KEY NOT FOUND: coverImgAlt
Logo

Animalz

Engaged Employer

Animalz

Add a Review

Animalz Diversity And Inclusion FAQ

Read what Animalz employees think about diversity and inclusion at the company, and if their workforce is comprised and supportive of individuals of varying gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion and other attributes.

Animalz has a diversity rating of 3.6.

All answers shown come directly from Animalz Reviews and are not edited or altered.

See questions about:

(select only 1)
Benefits
Career Development
Compensation
Coworkers
Culture
Diversity And Inclusion
Management
Senior Leadership
Work Life Balance
Workplace

3 English questions out of 3

August 16, 2022

How is diversity at Animalz?

Pros

- Truly gifted editors. Working at Animalz will supercharge anyone's writing, research, and SEO chops. It's like going to college except you get paid. - The chance to work with some big brands and network with tech execs. - Diverse team - super interesting people work here from all over the world. Makes the world seem less polarized and scary. - Flexibility - you can work pretty much wherever and whenever you want as long as you can get all your work done (which brings me to the cons...)

Cons

- Animalz wants really badly to be like the tech companies they serve, so they treat their people like machines. They literally refer to what they do as a "product" instead of a service. This may seem fairly innocuous at first. It may even seem exciting, edgy, and new. But then after a few months, you'll realize that all leadership truly cares about is writers producing a ton of content for a tiny fraction of what customers pay the agency. You may develop close relationships with people at this company, but it will be done on your own time and you'll have to work for it. Otherwise, you're just a cog in the machine. - Extremely top-heavy. There are too many leaders and executives (friends of the CEO) and not enough people doing work. If you want to be talked down to and urged to constantly do more work by people with less experience in the industry than you, then maybe this is a good place. For everyone else, it's difficult to stomach. - Non-writing work is unaccounted for. Writers do much more than write - they meet with the customers (as well as their own teams), create their own briefs, research, outline, and optimize articles. They respond to customer feedback, create reports, and shepherd all their work through multiple rounds of revision and multiple steps of delivery as requested by customers, leadership, team leads, and editors. None of this work is accounted for in their workload. - Zero training for difficult subject matter. Some clients at Animalz are easy to write for, but many require technical expertise and/or a ton of research. And no one is trained on how to write on these technical topics. Leaders assume writers will just figure it out on their own time. If you fall behind on your workload, you have to make that up by working late, on weekends, or on vacation. This pace of work becomes extremely difficult to balance with the high writing standards of the agency and the high quality expectations of the clients who pay a premium price for this "product" and expect writers to deliver on promises they aren't equipped for. The result is employees burn out, and clients churn. - Low pay and few benefits for the industry. At first glance, the pay at Animalz may seem fair. But when you factor in the time and expertise required, most writers will be better off elsewhere, either as an in-house writer or a freelancer. Animalz doesn't offer retirement matching. They also recently switched to an unlimited vacation model, which will only harm people with mental health issues, family responsibilities, or difficult clients because they won't be able to take any time off if they aren't meeting production quotas. - Gaslighting is common. When people have problems or bring up a concern, they are routinely told the problem doesn't exist and no one else has that concern. - Few REAL advancement opportunities. Right now, clients are leaving. Many tech companies and startups which Animalz serves are cutting their marketing spend, and first up on the chopping block is their expensive content machine (Animalz). This reality, plus the burnout that writers constantly undergo, means that you're unlikely to meeting your production goals to warrant a promotion, and even if you ARE able to meet all your production goals, the company's revenue may not be able to support your promotion anytime soon because they are trying so hard to improve their financial situation.

Advice to Management

Start listening to the people who still work for you. Everything in this review has already been covered in existing Glassdoor reviews AND all-hands meetings. You're not a new CEO anymore, so stop using that excuse as a crutch. No one else at this company was trained on their jobs either, and yet they're still expected to DO them. So do yours.

Diverse team

August 16, 2022

See answer

May 14, 2022

Does Animalz provide assistance to those with physical or mental disabilitiies?

Pros

As other people have written, the saving grace of Animalz is getting to work with writers and editors (and some team leads) who care deeply about doing good work and supporting each other. The high degree of editorial oversight means that even if you learn nothing else, you will walk away from the company as a better writer. Unfortunately, making genuine connections with the people you work with is extremely difficult, because everyone is overwhelmed and afraid to speak openly about any issues because of an entrenched culture of toxic positivity. It is still possible to have a good experience at Animalz if: -You have a natural ability to produce huge amounts of content every week, while managing customers, coming up with content ideas, reporting on performance, and other duties -You happen to be paired with a team lead who takes an interest in you and isn’t so completely overwhelmed that they can’t help you at all -You happen to be assigned to customers with an approach to content that makes sense, and who have reasonable expectations of you. (Because if they don’t, you should not expect support from the company in pushing back on them.) -You are capable of focusing only on your own work, and ignoring the people burning out and quitting all around you, the nonsensical proclamations from management, and the company’s increasingly dire financial straits

