Grayling Reviews

Updated March 15, 2015
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2.8
31 Reviews
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Loretta Ahmed, Alison Clarke, Peter Harris, Jan Simunek
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Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful

    On the path to success

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Director in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Grayling full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The past several months with Grayling San Francisco were tumultuous - due to the transition from Atomic to Grayling and a lackluster Managing Director who has since left - but it's allowed the team to recalibrate and forge a new path entirely our own. It's exciting to be part of a team that gets to rebuild the way we want to rebuild. The clients we target are entirely up to us and we get to implement our own ways of tackling new business. Additionally, the current employees - across both the consumer and tech practices - are absolutely brilliant and driven. We not only focus on delivering really great results for our clients but we also are adamant about creating a workplace culture that everyone appreciates, whether it's scavenger hunts in our new neighborhood (we moved offices), breathing exercises with a local yogi or baking competitions. It really is an exciting time to be part of the Grayling San Francisco team. The world is our oyster.

    And, of course, we have incredible flexibility and a legitimate work/life balance. We work from home on Fridays (unless there is a client meeting) and have an unlimited vacation policy. We have nine Grayling locations in the US and can work from any of those offices at any time.

    Cons

    Previously, it felt like every team worked it its own silo and didn't share resources. The company has made a concerted effort to change that, including putting processes and training in place. We still have work to do but it's definitely moving in the right direction.

    Compensation is on par with the San Francisco market, but our bonus program has all but disappeared. It would be great to see that come back.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to empower and encourage the up and coming PR pros to forge their own path - whether it's leading trainings, attending conferences or networking in our backyard.

    Transparency was a challenge for a while but that has changed recently and I would encourage management to continue the trend of honesty and transparency with the entire team.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. 3 people found this helpful

    Terribly managed company run by sharks who will cut you out the moment you serve your purpose.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Account Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Assistant Account Associate in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Grayling full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Best things about working here? Grayling offers some seriously particular set of professional standards about decorum. These are not skills to underestimate, as a job in PR is a job in creating an image. I do respect that.

    Cons

    Grayling lied throughout the hiring process. The job I received was not the job I ended up doing, and the people who worked at the company were cut throat and ruthless. There is no graciousness, acknowledgement of a job well done, or training. They throw you in expecting you to pull the skill sets out of nowhere.

    Associates will throw you under the bus the second they get a chance, and unless you want to work for a company where you're constantly on-call to deal with the needs of malicious senior management, I would avoid working with Grayling. Be signed on with a set of job expectations, and immediately learn that those skills are useless and you must focus your attention on menial tasks.

    Grayling, more than any other firm I've since worked for, is award obsessed. Be prepared to waste time attempting to earn awards for pathetic campaigns lacking innovation.

    Be prepared to do backwater PR and get ready to "smile and dial" for some old school phone calling media. You know, because ever reporter in tech LOVES getting a phone call to be annoyingly begged to cover a second rate product they don't care about.

    Don't get creative with your outreach, as the general work of the firm at this time was as bread-and-butter (and obnoxious to media) as you can get.

    Apparently many of the problem sources have since moved on, so YMMV, but I would avoid Grayling and cut your teeth at another company who will bother to train you and work as a team. Poisonous company with poisonous leadership.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop treating your staff as expendable resources to burn through in your path to self-importance. You're a PR firm. Act out solid public relations in-house, because the last thing this company needs to do is burn bridges with the capable lower-level staff who keep the gears running. These are talented people with a lot of creativity squandered.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. Going through a lot of changes

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

    I worked at Grayling

    Pros

    Passionate people, interesting clients and a good atmosphere

    Cons

    work life balance can be difficult

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. 4 people found this helpful

    Not the greatest experience....

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

    I worked at Grayling

    Pros

    Working from home on Fridays
    More responsibility due to understaffing (pro and con...)

    Cons

    Understaffed and unwilling to get people in quickly in order to improve efficiency
    No one sticks their necks out for people, every man for himself
    The managers do not really do much to help out their employees... clearly see there are issues but do nothing to make changes
    Work is passed off onto the lower levels, yet they are underpaid and under appreciated
    Lacks culture, everyone is so stressed out all the time, no one has fun or even tries to get to know each other

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When you see something is not right, do something about it. I believe that the reason this company has such high turnover is because it does not make its employees a priority.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful

    A Sad State of Affairs

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

    I worked at Grayling

    Pros

    Telecommuting options, unlimited vacation, and some really great colleagues (most have now left the company).

    There's a lot of room to jump up the career ladder (if you can handle the drama) because so many staff have left.

    Cons

    Grayling used to be a great place to work. It was an agency with a lot of potential.

    The merger between Grayling and Atomic was handled incredibly poorly. A hostile and tense environment developed because there was no encouragement, or structure, for the separate teams to get to know one another. Even work benefits and compensation were kept separate and unequal. The office became uncomfortable and unfriendly. The situation was only made worse with the hire of a new Managing Director, who was never in the office and never responded to any emails. We never knew where she was, or if she would even be coming in to the office that day. She rarely showed up to meetings that she herself had planned.

    There's a complete and utter lack of company culture. More and more staff have been leaving to pursue better options elsewhere. There's little to no transparency from management. It's an unstable environment, and incredibly disorganized.

