SmithBucklin

  www.smithbucklin.com
  www.smithbucklin.com

SmithBucklin Reviews

Updated November 13, 2014
Updated November 13, 2014
90 Reviews
3.9
90 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It is a fast-paced work environment and service-oriented culture (in 8 reviews)

  • This is a great place to learn the basic skills needed in the trade show industry (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance is non-existent unless you make it a priority from day one (in 10 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

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great concept for a company

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

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great place to get a lot of experience in a short period of time. The ESOP is fantastic, and a very nice benefit. You are able to work independently and most of the people there are really glad to help.

    Cons

    The company culture is more of an academic idea than a reality. It is a classic case of an AFR company, anything for revenue.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop worrying about your "legacy " and listen to your people. Lots of bullying by a few influential members of the senior team, which needs to stop before the company can grow.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Very Positive and lots of opportunities for growth!

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

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time

    Pros

    Amazing people, tons of exposure to different industries and professionals, lots of opportunities for growth and expanding your skills set, great benefits and the company gives back to the employees a lot!

    Cons

    Pay isn't up to market standards, but is getting there. Isn't as flexible of a culture regarding dress or working remotely, you can sometimes, but isn't a part of the culture.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Losing touch with its culture

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

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

    Pros

    Quick pace, lots of opportunities to learn, interesting clients, wonderful colleagues.

    Cons

    No longer true to its declared culture: 1. We do what's right for the client 2. We do what's right for the employee 3. If 1 and 2, then SmithBucklin thrives. Problem is that CEO and other top management focused on maximizing (employee-owned) share value to cash out in May 2015: company is maximizing work output with reduced teams, resulting in burnouts, terminations and short-cuts.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't favor short-term shareholder value at the expense of your clients and employees, as well as long-term value of company: your successors and employee-owners will pay for it once you have cashed out.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    So much opportunity to learn, grow and make a difference!

    • 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 (less than an year)

    Pros

    I have a hands-on role doing the type of work I am passionate about. No two days are alike. Growth potential is a definitely plus; there are so many ways to learn and develop professionally. The people are great -- and are all committed to the company's quest for excellence. Salary and benefits are comparable to large companies. Overall, a great place to work.

    Cons

    This is not a place for shrinking violets. You need to seek out opportunities in your position and within the company, because they aren't always obvious.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    4 Star rating? You have to be kidding me! Worst company ever!

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

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    *The worker bees in the cubicle-hive you are in are great and will maintain the friendships for a lifetime.
    *The experience you gain (although it's given to you without any training, oversight or infrastructure support) is amazing.
    *The ability to work with many types of clients and events is great!

    Cons

    Are you ready? This is one of the worst places I've worked at in my 20+ years of professional experience. I find it interesting that most of the high ratings have come from Chicago-maybe it's better than DC. I'll echo everyone else-work/life balance is non-existent. I was up at 2am to do Skype calls for international clients for months and was given no concession.

    Sr. Management was horrible, they never had your back and was more interested in trying to blame you than being good mentors. They ran it like a popularity club-if you weren't in the "in" crowd, you were most definitely out. If you aren't a "favorite", you have no chance in hell. I received good/great comments on my reviews (which btw, is a looong and arduous task), had over 20 emails from clients touting my abilities and happiness with my work but since I wasn't a favorite, was passed over for promotions, bonuses and growth. Every day was stressful because you never knew when you were going to be called in and berated for things. "Favorites" could do no wrong and take credit for work that was not theirs and "unfavorites" were annoying employees if you stuck up for yourself.

    You have multiple managers that have never been trained to be managers, don't care about your professional growth and are too busy trying to prove to their managers they are the best, that it makes for a very non-cohesive (haha old employees get that joke) environment.

    This place is so toxic at one point, you start believing the negativity and what once was craziness is now the norm. We joke, those who got out, that it was like an abusive relationship, we had to relearn to not expect the worst and stop cringing at our new jobs. When my current manager told me, "I'm here to make you look good and I'll do whatever I can to help you be successful," I seriously jumped for joy!

    They paid for me to get a certification, which was great but they did not give any compensation or promotion for earning it. They sure as hell used it to put me on contract proposals to get a client! Oh, and note, I was certified when 95% of of my managers had yet to be. But thank you for paying for something that helped me get my next position that is awesome!

    When I left SB, I had better benefits, better work/life balance, made almost $20k more in the first year and was promoted to a Director position within 18 months. At SB they had me locked in as a Coordinator until the end of time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This isn't even worth it--they aren't going to listen, they aren't going to change. Clearly, if they can't see the turnover rate and the unhappiness in their employees on a daily basis they aren't cut out to be Managers. True, successful managers inspire dedication, loyalty, hard work and optimal results. SB Managers foster discord, manipulation, favoritism and managing by fear.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Communications Manager in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Employee - Communications Manager in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    SmithBucklin has a generous vacation policy, as well as flexible hours. The benefits and ESOP are also good. I was also able to work from home a couple days a week, which was great considering my commute was 45-50 minutes one way.

    Cons

    The biggest challenge I faced at SmithBucklin was the lack of growth potential. My position didn't leave any room for future growth within the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Compensation was fair, but would have liked more opportunities for promotion.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Don't be fooled by all of the 5 star reviews!

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

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I had to rewrite my review because the fake reviews that are being placed are so comical/pathetic. Any review that compares SmithBucklin to Apple or GE means the CEO or HR is writing the review. Another giveaway? Any review that states the only negative thing to say is "it's not for everyone" or "the environment is fast paced". Especially when the review says "I don't think it's a con but others may". If the company focused as much on their employees/issues stated here as they do battling negative reviews on this site, they'd be in a much better place.

    That being said, depending on your service unit and client, you can gain some great entry level experience in the business world to take elsewhere. Great place to enter into the event planning industry.

    Cons

    Senior management is very aware of their low ratings here and are doing everything they can to get them higher, hence all the recent 5 star reviews. Unless you are a male coming in at a director level or above, go somewhere else - senior management will not care about you. They refuse to pay attention to the high turnover and low pay, as well as a model that simply does not work. I've never seen a more out of touch CEO.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Force current CEO to retire and put someone in charge that will listen and take action.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    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 (more than an 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
  10.  

    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 (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
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Event Services Associate

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

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

    Pros

    This is a great place to learn the basic skills needed in the trade show industry. SmithBucklin is a great resume builder and will help you easily get another event planning job. I was told I was overqualified coming from SmithBucklin, even though I didn't have the years of experience my current job was asking for.

    Cons

    They work you like a dog and most people only stay here about a year. When you tell them that you're overwhelmed, they don't do anything to even out your workload. As an associate, you rarely get to go on site for any of your trade shows which is very frustrating. You have three or four managers you report to and none of them know how much work you are receiving from your other managers. You're too busy to get to enjoy your co-workers. There were many days where you needed to skip your lunch when you were close to a trade show. The turn over rate is astronomical and then they don't hire new staff so you're required to do even more work. You will not have a work/life balance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management needs to learn to talk to each other.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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