IA Collaborative

www.iacollaborative.com
There are newer employer reviews for IA Collaborative

 

Inspiring & Empowering

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

I have been working at IA Collaborative full-time

Pros

I've really appreciated my time at IA. I feel that IA is on the cutting edge of how people work. Some specific pros include: 
- Passion-driven work. The people at IA are very passionate about their trade and that comes through everyday. 
- Big time clients. Everybody is always surprised by IA's client list. They're all large and important companies. That makes it more exciting to work on projects. 
- Independence. IA let's employees run with projects and is much more open to new ideas or ways of working than other firms I've been at. The principals care about the results of the work, but they also let people be self-guided in figuring it out. 
- Cool design work. the designers at IA are always progressive and creative. 
- Strategic. IA is not a place that's just designing for design sake. the company puts high value on being strategic and user research
- Client exposure. Team members often have chance to "be at the table" for meetings. 
- Cutting edge. Leadership seeks out projects that focus on new thinking and innovation
- For what it's worth, I've found the compensation is quite competitive. They offer profit sharing and major health insurance. 

Cons

- High level of autonomy requires that employees "step up" their game - so you have to come with that mindset. It's a fast paced, progressive company where even junior employees are expected to work at a high level. You get exposure to clients and principals very quickly. I think you have to be mentally prepared for that. 
- Some projects require U.S. or international travel. While not frequently, if you're not into travel, it might not be the ideal spot for you. 

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Continue to Get Top Talent: I've never worked somewhere that had such high-level design thinkers and strategists. One day you're working with an Ivy-league MBA, the next a designer from RISD. IA should continue to focus on top talent due to the high-profile work that's done there. 

Recommends
Positive Outlook

7 Other Employee Reviews for IA Collaborative (View Most Recent)

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Incalculable Wasted Opportunity

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

    I have been working at IA Collaborative full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    While there is a ton that could be said about working at IA Collaborative, the most outstanding part of the experience is working alongside some of the best minds and most talented people in research, innovation, and design. The quality of the projects that IA manages to land is extraordinary, and there is endless opportunity to meet amazing clients, and do some really interesting work that has significant cultural affect and social impact.

    Cons

    Despite the top-tier employees, the final output on most projects is usually mediocre at best. In large measure, this is due to a lack of competent management at the highest levels.

    As the company has grown, it has developed an identity crisis of sorts; part design-thinking consultancy, part research lab, and part design studio, project workflow is often interrupted by lack of adequate resourcing (largely due to a floundering company culture that has tens of employees leaving per year), and poor management by company principals who have delusions of grandeur, and manage employees as if they are owned property. This is further perpetuated by criminally dishonest new business practices, where the leading account strategist abhorrently lies to new clientele to exaggerate the firm's capabilities, in turn, letting the project teams deal with the painfully predictable fallout, and unrealistic project timelines and expectations.

    Because of these issues, the company culture is toxic. Otherwise talented employees are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities, and pilgrimage out by the dozens each year. Those that stay behind are forced to smile through their teeth to endure a "beatings will continue until morale improves" methodology, exemplified by Monday morning staff meetings that require project teams to present before the company principals and nervously deliver a perpetually sad "we are the champions" song and dance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take notice of the needs of your employees. Act in a genuine manner. Most employees feel as if they are walking on eggshells, not due to fear, but out of not wanting to contend with the ubiquity of overbearing god-complexes.

    Of the many work environments I have worked in over a thirteen year career, I have never seen such disingenuous social interactions between people. A 40 person firm should not have to endure such needless political inner-turmoil. Worker retention would be infinitely higher if employees felt valued and empowered rather than worked like dispensable tools.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    The potential is excellent but wish the culture was better

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

    I worked at IA Collaborative full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The people who work at IA are absolutely amazing. HR does a great job bringing in employees who are smart, enthusiastic, and genuine. I look forward to going into work everyday just to see my coworkers, they are truly some of my best friends.

    Cons

    Management can be overly controlling and nit-picky on minute details which get in the way of having a relaxed and productive culture. More often than not, it feels like employees have to walk on egg shells to avoid saying or doing the 'wrong thing' around upper management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
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