Waggener Edstrom Communications

www.waggeneredstrom.com

Waggener Edstrom Communications Reviews

Updated January 25, 2015
Updated January 25, 2015
169 Reviews
2.9
169 Reviews
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Waggener Edstrom Communications President and CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin
Melissa Waggener Zorkin
122 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • impressive vacation package for all employees and flexible work from home polices for middle/upper management (in 16 reviews)

  • People are nice and smart; Healthcare is good and work/life balance is a priority (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • While the benefits are great on paper, there is ultimately no work life balance (in 25 reviews)

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

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Emotionally intelligent coworkers

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

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications

    Pros

    People - very smart, creative, curious, adaptable, willing to get involved..
    Learning & Development - opportunities to attend in-person classes related to communication, collaboration, or PR craft; sessions where groups share with the rest of the agency what they've been up to and how to collaborate with them, external speakers related to the PR industry, learning from experience - possible assignments in different regions, accounts...

    Cons

    Divisions between accounts/practices/regions... create some silos so people need to pay extra attention to staying connected to the rest of the agency.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Transparency about how decisions are being made and how people can impact the decision making process is always a good thing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Learned and experienced a great deal

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications

    Pros

    Learned a lot and got to experience a great deal doing high-profile work for a huge tech client. Tremendous opportunities for advancement and good financial perks.

    Cons

    High-pressure work environment may not be for all. More and more travel is required as you advance through the ranks, though that can be both a pro and a con.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management speaks to the need to maintain work-life balance, but it's basically lip-service.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    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
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Hard to see a place I enjoyed for so many years deteriorate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Management in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Management in Seattle, WA

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

    Pros

    Smart and driven people, Innovative company and I believe there is a genuine desire to do the right thing and to do right by people. I have immense respect for what the founders did to build the business and brand themselves -- in the past.

    Cons

    An 80's tech (work til you drop) culture. Reliance on one account and too much power/ control given to those who work on the agency's biggest account. Waggner Edstrom tends to be a high burnout employer. Nothing is ever good enough.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Shake it up. Bring in a more diverse board, be willing to let go of the reigns a bit, trust people to do their jobs. And for those who deliver time and time again, don't "reward" them with more and more and more work.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great independent agency, great people.

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

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications

    Pros

    The creative and content teams are full of great people and a management team that care about people as people and don't micromanage the creative process.

    Opportunity to work with many great clients.

    Benefits are good for an agency and PTO is generous. Sabbatical at 7 years if you make it.

    Leadership makes a genuine effort at being transparent and involved.

    Generous to non-profits and social causes, including paid volunteer time. Incredible corporate citizenship team and efforts.

    Cons

    Organizational structure changes frequently and is difficult to keep up with or gain traction.

    There is a feeling that the financial team is watching your every move to try to squeeze out billable hours, even if/when there is not work to support it. Puts employees in a challenging, stressful position and creates lack of security.

    High turnover.

    "Portland" office is in Lake Oswego.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you are looking for innovation and creativity give your creatives space to do so.

    Continue your focus on giving back through volunteerism and pro bono work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Constant changes, no security.

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

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

    Pros

    There is work schedule flexibility- can work from home and arrange hours with manager.

    Cons

    No growth paths, salaries below average, leadership is weak, company is top heavy, services offered to clients and corporate structure is out dated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try valuing your employees more than your own paycheck occassionally.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Tread carefully

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

    I worked at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time

    Pros

    Nice office
    Free drinks
    High-profile work
    Decent pay and benefits
    Smart folks

    Cons

    My tenure at WE was among the worst professional experience I've ever endured. I've yet to fully recover.

    I was roundly ostracized/questioned in front of coworkers for minor email errors. I was micromanaged. And by the end, my confidence had been zapped. Leaving was an absolute relief.

    For the most part, my colleagues were brilliant and friendly. But a warm environment--as you might gather from other reviews--it was not.

    The fact of the matter is, Microsoft's culture permeates the walls at WE, for better or worse.

    People pursue careers in public relations for a variety of reasons, but I'm guessing that the thrill of being lauded for email-writing isn't one of them. Yet, emails--or in Microsoft lingo, 'mails'--are going to be your primary work product at WE. How exciting.

    Employees at the AC, AAE, and AE levels spend considerable time manually tracking media coverage (yay Google News) and scouring Twitter for mentions (and billing heavily for it). On my team, brilliant folks with campaign backgrounds were reduced to coverage-tracking monkeys. And yet, they were often berated by clients if a relevant piece of coverage managed to slip by. Not the most innovative use of resources, methinks.

    Several of the folks I came into contact there--all fantastic people and professionals, for what it's worth--left for greener pastures (Edelman).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Plugging your ears won't change the truth.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Watch Your Back

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

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

    Pros

    Good place to start career, practice work-life balance, being proactive is rewarded.

    Cons

    Some senior level execs aren't afraid to throw you under the bus. Leadership entrenched with "lifers" and sometimes difficult to get through the door into that club.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 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
  11. 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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