Wire Stone Reviews

Updated August 28, 2014
Updated August 28, 2014
40 Reviews
3.3
40 Reviews
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Dan Lynch
19 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    could not be happier with my career at Wire Stone

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

    I have been working at Wire Stone full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Wire Stone is a company led by thoughtful, down-to-earth executives who sincerely work to do what is best for their employees. I have grown up professionally and personally inside of this company, and have always been offered the support and trust I need to exceed my goals. I have experienced career growth beyond what I thought possible and have seen many of my peers do the same, as we have evolved from a small, scrappy organization to a professional company with clear career paths and regular internal promotions. I'm certainly biased in support of this organization, because they have had my back at every turn. My coworkers, peers, and bosses sincerely care about me as a person and work to set me up for success. Not only would I recommend this company to a friend, lots of my friends wish they worked here and we have hired a few of them!

    Cons

    We are such a transparent company that leadership decisions are openly questioned, as you can see by the reviews on this site. While our managers and executives successfully managed our company through an economic downturn that hit a lot of independent marketing companies really hard, those hard decisions caused morale challenges for a lot of people who had been here since the early days. The only thing that really gets me down at work is hearing the complaints of few impact the upward momentum of the rest of the crew. However, there is less talk about the past and more focus on the future every day. The last couple years have been full of positive momentum and I have a lot of faith in the leadership in place at this company!

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

    Great company full of opportunities for the talented self-starters.

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

    I have been working at Wire Stone full-time

    Pros

    Work-life balance is more than talk here.

    Cons

    Fragmented office set up makes cross-office personal relationships hard.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More company parties.

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

    Good people, Great experience

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

    I worked at Wire Stone as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Really great team, fun project, open environment, lots of great informational prep work done, smart people on board. Very friendly environment.

    Cons

    Explaining objectives clearly was a bit of a hurdle the ramp up and ramp down process could use some smoothing out

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Smooth over the kickoff process, other than that everything else is really well done!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    I absolutely love coming to work everyday.

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

    I have been working at Wire Stone full-time

    Pros

    This is a company of good, smart people who want to do great work. The culture and the people are fun and fabulous. We get along, we joke, we laugh, we hang out outside of work, we get stuff done. With a wide array of clients and projects, there is plenty of innovative, exciting work to be had; as well as freedom and opportunity to push the envelope in several areas.

    Upper management is dedicated and approachable. I always, always feel that my voice is heard and my suggestions and opinions are welcomed and respected.

    Cons

    I've been in the agency world for about 7 years and have experience at all kinds of shops, big and small. I've never seen an agency that didn't have some sore spots. Wire Stone is no exception in the sense that there are times when resourcing is a challenge, new processes create frustration, working down long hallways can be tough, etc. But at the end of the day, I love it here. The fun, happy days far out-weigh the stressful ones, and that is more than I can say for several of the other Chicago agencies where I've worked.

    Also, I've seen several comments about salaries being low/unfair, but I don't believe that is the case more than any other advertising agency. Unfortunately, in this industry you often have to change companies in order to jump your salary. This was not my first agency, and the salary they started me at was very competitive -- a jump from where I was before.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Since we have offices in various cities across the country, an annual company trip would be very helpful in developing relationships with our colleagues across the network. I know this has been done in the past, but it would be great if it were an annual event.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Stagnant company for the last few years and this won't change soon

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

    I have been working at Wire Stone

    Pros

    Great for someone who is just starting their career. You have the ability to work on some very cool projects for some larger clients.

    Cons

    Do no expect a raise or career growth here. Very rarely will they promote people. The company is all talk with very little follow through.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop thinking that you can compete with the larger agencies. Find a niche and run with it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Nice place to start, but don't expect to move up or get raises

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

    I worked at Wire Stone full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Offices are small and close-knit. The people at my level felt like family and the amount of FACs and free lunches was fun. But if you don't get on the "good list" with upper management, you may as well look for the door.

