Walker Sands Communications Reviews

Updated March 20, 2015
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4.4
9 Reviews
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Mike Santoro
3 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great Place to Work

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

    I have been working at Walker Sands Communications full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I've worked for four different PR agencies throughout my career, and Walker Sands takes the cake. I can honestly say I love my job and look forward to coming to work every day.

    Pros:
    - Senior management is awesome. The president of the company is a really smart guy who genuinely cares about his employees.
    - If you aren't happy in your current role, WS will work with you to identify a role you'd feel more comfortable in.
    - Corporate culture is unbeatable - we work hard and play hard.
    - Work life balance is totally attainable here. Most weeks I work a typical 9-5 schedule. Occasionally there are extra hours, but the busy times come and go pretty quickly.
    - Low stress environment, which is hard to find in PR.
    - The company isn't afraid to let troublesome clients go to benefit their employees.
    - Leadership is constantly evaluating themselves and asking where they can improve. Better yet, they actually implement suggestions.
    - GREAT staff. They don't hire jerks or people who aren't team players - the entire office functions as a big team, and everybody is always willing to help out everyone else.
    - Very clear career path, and they always elect to promote from within instead of hire from the outside. If you're good at your job, there are plenty of opportunities for advancement, especially for entry level professionals.
    - Leadership is very transparent about how the company is doing and what our short term and long term goals are. They have a great five year plan that every single employee is excited to see come to fruition.

    Cons

    Our building doesn't allow dogs so we can't get an office pet. Sometimes the cappuccino machine doesn't work.

    On a serious note, I think we could do a better job of vetting companies in the sales process to ensure we only retain clients that are a long term fit. We're getting better in this area, especially as we increase minimum retainers for new clients.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clearly management is doing something right, but my advice is:

    - Keep surveying with TINYPulse, we really enjoy giving our feedback and it's nice to know our voice matters.
    - Protect our culture by being over selective with new hires and the new clients we bring in.
    - Continue to define our practice areas and allow employees to become experts in those areas.
    - Find out if the building manager has any leeway with the no dogs rule. Seriously, it's 2015.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. The interesting clients aren't worth the incompetence of management

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

    I worked at Walker Sands Communications full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Really interesting clients poised to do great things across a wide range of tech verticals; Easy to move up (even if you're unqualified).
    It's 9-5.

    Cons

    Management is lacking: Some of the senior executives are completely unaware of what it takes to run an agency; Within account teams, people are promoted to positions of management with little to no experience.
    Constant restructuring of teams: For those at the lower end of the totem pole, there is very little security because senior management is constantly restructuring teams - you could be working on three clients one day and three entirely new ones the next (clients with whom you're expected to build strong relationships).
    Immaturity: Senior management and account management constantly walks the line of professionalism, specifically in their private interactions in the workplace.

    As the adage goes, "10 percent of people do 90 percent of the work." This is truest at Walker Sands. Expect all credit for the work you do to be given to those above you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop focusing so much on getting everyone to "drink the kool-aid" and instead focus on hiring and training competent people. Stop promoting people from within who haven't had adequate management experience.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. Good culture, but still in developmental stages"

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

    I have been working at Walker Sands Communications full-time

    Pros

    High employee value
    Collaborative environment
    All positions, even internships, are very "hands-on"
    Major responsibilities given even at entry-level positions
    Fun culture
    Good growth opportunities

    Cons

    Company is just beginning to implement social media client services- lots of kinks to work out.
    Management (AEs & Account Directors) walk a very fine line between professional and unprofessional due to lack of experience and/or lack of age difference among co-workers. Very young people are in mid-senior level positions and do not know how to manage, develop and evaluate talent. Some managers are knowledgeable about the tech or journalism industry but know very little about the PR industry.
    People have left to work at places that have more experienced staff, transparent policies and processes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep it professional and get adequate training to manage those beneath you.

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful

    Innovative company that respects clients and employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Walker Sands Digital in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Walker Sands Digital in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Walker Sands Communications full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Walker Sands is a great place to work. Professional growth opportunities for those with the passion and drive for marketing. Every employee is given responsibilities that help further their career, without being micromanaged. Employees understand they "why" of what they are doing. Ideas flow up and down through the organization. The company has a great collaborative culture. The office is very close to the metra and cta train stations, so it's very easy to get to the office. Work/life balance is very very good.

