Swirl Reviews

Updated April 27, 2015
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3.5
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Martin Lauber
10 Ratings

24 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Media

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

    I have been working at Swirl full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    From my experience, Swirl really does care about their employees, both their happiness and growth. Work hard, treat them well, and you will reap the benefits. Work relationships don't happen overnight and things don't get handed to you undeserved, but then again they shouldn't be. People here like to "work hard, play hard" and you see it everyday. What other agency has: a softball team, bowling league, volleyball team, running club, Combine, ping pong table, library, Makers club, knitting club, the most memorable happy hours (remember that time we had a petting zoo, or threw our very own music festival, Swirlchella?!)? And the list goes on My Supervisors have shown that they care about my personal/professional growth and are always appreciative of the work I do.

    While there have been some adjustments in the past two years due to the mega growth spurt, management is focusing on making the needed changes to now be a successful 200+ company, while still feeling like the small company they started as. Remaining an independent agency sets Swirl apart from the rest.

    Cons

    Cons are more apart of the industry: being in client service, there will be some late nights, some stressful deadlines, etc. Mostly, the cons with Swirl are currently being addressed as a part of the growth adjustments: adding additional resources/tools to the arsenal, staffing up, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Keep focusing on the happiness of your employees. Recognize those that are loyal and want to grow with the company and continue to invest in them. Don't forget the company you began as.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Solid work, great people!

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Smart leadership, caring co-workers, great benefits, beautiful office. I really enjoy seeing the solid, innovative work that comes out across the board. And it's a nice change to be around inspiring, funny, eccentric, and hands-on hardworking people. From the moment I walked in for my interview, I was sold. I haven't found a company like this in a while and plan to stick around.

    Cons

    I can't think of any but I would urge them to to continue focusing on the well being of the company and the people after such a big growth spurt. They have done very well and need to continue to keep a close eye on it. Activities, process, protocol, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work! I'm looking forward to seeing the progress and success of our company goals this year. Continue to be transparent about the plans and being so involved.


  3. Helpful (4)

    Can't trust management

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

    I worked at Swirl full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice digs, great snacks, awesome parties.

    Cons

    Life sucking work, on call 24/7, not much in way of growth, most talented and hardest working were often overlooked, laid off on a whim. Account managers have very little experience.

    Advice to Management

    Have more confidence in your team leaders. Hire account managers with more experience.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    Low quality work but fun work environment.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Creative in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Swirl (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    The main plus to Swirl is that it is fairly low key and the pay is good. If you are comfortable with low quality work, this will work for you. People are generally friendly. People tend to work here for a long time. The turnover is quite low for industry standards.

    Cons

    The work is very low end. The company doesn't even bother submitting work for award shows. You can expect to create low end work for boring clients. Lots of direct mail.
    The owners are so eager to expand business, and they have at an astonishing rate. But this comes at a cost. The creatives are cloistered in a depressing building, while everyone else gets to stay in the nice, sunny building. Management simply wants to keep expanding and take on any type of job, big or small.

    Enormous company is not impressive when the work is low end and it's not a benefit to having Swirl on your resume.

    Advice to Management

    Stop focusing on taking any kind of work and growing the company - focus on making good work. All of the cocktail parties and free snacks don't compensate for the unsatisfying work.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Account Manager

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Account Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Swirl full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - The company has double in size over the past year and retained large blue chip clients.
    - Company leadership is strong and well balanced by a healthy cultural environment, unlike other agencies I've been at.
    - Beautifully located in San Francisco's Presidio, and continuing to expand there presence as a fully equipped agency.
    - Supportive of additional career training.
    - The company had been receiving so much business there was no need for new business pitches.
    - Great compensation rates and benefits.

    Cons

    - The production department is limited with no project managers, Account Mangers need to be ready to consistently be Account and Project managers.
    - Long hours are not unusual.

    Advice to Management

    - Hiring project managers and mid-level producers would be highly beneficial to support the current production, creative and account teams in order to provide a better work life balance.


