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Animalz

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Animalz

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Animalz Culture FAQ

Read what Animalz employees think about their company culture and make sure it is the right fit for you.

Animalz has a culture and values rating of 3.4.

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

What is the hiring process like at Animalz?

5 English reviews out of 5

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September 16, 2021

Pros

If you’re capable, driven, and have strong psychological stamina, you really can pretty much own end-to-end content production for some decent clients, maybe even a unicorn if you’re very lucky. “Ownership” is prized highly at Animalz, so if you’re happy taking the lead on a project from start to finish with minimal support––and I do mean minimal support––you’ll soon be able to translate that experience into a better gig at a much better company. For at least a little while longer, you can probably leverage Animalz’s formerly strong reputation into better career opportunities after you leave, though that window is closing rapidly. Same goes for your coworkers––I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the smartest, most talented people I’ve ever worked with in my career, though virtually all of them have left or been forced out by now.

Cons

Take a look at the other reviews on this page. See the ones that were obviously written under duress by junior hires, or maybe members of senior management themselves? The ones that all just happened to be published on August 11 because leadership panicked and didn’t even think to publish them over the course of a few weeks to make them seem more credible? The reviews even a child could spot as obvious fakes? That’s how stupid Animalz’s leadership thinks you are. They’re convinced you’re either too dumb or too desperate to see through their obvious lies, and make no mistake, they will lie to you––and keep lying to you––from your first day until the day you finally tire of it and quit. Animalz really could have been the very best content marketing agency in the world. They had a truly world-class team and a reputation to match. But instead of investing in that talent and building on that brand equity, they squandered it all in the name of wildly unsustainable growth for no other reason than to satisfy the founder’s greed. Everything that made this agency great has been sacrificed in the name of myopic, short-term growth, and even that has been jeopardized by senior leadership’s inability to admit they’re completely out of their depth. As other reviews have noted, churn is the only game in town at Animalz. It’s a constant race to the bottom between employee churn and client churn. Since April 2021, Animalz has steadily lost the majority of its most experienced, tenured people because the concept of retention is utterly alien to management. Burnout is endemic, and the company simply couldn’t care less. The CEO will try to tell you that the chronic staff turnover is the result of the pandemic, or “The Great Resignation,” or because “people just don’t want to work anymore,” but that’s because she’s a malignant narcissist with nothing but contempt for the people who work for her and thinks you’ll believe lazy, reductive nonsense. All but two of the companies listed in the “Work with cool buds” section of the website churned long, long ago. These days, Animalz will work with almost literally anybody willing to pay them, and is desperately leveraging what little brand equity they have left to secure new business and keep the lights on. Due to the constant state of utter chaos, clients are routinely “onboarded” without a dedicated writer. We’re not talking about tiny pre-seed startups here––we’re talking industry-leading enterprise firms with market caps of billions of dollars whose work is literally farmed out to mediocre freelancers from day one. The agency’s reliance on freelancers has become so dire that some clients have churned before a full-time content manager has even been assigned to their account because it became embarrassingly obvious that their work was being outsourced. Because they don’t understand or value editorial expertise, leadership really does believe that simplistic checklists and questionnaires––the “process” that leadership loves to talk about on podcasts––can replace genuine subject-matter expertise and editorial experience. They’ve created a revolving door of failure in which both clients and employees burn out hard, then churn. It’s completely unsustainable, and Animalz’s formerly strong reputation has sunk lower and lower as editorial standards have fallen. To say Animalz pays poorly would be a considerable understatement. For years, Animalz’s internal “development guidelines”––benchmarks that determined employees’ level and compensation––did not account for previous experience at all. Think about that for a second. You could literally be a journalist with 20 years of experience at a national publication (and we’ve had more than a couple), and you could easily be determined to be a Level 1 content manager earning $50k because you lack SEO experience. Yes, really. The company recently revised its levels system because manageent finally accepted they couldn’t attract quality candidates by asking them to literally do the jobs of three people AND pay 30-40% under market rate. Now, incoming new hires can and do earn more than multi-year veterans with significantly more experience thanks to a half-baked, discriminatory “banding” system. This was presented as an “investment in the company,” but it’s nothing more than a transparent