    Cons

    The outdoor rooftop deck isn't as fun in the winter.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to promote from within. The ethical standards are high, as the company grows, strive to maintain the high level. Office politics are almost non-existent, so as we keep growing, keep hiring and promoting people that are passionate about the work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful

    Fast growing, startup atmosphere for B2B, tech PR and digital marketing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Public Relations in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Public Relations in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Walker Sands Communications full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    -Work with extremely smart people; fun, highly collaborative environment
    -One of the best PR firms for B2B and technology companies. Strong digital marketing and web division supports integrated campaigns with search, social and public relations.
    -Voted #17 Best Place to Work for Gen Y Employees in Chicago in 2012
    -Lots of room for growth and visible executive management with open door policies; learning environment with a large range of professional development opportunities; flexible career paths to foster individual development

    Cons

    -We're growing fast, so space is at a premium. The fun atmosphere and great people more than make up for it.
    -Definitely must be ready to jump in and work hard but you have an opportunity to make a difference for your clients and Walker Sands

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep encouraging professional development, mentorship and continuing education.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 3 people found this helpful

    Hands on internship that's not available anywhere else

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Public Relations Intern in Chicago, IL
    Current Intern - Public Relations Intern in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Walker Sands Communications as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    You're given real work as an intern and not expected to just pull media lists or do research. You write your own pitches, contributed content articles, blog posts, etc. and you work directly with the media. At the end of your internship, you will have gained an entire portfolio of great pieces of work. Walker Sands also has a great culture and work environment. Everyone supports one another and wants to help each other grow personally and professionally. People are not just colleagues, but they are also friends. There's always something going on whether it's for someone's birthday or just because. It definitely makes working there that much more enjoyable.

    Cons

    Walker Sands produces top notch work, so expectations are high. If you aren't willing to work hard to improve your skills, it might not be the place for you.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful

    Passionate people who love tech PR

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Account Director in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Account Director in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Walker Sands Communications full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    * Smart, energetic and enthusiastic people.
    * Excellent opportunites for personal growth. Teams care about growing together. Many employees have grown from interns.
    * Ideas are appreciated from the bottom up. Many company-wide initiatives were started by entry-level employees.

    Cons

    * The fast pace isn't for everyone, but if you're flexible you can thrive.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful

    Loved by Employees and by Clients

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Walker Sands Digital Team in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Walker Sands Digital Team in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Walker Sands Communications full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Walker Sands is a welcoming and engaging place to work. We take our jobs very seriously and we always do right by our clients, but we have fun together and have made this an awesome place to learn and grow professionally. It's a collaborative environment, a learning environment. The culture is entrepreneurial in nature. Have a good idea? You can run with it. The company is growing fast, so there are lots of opportunities.

    Cons

    It's tough to get a job here. This is not a good place to work if you are a jerk, have average skills or don't love marketing. If you don't have passion or can't play nice with others, you won't get in the door. Jerks and people who don't care about their work who manage to get past our bouncers are outed and ousted quickly. Don't even try it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep focusing on building a great company. The hard work is paying off!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful

    Innovative culture, great opportunities and your development matters

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Media Relations Specialist in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Media Relations Specialist in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Walker Sands Communications full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    I've never been apart of or heard of an organization more dedicated to its employees. No matter who you are (intern to president) your voice is heard and you are a trusted and equal member of your team. In addition, management and supervisors are completely open to your ideas: whether that involves attending a third-party professional development luncheon or using a new platform to help clients. All you have to do is speak up!

    The population at Walker Sands is very young, which makes for a fun, innovate (while still very hard working) environment. I hate to use the phrase "work hard, play hard" but it definitely fits in this instance. Work culture is important to me as a young adult, and the fact that I Iook forward to going to work (as well as to weekly trivia or flag football nights!!) is a huge plus.

    In short, pros include: fun culture, cool clients, tons of learning opportunities, innovative thinkers, management that cares (and knows your name), lots of opportunities, great work/life balance, leadership experience.

    Cons

    Works mostly with technology clients (not a con for me, but could be for some people). The client list is expanding quickly though!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great work!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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