SmartBrief Reviews

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3.6
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SmartBrief President & CEO Rick Stamberger
Rick Stamberger
11 Ratings

32 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    It's an okay job while you wait for your dream job to come along.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time

    Pros

    For the most part I work with some pretty cool, fun people. Hours are flexible and I can pretty much come and go as I see fit. Most people seem to be 'getting by' and working at this job to gain experience to move into a better one. The benefits are pretty good but the pay sucks. The company is in a time warp.

    Cons

    Zero room for advancement. HR department is extremely unprofessional and do not set a good example for the rest of the company. I'm actually surprised that the company hasn't been sued yet. If you are not part of the 'clique' than what you think is not important. HR department is the worst that I've seen in any company. Turnover is extremely high and all the bitching and moaning is taking a toll.

    Advice to Management

    Get a real HR department that knows how to set an example and handle issues. It's pointless to ask them any questions as they will not know the answer. Do something about your turn over rate. Has HR ever heard of employee retention?


  2. Helpful (2)

    SmartBrief Sucks!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - In Sales in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - In Sales in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    For the most part, SmartBrief hires great people but as soon as they learn what's what and find out how much they could be getting paid elsewhere, they jump ship. Everyday I see new people in the halls and don't know if they are employed by SmartBrief or somehow mistakenly wandered in through the front door. Upper management is not to be trusted and it seems like they like to work people to death for the lowest wage and toss them out as soon as they start complaining. The benefits are pretty good and the office location is convenient.

    Cons

    All the things mentioned above and some. The smell of death is in the air. Advertising is getting harder to sell as our clients are finding little to no return on investment. Personally I think their advertising dollars are better spent elsewhere. Email is outdated and most people are deleting our briefs without reading.

    Advice to Management

    The same advise that was given to me, "get with the program."


  3. Running backwards blindfolded.

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

    Pros

    If you want to hide behind office politics and pretend to be getting things done, it's easy. People with no real or appropriate experience will be given major responsibilities and won't have to do much to keep their job.

    Cons

    Product has not evolved in many years and has become dated to the point that advertisers are not interested. Office politics and established cliques are a huge deal and process is more important than results. SmartBrief turns over salespeople at an alarming rate and has no sense that the company may be at fault. "Because that's the way we've done it before" is a mantra.

    Advice to Management

    Promote from within. Get real about the fact that no one is going to acquire you and get busy being a better company. Thinking your product and service is "good enough" is not good and is not enough.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Lots of internal issues, moving nowhere.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Client Services in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Client Services in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    It's an online media company; within the publishing word, online & digital media is the place to be. Whether or not email is really progressive within online/media is up to you... Work/life balance is feasible at SmartBrief, but only because people leave at 5pm and don't want to work late. It's not something that is really promoted but something an employee just stumbles on. Oh, another good thing is the awesome office manager, and there is a beer machine.

    Cons

    There is no innovation, desire to develop & compete. Management is satisfied with mediocrity, probably just enough to get the company bought (which these days is all they care about). There is absolutely NO focus on career development for individuals. The only way to move up is to make a big stink, threaten to quit or beg. Employees that have been there a while fall into the same mentality as the senior management and don't care to move the company forward.

    Advice to Management

    INNOVATE, EVOLVE, TAKE RISKS, COMPETE WITH OTHER COMPANIES OUT THERE! And try to retain your employees by listening to what they want and caring about their careers.


  6. Helpful (1)

    SmartBrief has great potential that needs to be realized.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Flat culture -Nice people -Company does a great service and produces a quality product -You can innovate and push ideas forward -Tremendous opportunity to be highly involved at an entry level and learn from experience

    Cons

    -There is minimal development or career advancement unless one threatens to quit, has a competitive offer, or does everything themselves -Poor motivation/communication from leadership--there is no mission. -Little leadership awareness of workplace issues -Extremely poor top down communication skills from leadership

    Advice to Management

    -Focus on Professional Development (in education, communication about career advancement, and recruiting, ect.) -Hire smarter people--recruit more widely and raise bases to become competitive in the marketplace. We are losing excellent candidates we are lucky to have apply because salaries are so much lower than competitive comparisons. -Address workplace issues effectively and efficiently. -HR should read SmartBrief on Workforce


  7. Helpful (1)

    SmartBrief is a good company with a good product, but is a very poorly managed company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Very relaxed environment and a great work-life balance in terms of expectations. They have a very good benefits package there as well.

    Cons

    Poor communication from management in terms of the direction of the company. It is very easy to get lost and caught on the outside of being one of managements favorites...

