Kelton Reviews

Updated May 21, 2014
Updated May 21, 2014
17 Reviews
3.4
17 Reviews
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Tom Bernthal
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Fast growing company with lots of opportunities for advancement

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

    I have been working at Kelton full-time

    Pros

    Like many of the other reviews have stated, it's the people at Kelton that make this such a great place to work. Everyone is enthusiastic about the work that they are doing, and it's a really collaborative environment.

    We also get to work with amazing brands (like PetSmart, Coca-Cola, and Bloomingdales just to name a few) to help them solve interesting business challenges. I'm never bored at work, and I think our projects are making a real impact.

    Kelton provides employees with lots of leadership opportunities. If you have an idea for a new initiative then you just need to put together a plan for the senior management and (more often than not) they'll help you refine it and develop it.

    Cons

    Kelton isn't a place for people who like "how to" manuals. Clients are always throwing new challenges our way, and we need to think up creative new approaches to meet their needs. That means a lot of quick thinking and trying new things, which not all people are comfortable with. There's also a lot of on-the-job training which I think some people find challenging.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Slow down...the fast growth means that hiring can't always keep up with the number of projects coming in. When that happens, people get stretched a bit thin.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Tons of fun, but no one actually understands research here

    • 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 Kelton full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    I think the people at Kelton are great. I have friends here that I know I will stay in touch with for years.

    Cons

    I have been working at Kelton for almost a year and still have not met anyone who actually knows about research. All my training has been on sales and how to talk to client and make them happy. But there's no focus on doing real, intelligent work based on data.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Managers and senior staff need to take some basic training on research. That'll help everyone here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    No one there actually knows anything about research...but they love to sell!

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

    I have been working at Kelton full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Lots of happy hours and free food! Cool looking office.

    Cons

    Management doesn't have any actual research training. They are just salespeople. They will say anything to sell a project.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Send your staff to some actual research seminars to get some training. You should probably attend some too!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Amazing culture - such an enjoyable place to work

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

    I have been working at Kelton full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    1) The culture first and foremost! One of the top interview considerations is "would I want to sit next to this person on a plane for hours", and that really shows in the culture. Everyone is nice, intelligent and a pleasure to work with. 2) You get tons of hands-on experience with all different types of projects. 3) There's a flat communication hierarchy, so people at all levels are accessible to everyone. 4) The clients. They're well-known brands that provide really interesting project work.

    Cons

    1) Workloads can get pretty heavy. Must be willing to work hard and have long hours at times. 2) It's definitely not for everyone - those who aren't a cultural fit don't stick around long. 3) If you don't speak up about what type of work you want to be doing, you could get staffed on projects you don't enjoy (...that would be your own fault though)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep on keeping on. The growth and changes occurring here are exciting - keep them coming!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    A great, supportive environment for motivated people

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

    I have been working at Kelton full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    -Great senior leadership, who are mindful and supportive of both personal and professional interests
    -Ability to work with exciting brands and expand experience with many different types of project work, including integrated methodologies
    -Positive, close-knit office culture, even through rapid business growth
    -Recruits very talented, smart individuals who bring many different skill sets to the table (and the ability to team up with and learn from them)

    Cons

    -Workloads can be extensive at times, requiring the willingness to work past 6 at times.
    -Must have a proactive, go-getter work ethic in order to grow in the company.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    A great place to grow into your ideal career

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

    I have been working at Kelton full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Strong attention paid to fostering career development and personal growth, both in and outside the context of your work
    - Ability to maintain a close-knit, empathic culture despite accelerated growth in recent years
    - Numerous opportunities to learn new skills, work in a variety of industries, and offer input on projects at every level
    - Great balance of structure and flexibility
    - Strong emphasis on client service

    Cons

    - Struggles a bit in trying to grow into a more sophisticated business while maintaining the small-business feel
    - Can be a tough environment for people who are not naturally self-starters or proactive about finding new opportunities
    - Often overdelivers to clients to a fault

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  8.  

    Entrepreneurial culture with a real chance to make an impact

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

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

    Pros

    - Amazing top tier clients, with strategic relationships - come for the hardest problems to be solve
    - Supportive colleagues at all points and levels – there’s no tolerance for drama or internal squabbling/posing
    - Caring, dedicated leadership who support bottom up innovation in both methodology and internal culture and structure – opportunity to really make an imprint in company’s identity and growth trajectory in big and small ways
    - Likes to have fun, in a way that people who really hard do/must – happy hours certainly, but watercooler conversations and impromptu potlucks abound

    Cons

    - Decidedly not for people who need a lot of structure or want hand holding
    - Get a lot of the “big”/important things right, but some misses in easy things – i.e. templates and guides not always readily available
    - Must love challenges, and thrive in ambiguity – solving hard problems means caring to and be willing to work past six at times
    - Fast paced - natural consulting skills a must have both internally and externally
    - Working through many standard issues that come with rapid growth – clients can’t get enough and often pulled in different directions

