SmithBucklin Reviews in Chicago, IL

Updated August 25, 2014
Updated August 25, 2014
83 Reviews

3.9
83 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
SmithBucklin President & CEO Henry S. Givray
Henry S. Givray
53 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It is a fast-paced work environment and service-oriented culture (in 6 reviews)

  • I have found it to be a great place to develop both personally and professionally (in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is non-existent unless you make it a priority from day one (in 9 reviews)

  • They refuse to pay attention to the high turnover and low pay, as well as a model that simply does not work (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

58 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    What a great company!

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

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    If you really want to work in a place where you are making a difference, SmithBucklin is a terrific place. Every day, our people help our clients achieve achieve success and generate more opportunities for their members and industries/professional areas. And the people here are just fantastic. As with any world-class organization, some won't make it here, though. But just like Google or Apple or General Electric, those who do well at SmithBucklin are literally some of the absolute best our industry has to offer. In addition, the company values and our culture are truly exceptional.

    Cons

    Compensation and raises could be better.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep focusing on how to put our client organizations first, and all else will take care of itself.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    A happy employee who has had tremendous opportunity for growth, professional development and success at SmithBucklin.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director  in  Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Director in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The people at SmithBucklin are amazing! They are talented, supportive, encouraging, fun and driven. Although we are a large company, it feels like family on my client teams and in my unit. People here, especially my supervisor, care about my well-being, both personally and professionally. Top performers are recognized and rewarded. We have the opportunity to work in numerous, interesting industries and contribute to their success. Having multiple clients keeps things interesting and allows for a fast paced environment that I thrive in. No day is exactly the same, there is always a new challenge to face (usually in a good way, but sometimes a difficult challenge) and the chance to identify and implement a solution. There is great opportunity for advancement throughout the company.

    Cons

    The environment is very fast paced. For me, as noted above, it is a pro. But for some it would definitely be a challenge. You must have strong organizational skills, time management skills and prioritization skills to be successful here. If you are looking for a 9-5 job this is not it. There are definitely times when extra time is needed to get the job done or we work longer hours when we go onsite for an event. Again, I don’t have any problem with this aspect of the job, but others might.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to provide professional development training and perhaps expand the breadth of topics. Adding the people management effectiveness training was a great educational addition. I think even more people manager training could be valuable.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Good "Foot in the Door" Place, Little Respect for Work Life Balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing Senior Associate  in  Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Marketing Senior Associate in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Gain lots of insight being on many different clients, work a lot of young professionals who are in your mindset

    Cons

    CEO isnt responsive to many requests of balancing workloads, turnover is very high, not enough time to reinvent things, treated almost as "robots"

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great for experience but horrible for compensation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Associate  in  Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Chicago, IL

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I really enjoyed a lot of the people I worked with. I have maintained friendships with many former coworkers. If you want to gain a lot of skills that can be applied to many other careers, SmithBucklin is great for that. If you work hard, there are opportunities for advancement, but you have to be very vocal to your managers about your expectations. You basically have to threaten to quit before they will give you a raise or promotion.

    Cons

    The compensation is terrible for the hours that the company expects you to work. Burnout and turnover is extremely high so work teams are always changing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They need to review their retention strategies. Many clients I worked with were frustrated with the amount of turnover on staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Take the 5-star ratings with a grain of salt

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

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good experience but a brutal environment where 24/7 commitment is the norm and you are not expected to have a family or personal life.

    Cons

    Employee ownership truly only benefits those with very high pay and long tenure, that is, the CEO and his cronies. It is a churn and burn environment with constant turnover. The CEO changes with the wind, and today's favorites could easily be in the doghouse tomorrow. Those who know him recognize his pet phraseology in virtually every recent 5-star review. I laughed out loud when I read the "thrilled to be returning" post, as everyone knows "I couldn't be more thrilled" is one of his pet phrases. In fact, some of us used to count how many times he used that phrase in every town hall meeting. SB realizes they are known as a sweatshop so they have a concerted effort going to post phony reviews to counter the bad ones that they have truly earned.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No point. Current management is in love with itself and totally happy with the status quo. Should be interesting to see if any changes occur if big clients start to leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Learn, grow, and take your knowledge elsewhere

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Coordinator  in  Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Coordinator in Chicago, IL

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. You will learn how to multi-task, how to handle a matrix environment diplomatically, and how to navigate office politics quickly. You will work in a fast paced environment that will challenge you every day.