    Advice to Management

    My advice would be to be more transparent to your employees and to treat all employees fair.


  8. Helpful (3)

    Nice People with No Direction

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Beer machine, nice/smart people, casual work environment

    Cons

    zero leadership from senior staff.

    Advice to Management

    Please understand that betting on a short term exit strategy can backfire when all long term prospects haven't been made priorities.


  9. Helpful (3)

    Disorganized environment which rarely has goals but does have talented people

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Fun people make working at SmartBrief worthwhile. The culture is quite relaxed and most people do not take themselves too seriously yet they remain professional.

    Cons

    SmartBrief really doesn't have a business model and has little idea of how to communicate what it is attempting to accomplish both within and outside of the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Leadership at SmartBrief should really sit down and think about what the business is trying to accomplish. While working there there was rarely a sense of moving forward and it felt as if employees were simply there to get a paycheck but were never really engaged nor could they be because the company has little vision.


  10. Helpful (3)

    Like being on drugs

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Working at SmartBrief is like being on drugs. It's fun, especially if you're younger. The people are genuinely nice and hang out together, the office is pretty, there's free beer, and the CEO can be quite inspiring, actually. Also, to stay there, all you really need to do is just go along with the program (not so terrible, really, not like they're manufacturing anthrax or something); you don't really need to try very hard. If having an easy, pleasant, work environment is more important to you than making money, it's a good place to be.

    Cons

    Working at SmartBrief is like being on drugs. It's bad for you, especially if you're older, and really, you probably shouldn't do it. Telling other people about your experiences doing it makes them bored, at best, and respect you a little less, at worst. It feels bad to stop doing it, but after a day or two you realize your life is better for it. After I left, I discovered a lot of my more casual acquaintances had thought that I had been working for a non-profit. Must've been the "working for the experience, not the paycheck" vibe that I was giving off. If you prefer making money, building your resume, and accomplishing difficult tasks to having an easy time at work, and you could care less about having free beer at work (not at all a shameless ploy to make recent college grads work for less money, right?), maybe you should look elsewhere. SmartBrief is a real businessman's business (not necessarily a "Con", depending on who you are). It is very much a marketing and sales organization. Let's face it, E-mail newsletters for trade associations are boring. This is good if you're a businessman, because you have less competition. But do you really want to just write summaries of others' articles if you want a career in journalism? Do you really want to just work with e-mail and websites if you love technology? This doesn't mean it's a terrible place, it just means that senior management does best what it knows best.

    Advice to Management

    To be honest, watching management in action was one of the highlights of working at SmartBrief for me, because I would probably do some of the same things they do if I were to start my own business. They certainly know how to get good value for the talent they acquire. Also, SmartBrief seems like a solid business. But hey, so is Starbucks; just because I want to be a shareholder doesn't mean I want to work there. So, the advice: I think the majority of SmartBrief employees are vaguely dissatisfied, but are comfortable enough that they don't want to bother finding something else. Some like their jobs, but not as many as you seem to think. Maybe more really liked their jobs in the past? Was there a great start-up culture that isn't surviving big business bureaucrats moving into management positions? I'm not sure. I think maybe SmartBrief tries to hire ugly ducklings, and I think maybe, deep down, the CEO thinks everyone has a bit of the ugly duckling inside them. But what if they're mostly just ducks after all? Then you end up with a duck pond, not Swan Lake.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Great Entry Level Footstep

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

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

    Pros

    -Office environment is very relaxed and casual -Great patio -Good starting point for a lot of careers

    Cons

    -If efficiency, communication, and productivity are important to you, I highly advise you look elsewhere. There are some really good people at SmartBrief who can get the job done with exceptional quality. However, it always get pideon-holed at the management level and it is a miracle if anything gets done on time. -If opportunities for advancement are important to you, look elsewhere. Unless you're in Sales, you can expect a minimum raise annually and see your next step in the ladder filled in from the outside. -The turnover rates are through the roof and it's always the best talent that heads out the door. Middle management can be development hell; anything and everything that gets there will be in limbo until you're proactive and bring it up yourself. Don't expect middle management to take responsibility for their lack of awareness. -If a healthy salary is important to you, I HIGHLY advise you look elsewhere. Unless you're in Sales or in a management position, you can expect below average pay and above average expectations for the amount you're paid for.

    Advice to Management

    There's plenty of good talent internally. Stop bringing in people from the outside who have no idea what SmartBrief is and give the internal candidates a chance. They've been here x amount of years more and know how the processes work. And speaking of processes, let's stop talking and actually get stuff done.



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