Animalz Employee Reviews about "benefit"
Updated Mar 9, 2023
- Arts & Design
- Customer Services & Support
- Finance & Accounting
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Media & Communications
- Military & Protective Services
- Product & Project Management
- Research & Science
- Retail & Food Services
- Skilled Labor & Manufacturing
- Current Employees
- United States - All Cities
- - New York State
- - New York City, NY
- - New York, NY
- - District of Columbia
- - Washington, DC
- - Washington, DC
- - Oregon
- - Coos Bay, OR
- - Remote, OR
- - Mississippi
- - Gulfport, MS
- - Gulfport, MS
- Ireland - All Cities
- - Dublin
- - Dublin, Ireland
- - Dublin, Dublin
- France - All Cities
- - Ile-de-France
- - Paris, France
- - Paris
Found 18 of over 57 reviews
- COVID-19 Related
- Highest Rating
- Lowest Rating
- Most Recent
- Oldest First
Got a burning question about Animalz? Just ask!
I recently received an offer from iProspect (part of Dentsu) I’ve heard ups and downs about this company. I currently work for a great company and not sure if I should leave. The new opportunity pays a lot more than I currently make. Does anyone have any advice about this company and whether I should take the job or not?
Senior Vice President
Role at WPP OpenX new company ? I was approached for regional role. I’m still wrapping my brain around the model. Seems good? Always hard to say from ppt slides vs reality. Any thoughts or insights? What’s the culture like? Vision? Leadership? Any pros/cons appreciated
Top Review Highlights by Sentiment
- "Your fellow writers and editors are amazing people." (in 8 reviews)
- "The customers are great and the team is great." (in 7 reviews)
- "Decent benefits" (in 6 reviews)
- "Everyone is smart; no one personality dominates; and people are genuinely interesting." (in 5 reviews)
- "flexible hours (depending on where you live)." (in 4 reviews)
- "Instead of making cuts that might garner more attention or cost more in severance payouts, the current leadership seems to managing out all but the highest performing employees using performance improvement plans and other tactics to force people to quit." (in 13 reviews)
- "Pay is below market value." (in 5 reviews)
- "An incompetent and inexperienced leadership team that looks like a bunch of children pretend" (in 5 reviews)
- "There's no investment in ongoing training and development beyond employee onboarding and senior leadership takes a top" (in 4 reviews)
- "All the teams work in their own siloes and it's rare to see transparency and collaboration across teams." (in 4 reviews)
Ratings by Demographics
This rating reflects the overall rating of Animalz and is not affected by filters.
- Race / Ethnicity
- Sexual Orientation
- Parent or Family Caregiver
- Veteran Status
Reviews about "benefit"Return to all Reviews
- Former Employee, more than 1 year★★★★★
Learn, burn, and churnJan 28, 2022 - Content ManagerRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Animalz is a perplexing animal, no pun intended. On the one hand, there are great people there who do everything in their power to make life better for their team. On the other hand, their power is limited and those with the ability to effect change have no interest in doing so. For those brand new to content marketing, or those looking to rapidly grow their portfolio, Animalz has something to offer. You will work with a wide variety of clients, likely many since churn is high. This breadth of experience is great for your portfolio, especially if you have the opportunity to work with more established clients where your work is likely to garner a nice amount of traffic or other measurable results. And for those lucky enough to work with the big flashy brands, that's something fun to stick in a cover letter. Animalz also provides the opportunity to grow your skillset, largely because you'll work with talented content managers (CMs) that are often willing to teach you a thing or two, time permitting. Animalz also changed their payscale some months ago, which for some resulted in a pay increase that put them above what many other agencies would pay. (Worth noting: the pay increase wasn't applied to everyone in a uniform manner, with many benefitting more than others.)
