Penton Reviews

Updated June 18, 2015
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2.3
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Penton CEO David Kieselstein
David Kieselstein
66 Ratings

Pros
  • Work/life balance is great for now (in 16 reviews)

  • Casual work environment, small perks (in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • Incompetent and arrogant senior management (in 13 reviews)

  • Most middle to upper management are brought in from other companies (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

143 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Reflections on Penton

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Online Content Strategy Manager in Overland Park, KS
    Former Employee - Online Content Strategy Manager in Overland Park, KS

    I worked at Penton full-time

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

    Pros

    Some excellent coworkers. Good hours. Relaxed environment.

    Cons

    Continually changing mission. Limited promotion of existing workers to upper management. A high percentage of dead-weight employees.

    Advice to Management

    Pick a direction and focus. Look for internal stars and give them room and resources to grow.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Optimization Specialist

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

    I worked at Penton full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    There were several pros of working at Penton when I was there. First, the people you work with are awesome. The writers and editors know their stuff and most of the people I worked with were highly respected in their fields.

    For my position I had a ton of autonomy. I was able to pick out gaps and suggest fixes with SEO, in which corporate usually took my advice.

    I was able to travel a lot. My job required media coverage for big events/conventions, so I was able to travel to several different states to do so. My boss would always pick up the tab for meals, and when he didn't, I was able to use my corporate Amex. Some of my best life experiences happened during this job, and I'm really glad I took the position.

    I was able to work from home when I needed to. This helped out big time because whenever I had huge projects, I was able to work where I felt most comfortable. I always got my work done, so I never had issues asking to work from home.

    Cons

    Our group was fueled by data, but the wrong kind of data. Our sales reps didn't really understand how to sell for the digital world, so page views ruled over all other conversion data. (If you are in sales and understand the digital world, you could grow very quickly at Penton.)

    The office atmosphere was rough. The people who worked there were awesome, but it was very quiet and felt dead most of the time. The sales guys were never in their offices so beautiful window spots remained vacant. The people were great, but it felt like a ghost town at times.

    Salaries seemed very unbalanced. I was underpaid, but I lead multiple efforts to train people who were making double/triple my salary. I'm not going to lie, it was discouraging because I could easily have done some of their jobs. Luckily my boss was awesome and tried to get me a raise.

    Advice to Management

    If Penton is doing well, that should be reflected on their employees. Competitive salaries are essential in bringing in good talent for the digital world.

    The work order system also needs to be heavily revised. I was there for over a year and there were some major projects that were never addressed. It seemed like the dev. team was overwhelmed and didn't have time to work on things that would help some of the smaller sites.

    Get interns on board. If certain divisions can't afford full time employees, there is work that still needs to be done. I had to drop some major projects simply because I didn't have the time or resources to do so. An intern could really have helped me aggregate data, run backlink audits, research competitors, etc..All these things I tried to make room for, but I had no time or space to do so. I could have definitely generated more revenue for the company if I had someone to help with some of the heavy lifting.

    Partner with more charities and organizations. I feel like Penton would really benefit from having more character. The few times the office went out, it was a ton of fun. If salaries can't be raised, there needs to be more room made for team building.


  3. Helpful (5)

    Overall Disapointment

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

    I worked at Penton full-time

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

    Pros

    Work/life balance
    Working from home or remotely is allowed
    Good personal computers
    Decent benefit package

    Cons

    There is no office or team culture - majority of people on the team spread around the globe and don't know each other. Huge communication overhead because of this and lack of any personal bonds between coworkers.
    Quite depressing office - you don't feel any energy or collaborations.
    Bad open space layout - windowless, people sit very close to each other, distractive and noisy.
    Extreme outsorsing - most projects are done by consulting company in Russia and there is no knowledge transfer or any attempts to listen to US employees. It's more like us vs them culture.

    Advice to Management

    Build teams locally
    Create a great working environment
    Foster culture of collaboration


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  5. Helpful (12)

    Frustrated, Incorporated

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Good colleagues, flexibility, well-intentioned CEO, a handful of new SVPs who are trying their best to teach old dogs new tricks

    Cons

    Abusive senior managers, micromanagement, top heavy pay scale, impending sale of company...Also, don't be fooled by the nice collage of diverse headshots. Go to the "About" section of Penton.com and you'll see that the company is run by 10 middle-aged white men, a token female, and one non-Caucasian (who happens to be the CEO's colleague from a previous job).

