Barkley Reviews | Glassdoor

Barkley Reviews

Updated March 12, 2017
76 reviews

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3.3
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Barkley CEO Jeff King
Jeff King
47 Ratings

76 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 (1)

    "Creative and Friendly Atmosphere"

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

    I have been working at Barkley full-time

    Pros

    Creative environment.
    Senior level is very transparent about the company.
    Great place for someone who takes initiative to cause change.

    Cons

    Coaching, Mentoring, Development is harder to receive than it should be.
    Work life balance can be a struggle if you let it.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Art Director"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Barkley full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits like free avocados, an in agency gym with workout classes 2-3 times a day to burn off your free beer. The agency is an ESOP, owned by the employees; so you get stock based on salary and longevity of employment. Relaxed environment.

    Cons

    Creative opportunity varies depending on client and team.

    Advice to Management

    Keep challenging clients.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "OK"

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

    Pros

    Young, relaxed, energetic work environment

    Cons

    Layoffs happen to good people.


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  5. "Good people, Needs some re-prioritization"

    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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Barkley full-time

    Pros

    Great company culture and many great people. The company emphasizes adding good to the world, which is apparent in everything from community service projects to the client work.

    Cons

    "Always on" mentality, in the sense that there are definitely times people will need to work very late into the night (although it can often be from home or the office). If something comes through after standard work hours, which is very common, you are expected to get it done. Depending on your position it is common to have 75-90% of your day taken up by meetings, so there is very little time to complete tasks throughout the day.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management does a great job trying to drive new business and position employees for long-term growth. Advancement needs to be more focused on contribution and ability, while less focused on years of experience. Prioritize strategy and executions that have maximum potential for impact over what seems flashy and award-worthy.


  6. 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.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Layoffs"

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

    I worked at Barkley (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Barkley is a great place to work. Young people, lots of perks.

    Cons

    Jobs are not secure.

    Advice to Management

    Try to hold on to your employees. People have families to support.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "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.


  9. "internship"

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

    Pros

    great intern program, the project is a real-life look into what ad life at an agency is like

    Cons

    pay was kind of low but worth the experience

    Advice to Management

    n/a


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Overall Great Experience"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work environment
    Great people to work with
    Leadership has done a great job in the past 5 years rebuilding the agency to one of the best creative shops in the region

    Cons

    Pay was mediocre
    Work/life balance is definitely an issue

    Advice to Management

    More effort should be put in training and professional development. While the upper level management's vision setting and transparency is great, there isn't


  11. Helpful (6)

    "POC Perspective"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Barkley full-time

    Pros

    The place is growing and constantly looking for new people. If you want to start somewhere and work on many different brands, then I'd say it's a good place to launch your career. Many other creatives are also hardworking and talented people, who definitely have vision. Leadership makes the effort to create a culture there and perks like free beer, food, and workshops are nice breaks from the grind of client work.

    Kansas City, as a city, seems to be coming into its own. It's beginning to be part of the public consciousness and has a lot of culture in terms of museums, sporting events, music, food, and extra-curricular activities to lead a balanced lifestyle. The agency makes the effort to be part of their creative community through pro-bono work, things like design week and charitable donations of employee time.

    The people are nice and definitely understand the usefulness of sharing the load. At the end of the day, we're all striving to reach the same place; making the agency a world class hub of ideas and artistry. It's an exciting time to witness a business that is growing and striving to be better. There are bumps along the way, but potentially your work could help make the place better and widen its breadth in terms of the kinds of markets it can appeal and talk to.

    Cons

    Advertising has typically been the realm of white messaging. (think Mad Men era) So often it is difficult to communicate a non-white perspective. The agency is making the effort to diversify its staff and leadership understands this, but making the change toward more nuanced and culturally sensitive ideas can be a slow going process.

    Leadership does a good job of inspiring and giving examples of the kind of work they would like to see from their creatives, but it's not the creatives that need the inspiration. To be a creative probably means you have some sense of vision and unique perspective on the world. You'll naturally try to push your work into exciting and uncharted territory. It's middle management and accounts people who you need to inspire. They are the ones who can often lack vision and do a lackluster job of managing expectation for the client. Without project management and accounting willing to create the space, time, and desire for unique and exciting work, the work will never make it to market. It is often my observation that middle management only seeks to do what is "good enough." A client will always be tentative, will always need convincing, will always need to have their hand held, but if these things aren't done the work will always be mediocre and the agency along with it. It's not the creatives you have to push to be better, it's the people around them that have to start believing and seeing the vision leadership has for the agency.

    I get the sense that other departments have a big say over copy or ideas.(this may just be due to the changing nature of the advertising industry as a whole) Often it feels like I put in tremendous amount of work, research, and heart into the work only to have it torn down or criticized. I don't mind criticism, I'm used to going through critiques, but usually a critique means I'll get some insightful feedback. This rarely happens when reviewed by other departments. They simply say "change this" but have nothing to tell you beyond that. I was taught never to destroy something if you don't have something else to replace it with. The resulting vacuum is often worse than the thing you tore down.

    Advice to Management

    Continue seeking to diversify your staff (creative and otherwise). Creating an environment that is receptive to non-traditional advertising ideas will require the entire team, not just the creative staff.



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