Kellen Company Reviews

Updated August 22, 2015
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19 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    Not a bad place to spend some time but not without its drawbacks

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Kellen Company full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    A very stable company. Established brand in the association management field. Work can be interesting and you can gain experience across several different industries. Though it varies by department, there can be room for professional and career growth if you are a self-starter.

    Cons

    Stability tends to cut both ways. The company is conservative in terms of where it spends its money. Growth has primarily been through acquisitions, leaving some executives to prefer stagnation to internal account expansion. Pay is usually below established market rates and raises have been at or just below inflation. Promotions tend to be given for political expediency vs. merit which can impact morale and motivation to go above and beyond for clients.

    Advice to Management

    Your actions are more transparent than you think. One or two poorly chosen executives can poison the perception of the entire company towards your judgement. Invest in the people that grow the business and hold account managers accountable for the growth and/or contraction of their accounts.


  2. Helpful (6)

    Changes happening

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Kellen Company full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Co-workers, quality of clients, professional opportunities. I've seen a lot of change happen in the time I've been here. Things are getting better and top management is slowly taking into account what employees are saying. I see more and more competent people finally getting a say in the direction of the company. There's room for promotions because we're growing; a person's level of responsibility is largely tied to the volume of work you produce, so if you're ambitious there are opportunities at Kellen you won't find in other agencies. I have found the work we do here to be incredibly interesting. You don't learn one small set of skills. You can learn a variety of skills from communications to public policy to financials all because our client base is so varied. You can learn a lot about particular industries like food & beverage or healthcare which directly translates into future career opportunities.

    Cons

    Limited investment in employees, high turnover, high workload, top heavy, nepotism, low moral. I think the changes in the economy are forcing Kellen to pay more attention to the needs of their employees. More than once employees have been referred to as "expenses" by top brass and that doesn't make one feel very valued. While morale is low because the basics of employee benefits are still being ignored, there are other ways the company's mid-level management make people feel valued and there are investments being made in the offices that weren't being considered before. There is a strong emphasis on working more than 40 hours a week. Volume of work and hours billed is valued above quality and efficiency. However, the volume of work required isn't compensated at Kellen. Kellen is consistently below market value and offers only very basic benefits. Competent people don't stick around because they can easily double their salaries moving to another company. Healthcare costs continue to rise and plans change almost every year. They offer an ESOP, but that only benefits management and C-level employees. People continue to request matching 401Ks and management continues to insist that employees are just ignorant of the value the ESOP provides. Kellen provides only basic leave time and there is no progressive maternal or parental leave policy. Work flexibility seems to be limited to the few "special" employees. Kellen seems to value time-with-the-company, nepotism and "yes men" over competency when it comes to promoting people to management. It feels very much like a "good ol' boys" club with no women on the board, only one woman on the Executive Committee, and a complete lack of diversity (both in color and in age) among management. More than anything else nepotism has dealt a major blow to the morale of the company across all the offices.

    Advice to Management

    Please review your pay structure, promotion policy, employee benefits, and bonus/raise structure. It's more competitive out there and not addressing compensation makes current employees feel like the company finds us easily replaceable. Give more consideration to the value of diversity.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Stuck

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Kellen Company full-time

    Pros

    Kellen is an interesting case. It is a company that is growing and doing well. Stable and established.

    Cons

    However this situation is also a potential cause of of their demise. They don't understand what is needed to grow the company beyond associations.

    Advice to Management

    Tap in to the resources you have. The current benefits packages encourage people to stay longer than they should and some to say that you shouldn't want to.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Kellen Company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits and holidays.

    Cons

    Poor business model, poor communication from upper level management, low staff morale.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees.


  6. Helpful (3)

    Not Great, Not Terrible.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Staff Associate in Washington, DC
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Kellen Company full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you're in a coordinator or associate position, you'll learn a LOT about what goes into managing a nonprofit, trade association or professional society. There are occasional incentives and things they do to keep workers happy (though not consistently). It really boils down to who you have as a manager.