Cons

Animalz is in a death spiral. And even if you don’t care about the fate of the company as a whole, and you check every box in the “pros” section, you will inevitably be harmed by the experience of working at a company this grotesquely mismanaged. The company's issues with burnout, churn, and work quality have already been covered by my former colleagues eloquently and at length. So I want to focus on talking about the two things that really messed me up at Animalz: toxic positivity and gaslighting. I’m aware both of those terms have been overused and robbed of their original meanings, but we can restore them to usefulness if we simply use Animalz as the universal benchmark to which all other examples can be compared. Because seriously: the place is the dictionary definition of each. I personally mark the beginning of Animalz' descent into toxicity as the day when a member of leadership imposed the “no venting “rule. This created a company culture in which it is forbidden to acknowledge problems, or publicly admit to unhappiness or stress. The enforced and false positivity has made the experience of working at Animalz deeply isolating for people, who assume that any issues with burnout and overwhelming workloads are their personal problems and not evidence of systemic failures. On top of that, Animalz explicitly rewards people for taking on duties that are *not their jobs* without compensating them for it. Your reward will come in the form of public praise for being such a "rock star," and your peers will echo this praise out of a sense of obligation, thus endlessly perpetuating the culture dominated by fake smiles and the constant repetition that "everything is fine." Which brings us to the gaslighting. As I said before, things are not going well at Animalz. But rather than acknowledge or meaningfully address that, leadership constantly tries to paper over it, and convince you that what looks like chaos is actually growth. When four members of senior leadership departed the company in three months, the CEO addressed this in an all-hands by saying that retention isn't a priority. In the face of mounting customer churn, leadership will simply change metrics to ones that it finds more favorable, rather than address the bad numbers. Every few months, leadership announces some grand new initiative or direction for the company, but these ideas are never fully thought out before they are presented, and no one can answer any questions about *how they will work*. The company is now undergoing its second major re-organization in under a year, but there's no sense of why or what it will mean on a day-to-day basis. Concerns about slipping standards and unhappy customers have led to an announcement that we now prioritize "outcomes over articles." (This would doubtlessly come as a shock to our customers, since articles are the thing they pay us for.) Oh and we're adding new products! Including video! How, you ask? No one can tell you. But the experience of having to pretend that any of the above makes sense is exhausting and demoralizing. Prolonged exposure to that kind of dishonesty is bad for your health, and I mean that very literally, since issues with sleep, substances, and anxiety are quietly rampant among the team.

Advice to Management

This advice is not directed to senior leadership, because I don't believe they are capable of accepting advice that requires real change. My feedback is directed at the leaders in the middle, who are trying to keep their own careers intact, but in doing so, are enabling a toxic culture that is doing real damage to people's lives. To you I say: you have more power than you think. You do not have to nod along with every ridiculous proclamation from leadership, or carry out their paranoid campaigns against anything with the slightest whiff of organizing. You can band together and stand up, or you can leave. If this company is going to be saved, it will only be by people like you, blowing on the dying embers of what originally made it a success: undeniably brilliant work from people who truly believed in what we were doing. Any attempts to circumvent that through new products or cost cutting will inevitably fail. It’s already failing. And the result is not just the wreckage of a company, but the wreckage of people's careers, mental health, and perceptions of you.

Prolonged exposure to that kind of dishonesty is bad for your health, and I mean that very literally, since issues with sleep, substances, and anxiety are quietly rampant among the team.

May 14, 2022

See answer

August 5, 2021

How is race or ethnicity talked about at Animalz?

Pros

Animalz genuinely attracts some best-in-class clients from the B2B SaaS world. If you're looking to get a foot in the door in tech as a writer/content marketer, this is as good a place to start as any. The pay is not competitive at all once you’re past the entry-level phase, but if you’re just starting out, or are willing to make the trade-off for a resume boost, after 6 months to a year, you’ll be able to write your ticket anywhere else for significantly more money. 100% remote, which is nice - especially if you live outside of the big markets like NYC and SF. It’s less of an advantage than it was prior to Covid, now that significantly more businesses are shifting to remote-first. But it’s not nothing. On a personal level, most people are really friendly and kind. In some cases this comes off as a bit disingenuous, or like an attempt to distract you from how chaotic everything is and how exhausted you are. But overall people seem to mean well.