  7. Great office culture

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Swirl (More than a year)

    Pros

    Management always holding small events/ get-togethers to keep camaraderie robust

    A lot of smart thinking coming out of this shop

    Cons

    Just keep up the great work


  8. Helpful (4)

    Great creative vision, but lacking in operation and execution of projects.

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

    I worked at Swirl full-time (Less than a year)

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

    Pros

    Strong sense of company culture. Open snack area.

    Cons

    Management was not the most organized. The work place could often be a hostile environment and lack professionalism. Office is in the middle of no where.


  9. Helpful (7)

    Describing yourself as a family isn't always a good thing

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

    I worked at Swirl full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    There was always free food around. On the surface people seemed nice.

    Cons

    Bosses are quick to make judgements about you and withhold their expectations until it's too late to change their opinion. They are very protective of their "culture," but their culture is probably one of the biggest problems with the place.

    There seems to be an Emperor's New Clothes situation with their work. They think it's amazing and that every project will put them on the map, but the reality is that it's very average at best. If you point that out, you're viewed as a trouble maker. If you want to meaningfully contribute, it can be difficult as well. While I was there, most projects had a maximum of one team working on them. Makes it difficult if you want to learn or contribute to help make the work better if you're not given the chance to help out (despite asking for a bigger role in the company).

    The whole family aspect of the company also means that people can be incredibly cliquey. I was there for almost a year and never felt like I made any actual friends with my coworkers.

    Advice to Management

    Be more willing to listen to why dissatisfied employees are dissatisfied. If someone has lost their faith in the company, it's not always their fault. Honest inward introspection is what can make an okay company a great company.


  10. Helpful (3)

    Not What I Expected

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Swirl full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Friendly people, nice environment, decent salary. Lots of activities if you like to hang out with co-workers after work.

    Cons

    Annoying to access as their office is in the Presidio with one way to get in (unless you drive and parking is expensive).

    Advice to Management

    No real transparency regarding employee performance. My Director in particular seemed to have little idea of why he was hiring me for my role so expectations were never clear. Communication should be more clear.


  11. Helpful (4)

    Unprofessional, disorganized. Cliquey. High school.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Graphic Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Graphic Designer in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Swirl full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    As for pros, their client base is solid, they pay well, and their culture typically follows the Bay Area "kinderoffice" model of constant free food and toys strewn about the office.

    Cons

    This place has all the Bay Area bells and whistles, but none of the heart. I was fired on my 11th day of work for "working more slowly than the two other new-hires" but I doubt that was the reason. First of all because I had never been fired before, I'm in my mid-30s, and have plenty of mid-level experience, but I would have been happy to work more quickly or complete more projects if I had been given a warning first or ANY kind of criticism. It also couldn't have had anything to do with my personality; I literally get along with all kinds of people. All I received was praise my 11 days there other than a "check-in" regarding my comfort with the level of work that by all accounts was them making sure *I* was comfortable. Additionally I constantly waited around to be given more work after I completed what I was given, so if they wanted me to do more work, someone above me wasn't giving it to me fast enough.

    The woman whom I worked directly under was incapable of even the most basic communication regarding expectations. Additionally, when her boss fired me he listed as an example a project that we were still waiting on final copy for, and said that the entirety of the project "it should have been completed by now" which clearly shows the communication problem was happening on all levels. But most egregious was the lack of respect on the human level. If you want to work in a place where the people are nice, where they are going to invest in you, support you, give you tough love when needed, and help you grow, in ADDITION to expecting you to work hard, that's not Swirl. They expected me to fit a very narrow set of expectations, and rather than explain what that was at any point in the process, they simply disposed of me. Like other reviewers have said here, it depends on the right people liking you.

    Advice to Management

    Management lacks basic communication skills, which incidentally is the most important skill to effective managing. My two-hour interview process was focused more on impressing me about the company, than on telling me what their expectations would be or for that matter, assessing my skills which, given how specific their needs were in hindsight, seems pretty ridiculous to not mention unless they are in the business of hoping for clairvoyance.



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