    Advice to Management

    Displaced anger is not a good motivator. Un-credentialed bullies with deep-seated psychological issues should not be given a corner office and left unchecked by HR.


  6. Helpful (9)

    Overall disappointing

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

    I have been working at Penton full-time

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

    Pros

    They've been in transition mode as they move forward with all-digital platforms, and they're still figuring everything out. They seem to WANT to be a great company someday.

    Cons

    There is virtually no office culture. Team building and fun events are non-existent despite a clear lack of employee motivation and overall morale. There seems to be a giant disconnect between each market, their leadership, and how they connect to Penton's overall goals as a company. The New York City office might as well be in rural Kansas -- no one would be able to tell because there are no windows and no sense of the NYC culture. Every single person you talk to seems to be going through the motions and trying to "get through the day/week/month/quarter" instead of actually enjoying their work.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in your employees. We need more than a holiday party once per year to feel valued and connected to the company.


  7. Slow to move forward

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

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Good benefits and work/life balance.

    Cons

    The organization has been through a lot change, downsizing and management shifting.


  8. Helpful (7)

    Too Old

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Atlanta, GA

    I worked at Penton

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

    Pros

    Good colleagues; lots of autonomy.

    Cons

    As company transitioned from print roots to digital centric, old timers became cannon fodder. A lot of good experience and solid leadership was jettisoned.

    Advice to Management

    Young people are cheaper; old people are often wiser.


  9. Helpful (12)

    Thinking of working here.......THINK AGAIN!

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

    I worked at Penton full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    Not many pros at all. Casual dress. Flexible with schedule (kind of ). The hope that this company will be sold soon.

    Cons

    HOW IS THIS COMPANY STILL IN BUSINESS? Penton is a company that needs so much to change it is not worth your time. How this company has managed to stay in business for so long is a mystery. However, from what I have heard it will not be around for much longer. I actually heard the Atlanta office is completely empty at the moment due to horrible managers. If you read other comments you will see that the people in charge are absolute idiots. If you are the type to not ask questions and just do what you are told then this job could work for you. If however you would like to use your brain, grow professionally, and work with intelligent management, then you must STAY AWAY. I never usually write reviews but because this company is so uniquely terrible I felt it was important to warn potential employees. You will be fed a bunch of lies at your interview about Penton and how it is changing but please, please do not believe those lies. Look at Glassdoor reviews. There is a reason ( well actually many) that people are not recommending this company.

    Advice to Management

    At this point I think it is too late. See what happens when this company is sold.


  10. Helpful (16)

    Clueless upper management, incompetent mid-level management, IT developers' clown show

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Casual about dress and work hours, can be late to work, and free to stay late to compensate.

    Cons

    So many cons, hard to know where to start. Clueless out-of-touch upper management, a culture of shoddy incompetence that begins with terrible mid-level management. It's their way or the highway. They try to compensate for an ingrained culture of incompetence that creates LOTS of mistakes with jokey, infantile activities and emails that are supposed to build community and positive morale, but comes off like high-school activities while the building falls apart around you. Physical work environment is insultingly cheap and congested; tiny little horse-stalls in a large room with a small bathroom for over a hundred people. On top of it all, they are trying to drag the company into the 21st century and place all emphasis on digital media, yet they employ possibly the most incompetent team of IT developers the world has yet known. Their apps are months behind schedule and are rudimentary at best. They seem to be dedicated to killing all the brands they own. All-in-all a laughably incompetent clown show that pays well below scale.

    Advice to Management

    Fire yourselves and mid-level managers, give cost-of-living raises to worker bees, and get in a whole new team of qualified IT developers that know what they're doing.


  11. Helpful (2)

    good place, changing and growing, definitely not standing still

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

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

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

    Pros

    growing and changing for the better
    looking to the future, trying to adapt, built from print history but knows future is digital
    this place keeps me inspired, challenged to do better and grow in my role, learning every day
    people here care about employees
    CEO of the company is personable and approachable. He remembers the name of people that work here, makes it a point to reach out to engage, and gets "it" (so, do your homework and be ready for questions)
    there are career opportunities (moving up the ladder)

    Cons

    wish we had a matching 401K
    we are spread out among many locations in the US - video calls help improve communications but it can be a challenge to grow relationships
    some Penton offices are older, with less physical amenities, comforts, perks

    Advice to Management

    We believe in your leadership and trust your direction - we ask that you do the same of us. We care about the content and the clients - let us help build a future in digital, data and events.



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