Cons

Note: The below is an honest reckoning with the state of the business as I experienced it as an employee. Some or all of this may no longer apply by the time you are reading this review. Someone from leadership will assuredly be by shortly to address the below and tell you that it is completely inaccurate, as you will note they have done with other reviews. And hey, I genuinely hope that by the time you read this, it is. Individual team members have very little control over the accounts they are assigned to or the topics they write about. As a freelancer, you have the freedom to specialize by subject matter and then choose your clients based on what you can be successful writing about. That's not how Animalz operates -- they’ll take whatever clients will hire them and assign whoever is available to write for them based on not much at all. Probably as a result of the above, article quality is a near-constant complaint from clients, especially more technical ones. That’s probably because the content is being written by English majors with little to no background in the topic they’re writing about. Animalz has no idea what to do to solve this issue on an institutional level. But that doesn’t stop them from selling to those more technical clients, which means content managers are constantly being set up to fail. Employee turnover is extremely, extremely high. In 2021 alone, the company has seen between 20% and 25% churn -- increasingly from more tenured employees. At the time I left the business, the average tenure of an Animalz employee was a little over one year, and the median was just over half a year. This makes it extremely challenging as a new employee, as there are so few “old hands” to learn/seek support from. Leadership is intensely concerned with managing optics with new employees. For example, sometime around November/December 2020, they issued an edict to middle management to discourage “venting” - that is, expression of frustration or struggle with workload, clients, home life, etc. in public channels. It’s difficult to express what an enormous harm this did to employee morale and psychological well-being. Employees were left drowning, in desperate need of support, and expressly told that they needed to keep it to themselves. Everyone from middle management down is overutilized and underpaid. Individual middle-managers mean well and genuinely want to help their direct reports succeed. But when they are managing 10-15 different CMs, the vast majority of them less than six months into their tenure at Animalz and in many cases their careers as content marketers, while also many of them onboarding 3-5 new accounts per month, their ability to actually provide the help and support their direct reports need is slim to none. The company ostensibly practices “transparency” but over the past three to six months that “transparency” has devolved into PR, bullshitting and “controlling the story.” Genuine questions about hiring, business operations, processes and best practices will be met with stonewalling, gaslighting, outright hostility, and repeated references to how leadership’s *feelings* are hurt by the questions. Leadership fails to appreciate that they staff a team of literal communications professionals and, in many cases, journalists - people who’s literal job is to spot spin, evasion, and dishonesty. Underestimating their employees is one of leadership’s most routine failings. Discrimination along protected lines is rampant across the business. Women, people of color, LBTQIA+ employees and people with disabilities are routinely paid lower salaries for equivalent (and in some cases, more) work and responsibility than their male, white, straight, “abled” counterparts. International hires have been told they are full-time employees with all the rights and responsibilities when in fact they are independent contractors, and that is a literal labor violation. International employees with specialized skill sets like backgrounds in computer programming are paid multiple tens of thousands of dollars below US market rate. Meanwhile, the company has made public commitments to DEI -- international DEI, in particular. Employees will also take sick leave, and receive DMs and in some cases text messages demanding that they log onto work systems and “set the team up for success” when they are literally incapacitated. Again, pretty sure this constitutes harrassment or some kind of labor violation. Leadership has also engaged in active union-busting activities, up to and including lying to individual contributor employees that they were prohibited from participating in unionization efforts when in fact they have a legally protected right to organize. The company also routinely steals/appropriates the expertise and work product of individual contributors and passes it off as “company process.” Processes and concepts built by individual contributors for managing things like ideation, workload management, etc. have been passed off as Animalz’s intellectual property with no credit given to the individual contributors who actually designed those processes. This is particularly horrifying coming from a company that puts the fear of god into its employees regarding plagiarism and crediting sources. The company will be dead in the water if employee work is plagiarized. But plagiarism on behalf of the company? Totally fine, apparently. Does the company legally have a right to claim employees’ intellectual property? Probably. But ethically, particularly as a literal media services provider, the practice stinks to high heaven. Leadership has also blatantly lied in public-facing PR initiatives about the internal state and health of the business. The CEO recently made an appearance on a popular marketing podcast touting how the success of the business came down to having “process” for everything. Meanwhile, internally, there wasn’t even an Animalz standard operating procedure for, for example, building a content calendar or conducting ideation for said content calendar. The reality is that what success the business has had has come from the ingenuity, creativity, and existing skills of the individual contributors it hires. But leadership continues to deny this -- and those individual contributors continue to leave for greener pastures. The company has also claimed publicly that all client work is completed by full-time Animalz employees when the truth is that the company has routinely outsourced significant amounts of work to freelancers. Leadership is, by all appearances, intensely unconcerned with all of this. The CEO has explicitly stated that the business is there to make great content, not to make employees’ lives easier. They have recently pivoted their messaging around the employer brand from being the “best place for content marketers to work” to being a “content marketing bootcamp,” in an obvious attempt to justify hiring and exploiting inexperienced people rather than experienced professionals that can produce work at the level customers expect. And again, if you ask tough questions about *any* of this, you will be blamed, shamed, and gaslit to high heaven.

Advice to Management

Stop with the "blitzscaling" mentality, slow down long enough to ensure that you're actually delivering a consistent product and that you're not breaking your employees in the process. Pay whatever you have to to get some fresh blood in-house with proven success and an investment in mentorship and leading a team. (But make sure you do it *equitably and transparently* and that you promote those doing equivalent work already accordingly.) All the online courses in the world can’t replace genuine, in-person mentorship from real, experienced people. Figure out a way for employees to stick with subject matter long enough to build actual subject matter expertise. Much as you’d like them to be, human beings aren’t modular, and neither is agency work - you can’t just plug any human into any account, collect your check and walk away. Stop with the PR spin. Your employees are smart. They can smell it a mile away.

Women, people of color, LBTQIA+ employees and people with disabilities are routinely paid lower salaries for equivalent (and in some cases, more) work and responsibility than their male, white, straight, “abled” counterparts.

August 5, 2021

See 1 more answer

3 English questions out of 3