attempt to pay new hires more money because they’re desperate to attract new people to replace the exodus of experienced people who have quit. A handful of existing staffers got modest raises when this banding system was introduced, but only the “team players”––several of our most tenured, experienced people were deliberately excluded from these raises out of spite. When pressed during a meeting, the Head of People Ops also refused to rule out the possibility of salaries being reduced under the new salary bands. The “benefits” at Animalz are pitiful. When one former colleague joined the company in 2019, the insurance offered by Animalz did not even qualify as legally acceptable healthcare coverage in that person’s state. The founder’s brilliant solution? Asking other male founders on Twitter what he should do about it, which was ultimately nothing for another year. Another colleague was paying more than $15,000 per year on insurance coverage for their family, but was told the company couldn’t offer coverage for dependents because it would cost the company a paltry $60k per year to do so. Another was unable to seek care for a medical condition that was interfering with their work at all because no reputable specialists in their state accepted Animalz’s dismal coverage. During the interview process, they might try to tempt you with “unlimited personal days” and “unlimited sick days.” In practice, as other reviewers have noted, these policies may as well not exist. Staff are responsible for sourcing their own writing coverage during periods of PTO––not their managers, for reasons which have never been explained––which typically means working a 60-hour week on either side of a five-day break because everybody is so chronically overworked that coverage simply isn’t an option. You might get lucky with freelancer coverage, but most of them will be too busy onboarding new clients. The company itself is held together with gum and duct tape. Data security and governance is a nightmare––100+ employees share a handful of unsecured Google account passwords to access critical tools and systems––and the entire company is built on a rat’s nest of random documents, misplaced spreadsheets, and broken webforms. Airtable integrations fail daily, nobody knows who should be responsible for anything, and all of this overhead is placed on a handful of already overburdened People Ops folks who keep this ship of fools running virtually single-handedly. If toxic positivity is a trigger for you, I strongly advise you to seek employment elsewhere. You’ll be gaslit over and over again by people who love to talk about “ownership” and “personal responsibility” but refuse to be held to account for the disastrous impacts of their terrible decisions. Any and all criticism––no matter how valid––is silenced. There is quite literally no forum in which any negative feedback is acceptable. Genuine criticism is dismissed as “venting” and used against people as evidence of them being “problematic.” Team leads have routinely been instructed to suppress negative feedback among their teams (including actively dissuading people from discussing unionization), and if you have a problem with anyone in a position of power, you’re literally on your own. Leadership is keenly aware of this significant power differential and frequently leverages it to avoid being held accountable. Animalz has become an increasingly authoritarian workplace over the past 18 months. Any vestiges of transparency (including salaries, which were once openly visible to everybody) is being dismantled; the CEO described salary transparency as “more trouble than it’s worth.” Decision-making processes are opaque at best, and you’ll receive simplistic, dismissive answers if you dare ask how certain decisions were made. You may be tempted to dismiss the above as nothing more than the bitterness of a former employee. Admittedly, it’s very difficult to reconcile Animalz’s former reputation in the industry with the reality of the day-to-day at the agency today, but everything above is true. Leadership’s only priority now is “controlling the narrative,” and they will do and say anything to manage the optics surrounding their failures and the deteriorating conditions at the agency as a whole. Whoever you are––whether you’re an experienced industry vet or a fresh graduate hoping to cut your teeth in an agency environment––you can do so much better. Some of us gave management the benefit of the doubt over and over again, only for our hard work and goodwill to be thrown in our faces. Please don’t make the same mistakes we did. Find a company that will truly value your skills, experience, and wellbeing, because Animalz simply won’t.

Advice to Management

Resign and pursue career opportunities that do not involve making decisions that affect other people’s lives, because it’s readily apparent you lack the maturity, emotional intelligence, and business acumen to do so. Your employees aren’t supporting characters in the novel of your life––they’re living, breathing human beings that deserve to be treated with the kind of dignity and respect of which you’re clearly incapable. Being a leader is about more than taking credit for much smarter people’s hard work on podcasts. Cut the “eat, pray, love” nonsense from company standups. It’s insulting, and the people who should be able to trust you deserve better than trite platitudes. When you hire former journalists, reporters, and industry analysts, don’t be surprised when they can see right through your pathetic attempts to dismiss valid concerns with fake smiles. You’re fooling nobody, least of all your clients. People can plainly see how much trouble the company is in, and people are talking.

