Waggener Edstrom Communications Reviews

Updated March 7, 2015
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Waggener Edstrom Communications President and CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin
Melissa Waggener Zorkin
127 Ratings

35 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great coworkers but incompetent management

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time

    Pros

    Good benefits, excellent additional training opportunities provided in-house and wonderful co-workers. The work is interesting and there are chances to make real impact for clients.

    Cons

    Political environment, with non-existent work/life balance. Employee morale is very low thanks to poor compensation, incompetent management, and the best and brightest leaving the agency for better opportunities elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out how to retain your top talent and consider diversifying your business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. Too political for opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Account Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Account Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Decent vacation and benefits
    -Strong talent within tech/healthcare
    -Office locations around the world

    Cons

    -There is a lack of awareness as to what the company actually does well, and what should be pursued from a business course. Every two-three years there will be a big shakeup at the senior level, and direction will shift which keeps the company from truly growing into its strengths.
    -Lack of opportunity for growth, unless you subscribe completely to how the company wants you to think and behave. There's little appreciation for diversity in work styles, which creates a homogeneous style when it comes to approaching clients and their problems.
    -Culturally, it's difficult to get on board with how the agency approaches new business and current clients. Because the bulk of the company's senior management is based in the Pacific North West, it's difficult for them to see beyond that bubble and work culture. Unless you're willing to chug the Kool Aid, you won't be given opportunities to grow and advance.
    -If you don't work in that region, it's very easy to feel like a satellite office. Rather than let each office grow and thrive based on the specific market they're in, they expect them all to function as though they're operating out of Portland/Seattle. What's more, leadership is totally out of touch with what's going on throughout the various offices.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Embrace thinking that scares you, but that allows us to focus on our core competencies. Take an honest look at what we do well and what we don't, rather than try and do it all.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful

    Constant changes, no security.

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    There is work schedule flexibility- can work from home and arrange hours with manager.

    Cons

    No growth paths, salaries below average, leadership is weak, company is top heavy, services offered to clients and corporate structure is out dated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try valuing your employees more than your own paycheck occassionally.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful

    In a state of spiraling decline

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Account Team in Lake Oswego, OR
    Current Employee - Account Team in Lake Oswego, OR

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Impressive client roster promises opportunities to do amazing global integrated comms. Some great creative and spirited colleagues, decent benefits and the promise of work-life balance.

    Cons

    Cube constricted mindset, hierarchical and increasingly divided between leaders who have overstayed and the people doing the work. Clients that will churn ad nauseum, working hours that extend into nights and weekends without restraint, management that vacillates between blamegaming and cheerleading, there is a complete air of distrust at present. If you're looking for mentorship, collaboration, opportunities to learn from those with more experience, or consistent opportunities to do work that aligns to your title, go elsewhere. If you work in Portland, be very wary of opportunities to grow beyond the mid-level without relocating to Seattle.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is a vast disconnect between the company vision and the daily reality. Employees have lost faith in the ability to win new business and for a candid dialogue about future vision. It's well-past time for an earnest reassessment and housecleaning to bring in fresh ideas and vision.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful

    Good place to start your career, but not for growing it

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Good time off. WE offers a very generous starting vacation package to each of its employees. It's the one reason I stuck around as long as I did. They also have a sabbatical offer after 7 years, but good luck holding your sanity long enough to cash that in. I couldn't.
    - Great health care. The quality of health care benefits was starting to dissipate by the time I left but it still had a leg up on many other big companies.
    - Well-respected clients. You'll be hard pressed to find an organization with clients as reputable and impressive as Microsoft, regardless of the unique challenges that brings.
    - Good place to start your career. Working for a large agency offers so many valuable career and life lessons that I am grateful to have had.

    Cons

    - Too much micromanaging. Get ready for every single email you send to be scrutinized by at least one person higher than you. I spent more time reviewing/editing/re-reviewing emails for myself and others than I would like to admit. A solid waste of resources, as well as demoralizing. This is a BIG part of your day, so it's important to be prepared for this.
    - Promotions are inconsistent. Promotion standards are completely inconsistent across all accounts, which leads to fierce competition amongst Junior staff to grab the next title, even though it means a lot of nothing.
    - Awful work-life balance. Get ready to work many 16-hour days with little to no recognition or compensation.
    - Pay isn't competitive. WE is known for paying less than the market standard, which I found true once I started looking elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try and build up your employees a little more. Recognize when they are doing a good job to boost morale and keep spirits high. A little of that goes a long way.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    Smart Employees, Terrible Upper Management, Lots of Politics

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Most employees are very talented and bright, tough recruiting standards
    Great benefits (on paper)
    Work/life balance is average compared to other agencies

    Cons

    a LOT of office politics and clique-ish behavior among upper management, impossible to advance unless you are chummy with the right people
    Managers/VPs are very territorial which adds to terrible political atmosphere, talk of teamwork and collaboration is all just talk

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful

    I enjoyed Waggener for the first couple of years until I realized how cliquish it really is.

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications

    Pros

    Great culture and good benefits.

    Cons

    You will not be promoted unless you are part of the clique (the exclusive club of the seniority who controls ALL), no matter what your skills are.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful

    Risk averse, error intolerant

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

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The company is very committed to work/life balance.

    Cons

    -Too much redundancy means frequently work is not directed toward actual goals, instead focused on filling time
    -Risk averse and error intolerant. This means it's not safe to be creative or do interesting things. The work and products become boring, uninspired and repetitive and it totally saps the confidence from employees. Very disappointing.
    -Benefits and salary increases have steadily gotten worse and worse. Growth is based on schedule, not on performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Mistakes and imperfections will always happen when people do interesting, compelling and unique work. It's a natural result of venturing into the unknown. Paying lip service to creativity isn't enough - you need to create a culture that nurtures it. That means you need to make a safe space for occasional errors.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful

    A culture devoid of new ideas and an unhealthy reliance on one account

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    People are nice and smart; Healthcare is good and work/life balance is a priority.

    Cons

    Leadership is one dimensional, insular and driven by fear of losing business from Microsoft. Relationships between clients and agency staff are dysfunctional. Too many senior people have been there too long and as a result lack external perspective and creativity. Work remains the same year after year which leads to a lot of complaints of boredom and feeling unchallenged.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get out of Redmond and expose yourself to new ideas and modern forms of communication. Shake up leadership with people who have experience beyond navigating Microsoft's politics. Focus on what you do well - tech/business and IR - and stop spinning your wheels on the areas you don't have the talent or expertise.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful

    People Jumping a Sinking Ship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Portland, OR

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Idea of 4 weeks vacation, paying mobile and internet data, nice offices

    Cons

    1. Zero Work Life Balance: With paying for your internet/mobile, you are expected to be on call 24/7. The 4 week vacation is a bit of a myth - I and others on my team were asked to work during previously scheduled PTO and while sick.

    2. No management oversight: If your manager has no management skills, don't expect that it will be corrected. You have to move teams to find someone better. Company def. operates by the Peter Principle.

    3. HUGE turnover - brightest people are leaving to greener pastures.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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