Sparling Reviews

Updated September 15, 2014
Updated September 15, 2014
6 Reviews
1.8
6 Reviews
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Eric T. Overton
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Fun projects, elusive upper management, panicked atmosphere.

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

    I worked at Sparling full-time

    Pros

    Sparling's diverse repertoire of specialties can provide the opportunity to work on many different interesting projects, and there are still many talented and friendly people hiding amongst the ranks. Refusal to compete on price helped them to survive the worst part of the recession, and gives headroom to deliver a superior product when projects are managed well.

    Cons

    It's tempting to point fingers in a lot of different directions here. The IT department is less people-friendly than most, and the marketing department is downright embarrassing. These hurt morale, but aren't the core problem.

    More centrally, upper and middle management have been unable to drive profits high enough to afford the top-heavy structure they've created. A focus on the glamour of acquisitions has caused a lack of investment in the talented people they already have. These (failed) acquisitions have caused them to hemorrhage both money and employees, so benefits are declining and talented people are leaving and taking their experience with them. Their old-world strategy to keep people around is to try to trick them into buying in. They claim to value continuing education, but this is not borne out in practice, so knowledge isn't getting passed down before people retire or leave.

    The dire state of things has most people operating out of fear now, so middle and lower management is constantly in panic mode, borrowing "resources" (it's pronounced "people") from other studios to put out today's biggest fire. Communication from the top is almost non-existent, and when it happens, only serves to try to convince everyone that everything is fine and we just need to hang in there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you really want to do high-level consulting, start acting like it. Your people are your most valuable asset. Start valuing them. Be honest with them, trust them, let them own things and give them a safe place to fail and learn. Maybe you're scared to invest in them because you're afraid they'll leave, but that's a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's like refusing to change your oil because your car is going to die eventually anyway. Stop buying shiny new companies you can't afford and start maintaining the one you have. Employees come and go. Give them a reason to stay.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Company has lost touch with it's greatest assets, it's employees

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

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

    Pros

    I guess I would have to say that they have a nice office? Even though they pushed two offices into one.

    Cons

    Upper management does not listen to it's employees even when they are surveyed, saying that changes need to be made. Top heavy management that are not billable that walk around doing nothing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Replace CEO and get a fresh perspective.

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

    Great place to work. Good Culture.

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

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

    Pros

    Stable working environment. Not too much micro managing going on. Ability to work with various consulting studios is nice

    Cons

    Seen a few layoffs and a few people leaving for other opportunities. I think some are nervous about their security as the company has occasional layoffs or restructures do to fluctuating bottom line.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work harder to keep good employees. Don't lose them to your competition.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
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  5.  

    No room to advance

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

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

    Pros

    Very smart talented hardworking people below the management level.

    Cons

    The business is so poorly run that all of the perks of working there have disappeared over the years. Benefits are no longer any good. Offices are closing. Raises haven’t been given, bonuses haven’t been funded. The company tried to grow by buying other companies at a time when not a lot of money was coming in. Because this is not a sustainable business plan, it collapsed on itself because when it didn't have the customer base to sustain so many employees. This may be a good place for entry level employees to work for a few years to get some experience before moving on.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Why the focus on constantly getting bigger?….what is wrong with a well-run “smaller” company? Much preferred to a poorly run “larger” one. If the company wants to grow, it needs to happen organically. You can’t just grow by buying other companies.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Leadership Disaster

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Sparling

    Pros

    Smart respectful employees. Hard working people who are committed to doing a good job for clients. Excellent benefits. Nice remodeled office with focus on sustainability in its design. Good location right in downtown Seattle.

    Cons

    Top leaders are out of touch with morale, productivity and business needs. Promotions are based on personal relationships with top leadership. Way too many well paid "leaders" who aren't producing. Spending run amok. Hiring sprees followed by layoffs followed by more layoffs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Step aside. What you're doing isn't working and you're impacting the lives of too many people in a negative way. Stop hiring if you can't keep people employed!

    Doesn't Recommend
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Was a great company at one time but current leadership is out of touch with staff

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

    I worked at Sparling

    Pros

    Great line staff that care about what they are doing. Nice portfolio of services.

    Cons

    Top leadership needs to be replaced; they are isolated and have difficulty being honest with themselves. Great at creating a vision but don't think decisions out very well and create disastrous results that affect employees and their families.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do a better job of listening to staff and communicating reality; be honest about your mistakes and don't roll out the marketing 'machine' to paint over them.

    Doesn't Recommend

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