During the interview process, they might try to tempt you with “unlimited personal days” and “unlimited sick days.”

September 16, 2021

Reviewed by: Content Marketing Manager (Former Employee)

August 31, 2021

Pros

Your fellow writers and editors are amazing people. They are talented people. Your direct manager really does care about you, your work, your experience. Unfortunately your direct manager is unable to make most necessary changes to the teams and processes that everyone needs to be successful. Exposure to some really cool clients. Truly remote, * kind of sort of * flexible hours (depending on where you live). Your peers live around the globe. I’m pretty sure all six inhabited continents are represented in some way. It should be noted that regardless of where you live, you are expected to work mostly Eastern US hours. I’m going to list benefits as a pro because they are much better than a lot of people have access to, however, I would not consider them “competitive” or “really great.” PTO is 20 days + 5 floating holidays. There are “unlimited” sick and personal days. However, given the nature of the business, it’s hard to really take quality time off because it means more work and stress on the other end for lost time and missed quotas, or asking other team members to take your work while you’re gone, or finding freelancer coverage for yourself while you’re gone. Regardless of where you live, bank holidays/federal holidays are not recognized (there are 11 in the US). This is where you can use your 5 floating holidays. It’s also worth noting if you aren’t US based, you are an independent contractor, and as such, you are not entitled to any benefits. This is despite the fact their website says everyone is hired as a “full time” employee. There is also no dependent coverage. Working here might be a good fit if it’s your first job, or you are brand new to content marketing. The pay is somewhat decent by that standard.