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work to be smart about growth, taking a critical eye to who is a true fit and communication company wide. Don’t dilute product or culture by catering to people who are average in skills and needs.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    A flat culture where people can do great innovative work and move up quickly

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

    I have been working at Kelton full-time

    Pros

    * Flat culture where people at every level get ownership over their work
    * Great portfolio of top clients; innovative research types
    * Culture of experimentation
    * Fast growing
    * Accessible senior management
    * Fun social culture of off-sites (e.g. New Orleans, Las Vegas), Game Olympics, Book Clubs, Email Games, Happy Hours, etc.

    Cons

    * Fast growth is outpacing our ability to hire, so workloads peak while we are trying to staff up
    * Not a place for people who want a rigid structure
    * Training has been more on-the-job and ad-hoc than formal (although that is evolving with a dedicated people team for 2014)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Feels like a start-up, but the culture, internal education and employee structure is lackluster

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

    I have been working at Kelton full-time

    Pros

    *There's a great yearly company retreat for employee bonding
    *The office is cool and in a great location in both LA and NYC
    *There's a lot of flexibility in job roles that allow for experimentation and stretching career-wise
    *If you're a natural entrepreneur, you can make things happen here for a while, they're open to new ideas - but you better be responsible for leading the charge. You got to do it on your own.
    *Great bonuses

    Cons

    *The company culture is off - people work extremely long hours - with almost no recognition of it. There's little to no appreciation for the creative process
    *They have no official research process - it's sort of - figure it out on your own...and everyone is so busy they have almost no time to train anyone. No real learning happening.
    *There's a lot of hierarchy - a few people hold the ropes at the top and decide everyone's fate - and some of these people make these decisions based on superficial factors versus talent.
    *The internal mentoring system is broken and job roles are very poorly defined
    *Their hiring process is flawed, and their instincts around people that will mesh culturally is surprisingly bad. Many people leave after a year or so.
    *They claim to know about a lot of things - and promise a lot to clients without being able to back these claims up. They're very scrappy in this way.
    *They pay way less than industry standards

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take some time to re-think employee happiness and culture. Learn from other companies that people like working for - and invest more in company culture. You'll loose a lot of great people simply because you work them to the bone for little pay.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Big Variance in Talent

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

    I worked at Kelton full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    As a lot of the reviews have stated, the office culture/environment/people are really great: progressive, relaxed, fun, young. Their benefits are honestly outstanding compared to other places I've worked; very little to no out of pocket for medical, etc. Very solid 401K matching program. (Note: I was a full-time employee. I don't think they give benefits to contractors/freelancers.)

    I felt like in the few years I was there, I learned a decent amount and got a lot of exposure to clients and those fun, big picture projects (like innovation and marketing/brand strategy) that you can't get at the larger burn-and-churn firms who get 90% of their revenue from brand trackers and ad copy testing. Lots of different methodologies and problems that you get to tackle here.

    Cons

    Like any small firm, the perception of a few key people in management determine your success. There's a HUGE variance in talent and experience. Some researchers there really do honestly know a lot, but others have no clue what they're doing. The bigger danger is that some researchers who may know a lot about one type of methodology or area of research (like maybe they have a lot of experience in classic social science quant or brand tracking) try and claim they know about qualitative methods. (I think one of the recent reviews here pointed that out. Sometimes you were in meetings and people were saying things that just were NOT correct, but it was because it wasn't their area of expertise and they were just talking to make it seem like they knew something.)

    Generally, there are a ton of research firms out there throwing around the word "strategy" without having the real know-how. Kelton is no exception to this. To give advice on strategy means knowing about what your clients are facing on their end, from regulations and legal issues to pipelines and back-end processes. Most people at the company (including the senior levels) don't have the experience necessary to really advise clients in this way. Anyone can look at data and make a story. Guiding clients on what to really DO with the findings and how to execute is totally different. Know your limits or hire new people with that different skill set you need.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Overall, my experience at Kelton was pleasant. But you need to put formal training in place and figure out a way to really cultivate knowledge of best practices from top down. To do this, you need to hire more mid-level people. You have super juniors and super seniors, but very few people with 3-6 years of experience that can coach the juniors while taking some of the load off the seniors. In order to teach and be thought leaders, the seniors can't be running stuff in SPSS at midnight and fixing tabs or reports that a mid-level person could've easily caught.

    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

Kelton Photos

Hosting a meeting in our Los Angeles office
Kelton's New York office shut down for a day in December to participate in the #Hashtag Lunchbag movement
A typical Kelton brainstorm
Pumpkin carving with designers

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