Waggener Edstrom Communications

  www.waggeneredstrom.com
  www.waggeneredstrom.com

Waggener Edstrom Communications Reviews in Portland, OR

Updated October 2, 2014
Updated October 2, 2014
154 Reviews
3.2
154 Reviews
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Waggener Edstrom Communications President and CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin
Melissa Waggener Zorkin
110 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • impressive vacation package for all employees and flexible work from home polices for middle/upper management (in 15 reviews)

  • People are nice and smart; Healthcare is good and work/life balance is a priority (in 12 reviews)


Cons
  • While the benefits are great on paper, there is ultimately no work life balance (in 23 reviews)

  • Long hours and unclear and inconsistencies on expectations for what it takes to keep moving up (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

45 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Started as a GREAT place to work then it slowly dwindled

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Analyst in Portland, OR

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Looks great on the resume. Overall, great Work-Life balance, especially compared to other companies. They really tried to work with you and your schedule. During my time there the senior level execs seemed very transparent, although not sure if that's the same now. At times the work itself can be tedious, but other times it was interesting, especially if you enjoy the tech industry.

    Cons

    Mid-level management could have been more transparent. I enjoyed working there, but due to budget cuts and other reasons the company has gone through some rounds of layoffs. Almost seems like it's a slowly sinking ship. I do hope things improve and they continue to strengthen. Sadly compensation and benefits has suffered over the years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stay as transparent as you can. Focus on retaining good quality workforce and not layoff people because they're at the higher salary range. Also promote people who deserve it, not based on seniority.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Good people, frustrating culture

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great coworkers, generally well-intentioned leadership, generally good work/life-balance. Decent health benefits, though that was changing as I left the company.

    Cons

    Lots of politics, demanding clients, very limited growth options as you get to the Account Director level - especially in the Portland office. Compensation and benefits kept eroding over the time I was there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Company that treats its people well - misguided leadership at times

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manager in Lake Oswego, OR
    Former Employee - Manager in Lake Oswego, OR

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The people there are amazing, for the most part! It very much felt like a family when I worked there and still stay in contact with many people I used to work with. Loyalty pays off and is rewarded. In most cases, hard work equals advancement.

    Cons

    Can be cliquish at times. Much of what you learn is not necessarily transferrable to other agencies. Loyalty can be detrimental to advancement with other companies. Leadership is very loyal and makes it hard to advance as there is little room to move up.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Horrible Place To Work

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

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    None, this company is horrible. Every negative review on this site is 100% correct. The positive ones are drinking the WE Kool-Aid.

    Cons

    Misguided management, low pay, employees are disposable and not treated well, office politics, passive aggressive co-workers, horrible office environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop making promise that you don't act on.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Not for everyone, but I've loved it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Account Executive in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Senior Account Executive in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Incredible benefits (4 weeks vacation + holidays!!!) and smart coworkers are my two tops. If you have a good manager, you can really develop your career at Waggener Edstrom.

    Cons

    Conversely, if you have a deadbeat manager (definitely the norm, not the exception), your career growth will be stifled. Company really struggles with knowing how to maximize talent and skills for revenue generation.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    People Jumping a Sinking Ship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Portland, OR

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Idea of 4 weeks vacation, paying mobile and internet data, nice offices

    Cons

    1. Zero Work Life Balance: With paying for your internet/mobile, you are expected to be on call 24/7. The 4 week vacation is a bit of a myth - I and others on my team were asked to work during previously scheduled PTO and while sick.

    2. No management oversight: If your manager has no management skills, don't expect that it will be corrected. You have to move teams to find someone better. Company def. operates by the Peter Principle.

    3. HUGE turnover - brightest people are leaving to greener pastures.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Stagnation amidst serious layoffs and butchering of healthcare

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lake Oswego, OR
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lake Oswego, OR

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time

    Pros

    They're really trying to incorporate strategy that isn't outdated, such as digital and social media, but don't quite understand how or what they want to do with it.

    There is a work/life balance, contrary to other reviews. Expect to work during the busy season and have relaxed days during the off season. Note that this depends on which team you're a member of.

    There are some truly fantastic leaders within the organization. Middle management isn't great, though.

    Cons

    There was recently a 50-person layoff during the Microsoft reorganization. WE is far too dependent on Microsoft for success, as the vast majority of its revenue comes from MSFT's pockets.

    Employee healthcare was recently butchered.

    Advancement and success seems heavily dependent on one's ability to take and follow orders, rather than make an impact with coverage, thinking, etc.

    Very, very patterned campaigns. Days focus largely on protocol. Change seems to frighten most.

    Though I wasn't caught in the layoffs, recent changes have revealed that the North America practice isn't healthy.

    There's no culture or life in this place. My goodness.

    WE tends to hire a specific person: women fresh out of the sorority factory.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn the digital landscape for yourselves, so that you may understand how best to incorporate it. Take time to review your middle management from the ground up, not from the sky down. Hire people that have life experience outside of PR/ad.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    best place to begin your career but uncertain future...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Account Executive in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Senior Account Executive in Portland, OR

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - overall, great people to work with, opportunity to make friends and find mentors
    - good at rewarding high performers on major accounts
    - some impressive leadership (although not all)
    - improving requirements for middle managers (less rewarding of bad managers who drive ok results)
    - impressive vacation package for all employees and flexible work from home polices for middle/upper management

    Cons

    - most high-level leadership is out of touch with what current employees want/need and where the PR industry is going
    - still some caustic managers that continue to thrive
    - overall culture and morale is on a decline with removal of major level bonuses, changes to healthcare options and lack of clear and realistic vision from top leadership

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - diversify client list outside of Microsoft
    - let Microsoft account staff support other accounts to build skills and provide new experiences
    - promote strong and innovative leaders from within to replace current leadership who haven't changed with the times
    - be willing to invest in smaller clients to open new opportunities
    - course correct the culture before it's too late

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great people, but needs to make changes if they want to keep them.

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

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great people to work with and I always loved my managers.

    Cons

    Low pay. Not a great company structure, too many upper level managers. Set in their old ways, say they want to evolve but never saw action.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More visibility. It's one thing to say you're visible but another thing to actually be visible. Don't have team leads live in different cities and rarely visit the office. And when they do visit the office make sure they say hi to their team. Don't try to spin the staff. I went to way too many meetings where I listened to PR spin. Just give it to us straight.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    While management fails, the experience prevails!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Lake Oswego, OR
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Lake Oswego, OR

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The people made it worth going to work! I met some of my closest friends at Waggener. The work was challenging and very interesting, particularly working on the Microsoft account. The benefits, WERE great when I was first with the agency, when people were still considered its core focus.

    Cons

    I had several great experiences at WE and met great people, but bad habits and business practices continued to permeate the entire organization. Junior members were expected to work at the level of senior members; there was no best practices or training or bar set for what a good manager should be. Overall, more and more staff were becoming seen as just a number ($$$$) and not an asset to the organization's success. The company was very focused on the revenue and people sadly went to the wayside. Additionally, once clients shifted, a panic was sent throughout. I just don't see how the constant placing of stress on its employees, lack of direction and scattered management can translate into success. WaggEd just got too big for its own britches and doesn't have a clear fall back plan.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't PR your PR professional staff--if you are going to claim to be transparent, then do just that. Require your junior and mid level staff members to a provide feedback about their managers and management style--you are losing some of your best assets because you refuse to address the problem--bad managers with bad behavior. If junior and mid-level staff learn from this, your organization will only get worse.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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