Barkley Reviews in Kansas City, MO | Glassdoor

Barkley Kansas City Reviews

Updated February 1, 2017
11 reviews

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Kansas City, MO Area

2.0
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Barkley CEO Jeff King
Jeff King
9 Ratings

11 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great people who give you every opportunity to succeed, great clients that give you great projects to work on, and great work comes of it all (in 12 reviews)

  • Work/life balance is good, if you know how to manage your own time (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance can be a struggle if you let it (in 9 reviews)

  • The boys club got very old after awhile (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Short lived and unappreciated"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    ESOP employee stock option program is valued based on your ranking and shares are bought on your behalf and after 3 years of leaving you get a payout. Bonus money is also a nice perk but it goes up and down so you can't count on a set amount.

    Cons

    Boys club, clients are lied to in pitch process, vacation accrues at the beginning of the year so vacation isn't available at the start of the year. 401K match is low so don't expect them to pitch in much extra. Also the health insurance options are good but the employee pitches in way more than they should and Barkley doesn't cover as much of the health insurance cost as some other agencies.

    Advice to Management

    Stop listening to upper execs and account about client needs. Spend time understanding how all department work together and are currently supporting existing clients so it resonates with prospective clients.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Not my cup of tea. Might not be yours either."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Management in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Account Management in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Barkley full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Good agency perks - parties, kegs, free food, gym, bootcamp classes, holiday gifts, involved in the community.
    - Reputation - Kansas City people know Barkley. It's fun to work for a company that has recognition in the community.
    - Flexible schedules - you can come to work from home, go to appointments as long as you get your work done.
    - Community service - participated in pilot programs in the community #BInlcusive, #AddGood.
    - Employee owned - you own part of the company and it goes into an ESOP that you can access after you leave.

    Cons

    *every experience at Barkley is very unique to your client, so this was my experience in account management on one of the largest at the agency *

    - Political. You better make connections with the right people, or you won't move up (or worse). This was stated from VP-level partners.
    - Lack of organization and structure - every team and every project works very differently. NO traffic system - all work flows through email which is nearly impossible to track. Creatives could get away with ignoring all emails even though that was the way work was assigned, but then you were to fault if the project was behind schedule. Project management was hired to help with this and for the most part, they have but there are still some very obvious cracks in the process.
    - Absolutely no yearly raises - reviews are quarterly and there is never a discussion about raises. You don't get promoted until you make those political connections and "get noticed" from upper management. Pay is also below local industry averages, so expect that as well.
    - Lack of understanding of digital - broadcast is king and the creative and strategy teams don't understand what resonates with the digital audience.
    - Nepotism.
    - Too many cooks - every project was very complex and convoluted because there were entirely way too many people with opposing opinions. It was never clear who had the final say.
    - Egotistical & competitive - way too many members thought their opinion was always the right one. It was never a discussion - even with the clients. If you disagreed, there are members who would legitimately yell until they got their way. This created an environment where partners were afraid to give their opinions for fear of starting an argument.
    - Lack of responsibility from creative leadership - Creative leadership got away with changing their minds about work after it had been presented to the clients - this would lead to more client reviews, client frustration, loss of client trust and overall backstepping of the project.
    - No work/life balance - it's very normal to see partners consistently there until 8pm.
    - Clients have no boundaries or consequences. Often treated like a vendor and not a partner - clients can get away with 25 rounds of work and never be penalized. Why? Lack of proper contracts and scopes. Leadership had rushed this part of the partnership in the beginning and now entire team pays for it.
    - Employees are disposable - I've seen a large amount of people let go after a short period of time. There was no effort to look for another team or opportunity for the employee. Rather, they just let that person go and look for the next shiny object. Employment is a two-way street and Barkley should take a better look at their side of it.
    - Women/minorities in leadership roles - not many. Currently 4 of the 16 shown on Barkley's leadership page are women. None are minorities.

    Advice to Management

    Take a closer look under the surface.
    -Don't always trust what you are hearing from VPs - they are telling you what they want you to know and they know you want to hear.
    -Value the people. Advertising is a human-based industry and you're getting a reputation for being frivolous with valuable employees.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "The experience is all about how much value management thinks you have, not what you actually contribute."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Nice office location, nice office space, interesting and mostly friendly co-workers, relatively decent benefits, the founder has finally exited the company.