    Office politics obstruct client work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    TRANSPARENCY & INTEGRITY.

    Be honest to your employees, because they are your best asset.

    Be kind to your employees, because otherwise they will leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 5 people found this helpful

    Ugh...

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

    I worked at Grayling full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Some great co-workers. Telecommuting. Benefits. Unlimited vacation.

    Cons

    Used to be great. HAD a great, non-political culture. People seemed happy with their job and the direction of the company. After the merge and as time went on, it became corporate and political and the once laid-back culture became tense and uncomfortable. A once caring environment became uncaring and hateful. People seem to be leaving more frequently than ever. Employees who have been with the company the longest seem to have lost faith and are leaving left and right.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Put your egos aside, get a clue and learn to listen. Your employees are your greatest asset.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful

    It was time...

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

    I worked at Grayling full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I loved my co-workers and there are some exceptionally smart and talented people in San Francisco. Grayling has great benefits and I loved the flexibility and being able to work from home.

    Cons

    I loved my supervisor but there was no leadership in San Francisco otherwise. A new MD was hired but had no presence in the office. For months, I didn't know who she was. When we were Atomic, there was pay for performance and that seemed to be eliminated with the merge. It seemed that a lot of people on my team were waiting for approval on their annual reviews, which used to be consistent. The culture was once fun but has changed a lot and not for the better. It became uncomfortable and tense. The office being cramped and overcrowded only made things worse. I had high hopes and was excited about the merge but my hopes quickly diminished. Moving on was the the best option.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire leaders who are available to staff. Pay for performance. If you don't invest in your staff, they will go somewhere else.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. Intern: Amazing experience, but left more to be desired

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

    I worked at Grayling as an intern

    Pros

    Working on Capitol Hill; fast paced environment; Very smart people

    Cons

    Unpaid; Lots of downtime if no relevant legislation is being discussed in Congress; Commute

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful

    Typical problems of large PR organizations

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

    I worked at Grayling full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    I had served the Company faithfully for over 9 years within the investor relations group of the NYC office. One has the ability to learn an inordinate amount while on the job due to the fact that the greater organization has zero ability to generate new investor relations business on its own or through cross marketing of existing PR/corporate communications business

    You are left to your own devices to hunt and eat what you kill. 3 out of my 5 clients that I serviced I brought in myself and two left Grayling when I quit. Because of this, one must learn a great deal in terms of marketing and client advisory as well as Investor Relations and financial communications as a craft. In essence Grayling is where I cut my teeth and learned to be the fantastic IR advisor that I am today. Right off the bat at my new firm, I have advised on an large cap IPO, something that Grayling hasn't pulled off in 5 years, worked for the President of a Country and the like.

    The NYC staff by and large are gifted and are as good as most Investor Relations consultants in the business outside of a few underperformers.

    Cons

    Grayling is public and issues dividends, as such the staff hasn't seen raises or bonuses from 2008-2014.

    Grayling as an organization is PR focussed who claim to be an integrated investor relations, corp comm and PR business. In truth Grayling is a PR/Corp Comm company who has no idea whatsoever how to run an IR agency business. NYC is the financial capital of the world, and Grayling as an organization is trying to minimize the role of the NYC office instead focusing on the PR business.

    No raise, bonus, profit sharing or stock options in 5 years.

    Inter-offices do not play together whatsoever and will bicker over who owns the P&L, refusing to work on any project until they have a clear understanding what their "cut" in the project is.

    Company has no successful marketing team with any understanding of agency communications business.

    Company's management team is extremely top heavy.

    Company allows employees who lie about their whereabout on sick days and work at home days to still have a job after being caught.

    Company lacks any perks or training outside of a salary and a very good healthcare plan.

    In terms of salary the Company underpays the industry by 30%-50% from general census of my friends who work in the same industry.

    When I left Grayling I took an offer that was 35% higher than what I was making.

    Management bought a large PR firm, integrated the PR firm's NYC offices with the IR office in NYC. They leased a large space that cost the same as what the PR and IR firms were paying for their individual offices.... THEN fired the entire PR staff in NYC so that the office space is now only a 1/3 full.

    Management purchased PR and Corp Comm offices in locations that don't make money like Poland so the greater business is stuck paying all of this overhead for offices that are not profitable for no reason. I.E. No true business would buy a PR business out in West UK - its not a profitable venture so why do that?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Check out a Company called Brunswick, they are probably the only global integrated PR firm that knows how to run an integrated IR/PR/Corp Comm public affairs business.

    Pay your employees what they're worth and for a communications company communicate your strategic plan to your employees and don't treat them as if they are prisoners in an internment camp.

    Stop paying dividends and reinvest that money into your staff, you are in a people business and you treat your staff horribly.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. Creative Agency with Room for Growth

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

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

    Pros

    Grayling (merged with Atomic PR in January 2014) is a great place to work. The agency is home to brilliant creative teams and has a great company culture. Benefits and salary are very competitive. Upper management is transparent and open communication is welcomed. Politics are minimal and colleagues are friendly. Intelligent and motivated bunch. It's a great place to grow a career; hard-workers are recognized and rewarded.

    Cons

    In order to truly thrive here, you need to be a self-starter and be able work independently. It's a fast-paced environment and teams are small; over-communication with teammates is critical.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great Atomic culture.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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