AbelsonTaylor Reviews | Glassdoor

AbelsonTaylor Reviews

Updated June 26, 2017
116 reviews

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3.2
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Dale Taylor
75 Ratings

116 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work-life balance can be challenging (seems to be the case at most if not all agencies, not just AT) (in 12 reviews)

  • The transition to project management had been unbearable (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Enjoying time off guilt free"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director
    Current Employee - Director
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AbelsonTaylor full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I enjoy working at AT with colleagues that are dedicated to not only doing great work for their own client or brand, but care about doing great work for every brand that we service because they know it strengthens our agency. You can feel good when you take time off knowing that your responsibility on a brand will be taken care of while you are gone. There is no stress or guilt so you can enjoy the time off that you have earned.

    Cons

    PTO should still go up as years with agency increase after 10 years


  2. "Great people/Management is not so great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AbelsonTaylor full-time

    Pros

    Loved my coworkers and everyone outside of management.

    Cons

    Poor decisions made by management. And poor decisions made on several hirings.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to concerns and act on red flags given.

  3. Helpful (5)

    "No Creative Innovation, Redundancy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AbelsonTaylor full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Decent insurance benefits, free snacks and soft drinks. Lots of talented people. Great location.

    Cons

    This agency is pretty weak on digital. The majority of creative directors and teams cannot execute on digital tactics. If a creative team is assigned to one brand, and they are only experts in print, then another creative team with digital experience has to come in and take over any digital projects for that brand. The assigned brand team still remains involved. So for a website you'll have 2 VP Creative Directors, 2 CDs of Copy, 2 CDs of Art, 2-4 Art Directors and 2-4 Copywriters at every kickoff, internal reviews, etc.
    AT recently rolled out Project Management by taking most of the Digital Producers, a few Client Estimators, and about half of Account Management and Traffic Coordinators. So the same website project will now include 1 Account Director, 1 Project Management Director, 1 Account Sup, 1 Sr PM, 1 AE, 1 PM I, 1 PM II, and 1 Project Coordinator. It's redundant, inefficient and expensive. They still print out website screenshots, banner ads and print ads and manually route them to each team member for approvals. It takes days.

    Advice to Management

    Leadership shouldn't promote Creative folks who are unable and unwilling to mentor and help their team, just because they had been there for so many years. If they are weak in digital, their direct reports will never gain the experience and skills they need. You should eliminate the waste. Project Management isn't helping to get the work out any faster or cheaper. The egos of some senior managers and office politics get in the way of good quality work. Clients are disappointed in the lack of strategy (particularly digital) in the work. AT has lost alot of very talented people as a result.


  4. Helpful (5)

    "Not terrible/but not great. Def not a long term stay."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager II
    Current Employee - Project Manager II
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AbelsonTaylor full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    subsidized friday lunches. snacks. If you get on the right team there's work/life balance.
    pay is a little better here than at other agencies.
    AT does do some cool charities

    Cons

    Of all the agencies I've worked at, this culture is the worst. People aren't really friendly and there's little collaboration, especially outside of teams. Many times I've seen other AT employees outside of work on the EL or out in city, and they ignore me. I never had that issue at other agencies, where people are more eager to meet and atleast be friendly. Everyone seems to keep to themselves. Not true for all people, but the floors/desks are set up very corporate and there's no fun energy like there is at other agencies.
    There is a HUGE disconnect between upper management and day-to-day operations. The best example is the most recent town hall had a 20 minute video on 'how AT doesn't hire jerks, and no one at AT works for jerks' which is a laugh on their obliviousness. I'll admit the people aren't as 'cut-throat' as they are at other agencies and there's less 'throwing people under the bus', but it still happens. Saw many confused faces as the video was shown.
    Some managers are better than others, but the way to move up is to move out. Across departments you have to jump through hurdles to get promoted, while someone with less experience is hired in at the more senior level. Upper management would rather take a risk on outside hire than groom current staff for promotion.
    They have lost a lot of great people, with great skills and knowledge, due to lack of proper management for career development.
    There's also a big lack of transparency on operational stuff.
    Benefits are also poor compared to other agencies. Time off/sicktime/work from home policy is a joke.