    Cons

    Work-life balance is non-existent unless you make it a priority from day one. Make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you and don't succumb to the 24/7 environment. Colleagues of mine went grey and got sick from the stress. This is the most high stress company I've ever worked in. The good news is, if you can make it here everything else will seem like a cake walk.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you value an employee do everything you can to make sure they don't burn out. Make sure they feel valued and try to provide them with resources to tap into so they don't feel overwhelmed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good experience with great (exceptional) people.

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

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time

    Pros

    The most genuine, honest review I can offer regarding employment at SmithBucklin can be condensed into five words: it is not for everyone. There. The cat is out of the bag; the cards are on the table; the truth has been exposed. Just like black olives on pizza, roller coaster rides and monogamy: working at SmithBucklin may not be the right thing ("fit") for everyone. The intent of saying so is not to trivialize constructive criticism or dismiss legitimate concerns on behalf of former and current employees, but simply to highlight that while SmithBucklin may not be for everyone (for what I believe to be a variety of justifiable reasons) - there are those (who stay and thrive and grow) who truly find their niche and calling in the work that they do on behalf of SmithBucklin and the client organizations they serve.

    It is my belief, and drawn from my experience at the company, that SmithBucklin is successful because of its people - its passionate, extraordinarily hard-working, dedicated, resilient, talented, tenacious people. I am someone who all but stumbled into association management the way I imagine Max Planck "unintentionally" revolutionized physics - completely "accidental-like on a breeze." And as true as it is that I have been tasked with challenging work at SmithBucklin, it is equally accurate that the rewards and fruit of my (diligent) labor proved to be of significant value. I cannot say that I have not put in long hours (long, coffee-guzzling, hours that were interrupted with grace-saving pizza deliveries, encouraging emails and occasionally blaring the 300 soundtrack after hours for motivation)... but I can say it has been worth it every time (because of recognition, career development, networking opportunities and relationship-building with the aforementioned passionate, extraordinarily hard-working, dedicated, resilient, talented, tenacious people). So while there is merit in the idea that this is not easy work, I have to humbly declare that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge to gain and skills to learn - which, in my opinion, is not always easy to come by.

    Additionally, and in the good nature of not speaking on behalf of others, I would render the experience I had at SmithBucklin as invaluable. And I would render it so because of the people I met and had the privilege to learn from and work with/for/in the vicinity of. I've grown personally and professionally in my time at SmithBucklin. It was an education and a friendship, and I am better for the experience.

    Cons

    Demanding environment; occasionally difficult (though not impossible) to master the art of striking a work-life balance.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Membership Associate  in  Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Membership Associate in Chicago, IL

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Care about well being of employees, room for growth, great place to start your career

    Cons

    Takes time to advance but the opportunity is there

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    I would not even consider making a 4 hour/day commute if I did not truly enjoy working here.

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

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Our people and our collaborative work environment certainly make it worthwhile coming to work each day.
    SmithBucklin is an amazing place to work with employee owners who genuinely care about each other and the success of our clients.

    Cons

    None that I have experienced.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the transparency and open door approach...it's working!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    I'm thrilled to be returning as an employee of SmithBucklin!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant  in  Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Chicago, IL

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    I was a proud SmithBucklin owner. I was surrounded by smart, talented, down-to-earth people and I felt that my efforts were acknowledged and rewarded. The company also shares my same commitment to charity. Overall, SmithBucklin has just the right culture for me to be successful and fulfilled in my work life. Of course I'd come back to that!

    Cons

    Sure, there are days when the hours can be long, but the company balances challenging work days by taking the time to celebrate and reward our efforts, too. I heard they gave iPads to the employees again.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to invest in learning and development in your employees. When I was interviewing other companies I realized that SmithBucklin excels in that area.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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