Grayling Reviews

Updated July 2, 2015
36 reviews filtered by
  • Any Location
  • Any Job Title
  • Full-time
  • Part-time
Employment Status

Reset
2.7
Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Loretta Ahmed, Sarah Scholefield, Peter Harris, Jan Simunek
8 Ratings

36 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Helpful (1)

    Agency on the upswing

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

    I have been working at Grayling

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

    Pros

    This is a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment, so I'll agree with some of these negative reviews in that, it isn't for everyone. You have to be a smart, self-advocating, ambitious individual who earns a seat at the table every day. The spirit of the flat structure that Atomic brought into the merger still exists - regardless of title or role, your voice counts and will be heard. Managers exist more as mentors for junior team members and have a very open door (as in, there are no doors) policy. However, the BS meters are strong, so excuses won't work. This is great for people who are hard workers and don't want to silently support underperformers whose excuses are accepted by busy managers. Senior team members are invested and involved in accounts at every level, not just client meetings and plans, so lots of opportunities to learn and grow, if you grab the opportunity. The company is essentially a new company since the merger, so the management team is really focused on offering the very best to clients to build its own brand as well.

    Cons

    It's still in the process of gelling following the merger. There are challenges sometimes, down to - where are the furnishings for this office. Can we get a custodian, etc. Protocol and processes are still in development, so it can be a bit confusing.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the effort. Be honest with employees about performance and trajectory. Don't promote to keep bodies in the room, because those aren't the bodies you want if they're completely lacking self-awareness.


  2. Helpful (4)

    Held a lot of promise but failed to deliver

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

    I worked 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

    Really great health benefits and had flexibility with work. Work from home Fridays were a huge plus and some of the clients were fairly impressive to have on the roster. The HR people were probably the best part of the company - very responsive and tried to help bad situations wherever possible.

    Cons

    the management was not committed to finding new business and did not seem concerned about their employees growing as professionals. It became a cutthroat environment with public shaming and calling employees liars without having basic facts. Junior staff was made to work long hours with no direction from senior management. Managers were not given the tools or guidance they needed to effectively manage. Reviews were non-existent and when employees pushed for reviews they were punished. Each office acted as its own entity and there is not a cohesion throughout the company. Grayling, in comparison to other top 20 agencies, does not act like a big player. No one stuck to budgeted hours and interns were expected to work extra hours without compensation. Employees were threated, yelled at and called names by managers and senior management did not show concern. Overall it was an unfortunate setting and not a place to grow one's career or learn.

    Advice to Management

    Bring in people who care about their employees and care about having a team environment. Develop a clear company culture then hire according to the culture. Keep a closer eye on individual offices to ensure proper practices are taking place and hold executive leadership accountable for missteps.


  3. Helpful (3)

    Positive Experience Turned Negative

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

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

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

    Pros

    The benefits were really good. I had some really great co-workers and some of the people I worked with were smart and very creative which was really inspiring. Having flexibility was really great and I loved having a partial telecommute.

    Cons

    When the company was Atomic, it was really a tight-knit, cohesive group. The culture had it's growing pains but all in all it was a great place to be and people enjoyed being there. Employees were promoted when they were ready and not based on on annual review schedule. Turnover was minimal because employees didn't have to leave to get promoted. When the merge took place, we were told that the goal of Grayling was to have a culture similar to Atomic's - laid back, simple, upbeat. Instead it became bureaucratic, political, tense, cut-throat and uncomfortable. Everyone was stressed out and it showed. About 6 months in, the turnover was really high which made the culture even more unbearable. The executive team didn't seem to care. Some managers tried to make it better but there is only so much you can so as things come from the top down and if the executive team isn't contributing the the bettering of the agency, it won't get better. Pay/promotions for performance was eliminated. In several instances, I witnessed a couple of managers belittling and even yelling at employees like that was ok. It was brought to the attention of the executive team but nothing was done, which makes that behavior acceptable and this was done to really good employees.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your managers and employees. They are the people who see things first-hand every day. Be willing to admit to mistakes and make changes for the better. Don't tolerate hostile employees and managers and get rid of those people. They only make things worse for the good people you have. Several bad apples spoil the bunch and you are losing good people because of it.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (1)

    It was a dream that couldn't come to life.

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

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

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

    Pros

    The original dream of Grayling was to create an Integrated Corp Comm, PR and Public Affairs agency. Can enjoy very long tenures at Grayling with very little recourse of being fired. Job stability is good as is benefits. There are many Grayling offices around the world that do not make money yet they are safe and being supported by revenues from more profitable offices.

    Cons

    There is little cohesion or innovation in the fabric of Grayling. Outside of their health PR services, a few star managing directors who are able to go out win, service and support their own books of businesses; much of the efforts at growing Grayling have been complete failures. The Company has gone through several management changes and thus negatively affecting the cohesion and strategic direction of the Company every two years.

    Advice to Management

    Shrink down your footprint to a more manageable size, treat the Company as a private entity and have MD's or anyone else to go out and win business, reward any of them for doing so.


  6. Great company with a lot of opportunity

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

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

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

    Pros

    While there are certainly some pain points within the organization I feel like many are losing sight of the positives. I was with Grayling for about four years and I feel that some of the negative reviews are a bit unfair. Some of the most talented people in the communications industry are at Grayling and I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them. My managers and coworkers were not only extremely professional but easy to get along with. Everyone is knowledgeable on all aspects of PR as well as other forms of communications such as Government Affairs and Crisis Communications.

    Cons

    Growing by acquisition is tough. There were definitely some situations that could have been handled differently but I think that everyone is trying their hardest.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focused on the clients and continue the great work.


  7. Helpful (2)

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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.


  8. Helpful (8)

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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.


  9. Helpful (5)

    Grayling is a sinking ship

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

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

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

    Pros

    Grayling treated its employees fairly well in terms of perks: work from home Fridays, full benefits, unlimited vacation*.

    Cons

    With senior executives (CEO, managing directors, founders) leaving left and right since end of 2014, the company, formerly known as Atomic, has definitely hit its one year mark of rockiness since the company was acquired by Grayling and took on the company's name in Jan. 2014. It is the egos and belittling manner of Grayling's senior management, though, that serves as the biggest contribution to Grayling's current downfall. While choosing favorites, senior management often has a "every man for themselves" attitude, often throwing junior team members under the bus to save their own butts. While the company boasts its unlimited vacation policy, employees were often criticized for taking "too much" time off which caused them to feel guilty and as if their job was at risk for partaking in a perk that was supposed to be available to all. Lastly, Grayling struggles to onboard and maintain clients on a longterm basis. Clients often cycled in and out every 3-6 months which caused employee workload to be either incredibly high or very very low. With the agency's largest client being a Silicon Valley payments giant, Grayling was very vocal about the fact that this client was helping to keep the agency afloat, making job stability feel very nonexistent.

    Advice to Management

    Hire senior management that are professionals and non-partial to inner-office gossip. Make your employees feel comfortable and encourage them when there is a job well done. Also, focus more on on-boarding and maintaining clients in order to allow employees to feel stable in their career.


  10. Helpful (2)

    On the path to success

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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.


  11. Helpful (7)

    Quantity over quality approach. A culture of burnout.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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.



Showing 36 of 38 reviews
Reset Filters
RSS Feed </> Embed

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.