Cons

Both employee churn and customer churn is bad. Employee churn is the worst I’ve ever seen at any company I’ve worked for. At the time of this writing, most people seem to be leaving the company after having worked only six to nine months. Though leadership will tell you at a 100 person company, losing an average of four employees a month is * totally normal. * There’s non-solicitation clauses added to client contracts, saying that no Animalz employee can work for them for two years. Usually non-solicitation clauses are added to a * worker’s * contract to stop them from going to work for the competition in fear of sharing secrets and processes. This can’t be said for Animalz. There is no secret sauce strategy or process at Animalz (though their PR stunts would suggest otherwise) — the entire company is successful because the people who work(ed) there are smart. If you ever want another job (and you will) this is not the place for you as you will not be able to work at any company that has used Animalz. If you have any experience, or a particular niche skillset or knowledge, the pay is not even a little bit competitive. Animalz is likely not going to do much to further your career if you already have experience. You’ll recognize pretty quickly your skillsets are being taken advantage of and unfairly compensated for. They purposefully hire way below what they know you’re worth and promise to “promote you quickly.” Some people get promoted, others do not. Their transparent salary system was a sham and they’ve since replaced it with salary bands that have nonsensical requirements and actually caps out individual contributors at a lower salary than the older leveling system. It’s very clear their new plan is to keep people at low salaries, burn them out, then replace them. There is no structure to grow people. Leadership is really good at making sure new employees don’t see how problematic things are until a few months in. In your first few months you’ll likely be asked to write a Glassdoor review by more than one management team member, because in your first few months you’ll likely have a positive view of the company (hint). You know it’s a bad sign when the only active, positive people in meetings, video chats, and on Slack are those who have all been there less than 3 months. I re-read the review someone wrote in 2019 about what life is really like at Animalz, and unfortunately it seems not a lot has changed since then. People have been complaining about the tools and processes for a very long time. They are not scaling with company growth. At all. Dealing with these unworkable tools and process takes up so much of your time it’s astounding. You won’t have direct access to the tools you need. Accounts are either a giant shared email (which comes with problems), or it’s potentially under someone else’s work email (that may not even work there anymore)! People have to bug other people in Slack for passwords or to get 2-factor codes for a tool they’re using someone else’s email for. The whole workflow is chaos. But leadership continues to say everything is fine, because surveys show people are fine with the tools. Yes, when your entire staff is constantly churning and the majority of them are brand new, they will not spot the problems with workflows and tools. Leadership is dismissive of those who have been at the company a while who give negative feedback because it is undoubtably a smaller percentage, and therefore in the minority. This is no-doubt used as an excuse to not invest money into working processes. There’s been a huge breakdown between two tools that are integral to the company and instead of fixing them, leadership’s response was to tell everyone that they need to practice the value of “ownership” and deal with it themselves. The way they deal with internal tools is actually frightening, both from an employee perspective as well as a security perspective. The work-life balance is an interesting one. Some people seem to do okay and some people are continuously working 60+ hours a week to get things done. Yet, this has nothing to do with how talented someone is or how time-oriented they are. This is pretty much up to luck on who your clients are. Some clients are easy. Some clients are toxic. The current growth-over-everything mindset means the company is taking on clients regardless of if there’s bandwidth to work with them, regardless of how niche or technical they want their content, regardless of if they have buy-in to be a part of the feedback loop and have time to work with a CM. There is no matching process for clients and CMs. It very quickly starts to feel like a content farm. They have implemented “custom workloads” to adjust for burnout, however, “custom workloads” seem to be a thing that is dangled in front of everyone, but no one really knows how it’s supposed to work — most people haven’t seen any reasonable change. In fact, in a recent company update, leadership was bragging about how they were able to get new hires to be putting out content at the highest level of the old quota system in their third month. So which is it? Do people get custom workloads, or do they need to quickly learn to churn out content based on the old quota system? No one knows. I would suggest you seek out a CM on LinkedIn who has been at Animalz at least 6 months and ask what the current workload situation is like. If your job is a CM, be prepared to be a CM, strategist, project manager, and account manager. You have to manage and keep track of the entire client relationship, as well as strategize, write, perform administrative duties, and provide reporting (reporting is a nightmare and mostly always broken). If you happen to be a freelancer who is thinking about working here, this job is basically still freelancing, except you don’t have any control over which clients you work with. Your direct manager is theoretically supposed to be a strategist, and they are talented strategists, but they have no time to actually help with strategy — they are constantly people managing as well as onboarding both new clients and employees. And they are usually also managing freelancers, as the business does rely heavily on freelancers to keep up to pace with clients. They have plans to introduce a new team structure, however that plan is little more than a few bullet points on a slide. There’s no details, no job descriptions, no actual answers on how any of it will work. CMs, regardless of their level will still have to carry the brunt of all the work until it's figured out and then won’t be promoted even though they’ve been doing all the work. If you are brand new to content marketing, don’t expect much of a supportive education here. You need to do it on your own time and likely find your own resources. They claim you can get a solid education on strategy, SEO, and writing, however no one has time to teach you anything. People will try to be helpful and share knowledge, but you can also see that most people around you are overworked and burnt out. It’s simply not a good learning environment. Beyond that, tenured and experienced employees are leaving at a rapid rate, leaving few employees left who know the business to learn from anyway. There has been so much lip service about making “ideal customer profiles” to match with CMs, about how they want to integrate L&D to invest in people, how they want to create custom workloads rather than a straight quota based system, how they want to be more active with DEI. None of these things seem to be able to move past the planning phase. There is no concrete timeline or real action being taken on any of it. Again, I would suggest seeking out a current CM at the company who has been there more than 6 months to get an accurate view of the current state of these things. And lastly, leadership. Toxic positivity and deflection seems to be at the core of leadership. Leadership will talk your ear off about transparency, but refuses to answer hard questions or address anything negative. Every single problem the company has is ignored (or blamed on the pandemic) until the issue feels like it’s going to cause an implosion. I think the delusion they have is that if they don’t talk about it, employees will forget the issues exist. Churn rates say otherwise. They very clearly focus on keeping brand new employees happy and write off existing employees as soon as it’s clear those employees no longer think the company is shiny and perfect, or have the audacity to ask a tough question and expect a real answer. Leadership consistently makes public posts or gives interviews about how great the Animalz process is and how Animalz is different. These posts kill employee morale because the posts are so hypocritical and not realistic to the experience and process at all. How Animalz says it operates and how it actually operates is a difference of day and night. If in the end you decide to work for Animalz, I highly suggest you watch any video that is available of company all-hands meetings and the CEO’s office hours (from the past four/five months of this posting at least). They are all recorded and made available to employees who couldn’t attend. These videos will shed some light on the deflection and failure to address the reality of the issues.

Advice to Management

Stop deflecting and take responsibility for what’s happening. The issues at Animalz have nothing to do with the pandemic (other than people have decided that with more remote opportunities they don’t need to put up with toxic environments that take advantage of them). Don’t announce initiatives or plans until you actually have something more than a few sentences on a slide deck — have a real plan. Turn your lip service into action in reasonable, concrete timelines. What I can’t really fathom is how you expect to maintain any sort of reputation as your cohort of ex-employees grows extensively, and quickly. Also, when three positive reviews go up in one day it looks desperate. People on this site aren’t that stupid.