Unfortunately Animalz has a major churn problem, both with employees and clients. Animalz went through a period of aggressive customer growth during much of 2021, the pursuit of sales overtaking the pursuit of any meaningful change in company culture. This growth, while profitable for a select few, resulted in more work than CMs could handle, overworked editors and copyeditors, and a heavy reliance on freelance writers. Clients pay a LOT of money to work with Animalz, drawn in by promises of traffic growth, brand awareness, and above all: work done by the once-renowned Animalz staff. With customer growth outpacing all else in 2021, it became commonplace for customers to have freelance writers doing their work, unbeknownst to the client. Simply put: this is a blatant lie our customers are being sold. Imagine running a five-star burger joint and serving your customers rewrapped Big Macs. When CMs questioned upper management about the use of freelancers, the answer was often something to the tune of, 'It's a temporary fix and something we don't foresee happening for long.' Last time I checked, freelancer use is still commonplace for all new accounts, some having freelancers on them for months before getting a permanent CM. Training is another rough spot at Animalz. Onboarding improved over my time there, but still left a lot to be desired. Team leads are often so overworked they can't devote proper time to CMs, meaning those CMs are left trying to learn from other CMs, who are equally if not more swamped than the person trying to learn. It's a vicious cycle that leaves everyone exhausted, everyone overworked, and everyone learning on the fly (or making things up on the go). Paired with the lofty promises made to clients on sales calls, and you've got a bunch of new hires set up to fail. Speaking of training, it's worth pointing out Animalz started to pivot last year during their rapid growth and loss phase. Rather than view themselves as a content agency, they started to tell employees they were becoming a learning institution. The idea being, it's expected people join the company to learn, and then 'graduate' to a better job. (The latter part is at least true for most.) There are talented people at Animalz with the capacity to educate, but those foundations weren't even in place when this messaging was used in the wake of the great employee exodus. Much like telling your passengers the sinking ship is now a swimming pool, the statement that Animalz was becoming a learning institution simply wasn't true. Maybe one day Animalz will be a learning institution, but 99% of the people at Animalz came to work at a content agency, not a content agency with so little faith in their ability to retain employees they rebrand themselves. There's also a massive issue with benefits that borders on discrimination. For those without dependents, Animalz insurance is serviceable. For those with dependents, Animalz pays none of the coverage. This means people with two or three or four dependents will easily pay upwards of $12,000 per year for insurance. If you're reading this and you have an offer from Animalz, be sure to subtract these insurance costs from anything they offer you—dependent coverage is unlikely to arrive anytime soon, if ever. (The same goes for 401k matching, which was often teased but never delivered.)Continue reading
- Former Employee, less than 1 year★★★★★
Suitable for entry-level generalistsDec 19, 2020 - Content Analyst in New York, NYRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Intense focus on quality, and clear benefits for those who can manage multiple (random) writing/strategy assignments. Good for entry-level exposure, especially for those with a strong journalism background.
Scattered, micro-management, and obsessed with running towards endless problems rather than highlighting opportunities. Constant churn limits growth and specialization. The business model is very limiting, with little to no investment for future growth. You will operate according to current realized revenue, instead of future profit potential.
We've been working hard to create a culture of continuous growth. This matters to us deeply; we want to make sure that Animalz is a good fit for those early in their careers (in terms of exposure to different companies/verticals), as well as those further along their career paths (and want opportunities to tackle new, interesting challenges). We’ve designed a career path for content managers starting at Level 1 and continuing through Level 9. To help Content Marketing Managers (CMs) progress, we created a career development handbook that details requirements for each level broken out by category: writing, strategy, customer management etc. CMs can use this resource with their manager to set goals and timeline, so they can map out their growth at Animalz. New in 2021 are company-level OKRs, which hold the leadership team accountable not just to revenue growth but also to changes in operations, benefits, etc to ensure we’re always improving the experience for employees and customers alike. Two clarifications for sake of accuracy: 1. Our average gross customer churn in 2020 was 6.63% , which includes a spike in late Q2/early Q3 due to COVID-19. Our average net revenue churn was 5.86%, demonstrating a strong bounce back and ongoing health of the business. 2. Our hiring model has indeed always been based on current need rather than future profit potential. This is how our founder was able to grow the business without massive layoffs when big accounts churned in the early days. At our current size, this is no longer sustainable, and as of 2021 we are shifting the way we operate to bring on folks in anticipation of growth rather than in reaction to it. Thanks for your feedback and for the opportunity to respond. - Devin Bramhall, Animalz CEO
- Current Employee, more than 1 year★★★★★
Fabulous place to grow and learnJun 19, 2020 - Senior Content Marketing ManagerRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Team leads are dedicated to helping their team members grow and learn, balance workload, and feel valued. The everyday processes are super organized, everything is documented and much is automated. There are many opportunities to expand your knowledge and learn from team members. Benefits are unconventional and great / I made good use of the wellness stipend and allowance for lunch with a friend every month. A big focus on quality and client service means you can’t just expect to write articles. You will be expected to really learn subject matter and be given the space and tools to go so. Most weeks, my output is 2 articles, with monthly reports for clients plus research and planning for the calendar of topics, one monthly call with a client. The communication at this company is so positive. And I don’t mean in a superficial way . People are incredibly supportive of each other. They have kind things to say and there is a very generous attitude that can be felt. I adore the leadership team, and there is a genuine desire to make this a company where people will love to work.