    Advice to Management

    Act like you care about employee success, rather than just saying you do. Actions speak louder than words. There is no consistency across managers.
    The reason a lot of people are leaving is because there is a feel that upper management only sees/focuses on what you do wrong, as opposed to what you do right. Anything above and beyond goes unnoticed, while the tiny mistakes get magnified as excuses to keep down. All people want to feel appreciated.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Ok, but used to be so much better"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AbelsonTaylor full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent benefits and benefit options (BCBS dental and vision on day 1), tuition reimbursement, adoption assistance, pet health insurance, increased vacation days depending on tenure in addition to 12 holidays a year. $2 Friday lunch from Fooda. Lots of free snacks and beverages. Privately owned so no danger of being subject to shareholders. Some of the best creative in the industry. Recruits top talent. Great location for commuters right off State Street.

    Cons

    The culture has really changed. This has become a sweatshop in every department. They are working on a bare bones crew and the morale has plummeted. I keep in touch with current employees, so I know. Free pop and candy don't make up for the long hours and unreasonable workload, and it doesn't matter how much vacation you accrue if you can't use it. They are also very hostile to any working from home, which makes them a dinosaur in terms of the average agency, especially considering their focus on digital keeps expanding. They took forever to get a digital routing program in place, but it doesn't make up for the issue of them routing almost everything in hard copy (another thing that makes them a dinosaur). I worked at AbelsonTaylor for 6 years and I didn't leave sooner because of the great benefits. It was really fantastic when I started. I'm sorry to see it making all the wrong moves now. It used to pride itself on independence but it's actually like a big corporation now.

    Advice to Management

    It's not too late to reset. Dale/leadership/HR, you need to hire more people in the departments that are overworked or you are going to see more of your best people leaving. AT has a fantastic industry reputation with clients in terms of work and awards, but your reputation among the actual employees is getting worse. There is no shortage of recruiters eager to land someone who works at AbelsonTaylor. Your people need and deserve better. Treat them like adults by giving them what they need to do their best work, and actually give them a chance at a work/life balance.


  6. "Need to work on planning"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AbelsonTaylor full-time

    Pros

    Good people, work-life balance, hours

    Cons

    antiquated processes, lack of work, mediocre benefits


  7. "Happy Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AbelsonTaylor full-time

    Pros

    Great people at AT. Great culture

    Cons

    Not many. Hard work pays off.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great for work/life balance, but could be a little more relaxed."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AbelsonTaylor full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    In terms of work/life balance, AbelsonTaylor is by far the best agency I have experienced in my 16 years in advertising. Leaving at or near 5pm is the rule and not the exception. The office space is nice and lends itself to open collaboration. AT has a strong team atmosphere where the typical office politics are minimal.

    Cons

    Stricter than normal office policies tend to limit the kind of fun social mixing, both in the office and after hours, that you might expect from an Advertising agency. While this is somewhat understandable for such a large agency working with highly regulated products, this is still the industry of Mad Men and we are all professional adults who like to let loose a little bit and have some fun together. Plus, a few Friday afternoon drinks with colleagues can be great for bonding, morale and creativity.

    Advice to Management

    Loosen up the rules a bit and allow for some Thursday or Friday afternoon happy hours where team members (who don't have deadlines) can mix, mingle, play some music and have some fun. At work.


  9. "Experience AT"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior CopyWriter in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior CopyWriter in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AbelsonTaylor full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great work/life balance, smart, caring people, competitive salary, stress-free atmosphere.

    Cons

    Work from home policy, minimum days off for holidays (no holiday break).


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Still trying to be the best agency, but...."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Account Supervisor in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Account Supervisor in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AbelsonTaylor full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    REASONABLE HOURS - I don't know what people are saying about no work/life balance! Many agencies have you working weekends but not AT. So you occasionally have to stay until 7 when you're entry-level...this is advertising!
    GOOD PAY - google industry averages and you'll see
    DALE TAYLOR - smart. mild-mannered owner who just wants to win "Most Creative Agency" award every year. He resigns business if the client stinks (more so in the past)
    SOME EXECS REALLY DO CARE - they immerse themselves in the day to day and stand up for their teams
    HR - they do their best to help employees

    Cons

    SOMEWHAT DETACHED MGMT - learn more about day-to-day activities; attend Job Start Meetings to experience the reality (it may help explain the high turnover)
    "AT WAY" TRAINING- not sure this was a wise investment; no one asked questions because they were scared for their jobs
    GET IT DONE ATTITUDE - the classic "quality vs speed" debate has landed on the side of speed. Used to be different (she says wistfully...)
    EGOs AT THE TOP? Some deserved, some not.

    Advice to Management

    We know you're busy bringing in new business so that we all get to keep our jobs, so "thank you." Ask your reports to invite you to big-project JSMs (eg, website, etc) and you'll quickly see it's near-impossible to follow the new process...there just isn't time.


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