    The amount of drinking that goes on in these offices is both light-hearted fun, but also sometimes depressing. There is a semi-annual trip to Las Vegas so all the teams across the country can meet face-to-face and drink together. There was some kind of team-building in there too, but mostly it was drinking and partying. Actually a pretty good time if you avoid thinking about all the other things they could be spending money on (such as raises, upgrading systems, not laying people off).

    This was a great place to get my foot in the door and build up my resume early in my career. They do get a lot of big-named companies to work with: HP, Motorola, Microsoft, Jordan, Cartier, Boeing, etc. But don't expect to move up. They'd sooner hire a new person than promote from within and they certainly weren't willing to help their employees grow in their career.

    The schedule was flexible and working from home was an option. Though more frowned upon by some managers than others. You could pretty much expect the building to be cleared out by 3:30 on a Friday afternoon. Some times it was so flexible, that no one had to be accounted for. If you were on managements "good side" it apparently didn't matter if you wandered in at 10am, took a 2-hour lunch break and left by 4.

    Cons

    The pay was terrible and uneven, not at all based on merit or experience. The upper management likes to talk about raises, but never actually gets around to handing them out. I knew of several higher-level employees that had been without raises for years and basically had to threaten to quit to get any kind of increase. In fact, being a small company, they raised the price of health care every year I was there, which essentially meant I was making less money each year I stayed.

    Meanwhile it seemed the managers were always having random site trips, everyone else was always having to cut budgets, but it apparently didn't apply to them. If you managed to get on the "good side" of their clique you might get invited out to party and drink with them while they were in your town getting all that important work done...

    There was no matching 401k, and the expensive benefits were not all that great. We often talked about reviews at the end of the year, but rarely managed to finish them and actually get feedback from our peers and managers.

    Upper management seemed to have NO IDEA what they were doing or how to run a company. One month they'd say we were doing great, another they would tell us that we need to cut back expenses, then we'd have a slow summer month (as we did every year) and they would panic and lay off a few people, then we'd be busy again and everyone is expected to work 120% to make up for the low head count, then they'd send us all to Vegas to party and drink booze, and then we'd get back and a month later few more people get laid off… clearly not great at planning ahead.

    If you are hired for grunt work of any kind, don't expect an opportunity to move up. I saw many talented people hire on as entry-level and even after showing their skills and proving their worth, they were basically offered to stay where they were (and be paid poorly) or leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Spend some of that travel/booze money to take some management classes. Plan ahead for slow times so you don't have to keep reducing the workforce only to then be short handed. Reward your hard-working employees: EVERY single ex-employee I've talked to resents how unappreciated they were.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Great company, non-competitive salary

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Account Management  in  Fort Collins, CO
    Former Employee - Account Management in Fort Collins, CO

    I worked at Wire Stone full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Creative environment, friendly people, challenging work, good work-life balance. Many outings that involve family. Cool area.

    Cons

    Hire at a competitive salary, but then the salary never increases by much. After 3 years of no to very minimal raises, your salary is no longer competitive, and many leave for better pay. Hard to retain employees for longer than 3-5 years, because they don't offer decent raises.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward long-term employees with competitive salaries and proper job opportunities/titles. Experience is worth the money--your clients will thank you, and ultimately, so will the books.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Unless you're entry level or unqualified, save yourself the frustration

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

    I have been working at Wire Stone full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The work at Wire Stone alternates between disorganized chaos and totally dead. Employees to show up late, leave early, and generally just do as much or little as they like. If you can keep your head down as client deadlines approach you can get away with being bad at your job or just doing very little. It's a bit dicey as someone is generally going to get blamed for the chaos but nothing is ever done about it so if you don't mind a bit of stress every once in a while it can be quite nice.

    Almost nobody ever gets fired. An employee can be incredibly bad at their job or generally lazy and they won't be let go. If you're good at politicking you can buddy up with the higher ranking people in the office and get away with just about anything.

    There's a semi-regular trip to Las Vegas in which the highest ranking people in the company spend crazy amounts of money to gather the entire company for an all expenses paid meet and greet weekend with LOTS of drinking. It's actually a great time as long as you don't think about all the other stuff the money should be spent on.