These posts kill employee morale because the posts are so hypocritical and not realistic to the experience and process at all.

August 31, 2021

Reviewed by: Content Manager (Former Employee)

October 31, 2021

Pros

Work from home, average benefits, meet lots of great people

Cons

I was willing to leave my experiences with Animalz behind when I left the company. But I recently came across a job post for Flow Club that prominently featured Haley, Animalz COO. The job post said, “Also in 2021, the team met Haley Bryant as one of Flow Club's early members and biggest advocates. Haley joined as an angel investor and a part-time operations lead.” In the spring and summer of 2021, Animalz was having difficulty retaining employees and customers. Overly ambitious sales goals were made, experienced writers left, and Animalz hired a bunch of new, less-experienced writers. This caused customers to churn, because the quality of work was not where it should have been. At the same time, Haley was soliciting Animalz employees to learn about, sign up, and use Flow Club. As COO, an endorsement carries additional weight. Those who use it will get more time with a powerful person within Animalz. It feels awful knowing she was working to financially benefit from Flow Club while promoting the service to Animalz employees. I believe getting employees to sign up for a service in which she has financial interests (salary, gains from her investment) puts her in violation of the non-solicitation clause at Animalz. Second, Haley’s decision to be an angel investor with the Hustle Fund may be a conflict of interest. Animalz policy expressly prohibits providing work for a direct competitor, supplier, distributor, or contractor for Animalz. I would think, given the team was encouraged to use Flow Club, that they count as a supplier. And given Flow Club calls her an employee and investor, I would think that counts as “providing work.” Upper management may have known about Haley’s relationship with Flow Club, but Animalz employees did not. And that calls into question whether or not Haley has financial interests in other tools or services she promotes. Animalz has a lot of problems, and it’s surprising that the #2 leader seems to be part-timing the job (while she part-times a few other jobs.)

Advice to Management

Would it be okay for any other employee to get people to sign up for a company they work for and invest in? No. Lead this company. Lots of people and customers are counting on you.

Overly ambitious sales goals were made, experienced writers left, and Animalz hired a bunch of new, less

October 31, 2021

Reviewed by: Content Writer (Former Employee)

July 7, 2021

Pros

It's a very supportive environment. Other team members are always willing to help and onboarding process helps new hires to quickly learn internal processes. Lots of opportunities to learn and grow. There are plenty educational resources that employees can use to upskill and get promoted. Transparency. CEO and the leadership team are regularly informing employees on the latest initiatives and you can always request a 1:1 meeting with anyone to voice your concerns. Great clients. Some of the biggest names in the SaaS and tech world are working with Animalz so it's a unique opportunity to collaborate with these brands and help them with their content needs. Remote work and location-agnostic salary. Everyone gets the same pay (benchmarked against the US standards) so you can live anywhere you want in the world without worrying whether the company will cut your pay because of lower living costs. Work gets done mostly in an asynchronous manner. Also, Animalz won't ask you to work overtime and there's a good work-life balance.

Cons

Not all clients are great. Some clients are demanding and don't really know how SEO and content marketing works, which adds a level of stress. Marketers who don't like or know to write well will find it hard to work at Animalz as the company is HIGHLY demanding when it comes to this. But there are editors who work with marketers on each piece of content so it gets easier over time. Although the company invests a lot of effort in improving internal processes and tools, there is still work left to be done here.

Other team members are always willing to help and onboarding process helps new hires to quickly learn internal processes.

July 7, 2021

Reviewed by: Content Marketing Manager (Current Employee)

June 17, 2021

Pros

20-some days of paid vacation, Unlimited paid sick and mental health days, great management, great opportunities for promotion, and all of the work is remote.

Cons

From what I understand the interviewing process keeps changing, but when I did it about 4 months back, the article prep information was a bit confusing. It may have gotten better since I did the interview.

From what I understand the interviewing process keeps changing, but when I did it about 4 months back, the article prep information was a bit confusing.

June 17, 2021

Reviewed by: Technical Writer in Gulfport, MS (Current Employee)

5 English reviews out of 5