VML Reviews

Updated March 25, 2015
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3.6
97 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
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VML CEO and President Jon Cook
Jon Cook
68 Ratings

Pros
  • Company cares about it's employees, great benefits package (in 9 reviews)

  • Oh and you can't forget the free beer on tap (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • It is pro that VML is very busy but it can lead to a less than desirable work/life balance for some (in 10 reviews)

  • The development teams put in the long hours (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Great Company, Wonderful Culture and Rewarding Work

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

    I have been working at VML full-time (more than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    VML has a terrific and supportive company culture built around a very social atmosphere. The benefits are outstanding (healthcare, 401k, parental leave, etc) and the work is exciting and rewarding.

    Cons

    Depending on the team you end up on work hours can stretch into long weeks for months on end. While you may be empowered to do the best work of your career you may also be asked to do so for 50 or 60+ hours/week. This depends a lot on the group you work with so be sure to ask probing questions during the interview and set expectations early.

    Advice to Management

    The executive management generally does a great job of maintaining the culture and fun of working at VML while driving ghe company forward. If anything, I'd suggest they keep a closer eye on how their middle managers are spreading the workload across their teams to avoid burnout and keep the quality of the work, and the time people spend on it, at a rewarding level.

  2. Helpful (1)

    I worked at the Atlanta office for more than two years.

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

    I worked at VML full-time (more than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    During my time, the office switched from being affiliated with VML to actually being VML. The Atlanta office is full of great people. Who all work hard together to do the best work they can. The office itself is really pretty cool. Great view and well designed. And the benefits are great.

    Cons

    There is a tremendous disconnect between the way work is done and the culture of the satellite offices as compared to the home office in Kansas City. The clarity of vision of the management in KC does not translate to the regional offices. Or at least it didn't to Atlanta. Also the office seems to handle people leaving very poorly, regardless of the reason. Overall for a large agency, there is an utter lack of process for promotion and raises. Raises are applied more like a miracle that happens randomly than something people earn from hard work and dedication.

    Advice to Management

    More transparency would be very helpful. "I don't know" is a valid answer, but not giving information is a problem for everyone. If you promise raises and then they don't happen, you have to update people on the plan.

  3. A Wolf (WPP) in Sheep's Clothing ("we are just a homegrown Midwest agency with Midwest values")

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kalamazoo, MI
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kalamazoo, MI

    I worked at VML

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Great benefits, vacation package is awesome, good people in Kalamazoo

    Cons

    HQ was light years behind in most departments/systems. Lack of organization. No raises. No bonus. Ridiculous travel stipulations. Budgets cut for employees but those in high level positions can spend whatever they want.

    Advice to Management

    Get it together - learn from the company that you acquired. You have very ineffective leaders in Kansas City. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Communication is extremely poor. Lack of respect for the life of the individual employee, or the culture of satellite offices. Love the Kalamazoo leadership, but they no longer have control over where the agency is going.

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  5. Helpful (1)

    Sr. Art Director

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Art Director in Kansas City, MO
    Current Employee - Senior Art Director in Kansas City, MO

    I have been working at VML full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Awesome people. Easy to make friends. Innovative company. Growing company. Good benefits.

    Cons

    Employees are overworked and under appreciated. Owned by a holding company. Lower level employees are treated as cogs in a machine. Very difficult to advance within the company. Environment feels very political at times. Compensation is below average.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees better, team moral will be better, and you'll get better work from them and less turnover.

  6. Like a family

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Creative in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Creative in New York, NY

    I worked at VML full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    I loved the people I worked with and felt motivated by them. In general, I felt taken care of by my team and management. The culture overall is good. Felt supported by all of the departments.

    Cons

    Compensation could be more competitive.
    Too much focus on trying to be an awards shop.

    Advice to Management

    Should be more trusting and transparent.

  7. Good Organization

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

    I have been working at VML full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Its very Methodical Organization following the best practices and process.

    Cons

    However to many layers in the organizational structure causing decisions slower.

    Advice to Management

    May be de-layer to be more effective and efficient.

  8. Great company to dive into digital.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Art Director in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Senior Art Director in Kansas City, MO

    I worked at VML

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

    Pros

    Great culture, fun workplace and energy. Good healthcare benefits.

    Cons

    Work-life balance can be a slight challenge if you want to climb the ladder. New business is king, so if you are willing to work late you get rewarded the most.

    Advice to Management

    Find ways to avoid burnout with your best employees.

  9. Helpful (5)

    Great place to learn, tough place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Creative in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Creative in Kansas City, MO

    I worked at VML

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Energized, vibrant atmosphere
    Exceptional talent pool of highly specialized digital expertise
    Big-name client roster
    Fun parties
    Benefits are second to none

    Cons

    50-hour work weeks are the minimum expectation. Burnout is high, especially with mid-level directors.

    Pay is not competitive. Raises are non-existent since 2008 (unless you are one of the select popular kids)
    This is a more recent problem for VML's leadership as owner WPP continues to put a stranglehold on the company to deliver profits. Year after year, VML's eager, young leadership projects unrealistic profit projections to please WPP's C-suite. As the year progresses and VML must reset lower projections (often two or three times), WPP punishes by withholding raises, bonuses and hiring requests. This has been a pattern for several years, hence the lack of raises and increasing demands on employees to work more and more hours.

    As VML transitioned to its current suite to top leaders, many of the people put in place were basketball-playing buds of the CEO. This has resulted in some ridiculous C-level titles that really have no meaning or purpose.

    VML hands are tied when it comes to really running the company. Profits demanded by WPP are #1.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing the best you can with the lack of power that you have.
    Take a look at the VML cultural bible that was put in place long ago by VML's founders.

  10. Helpful (2)

    A lot of production, not that creative

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Creative in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Creative in New York, NY

    I worked at VML full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are amazing
    Genuinely nice people
    Good brands

    Cons

    ECD doesn't really know (or care to know) about his employees interests
    Art Directors are treated like production designers
    The integration with YR is not working
    Zero mentorship
    Zero trust

    Advice to Management

    Get to know your employees better, learn about what they are interested in with their career rather than judging people right away. Trust people to do their jobs instead of micromanaging.

  11. Great company culture!

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

    I have been working at VML full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Office culture
    -Management team
    -Health/Other benefits
    -Client portfolio
    -Opportunities for involvement in new business

    Cons

    -Work-life balance at times
    -Review process

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