    Cons

    There are a lot. Creative employees (I was one) are much more highly prized than account service folks. You can work yourself to death and deliver results and be loyal, but you are a lesser mortal if you are not in the creative services department. There is money to be made for those people and top executives; not so much for everyone else.

    Advice to Management

    Treat people, ALL people, in your employ like human beings who have value. Everyone notices and they are very much affected by the attitude and culture.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Not so great"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great atmosphere and was a really fun place to work at when I was there. They used to put a lot of care into their employees and do a lot of fun exciting work and contests, but I think that has also been stopped.

    Cons

    The CEO is cut throat, as is the business with advertising. It is feast, or famine and no job is safe from being cut when it is "famine".

    Advice to Management

    WAKE UP. The best person you have in leadership is Mike Swenson. As far as anyone else goes I'm not sure about them. Treat people with respect and stop hiring people for the same jobs you just fired a lot of people.


  6. "Boys Club and Lack of Leadership"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Barkley full-time

    Pros

    Lots of friendly people to work with. If you're on the account side you're probably safe from layoff cuts.

    Cons

    Barkley is an amazing place to work if you're on the inside of the boys club. If you're not and there's cuts to be had you're probably one of them. It is a constant struggle for female creatives to get the same raises and opportunities as men - which is why most of the have been laid off or went else where for a job.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Be cautious"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Barkley full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great environment, friendly staff. Very flexible work hours.

    Cons

    Management changes directions, and as long as you work on account side you are normally safe from cuts. If in any other department not so much.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focued and look at retaining your own people in other departments and not just account teams


  8. "Great potential"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Supervisor in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Account Supervisor in Kansas City, MO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Smart passionate people, close and long term client relationships, retail expertise, leadership makes the extra effort to make it a fun place to work, made the transition from traditional to future advertising, constant new business activity and successes, good diversity of clients, quickly overcame and replaced loss of Payless and Sonic

    Cons

    Too heavy on local grown talent, bit of a family business with family members and friends in key positions, no middle management (low paid junior employees and high paid senior execs), no emphasis on training and development

    Advice to Management

    No real career pathing for employees


  9. "Stay away from this company."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - PR Account Person in Kansas City, MO
    Current Employee - PR Account Person in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work space, nice perks: free coffee, beer, popcorn. Nice people. Located in downtown KC.

    Cons

    Senior management is embarrassingly inadequate. Such a great company, all it needs is a new set of leaders. If Barkley replaced all of senior leadership the company would make a dramatic positive shift. Employees are extremely unhappy with leadership and human resources.

    Advice to Management

    Replace C titles with new individuals with fresh thinking. Barkley is stale, has bad reputation in KC,dramatic change needed.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Good people, drama-filled department, stressful workplace."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Media Buyer in Kansas City, MO
    Current Employee - Media Buyer in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The people I worked around were really nice...many there, just get out of the department and socialize.

    Cons

    The media department does not seemigly respect everyone fairly, and will treat people poorly depending on who they do or do not know. Unnecessary weekly meetings were given to assistants to fish for information to use against them. Media buyers would speak of others behind their backs. A senior buyer was passed over for a promotion by someone who doesn't do consistent work. Passive-aggresive retaliation was used due to political views. Overall, not a good environment to excel or work in.

    Advice to Management

    Pay attention to this department...there's a reason only one person in the past 5 years has been promoted to media buyer.


  11. "Plays favorites."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Former Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Former Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Loved my co-workers, always attracted great people who really tried to do their best. Allowed leniency for work/life balance. Great effort for company wide activities. Relaxed atmosphere. Good perks and community involvement.

    Cons

    Major mistakes were forgiven for the old guard or favorites. Minor ones or efforts to initiate change were cold shouldered. To give credit, they tried to be more nimble and progressive and succeeded from time to time but hidebound leaders found a way to screw it up. Critical leadership positions are undeserved. Creative work is stale. Senior management is like high school.

    Advice to Management

    Take a hard look at leadership. Pampered creatives need a kick in the pants, work is tired. When people feel untouchable it shows.


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