Waggener Edstrom Communications

www.waggeneredstrom.com
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Waggener Edstrom Communications Reviews

Updated March 1, 2015
Updated March 1, 2015
172 Reviews
2.9
172 Reviews
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Approve of CEO
Waggener Edstrom Communications President and CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin
Melissa Waggener Zorkin
123 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.  

    Excellent company with genuine care and interest for their employees

    • 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

    WE makes a real investment into training, and development sessions are optional and offered several times a month, with engaging speakers and topics.
    Good people to work with; intelligent, hard-working and passionate (mostly)
    Great office, powerful and updated technology, and open structure

    Cons

    Glass ceiling for promotions; you will move quickly for awhile, but there is a bottleneck to more senior positions
    (Sorry for this one) ZERO gender balance. The office is easily 75-25 women to men. Almost all upper management is female. I felt a major disadvantage by being the only male on my team. A very uncomfortable situation to be in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire some dudes. Seriously. There are some inherent gender traits that are in play, and without a more equal balance, you're ignoring the strengths and weaknesses of both genders.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Too political for opportunity

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

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Decent vacation and benefits
    -Strong talent within tech/healthcare
    -Office locations around the world

    Cons

    -There is a lack of awareness as to what the company actually does well, and what should be pursued from a business course. Every two-three years there will be a big shakeup at the senior level, and direction will shift which keeps the company from truly growing into its strengths.
    -Lack of opportunity for growth, unless you subscribe completely to how the company wants you to think and behave. There's little appreciation for diversity in work styles, which creates a homogeneous style when it comes to approaching clients and their problems.
    -Culturally, it's difficult to get on board with how the agency approaches new business and current clients. Because the bulk of the company's senior management is based in the Pacific North West, it's difficult for them to see beyond that bubble and work culture. Unless you're willing to chug the Kool Aid, you won't be given opportunities to grow and advance.
    -If you don't work in that region, it's very easy to feel like a satellite office. Rather than let each office grow and thrive based on the specific market they're in, they expect them all to function as though they're operating out of Portland/Seattle. What's more, leadership is totally out of touch with what's going on throughout the various offices.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Embrace thinking that scares you, but that allows us to focus on our core competencies. Take an honest look at what we do well and what we don't, rather than try and do it all.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    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
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  5.  

    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
  6.  

    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
  7.  

    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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10.  

    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
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    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

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