It can be isolating. You can arrange more times to talk with coworkers and these are really fulfilling when you get to connect. But people have little motivation to interact at the company outside the Slack channels, editing feedback, and prescribed calls set in place. Most calls are 30 minutes and leave little time for spontaneous interesting discussions. So even though you now work with many of the best minds in content marketing, you may have very little direct interactions with them. This surprised me.Continue reading
- Current Employee, less than 1 year★★★★★
Challenging work but amazing company! Best place I've ever worked!Jan 11, 2022 - Anonymous EmployeeRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Very supportive team environment; amazing coworkers! If you have questions several people will offer solutions or direct you to the right resource. Leadership values intelligence and encourages career growth. You are empowered to work independently and take ownership of your role. Transparent, clear communication. Amazing benefits package. Work-life balance is good if you're efficient at what you do. I've noted the high turnover below, but it's usually because people have learned a lot and are moving on. And the company celebrates that! This is a great place to grow your career!
Work load can be intense; leads to lots of employee turnover. Processes are great when they exist. But when a process is lacking or nonexistent, it's tough to get answers about something. (That said, process improvement is encouraged. No "we've always done it this way" mentality). No 401k match. Insurance for family members is really expensive.
- Former Employee, more than 3 years★★★★★
Welcome to the (burnout) machineAug 9, 2021 - Content ManagerRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
- If you like writing and editing, you will write and edit a lot. - BIG name clients. - Some (if they’re still around) of the best people you’ll ever work with.
- A relentless pursuit of growth means Animalz takes on clients it can’t handle and gives them to already overworked content managers (we’re talking 50+ hours many weeks). Clients churn and employees burn out (and eventually leave). - Animalz will sacrifice you for the client. Content managers have been verbally abused but client contracts are sacrosanct. - As of this writing, employee turnover has skyrocketed and leadership has said little more than “this is what you expect from an agency.” - Vacation is hard to take. You have to communicate far in advance and find your own coverage (typically a freelancer). More often than not, you’re working extra hard before your time off and extra hard after. - Internal tools are held together by duct tape and a prayer. Not a week goes by without something going down. - Toxic positivity has infected the company. Venting and other forms of negative talk have been strongly discouraged. - Animalz claims to be women-led but a man is at the helm (the chairman). - Animalz made a big deal about its DEI efforts but followed up months later with… a meeting. And so far, nothing else. - The company is rife with favoritism and that comes with bonuses, reduced work, and praise; it also comes with prejudice and that comes with insults, extra work, and distrust. I’ll let you guess how favoritism and prejudice break down along gender, race, nationality, and sexuality lines. - Animalz pays poorly. If you really want to work here, work here for a year, and then leverage the experience and brand to earn 30K more elsewhere while working less. - Benefits are awful. There are no paid holidays (aside from a couple of “floating holidays”), no dependent coverage, and leadership has laughed off the idea of a 401K match. End-of-year bonuses take the form of Amazon gift cards. No home office stipend. - Leadership has been “taking steps to improve things” for my entire tenure and no progress has been made. If anything, it’s gotten worse. Don’t trust them.Continue reading
One of our original values was relentless growth. At the time, this value made sense; when Devin and I joined in 2018, we had just achieved product market fit, had just launched a blog to grow inbound and were month to month with sales. Through the pandemic, we ran towards growth opportunities to ensure a long and healthy future for Animalz (remember, in Q2 of 2020 we were doing everything we could to prevent layoffs). This year has shown us the upper limits of our growth constraints and reminded us how we want growth to feel: intentional, and dare I say, good. Today, I think of relentless growth as it relates to our team; giving people the opportunities to grow themselves as experts, executives and entrepreneurs. We believe that giving people the opportunity to think beyond their current role at Animalz is part of what will improve team retention. Giving is the wrong word though, indicating favoritism; what we are trying to do is to help the people who come to us