Waggener Edstrom Communications

  www.waggeneredstrom.com
  www.waggeneredstrom.com
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Waggener Edstrom Communications Reviews

Updated September 8, 2014
Updated September 8, 2014
151 Reviews
3.2
151 Reviews
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Waggener Edstrom Communications President and CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin
Melissa Waggener Zorkin
109 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • impressive vacation package for all employees and flexible work from home polices for middle/upper management (in 13 reviews)

  • The company is very committed to work/life balance (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • Zero Work Life Balance: With paying for your internet/mobile, you are expected to be on call 24/7 (in 22 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.  

    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 for 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
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great learning experience WE really nurtures you as you begin your career.

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

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    As an intern they really pour resources at you and try to develop your skills.
    This is one of the higher paying internships in the area.
    There are so many opportunities to try out new things and work on different teams using different strategies and methods.
    It's a fast paced environment--be prepared for the day to fly by.

    Cons

    The AC packages aren't competitive.
    There is a dearth of creativity at the agency.
    The teams don't interact with each other.
    You can work next to someone for a year and not learn their name.
    WE recruits too heavily among Communications/Marketing backgrounds—as a result many of the employees have a last century mentality. Refer back to the lack of creativity point.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management needs to pull lots of smart people from very diverse backgrounds to breathe some life into everyday brainstorms.

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

    Awesome experience, but needs stronger leaders

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - ACCOUNT STAFF  in  Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - ACCOUNT STAFF in Bellevue, WA

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

    Pros

    Having worked at WE for about 7 years, it was a great learning experience in the agency space. The culture was fun and exciting, proud to say who our clients were, and being able to travel to other offices was a highlight of my time there, as well as building and maintaining great partnerships and friends across the company.

    Cons

    Disrespectul leaders. Infrastructure teams not treated with respect. Peers were great, but you can't trust the leaders. They also put leaders in positions without having any experience in the related field they are now managing. Not listening to the employees became an issue. Never had experienced such disrespect as I witnessed during the end. The company had one of the strongest, most tenured teams in the agency and one by one, every original team member left within a year due to the disrespect they faced with their senior leader. It was extremely sad and disappointing to see how some teams were treated. Experts in their field were never seen that way. PR people can run the world there, but with the least amount of actual business experience.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Can't stress enough how important it is to actually listen to the employees. When you see such turnover on a team in a small amount of time, there's usually a common factor. Don't ignore those issues, it will just get worse. Reach out to those people affected to hear from them. But the execs will never do that. Culture is great because of the people who actually do all the work, not those that will take credit for it and not live up to the core values of the agency. Practice what you preach. Listen, don't ignore.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Communications and Innovation

    • 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 for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good benefits
    Nice office culture
    Good management structure
    Great support for volunteering
    Great educational/training opportunities

    Cons

    Top heavy tends to suck opportunity/wage increase
    Political silos lead to myopic planning in terms of client
    Mission to innovate and think out side the box more often than not gives way to client demands
    Long hours/high billing expectation

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Drink more of your own Kool-Aid and innovate, think out side the box, and enable yourselves to fire your clients.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Really great and maddeningly frustrating at the same time.

    • 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 for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Earnest company with high standards and desire to be great. Many good intentions and a genuine desire to make change in the world through communications.
    Genuinely caring of employees, even if it may not always feel that way.
    Some STELLAR people here and if you work for the right ones, you will learn more than you ever thought possible. Someone should write a book about how this company has sustained the Microsoft relationship so long. It's definitely not because Microsoft has low standards!
    You can do some of the best PR work in the world here, if you're lucky.

    Cons

    -Young, beautiful women who are tough as nails are the ones who seem to excel here. There can be a highly personalized and judgmental dynamic among these sr leaders. (Except overseas, where the leadership tends to be male, and I think it is harder for women to achieve sr positions.)
    -Client management trumps people management. This means that some who have lacked people management skills are retained because they know how to manage clients. This can cause the company to appear out of integrity with itself.
    -Microsoft centricity leads some of the senior people to think that Microsoft way=PR; and so many sr managers have worked only on Microsoft that they see the world through this prism. As a result some of the agency's managers do not know what they don't know. For example, WE has consistently failed to muster a respectable effort around consumer or integrated communications. Or field a NY office.
    -Fear of failure/fear of losing a client is the driving force here, which accounts for high high standards and amazing work product; while also being a crush on creativity.
    -The agency has an idealized self-image, and sometimes this is impossible to live up to. In some ways it is too hard on itself--and this results in the feeling of it not being transparent.
    -It is sad to see some of the talented people in the digital, research and measurement teams let go or leave because the company is too driven by "retain at all costs" vs "risk to grow," or not knowledgeable enough to really guide them. In some cases, the company did not even truly understand what they were losing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    With respect, the most sr leadership team needs to have some decisive new blood and probably a retirement or two. WE could use a president who is a PR rock star and reshapes the company. Recognize how sr managers are expected to pass a subjective conformity test, and how that is a hindrance to allowing your company to be changed by them. Place bigger bets and be more patient on the new things. Polish the image less and be vulnerable to your employees and let them help you more.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Career Maker

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

    I have been working at Waggener Edstrom Communications full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great place to start a career. Waggener puts a lot of effort into developing their employees. Mid-level employees work with very senior level clients.

    Good benefits.

    Cons

    Hard to break past the mid-career mark. Limited client base results in limited opportunities. Haven't been able to break into more avanced marketing that can add value to existing services such as analytics, mktg automation, and social marketing. Stuck in media relations. Core digital team left a few years ago.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 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 for 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
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    The most siloed, dull atmosphere I have ever worked in

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

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

    Pros

    You can work from home, flexible schedule.

    Cons

    Culture is lacking "team spirit" or any "fun" Company relies too much on Microsoft as their anchor account. They talk about change and breaking down pillars but it doesn't happen. Leadership team is not transparent nor do they try to get to know the employees. Majority of communications are through emails not in-person.

    The admins for the Microsoft team have a chip on their shoulder and give off a "mean girls" vibe if you aren't an admin on their team.

    Working remotely is great - however, when you have too many of your core leaders that don't interface with their teams on a daily basis you have a very loosely run ship. It is sinking folks, maybe time to do things differently? Leaders should be on-site with their teams - not remote. Talk about severe dis-connect, wow.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's time for some new blood in the management mix to bring in fresh ideas. Company seems to be stuck in a cycle that it cannot get out of. Change needs to start at the top. I see great things happening on the EMEA team due to their youthful leadership - maybe North America needs to follow suit. Turnover has been really high recently following the large lay offs - they claim to want to retain World Class Talent - but obviously aren't paying attention to what is being said as they are losing people at a rapid rate. I know of 6 people that have resigned from their positions in the last month and I am sure there will be more soon.

    Get to know your employees. Make sure your senior leaders aren't working remotely - they should be at the office being "Leaders".

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 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
  11. 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 for 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

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