    If you're a completely unqualified entry level worker, Wire Stone will generally hire you anyway as long as you're willing to work for a low enough wage. A "senior software developer" was hired a while ago who had zero computer experience. They tend to base your title on your age, not your experience so it could be a good job for someone looking to switch careers late in life, it could also be a great job for someone just graduating college looking to get something on their resume.

    Cons

    The leadership is not to be trusted in any way whatsoever. They routinely lie to employees about the state of the company, saying whatever fits their goals at the moment. In one of the monthly meetings employees were told both that the company was breaking profit records and singing amazing new clients, and that there wasn't enough money for raises this year. About every 18 months the leadership claims they're finally getting serious about raises and employee reviews. I have been with the company long enough to see 4 of these and never once had a review go full circle (out to my managers for review, and the come back with feedback).

    The compensation is incredibly uneven, not based at all on merit, and the only way I've ever seen anyone get a raise is by getting a competing offer and threatening to leave. During the time I worked here I had my pay cut several times due to rising health care costs, tight economy, or whatever else leadership came up with.

    The heads of each respective office are a very exclusive clique and they often remind the employees of this. The one thing you can do to get fired (I've seen it happen twice) is to get on their bad sides. They often go on "sales trips" which are glorified vacations to international destinations. The international office for Wire Stone consists of one person and if not for the fact that it's necessary to be "international" to get contracts with Wire Stone's largest clients, I would suspect it serves only as an excuse for regular trips to Europe.

    The benefits are quite bad. The 401k has no matching and the health care plan gets more expensive every year. If you're told that the 401k will soon have matching, don't believe it. I was told that when I was hired, as were several of my coworkers. As far as I can tell there are no actual plans to do this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Giving advice to management is an exercise in futility. The management is the problem. Their disconnected nature and general lack of competence creates systemic issues in the company that will not be resolved at least until a change occurs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Run! Run as fast as you can!

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

    I worked at Wire Stone full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Some nice folks down in the trenches doing the real work.

    Cons

    Where to start.....absolutely no leadership. They are too busy flying to Europe and staying at 5 star hotels to visit the office in "Europe". Which did no real work, and I am convinced is just a scam so they can travel there on the company's dime. At the same time the "workers" were being asked to cut back on expenses. 401K match was taken away when the economy hit the down turn and never given back, but they still needed to travel to Europe to visit the smallest office in the company.

    Top management was referred to as the "clique". They are all about nepotism. The term "FOT" was used to signal if an employee was favored by a certain MD and if they were they could be completely incompetent, but were untouchable, but beware it also worked the other way. If they got mad at you, deserved or not, watch out. I saw many a good person forced out because the MD no longer "liked" them. This could happen to anyone as many projects are given over to the teams already doomed from the start due to poor planning, and unrealistic promises to get the sale. The team then had to kill themselves to save it while inept management and sale was jetting around doing whatever six figure income, unfireable folks do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clean house and start over with new management---get rid of the clique. Just because they founded the company does not mean they are good managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great company - never a dull moment!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior User Experience Developer  in  Boise, ID
    Current Employee - Senior User Experience Developer in Boise, ID

    I have been working at Wire Stone full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The company and management team treat you like an adult. As long as you're getting your work done, meeting commitments, and abiding by the manifesto (which I love! - see below) you'll get along great!

    Manifesto:
    1. Act like an owner
    2. Bring your A-game
    3. Find your 'we'
    4. Don't be a 'stone thrower
    5. Your word is your bond
    6. Don't be a prick
    7. You are 'they'
    8. Keep your kimono open
    9. Don't be a Houdini
    10. Look in the mirror, not out the window
    11. Create 'moments of magic'

    Cons

    Lots and lots and lots of projects which can be both good and bad. You have to push back and set good boundaries!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More team get togethers; more opportunities (and time) for skill development and conferences would be nice too - being able to checkin with the outside world, broadening the horizon can be very empowering, energizing, and ultimately benefit our clients.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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