Grayling Reviews

Updated April 19, 2015
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3.0
31 Reviews
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Loretta Ahmed, Alison Clarke, Peter Harris, Jan Simunek
4 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    I've found Grayling to be an excellent company to work for. Supervisors value my work and respect my opinion.

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

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

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The work load is demanding, but supervisors are flexible about working remotely. The pay and benefits are generously fair. Training opportunities are plentiful We work with some cool clients.

    Cons

    Sometimes the offices seem like "silos" as opposed to all one company, but that's just bringing previously different smaller companies under one umbrella - there will be growing pains. Management engages in ongoing efforts to bring us all together, including appointing a "Chief Culture Officer" and doing some company-wide social things like contests.

  2. Helpful (7)

    My office is fine, but the rest of the network of the network needs serious improvement.

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great perks (WFH Fridays, unlimited PTO, cell phone subsidy, ability to work out of other offices). Pay seems to be on par with other agencies.

    Cons

    No sense of a true "network." Each office operates independently of each other. Not only are they generally unwilling to collaborate, there's been an instance where one office undermined another to steal a client. Leadership is unstable and turnover is fairly high overall. Save for a few, most clients are small and unknown to the general public. The lack of set billable hours means accounts are consistently over serviced and often require crazy workload. Tech infrastructure for a tech PR firm is a joke.

    This company is generally full of "yes" men and women who are driven by money and essentially do whatever the client wants, even if it's not strategic.

    Advice to Management

    Find better leaders, create a team/network philosophy across offices, stop chasing accounts based solely on revenue.

  3. Helpful (2)

    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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    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 Management

    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.

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  5. Helpful (3)

    Quantity over quality approach. A culture of burnout.

    • 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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Self-starters can get a lot of experience here.

    Cons

    There are a few great people at Grayling but on the whole my experience was very negative.

    Most of Grayling's senior leaders (General Manager and up) seemed very out of touch. Some are the kind of out of touch where they don't show up in the office for weeks at a time or just haven't added any value for years. The more common kind is the senior executive who doesn't care at all about the junior-to-mid level employees at the company and who believes the way to keep clients happy is to sacrifice every waking moment of the agency employee's life. This is why the rate of attrition there is so high, even for an agency.

    The senior leadership team would often overstate capabilities, experience, and team bandwidth in a way that made me uncomfortable. It often felt like they were overcompensating for these exaggerations by saying yes to every client request. There were constant fire drills, most of which were the result of the executive's inability to push back. A few VPs seemed more protective of their team's time and capable of saying "no" when appropriate, but the GMs were completely willing to sacrifice peoples' weekends and even special occasions for a client's slightest whim. They often overloaded talented team members with clients, making it impossible to do quality work. Quantity, not quality is the general approach here.

    The laptops and software we were expected to use were very old and barely functional. Microsoft Outlook would constantly crash. Regular reviews, promotions, and raises were non-existent. Most of us were never even sure who to contact with questions about benefits and such and on several occasion important enrollment paperwork was lost and never filed without any word back. In fact, Grayling doesn't even really seem to have an HR department at all which just seems bizarre for a big, global agency.

    The culture at Grayling is depressing. The British part of the company exerts a formal, stodgy influence. The US part is really just a loose collection of smaller agencies that Grayling bought a few years ago and there's a lot of ego, hostility, and in-fighting among them. Most junior-to-mid level people seem like they're just trying to keep their heads down and there's a dispirited, beat down feeling to the place. It seems like Grayling can offer neither the maturity or benefits of an established firm nor the fun and creativity of a smaller one. Awhile back someone pointed out to senior execs how low their Glassdoor rating was and instead of trying to improve, their response was to pressure people into writing positive reviews.

    For those who prefer honest, effective, respectful relationships with both clients and their employer, I recommend avoiding Grayling.

    Advice to Management

    Understand that there are direct relationships between the way you treat employees and the quality of work you're capable of doing as an agency.

  6. Helpful (6)

    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  7. 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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Passionate people, interesting clients and a good atmosphere

    Cons

    work life balance can be difficult

  8. Helpful (8)

    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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  9. Helpful (8)

    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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    TRANSPARENCY & INTEGRITY.

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

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

  10. 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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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

  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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    Keep up the great Atomic culture.

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