Hill + Knowlton Reviews

Updated March 20, 2015
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3.5
96 Reviews
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Hill + Knowlton Chairman and CEO Jack Martin
Jack Martin
38 Ratings

Pros
  • I was at H&K for three years of incredible highs and also terrible downs (in 13 reviews)

  • If you make it known that you want to grow, senior management will really take the time to give advice and mentor you (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance is verbally encouraged but they don't really mean it (in 10 reviews)

  • H&K as a result has suffered in retaining and winning business (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    1 person found this helpful

    Major positive impact on my career growth

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

    I have been working at Hill + Knowlton full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I started at H+K as an intern 7 years ago and have been granted opportunities to work on various projects within various departments, giving me the greatest learning, development and promotion experiences. One of the biggest day to day impacts is working with a great team, who cares about the work we do and contributes to a positive, collaborative, supportive, and goal oriented work environment. Management is always open to and encourages new ideas, improvements and ways to make projects more creative. Also, H+K has put significant time and effort into delivering new industry leading benefits for 2015, including a fitness subsidy, paid time off, training, awards, flexible work schedules and a global mentoring program. The work-life balance has been a major plus for me, and something that would be more difficult to find elsewhere.

    Cons

    Since H+K is part of WPP Group, it can occasionally take more time than expected for certain approvals. However, H+K Management does everything they can to relay information quickly and as it comes from our parent company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep consistently evaluating and implementing best practices in the industry, as you are doing!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. Ive had an amazing experience at H+K, with lots of opportunity for growth

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

    I have been working at Hill + Knowlton full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people is a great reason to work here, which includes the US Senior Management team. The addition of the Inside/Outside policies, which incudes extended maternity/ parental leave, plus fitness subsidies, flexible work arrangements, ability to work remotely, sabbaticals, tuition reimbursement and more, shows how much the company cares about employees

    Cons

    Although there have been a lot of changes with senior management over the past few years, you can now see a stable, consistent team is in place

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep listening to the employees

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. Endless opportunity, great work/life balance, expansive network and amazing people you want to work hard for and with!

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

    I have been working at Hill + Knowlton

    Pros

    It’s cliché to say, but one of the best things about working at H+K is the people. Having been at both a small boutique agency and another large agency prior to joining H+K. The pain-points of agency life are the same, regardless of where you go. That is a fact of being in such an intense, stressful client service industry. I have consistently found it to be the people on your team, in the trenches with you day-to-day, who make a company a place you want to call home. I have been with the firm nearly five years and across the board, regardless of the client or my role on an account, I love the people I work with. It is a very supportive environment, highly collaborative and fun. We have so many smart, creative, entrepreneurial people on our staff and it makes all the difference in daily agency life. Work/life balance is also one of the most important things to me personally and I find that H+K offers the best balance of any agency I’ve been with in my career. The reality of our business is that the work will never fit into a perfect nine-to-five schedule. However at H+K I’ve never had an issue meeting my personal commitments, taking vacation, making doctor’s appointments or working out any schedule flexibility I need. This is something that continues to improve under our current leadership and some exciting new benefits effective in 2015.

    I also really enjoy the global scale of H+K. Boutique agency life was not for me. I love the depth of resources available to us both in terms of overall benefits and agency stability and the expertise and opportunity that comes with working for a global company. I have grown leaps and bounds professionally and have always been encouraged to raise my hand and take advantage of trainings and opportunities to contribute to different teams. It’s just not something you can get at a smaller firm.

    Cons

    As I mentioned above, having worked at a few different firms with different structures I think all agencies have similar struggles: long hours, demanding work, high stress. I don’t find that unique to H+K and attribute that not to the agency you’re with at all but rather to the industry we are in. During my tenure I’ve seen H+K grow and consistently adapt policy and attitude in order to protect and retain people. In particular over the past year/ year-and-a-half the firm has really expanded benefits and training programs. The leadership is very open to feedback and more importantly, acts on that feedback to improve. In my experience, the benefits, people/teams and global scale resources far outweigh any pain-points. I feel my voice is valued at H+K and if we speak up about issues, our leadership responds with positive solutions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you’re doing! Senior management has been very transparent about the company, successes, areas for improvement, and what is on the horizon for H+K as a firm. It instills confidence in the future. I also love all of the new benefits that have been rolled out this New Year and am enjoying the new and improved perks and schedule flexibility.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. My best move - boomeranged back to H+K

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

    I have been working at Hill + Knowlton full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I am a recent boomerang back to H+K and it has been the best decision for my professional career and personal life having returned to H+K. I've worked at many other agencies in town and H+K is by far the best in terms of opportunity and culture. My voice is heard, I feel like I have opportunities to make valuable contributions and most importantly I feel like my colleagues and the leadership really care about me as a person inside and outside of H+K. H+K recently rolled out new, amazing, and industry leading benefits, perks, and programs. I feel like I can really achieve a work/life blend at H+K which is most important for me.

