and bring fresh perspective.
    I would also like to emphasize that advancement of women in the workplace hasn't seemed terribly important so far, and have heard more than one employee refer to management as the "good old boys club".

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Upsetting to say the least

    (Former Employee)

    ProsVery ambitious, smart and talented people
    Great culture within certain teams, mainly client service

    ConsLack of an HR department allows executive management to make questionable and unethical decisions
    Unable to pay and keep top talent
    At times, certain executive managers can be unapproachable and judgmental
    Promotions seem to be weighed by favoritism over actual performance
    Inconsistencies within team succession planning and disciplinary actions

    Advice to Senior Management-The CEO's lack of presence has started to effect the staff's belief in Rise.
    -Certain executive staff needs to stop under utilizing and dismissing talented people.
    -Actions speak louder than words.
    -Have a more genuine approach to building relationships with new and current employees.

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    3 people found this helpful  

    They talk a good talk, but don't believe them

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe best thing about working at Rise is the training you receive. They prepare you really well for a career in digital marketing with another company, because no one stays at Rise very long, given the low salaries and poor management. Basically, you'll learn a lot in a short period of time, but don't plan on this being a long-term career fit.

    Oh, and they have pretty good benefits (plenty of vacation time, cheap health insurance, etc)

    ConsDuring the interview process, management will tell you great stories of how they promote from within and people move up quickly because they're growing so fast. They'll tell you about their new office space downtown and Beer Fridays (yes, on Fridays, everyone drinks beer at work in the afternoon) and you will be gulping down the kool-aid.

    The problem is that for all the talk they talk, they're horrible at communication. Don't expect management to keep you informed of how the business is really doing, where opportunities lie, or what it takes to meet their expectations and move up. One time they promoted a bunch of people after just a few months on the job, and that's the example they continue using to get people to jump on board.

    If people did, in fact, get promoted quickly, enduring the low salaries would be worth it, but management will give you no indication of how or when such promotions could occur. And don't ask them about it, because when they claim to have an "open door policy" regarding concerns or issues you're dealing with, it's just more talk. They don't care about keeping you happy because they strive to maintain a perpetual stream of applicants that they're willing to train to replace you.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWhen people start at Rise, they're excited and love what you tell them about the company. Make it more than just words. Follow up with real action that people can see and be a part of. If you can't back the words up with action, don't say them in the first place (or at least talk to your employees about what's going on and why). False promises/expectations lead to people feeling let down, zaps their motivation, and makes them feel resentful and unhappy. If all you tell your employees is "the company is doing great, we just signed all these new clients!" then it won't make much sense to them when you follow it up with "we can't promote anyone right now or give raises because we don't have the business to justify it."

    You can turn things around, but it takes real, genuine communication. Set mutual expectations with your employees so both you and they feel they're moving in the right direction. Until then, you'll keep having talented people get training from you and jump ship when another agency approaches them with more money, which you know has been happening time and again.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Disappointed

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThe CEO - he is someone with a vision and passion
    The people - Rise Interactive has a great group of people

    ConsThis is the hard part for me, as someone who has been a cheerleader for the company since I started here. As I mentioned above, I believe strongly in our CEO, but I think as a company our great ambitions have turned more into words on paper at this point.

    I also tried not to see it, but I think that there is a wall of professional growth here. While there are announcements for advancements frequently, I feel a lot of times this is nothing more than a new title for someone that we fear we may lose.

    I don't feel that I personally will ever be in a position to make the impact I know I can make here, as such I know it is time for me to look for something new, somewhere else.

    Above this, my biggest complaint is obvious lack of respect shown by some of the senior leadership here - when you are in a meeting with someone and they are more focused on the game they are playing on their iPad, or always looking (and answering) their cell phone, it tells you how valued you really are.

    I think the company has the ability to be something special, but there is a lot they need to work on in terms of valuing the people that work here. Unfortunately I, and others I have talked to, most likely won't be around if this day ever comes.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart acting on what you say you are doing for the people, but above all, start fostering the culture of respect here. There are too many good people that you will lose because of all that was just mentioned.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Extreme favoritism by upper management but you will have the chance to learn a lot and build experience.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros- you will get thrown into the mix relatively quickly and be able to accrue valuable work experience
    - good stepping stone to get into a much better position within the industry

    Cons- half of upper management is inept
    - extreme favoritism by upper management, promotions are NOT merit based
    - expected to work 60 hours a week
    - they seem to love hiring people with no digital experience, which when coupled with the current workload expected by everyone, creates a very chaotic and low morale office environment
    - lack of consistency across the board in almost every facet of the company

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Rise Interactive reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Rise Interactive CEO Jon Morris. All 9 reviews posted anonymously by Rise Interactive employees.