VSA Partners Reviews

Updated July 18, 2014
Updated July 18, 2014
25 Reviews

3.1
25 Reviews
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Dana Arnett
12 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Overall great company

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

    I have been working at VSA Partners full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Really talented, amazing, and genuinely nice people. You work hard but the work is great. Very strategic. Good vacation time and salary. VSA is making changes in offering more leadership training which is great. Overall this is a great place to work.

    Cons

    Some growing pains in management organization and desk space. Three-up desks in open space format are rough. No 401K matching. No summer Fridays.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep moving in the direction you are headed with more transparency and leadership training and opportunities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Account director, VSA Partners

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

    I worked at VSA Partners full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great projects and clients; firm commitment to good design; growing.

    Cons

    Confusing as to how to advance career.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not one happy day in NY

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

    I worked at VSA Partners full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You get nice healthcare, and depending on your project, you can have a life outside work.

    Cons

    The NY office differs absurdly from Chicago, so be careful when reading these reviews. There is so little project variety that they will stick you wherever the need is, and leave you there. Any requests will be agreed with, then ignored. Efforts at integration, both on an office level and with their main client, had been ongoing failures. Be careful where they put you, or you will be treated like the faceless company profit machine you are. I've never worked in an office so unwilling to spend money on employee happiness, and so apathetic about prioritizing cultural growth inside the office. About once a quarter, there would be a meeting insisting that things were about to change, but they never did. Also, the disorganization was astounding. One simple question would either be ignored or sent on a chain of six people with zero answers. On top of all this, my work was dominated by the client, which led to bad results. Nor was I permitted to show that work in my portfolio.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recognize that happy employees result in better collaboration and work. You've created a situation that is largely miserable and isolating, albeit profitable for management. Compete for new clients; your staff needs diverse work instead of grueling, never-ending redundancy. Don't leave your employees to be treated like in-house for your client. Please turn your "employee development" into more than a required formality, and be a partner in their career.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Great People, and Great Work, Plus Some Growing Pains

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

    I worked at VSA Partners as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Extremely impressive strategy and design prevail. A lot of pleasant, fun and very smart people work here. The culture encourages pushing the envelope, is supportive of staff, and promotes a good work/life balance. I got the impression that business was expanding significantly due to the quality of the work and the quality of client relationships.

    Cons

    Understandably, due to expansion and needing to hire a lot of new talent to staff new projects, there seemed to be some organizational chaos going on during my time there.
    Also, in the Soho office specifically, there was not yet much familiarity with how to integrate a User Experience practice into their projects, though it was clear there was a desire to get there by senior management.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Good experience but glad it's over

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

    I worked at VSA Partners full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great clients, fun culture, agency experience, lots of nice people

    Cons

    In-crowd mentality/favoritism, lack of transparency from upper management, slow processes, ux design decisions easily undermined by visual designer whims, rarely budget for usability testing, no budget for conferences or education

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Widen the circle and take more of an interest in your newer employees. Be more transparent about what's going on in the company. Develop your user experience practice and empower ux staff.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Good to those who stay

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

    I worked at VSA Partners full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Design is king; extremely talented, smart and fun people; high-quality work; good benefits for a design agency; competitive pay; growing agency; slowly improving work/life balance. VSA is very very good and loyal to those who have either started their careers here or have been here for a long time. Managers vary but mine were great about protecting the team and making time whenever you needed to talk. If you're lucky, you will get to work on some really fantastic accounts. They are sweat shop/boot camp if you will, but they have a system in place that enables them to do really great work and make a lot of money doing it.