with ideas for future growth realize those ideas with current and future company priorities in mind. Having had a few behind the scenes hard conversations with customers that team members flagged concerns about, I’d just say...you don’t always know the whole story. This indicates a lack of trust, which is something we are working hard to fix by prioritizing the team and customer experience. So far, we have: * improved pay * aligned the entire leadership team to focus on hiring so that we have the people in place to drive customer success and to make it easier for people to have customized workloads (and take PTO!) * launched an internship for underrepresented groups as a step towards making content marketing more inclusive We are forever a work in progress. I am encouraged by the steps we’ve taken over the last few months working together and excited to continue to improve so that we can fulfill our purpose of making the internet a more helpful place. Customer and team experience remain our current focus. Lastly, while our founder is an important advisor and partner to us and Animalz as a whole, it is on us to guide and ensure the future of this company. I’m grateful to every person who is helping us move forward.
- Former Employee, less than 1 year★★★★★
Top talent squanderedFeb 2, 2022 - Content WriterRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Filled with great writers and editors to learn from.
Everything else. The pay is substandard, especially for content writers – the people making the actual product Animalz is selling. Content writers with any experience at all can find better pay pretty much anywhere in the current market. Animalz charges clients a king’s ransom for blogs and articles, but none of that seems to leak down to the writers. That gap is puzzling, until you see how many vice presidents, directors, and managers are stuffed into the company hierarchy. Benefits aren’t great if you’re on your own, and they’re terrible if you have a spouse or dependents. The company is clearly operating on the “hope your spouseThe company is clearly operating on the “hope your spouseThe company is clearly operating on the “hope your spouse has better benefits” philosophy of employee healthcare. The workload is extreme and is getting worse. Animalz used to pride itself on quality work, but the writers these days are given such a massive production goal that quality is noticeably slipping. And by noticeable, I mean the clients are noticing, and are subsequently churning. Worse, writers are scolded like puppies if they fall behind on production, and are said to be “letting down the team.” That management is letting down their team of writers doesn’t come up very often. When writers fall behind on these extreme production goals, work is often outsourced to freelancers who aren’t given the time, prompts, or editing support to create quality material. And so standards fall further. They won’t hire new editors at a rate commensurate with increased clients or workloads, and so standards fall even more. They really do have top talent at this agency, but management isn’t providing the framework to support them. And more of these talented individuals are leaving every day, realizing how much more money (and how much less stress) can be found out in the market right now. Onboarding was never great and appears to be getting worse, with little-to-no training on the 12+ apps the company uses. The internal organization is a mess because of it, with information being kept on random spreadsheets instead of inputted into the appropriate app with a funny animal name. All forms of dissent in the company Slack are quashed as “complaining” instead of addressed. Public call outs are becoming more frequent, where employees who made mistakes are tagged in public Slack channels with passive-aggressive messages. Morale is in the toilet, perhaps rightly so, with an everpresent air of “who is being fired or quitting next.” Lastly, and perhaps most disappointingly, Animalz is one of those companies that puts forward a progressive veneer with nothing behind it, like the storefronts on an Old West movie set. Unlimited vacation days don’t mean much when you get fired after taking them, nevermind that you have to find and coordinate freelancers yourself should you deign to take a couple days off. Which is even more frustrating, since some upper-level positions have very discreetly been given four day workweeks. There’s no true dialog with management, company all-hands meetings are basically recitals for C-Suite business jargon performances, and struggling employees are given little help. For a business based around communication, you’ll find none here.Continue reading
- Former Employee, more than 3 years★★★★★
More churn than all the dairy farms in WisconsinSep 16, 2021 - Content Marketing ManagerRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
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.
