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I worked at Bader Rutter & Associates full-time (More than 5 years)
For the most part the staff have a hard-working and pleasant mid-west demeanor. Camaraderie within departments is strong (but can create an 'us vs. them' mentality at times). Parking is plentiful. Competitive pay and benefits if you are able to negotiate them at hire. Access to resources at this large agency can be a plus, if you have the skill needed to navigate complex process, and the drive to seek the favor of the C-Suite. If your background is in agriculture, you will be welcomed with open arms. Better for a short step, rather than a long term career.
BR was once a stable ag-focused shop run by seasoned personalities who had an able way with their teams and understood how to evolve an organic work flow. Difficult personalities were filtered out before hiring and teams came together focused on overall work. Internal politics were blissfully nonexistent. Clients were treated with care and respect, but never at the cost of the internal culture. Much of this has changed recently. Client roster has become unfocused and strangely segmented. The current managers in most every department have been hired from within, having worked in the insulating BR environment for years, and sorely lack any up-to-date skills or ability to effectively manage their teams. Newly hired outside managers are aloof at best. Inter-department communication can be almost hostile at times, driven by politics and cliques, rather than end goals and agency success. Training for inexperienced new hires is minimal and creates bad habits early that are frustratingly difficult to overcome later. There is a wide chasm between perceptions held by upper management and c-suite regarding daily operations versus actual day to day stress, frustration and workloads of staff. Questioning status-quo and suggesting change is discouraged. Honest and open communication to employees regarding agency direction, goals and policy are completely inadequate.
Advice to Management
While social events and remodeling may be decent albeit superficial perks, creating a consistently positive and collaborative working environment should be the constant central focus (outside of client service). Managers need to spend more time interacting with staff to understand personnel effort and responsibility and far less time meeting to developing further processes. Experienced senior staff should be seen as valuable resources for both junior staff and capable client interaction rather than just fiscal burdens on the bottom line, but as most have left or been let go, this point is now moot.