    Cons

    Even if you come in with a few years under your belt and work hard to prove yourself, you will not see any sort of promotion for a few years. Management is stretched very thin and is constantly changing (since the company is growing), so you get shuffled around a lot which means no one has been consistently monitoring your performance. Great projects and opportunities go to the same people/teams pretty consistently. Project managers are a redundancy and act like gophers instead of articulately advocating for the team. Client expectations are sometimes set in such a way that teams get completely demoralized.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Support your management; they work the hardest and have been there the longest and need a reshuffling of responsibilities so they can more fully support their team in the capacity that I believe they want to. And happy to hear that management is now being reviewed as well by their employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Long hours, underpaid

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

    I have been working at VSA Partners

    Pros

    Great location, motivated employees, fast paced environment, friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

    Cons

    long, tired, strenuous hours. My salary wasn't enough for all the work I put in. I've seen interns cry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get more organized

    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    I was only there a short time, but it felt like family.

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

    I worked at VSA Partners full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    This company is definitely growing and with that comes an immense capacity for opportunity in your employment. I worked in a smaller satellite office which had a close knit feel, and I felt close with everyone. It's also in a great location and has a great list of clients.

    Cons

    They are still in a state of assimilating the different offices, so at times there can be a feeling of disjoint.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Integrate Integrate Integrate

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Lots of issues here

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

    I have been working at VSA Partners full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -The people are outstanding. Lots of talented, intelligent, hard-working and kind folks here for sure.
    -If you're lucky and are put on a good team, you can have a really wonderful experience. It's possible to work with really high-profile clients and crank out some great work.
    -The work environment is really relaxed and you feel comfortable being yourself.
    -There's also free food, coffee, snacks (not many vegan options), the office is really nice (albeit over-capacity) and the attempts at improving culture and morale don't go unappreciated, although there is still a long way to go.
    -Telling people you work at VSA means that you're clearly doing something right and it still holds a high reputation in the design community and in the midwest.

    Cons

    -Shy, quiet, reserved and polite folks need not apply. You will get trampled and taken advantage of until you speak up.
    -Creatives often get pushed to their limits churning out work for the same client and easily get burnt out. Hours can be hellish.
    -Zero transparency. No one has any idea what's going on.
    -False promises. There's lots of talk of new plans for the company but nothing ever happens. All-office meetings are a waste of time and are just a way for AP's to massage each others egos.
    -The turnaround rate is super high. There are so many new-hires lately, and it's nearly impossible to keep up with or try and maintain relationships with anyone. I can only imagine how it feels for a new person.
    -There's great work plastered all over the walls which looks super impressive, but the chances that you'll get to do anything that great is slim to none.
    -Some people at the AP level have definitely been grandfathered in and are definitely getting lazy, becoming more and more unavailable/tuned out, and don't allow anyone to fully contribute ideas or try anything new.
    -The review process is a waste of time since you'd be discussing issues with the person that you're most likely having issues with.
    -Attempts at giving teams budgets to bond and continue education have been made, but they are weak and feel forced.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Get better at staffing and at sharing creatives. Some teams and individuals are drowning in work, often times working absurd hours for weeks on end, while others are bored and hardly busy. It will seriously boost morale to mix things up a bit, plus you'd end up getting fresh new ideas from a resource you already have.
    -Similarly, great clients continue going to certain teams while others get no chance to try something new. The talent pool is generally not utilized and the team structure is the main contributing factor.
    -Stop hiring freelancers to work on exciting/fun projects while there are people within the company that are totally deserving, willing and able to contribute.
    -There is not nearly enough promotion within the office and it's not motivating at all to continually see people get hired above individuals that worked at the VSA longer and are fully deserving of moving up.
    -Be more trusting of lower levels. You hired us to do what we do, so let us do it. Or at least tell us why not.
    -Start blending practices. Allow people to try working on new clients and projects, you'll make people happier and probably keep them longer.
    -Take the review process more seriously, involve more people if necessary, and actually listen!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    It's okay

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Design Intern  in  Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Design Intern in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at VSA Partners as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    You get to work on projects with really awesome clients that you will not find at any other agency. Lot's of free food.

    Cons

    I was not able to do a whole lot of design work, a lot of updating old files, and designing
    presentations.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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