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.Continue reading
It is challenging to respond to posts that contain incorrect information and insults. Abusive online behavior is not the purpose of this site, so responding at all feels like a sanctioning of inappropriate behavior and runs the risk of validating falsities. That said, we do read every single Glassdoor response and analyze alongside quarterly team engagement surveys, exit interviews, and ongoing feedback shared by the team to prioritize changes and improvements to the company. Here are some of the changes we made in 2021: * redefined roles and goals to reduce workload and allow for more time for focused work * restructured the org to improve team and customer communication and in turn, content quality * elevated key team members to help us architect the future of the company * made market adjustments to salaries across roles * implemented an ICP to ensure we’re taking on only best-fit customers Most drastically, we paused sales for a month and adjusted our revenue goal down significantly in order to focus on team and customer experience. We also tapped into our runway budget to give the team bonuses based on our previously higher revenue goal, so they were not impacted by changes in the budget. I genuinely care about this company, our team, and our customers. Improvements to the company will never be “complete” as we will continue to uncover (and create!) new challenges as we grow. I am endlessly grateful for our teammates who have surfaced opportunities and helped implement solutions. If anyone reading has questions or concerns, let’s talk about it! * Book a meeting: https://calendly.com/devin-emily/30min * Send me an email: email@example.com
- Current Employee, less than 1 year★★★★★
Perfect intersection of writing and techApr 11, 2018 - Content Marketing AnalystRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
The content we produce at Animalz is like academic work. Analysts spend long hours on deep thinking, which is perfect for me. Working here will make you a better writer. The editing is precise, relentless, and excellent. There are tons of opportunities to learn about all the latest developments in the tech world - it is part of your job to pay attention to current tech events. The team is very supportive and the culture is strong for a remote team. Everyone is smart; no one personality dominates; and people are genuinely interesting.
It's a startup, so there's a lot of improvisation and change is constant Sometimes it is good to have people around Benefits are sparseContinue reading
- Former Employee, less than 1 year★★★★★
From the perspective of a Content Manager — it’s not goodAug 31, 2021 - Content ManagerRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
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.
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.Continue reading
Thanks for taking the time to write such a comprehensive and honest review of your experience at Animalz. In the last few months, we have made changes to address several of the issues you raise here and have concrete plans to address many of the other concerns to improve our team and customer experience. Saying this out loud because it’s an important perspective for anyone reading; change does take time, especially as an organization that’s 100+ people. Before we address individual issues, it’s important to share that we know the path forward to create change will require input across the organization. Coming out of 2020, Devin and I both felt like we needed to do everything we could to shield our team from problems, failing to realize that by bringing more folks into our decision-making process, we’ll be able to move forward on solutions faster. The reason we’ve spoken about the org restructure for a few months is because we needed time to create new roles (6), promote people (10+) and from a belief that to be successful, we have to focus on who and then what: https://www.jimcollins.com/concepts/first-who-then-what.html. Our new structure is designed to give ownership to more of the people that have been instrumental in building Animalz and creating the product that we’re known for. In terms of what we’ve started to fix, we’ve improved compensation, we’re creating a clearer process for promotions and career changes, continued to have conversations about custom workloads and increased capacity on the team to make custom workloads possible. Our GM has led the charge on specializing each role so that Content Managers can focus on their zone of genius: writing, with the support of other team members on strategy and customer success respectively. In the new team structure, each team will have more opportunity to decide where new customers go, and we have added skills/interests into BambooHR + a pre-onboarding step with our customers to facilitate stronger customer matches. As we look ahead to 2022, we’re excited to work with a cross-section of leaders to address the other issues you’ve raised. The systems and processes that worked when we were 20 or 50 people are breaking, and department leads have shared ideas to improve our production pipeline, our strategy process, and more. So excited to tackle these opportunities in Q1! We are a forever work in progress but are sharing this knowing that we’re making steps in the right direction. If you’re reading this from the outside and want to discuss questions or concerns raised in this review further, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll gladly connect you with a current team member to share their perspective.