Refinery29 Reviews

Updated September 8, 2014
Updated September 8, 2014
13 Reviews
2.9
13 Reviews
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Philippe von Borries
9 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Changing Rapidly

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

    I have been working at Refinery29 full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    It's a great name to have on your resume because of its reputation for being so fast-paced. If you're a highly visible employee, they'll promote you much quicker than a quieter, behind-the-scenes worker who does 4X as much. They often promote within.

    Cons

    Upper management is ignorant of the fact that employees have no work-life balance. Founders treat you as though you have the same stake in their company as they do, and expect you to be as invested as them. This often means answering emails within minutes during nights, weekends, vacations, and sick time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    R29's reputation as an unstable and unnecessarily fast-paced is well-warranted. Pay more attention when your employees voice their needs.

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

    Awesome People, Terrible Management That Rules By Fear, No Work/Life Balance

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

    I have been working at Refinery29 full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The employees are mostly all young 20-somethings eager to make something of themselves. They are smart, innovative, and inspire you to be better and think out of the box. They know how to produce quality content and sell their brand...though they are getting rather mainstream and losing their loyal followers as they become clickbait. You get free bagels on Friday and free food at quarterly company parties and when there is surplus after executive meetings.

    Cons

    They throw superficial things at you to distract you from the fact that the pay is abysmal. They function on the hopes/dreams/and digital rainbows of their young employees who desperately want to be a part of this "cool" brand. Besides having no work/life balance, upper management is seriously lacking. This is because the founders are delusional and have no respect for their employees. Upper management makes you promises of promotion or bonuses so you work harder and accomplish their goals. But the minute you either accomplish it or it doesn't work out like they expect, they go back on their promises...or even let you go. They dangle the proverbial carrot above your head and watch you jump like a rabbit, only to let you starve in the end. They sell you a dream and say they have your back if you promise to have theirs, but are quick to make hasty "pivots" without telling you, leaving you in the dark so that you can take the blame. They so desperately want to be "cool" that they overlook loyal, talented hard workers for people with good style, overt personalities, and social connections. Management rules out of fear but it's apparent to everyone on staff that some of them are just insecure. In a nut shell, morale is extremely low, since everyone is overworked and underpaid. HR is nonexistent. I've seen so many colleagues either quit or were let go who deserve so, so, so much better. One of the executives have a saying: It's not a day at Refinery without someone crying...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Implement structure, think out your decisions, don't act out of impulse, respect and value your employees, stop throwing lavish parties or giving out free bagels and give employees bonuses instead!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    At R29 there is no 'offline'

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

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Lots of amazingly talented people on the team, nice office, most people care deeply about their work, general environment of excellence that can bring out an employee's best.

    Cons

    Everything you've heard about R29's brutal workload is true. There is NO work-life balance. Employees (even junior ones) are reprimanded for not answering emails/doing extra work at all hours of the day, night, weekends and days off. V. high turnover. Talented people jumping ship left and right for more structured, corporate environments that don't demand 24-7 work.

    Huge pay disparities for people doing similar work. The vertical you're in, how much you speak out, and looks matter a LOT to how you're paid. They will absolutely try to get away with underpaying you if your a shrinking violet. Talk to your coworkers and make sure you're being paid fairly. Also, get promises of bonuses from management in writing — major shenanigans going on there (bonuses promised then taken away, promises of a "great" year-end bonus that ends up being 1%)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop wondering why you can't attract/retain talent, and realize that under-paying and over-demanding leads nowhere but burnout and resentment.

    Also need to seriously restructure benefits. Lots of R29ers would gladly give up bagel friday for a 401k match (esp. when management constantly crows about the latest round of investment funding and $50m/yr advertising revenue.) Or how about small cash bonuses for smashing traffic goals instead of buying the staff tacos?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    It's cool until it's just so not cool!

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

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Bagel Fridays, free leftovers and honestly that's about it! I can't say I've worked for such a weak company before in my entire career

    Cons

    I've never ever experienced such an unprofessional environment in my whole career. Anywhere from the creative director to the owner to the intern that's been there for months and months, no one Handles business like a professional. If having the largest Instagram following, the coolest shoes and the sassiest attitude is the type of environment you think you can excel in... R29 is right for you!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop putting all your focus on the money and build your internal team before you're just another business that booms and crashes.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Innovative, Growing, Fast-Paced Company To Jumpstart Career

    • 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 Refinery29 full-time

    Pros

    Company culture and employees all believe in the brand message and this is infused into the office vibe and day-to-day.

    Great company to have on your resume that is rapidly growing in headcount and a place to jumpstart career.

    Cons

    Not the most competitive pay but there is opportunity to move up faster than a more corporate environment.

    Upper management is tasked with the rapid growth goals and may not recognize the hard work that employees have devoted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recognize the people who have been loyal to the brand and not let them go when the organization is changing, but consider ways to nurture, grow, and develop your people.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Company has changed alot in the last year

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

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time

    Pros

    Driven team, talented co-workers, company is growing

    Cons

    Disorganized management, various teams do not work together well and meetings can be hostile, salaries are low

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Re-assess upper managers--- many are not doing a great job and this goes unnoticed due to the fact that they have been there awhile.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great company/team

    • 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 Refinery29 as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Flexibility, good benefits, nice clean office

    Cons

    Be ready to work long hours

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great place to grow

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

    I have been working at Refinery29 full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    This is a company that values risk-taking. With that comes a lot of creative freedom, working on interesting content, and a lot of responsibility.

    Cons

    Workloads are not proportionately distributed, and upper management is not regulating that. There's also an unrealistic expectation of many employees to work late and be available 24/7 making work-life balance non-existent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For a company that's constantly boasting it's growth and revenue, it would be great to see this in the form of competitive raises, bonuses, and at the very least 401K match.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Lots of back patting, no employee investment

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

    I have been working at Refinery29 full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Amazingly free environment, creativity in bounds, and fun social perks. Really great internal community and lots going on. Generally, your supervisor directly above you cares a lot about your personal growth.

    Cons

    The vision of Refinery29 is a "throw something at the wall until it sticks" mentality, which means they talk a lot about a "vision" but the practice is whatever is working that day. Expect high school-level back dealing, and employees to "disappear" without notice or warning or a peep from upper management. Also, a yearly raise is kind of a joke.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust your employees, and don't intermittently be involved in aspects of the product. You want to be the best? Then pay the best.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    R29 is a place where you need to fight for what you want your role to be

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

    I worked at Refinery29 full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Positive work environment, super non-corporate, creative and open-minded coworkers. Opportunity to pitch ideas, small and large, and see them executed.

    Cons

    Retains the disastrous structure of its start-up origins. The current HR staff is seriously lacking. There is a real need for senior level staff members as average age of current staff hovers around 30.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Refinery29 needs to empower its mid level and senior level staffers. Currently it's a great place for juniors willing to work hard and get their feet wet in the industry, but there is a lack of structure for growth. There is a real feeling that you have to fight for the responsibilities and the salary you want, and to to fight for recognition from your superiors.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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