    Cons

    Not really a con but an optimistic hope for great training and development for 2015. We've been teased with some exciting new programs to come and can't wait to participate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Under Mike Coates' leadership in the US, I have been impressed with the new direction H+K is heading. In a short period of time, Mike has proved he is a man of his word. He sets a plan, shares it with all levels, and most impressive of all we've seen follow up and execution. He does what he says and doesn't spin like many of his contempararies.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful

    Worst Job Ever

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

    I worked at Hill + Knowlton full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Can still laugh over shared war stories from stint at H+K.

    Cons

    The 5 star reviews read like PR spin from start to finish. H+K had horrible retention. The turnover could best be described as churn, baby, churn. Teams were poorly managed by very highly paid Account Directors who sat in big fancy offices while junior employees were literally stuffed three to a closet. That's right, a closet converted into office space. HR didn't give a crap about the churn. Pay was poor compared to, well, anywhere, but especially compared to other agencies. Worst of all, having worked in NY and interviewed for another job in Chicago with H+K the only logical conclusion is that this is not the place to be for young, ambitious employees or experienced, talented managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a long hard look at the Chicago office and hand out some pink slips. You're still not going to be the place young, ambitious, talented employees want to work but at least it won't feel like a morgue.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful

    Fellowship Experience NYC

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fellow in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Fellow in New York, NY

    I worked at Hill + Knowlton (less than a year)

    Pros

    Fellowship provides opportunity to work across departments and on specific accounts of interest. Hourly salary of $15/hr.

    Cons

    It is a slow process to transition from a fellow (intern) to an assistant account executive, sometimes taking 6 months on top of the fellowship period.

  8. The Best!

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

    I worked at Hill + Knowlton full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Lots of room for advancement! A great training ground for PR Pros looking to work with a variety of brands across a wide range of disciplines.

    Cons

    Working with such a large agency is not for everyone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to focus on promoting from within.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. Assistant Account Executive

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

    I worked at Hill + Knowlton full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to develop skills. If you make it known that you want to grow, senior management will really take the time to give advice and mentor you. You're really able to learn a lot and develop skills - especially if you're starting out in the industry.

    Cons

    Since clients and teams can be all over the country, your may have to work more hours than you thought.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. Rewarding experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Fellow- RDI in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Fellow- RDI in Austin, TX

    I have been working at Hill + Knowlton full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The upper management was top notch. Quality management who knew how to motivate.
    Option to work from home sometimes.

    Cons

    It seemed like they valued aesthetic over data sometime.
    Some staff got too bogged down on details.
    Work-life balance wasn't great.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful

    Worst experience of my professional life

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

    I worked at Hill + Knowlton full-time

    Pros

    I met a few really great people and I got to work for some great clients. There were a few professional development trainings offered, Some of my coworkers were so nice and talented and it was a pleasure to work with them. Some people in management were very caring and kind and easy to reach out to.

    Cons

    Where do I begin...I was over-qualified from the beginning but I took the job because I wanted to work for a big firm like HK. But the way the job was sold to me in the interview was completely different than what it was. My job wasn't even remotely close to PR. From the very first day I was confused as to what team I was even on or what I was expected to do because it was never explained to me before which is usually and in hindsight was a red flag. They knew I had written tons of high profile things in my last career yet they stuck me with the most mundane tasks that basically could have been done by a robot. To my dismay this role involved no media relations, and hardly any client relations (I was lucky if I even got to speak to the client). The room we worked in was so quiet, I could hear a pin drop. And slowly I learned what a bizarre and unprofessional environment it really was. Our boss would scream and yell at my coworkers with the door wide open. I consider myself lucky that he never spoke to me and didn't know my name because at least he wasn't cussing me out. There was no room for personal or professional growth. I was probably one of the most most experienced people in the room when it came to media relations yet I was talked down to and at times berated or ignored altogether. I can count on one hand the number of times I actually got to use my mind. I was paid next to nothing yet had to also pay for parking, and come in weekends or stay late at a moments notice as if I had no life outside of work. The worst part was it would have all been worth it if the work I did actually mattered or was seen, but it wasn't. It was sent in anonymously which meant that if I hit it out of the park, I got no credit, but if there was even the slightest error or typo they had to call a meeting and I had to explain how I dropped the ball. No one in management ever reached out to me to see how I was doing or bother to talk to me. It's important to work somewhere that sees you as a person who is valuable, somewhere with the potential for growth, that has culture and values. If you agree, don't work here. Their culture is one of fear and shame, they provide no real opportunities. I had very high profile internships where I was trusted with more and treated with more respect. And I feel as though it were all for nothing. In fact, when I was applying to other jobs in PR I had to use my previous experience instead of this because what I did isn't relevant to anything in role in PR or communications. I only wish I could have back the time I wasted there being made to feel invisible so that I could have put it toward something that actually mattered.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire people who actually care about the people who work under them, and by care I mean respect them enough as human beings to call them by their names and not berate them. Take the time to talk to your employees, especially if you are running a program aimed at teaching. Give people incentives to work. That means turning in work under your own name. If you own your mistakes, you should own your accomplishments as well. Rewarding people for what they do right is a far better reinforcement than punishing people for mistakes.Pay people based on their experience and talent. There were people who work retail who make more an hour than I did there. And remember that if there is no room for growth, and you stick highly motivated and talented people with thoughtless robot work that could be done by middle-school students, there is a great chance those people will leave to go work for a better company like Ketchum.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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