Waggener Edstrom Communications Reviews

Updated December 20, 2014
47 reviews filtered by
  • Portland, OR Area
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2.8
47 Reviews
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Waggener Edstrom Communications President and CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin
Melissa Waggener Zorkin
128 Ratings

47 Employee Reviews

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  1. AE

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications

    Pros

    I really enjoyed the projects and the client work. The people are great and the leadership team for consumer PR is fantastic.

    Cons

    The commute to LO, the pay is far under market and the promotion cycle is usually gone through very quickly and in frequently.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful

    In a state of spiraling decline

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

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

    Pros

    Impressive client roster promises opportunities to do amazing global integrated comms. Some great creative and spirited colleagues, decent benefits and the promise of work-life balance.

    Cons

    Cube constricted mindset, hierarchical and increasingly divided between leaders who have overstayed and the people doing the work. Clients that will churn ad nauseum, working hours that extend into nights and weekends without restraint, management that vacillates between blamegaming and cheerleading, there is a complete air of distrust at present. If you're looking for mentorship, collaboration, opportunities to learn from those with more experience, or consistent opportunities to do work that aligns to your title, go elsewhere. If you work in Portland, be very wary of opportunities to grow beyond the mid-level without relocating to Seattle.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is a vast disconnect between the company vision and the daily reality. Employees have lost faith in the ability to win new business and for a candid dialogue about future vision. It's well-past time for an earnest reassessment and housecleaning to bring in fresh ideas and vision.

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

    Good place to start your career, but not for growing it

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

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

    Pros

    - Good time off. WE offers a very generous starting vacation package to each of its employees. It's the one reason I stuck around as long as I did. They also have a sabbatical offer after 7 years, but good luck holding your sanity long enough to cash that in. I couldn't.
    - Great health care. The quality of health care benefits was starting to dissipate by the time I left but it still had a leg up on many other big companies.
    - Well-respected clients. You'll be hard pressed to find an organization with clients as reputable and impressive as Microsoft, regardless of the unique challenges that brings.
    - Good place to start your career. Working for a large agency offers so many valuable career and life lessons that I am grateful to have had.

    Cons

    - Too much micromanaging. Get ready for every single email you send to be scrutinized by at least one person higher than you. I spent more time reviewing/editing/re-reviewing emails for myself and others than I would like to admit. A solid waste of resources, as well as demoralizing. This is a BIG part of your day, so it's important to be prepared for this.
    - Promotions are inconsistent. Promotion standards are completely inconsistent across all accounts, which leads to fierce competition amongst Junior staff to grab the next title, even though it means a lot of nothing.
    - Awful work-life balance. Get ready to work many 16-hour days with little to no recognition or compensation.
    - Pay isn't competitive. WE is known for paying less than the market standard, which I found true once I started looking elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try and build up your employees a little more. Recognize when they are doing a good job to boost morale and keep spirits high. A little of that goes a long way.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful

    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
  6. 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 a 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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

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