    Cons

    There's a sense of conservatism there, and not necessarily in a political sense (though that is present at times), but in a way they conduct business. They turned down a contract with a nonprofit due to how they might be perceived because of their more "traditional" (i.e., corporate) clients. They don't seem particularly interested in diversifying the company other than buying out smaller AMC's that they think can improve their brand.

    Advice to Management

    Put your individual account executives through training in regards to management and organizational theory. There seems to be a bevy of micromanagement problems and instead of working collaboratively, many managers seem territorial about new ideas or improving processes.


  7. Meeting planner

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

    Pros

    Phelps hope and good employees

    Cons

    Work tons for little money

    Advice to Management

    Hr sucks


  8. Helpful (7)

    House of cards

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Executive in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Account Executive in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Kellen Company full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    There’s a nice sense of friendship with the staff in my office and it can be good to work on some of the big association conferences. You get to travel to the meetings. There is usually some kind of office holiday party and a summer team building day. The medical benefits seem good.

    Cons

    I read all the reviews here and I agree with most of the negative comments. Especially about the lack of work and life balance. I am not sure what I can add except about something that bothers me. This thing where The Kellen Company encourages the misperceptions that come along with saying they are employee owned. Maybe they like the way it sounds because it sounds warm and many people make assumptions without asking questions, yet “employee ownership” is only a way to set up a company for tax purposes and allows for easier borrowing of money for the owners of the company. The Kellen Company is not employee owned in the sense that it is employee controlled or a cooperative where every employee would share in company decisions – far from it. The Kellen Company is a very paranoid and secretive company and decisions are made by a very small group of men. If you ever push for someone to explain what it means with someone there who understands it, they will tell you that they are just a corporation with an ESOP. It stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan and probably the most best example of a company with an ESOP was Enron. Remember how well that went? The ESOP doesn’t help anyone there except for the people who have been their for many decades and hope to retire from there someday. It certainly doesn’t help the regular people who work there for a few years before leaving. The company also pushes the limits of the ESOP rules as far as they can go, legally, with things like vesting terms and payouts. Since the company gets its ESOP shares valued by a third party every year, they like to buy smaller companies to make it seem like they are growing. (An almost Ponzi-like strategy that must be repeated, year-after-year). For a company whose leaders seem to makes every decision based on its affect on protecting their financial stake in the company, they are the very definition of “penny wise and pound foolish.” For instance, they will criticize employees for very minor expenses yet never downsize any of the extra staff in the companies they acquire. I think its a house of cards and one day a strong wind will blow right through it.

    Advice to Management

    That is hard because I want to say stop being so arrogant. Hire people who will challenge you. Stop being such micromanagers. But that is not going to work so my big advice is: sell the company while you can.


  9. Guess it Depends on your Department

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Executive
    Current Employee - Account Executive
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Kellen Company full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good office environment. Everyone very smart. Best people I have ever worked with. The people really make the experience. Excellent learning opportunity. The work is challenging. Benefits are good (medical, dental, school reimbursement), I like the casual office culture. The work itself is serious but fun. I meet interesting, high level executives. No one breathing down my neck. CEO and other senior executives are pretty friendly and caring. Continual training and education, in our office and nationally.

    Cons

    I hear that not everyone in all offices have same work values, same experiences as my office. We take on and work hard for clients who don't pay what they should. That translates into low and slow salary increases and the need for additional staff. That's what really really sucks.

    Advice to Management

    Need more levels to be promoted and grow. More flexible holiday schedules (I think we're the only company in the U.S. that works on presidents day)


  10. Excellent Association Management Company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Employee owned with good benefits. Long history of good client service

    Cons

    Reserved, impersonal working environment, not much "fun"


  11. Helpful (4)

    Good place to start, but not stay...

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    I did enjoy co-workers, corporate structure, and ability to learn new skills. Liked the ability to tele-commute. Benefits and company holidays are nice.

    Cons

    Overworked, truly underpaid, long hours, and conferences are hell. Most management do not know how much their staff actually does. Very little appreciation shown to hardworking staff while higher ups sit back and delegate and do not take responsibility for their work. Team moral is low due to favoritism.

    Advice to Management

    Pay attention to workloads you give. Overloading current employees to save money on hiring new staff is counter-productive. Give everyone an invitation to the annual summit to learn and grow new skills.



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