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BuzzBee Reviews

24 reviews

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3.0
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Michele Bourdon Keeffe
20 Ratings

24 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Love the beehive, not sure why all the fuss in other reviews"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at BuzzBee part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexible, inspiring and neat projects.

    Cons

    Employees that whine and bring down morale.

    Advice to Management

    Keep bringing in good people and clients

    BuzzBee Response

    May 10, 2016 – CEO

    Thanks for being a part of the hive! More fun projects and clients in the pipeline, stay tuned.


  2. Helpful (10)

    "Toxic work environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Graphic Designer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Graphic Designer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -A decent place for juniors to get their foot in door, just don't stay too long. Along the way they'll also find out what it's like to work under a hostile, incompetent, dishonest, and borderline-neurotic boss so they know what to avoid in the future.
    -Most of my colleagues were intelligent, hard-working and kind

    Cons

    Simply put, working under Michele Keeffe was brutal. One moment she would be singing your praises and the next she would rip you to shreds. The last straw was when she told everyone in upper manager that they needed to write a positive review on Glassdoor. No joke. Personally, it took about 1 year to undo some of the emotional/psychological damage I sustained in that environment and I know I'm not alone. Whenever I meet up with my former colleagues we inevitably end up sharing war stories of our time at BuzzBee. It's almost like therapy. Please, do yourself a favor and find another place to work. It will add years to your life.

    Advice to Management

    Find a new CEO


  3. Helpful (10)

    "Bee Warned"

    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
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at BuzzBee full-time

    Pros

    Being in Pioneer Square is great. The work is somewhat consistent.

    The newer directors of creative (now gone) and strategy were a step in a new direction for the agency and certainly bring talent and experience. The longtime client services director works very hard. The staff are generally very nice.

    Cons

    Where to start? The problems with BuzzBee are largely at the top. The CEO is a big problem. Simply put, she's overbearing - in everybody's face, very impolite, and loud. She constantly finds ways to pick on someone for something, whether at their desks or in meetings or in front of a group. She also walks around the office interrupting people with random requests. And oh, the tantrums she throws. Every last person in this agency is truly and sincerely terrified of doing anything to set her off. Not doing things to make her mad is an actual part of many discussions.

    She has a good idea of what it takes to keep a business running financially, but the people side is odd, as you'd expect from reading this far. She has little tolerance for anyone who questions her or doesn't strictly adhere to her mindset. And while she's got every right to choose her employees by her own standards the result is a trade-off in the diversity of thought. If you're not subservient or one of her favorites you're in for a hard time if you even get in the door. I've seen great candidates for jobs not make it and I've seen good, talented people let go for weak reasons.

    For as much as we tout how modern, digital and awesome we are, the work output is non-exceptional - sometimes bad, sometimes good, but usually just regular. The talent range is equally spread: some good talent, some poor, a lot regular. We actually stress a "good enough" approach so it's rarely great.

    There is a tremendous focus on hours and how much time gets applied to what projects. In a way it's about managing a proper burn rate, for sure, but it's also overly anal and makes people super picky about how hard they're going to work on a project, and how much they end up caring. It's definitely more important to have the right number of hours than to spend extra time to make work great.

    Overall the clear focus is: keep your head down, do the minimum required, and don't make the leadership mad.

    There was an earlier review that mentioned you will be made to feel like you haven't done enough, that you're not good enough, and that is definitely the case. And even if a person doesn't do enough, there's a right way to move them along and then there's a way to make them feel bad or foolish or whatever that's the opposite of what ends up making them feel more loyal. The CEO seems to just relish the latter. I've seen it happen a few times but each time I'm so turned off.

    The "quality of life" angle we love to tout is somewhat of a mirage. There's always talk about how we love to drink and have fun but the drinking is infrequent and in small amounts. There's a little booze but it's cheap booze that nobody wants. Symbolic.

    What else? The ownership is cheap so the decor is tired and the tools are old. Want any kind of modern app for project management? Good luck, and learn Office because you'll use it for everything.

    Bottom line:
    If you're someone who can crank work, punch the clock, and be the kind of nice, agreeable person who takes all kinds of crap with a smile because you have a thick skin or bigger things to worry about, you'll be OK. There are some great people here. I'm not always sure why we stay.

    This place exists in its own world. There are better options out there.

    Advice to Management

    RELAX. You have hired some decent people. Treat them better. Learn how to be nice. Check your egos.

    BuzzBee Response

    May 10, 2016 – CEO

    Yes, working in Pioneer Square is groovy! We have a great team of talented people that are nice, work hard and also contribute to the community. Choice of booze is not really a concern. BuzzBee ... More


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  5. Helpful (7)

    "Toxic environment"

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

    Pros

    The people were really wonderful, although most of them wanted out as fast as possible.

    Cons

    The CEO is totally unpredictable and you never know what will set her temper off. She's been through multiple business partners, ripped talented and hardworking people to shreds, and thrown too many tantrums to count. Your main goal was to keep your head down and stay out of her way. Hours could be long, but that's to be expected at an agency. Honestly, if the CEO weren't there this could be a really great place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Treat people with kindness and respect.

    BuzzBee Response

    May 10, 2016 – CEO

    Not all personalities and work styles sync up, unfortunately. The BuzzBee team wishes you well in your new role.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Project Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Collaborative environment, flexible work schedules, employer paid healthcare, Great Management & amazing CEO. BuzzBee is the best company I have had the pleasure to work for.

    Cons

    Being such a small agency, you have to be nimble and be prepared to wear many hats. If you are bad at multitasking, this is not the place for you.

    BuzzBee Response

    May 10, 2016 – CEO

    We love team players and great attitudes at BuzzBee!


  7. Helpful (2)

    "A fun roller-coaster"

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

    I have been working at BuzzBee full-time

    Pros

    This is a top notch agency and agency work at it's finest. This means that when clients call we roll up our sleeves to deliver amazing creative - regardless of the size of the project. It's great to work with a bunch of smart, driven, creative problem solvers who don't mind having a beer now and then. The CEO does a good job of bringing us together for food and drink once a month to stay current on trends and other stuff both inside and outside the company. Dog friendly. Cool office. Good coffee.

    Cons

    Well when you're an agency clients aren't always nice and you need to be grown up enough not to take it personally. Sometimes our clients are a bit stressed and working under tight deadlines and can take that out on the world. Sometimes you have a lot of time (which is actually bad because it could means your project is ending and a new one hasn't begun) and sometimes you're heads down for days.

    Advice to Management

    keep on using surveys to check in and Yammer to communicate. It's the constant communication that makes me feel listened to and valued. I really like the "lunch and learn" and find it helps me understand the end to end work better.

    BuzzBee Response

    May 10, 2016 – CEO

    Thanks for the feedback. It is good to hear that we are providing a nice environment for our team.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "BuzzBee 2.0: Get the real story"

    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
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The BuzzBee of today is not the same BuzzBee reviewed in the recent negative glassdoor posts, all of them written by people who haven’t worked at BuzzBee in 18 months to 2 years. What are they not telling you? When we hit hard times, our CEO rolled up her sleeves and started to fix the big problems. Limited clients? We tripled the number of companies in our client roster within six months. Quality issues? A new, strict focus on good work first, revenue second. Isolated teams and limited collaboration? We became one big team who shared ideas and worked tightly with each other to create work that far exceed our individual abilities. I’m not a Michele Keeffe apologist--many people have had issues with our CEO, and for good reason. I’m not saying she’s always easy to work with (is any CEO?). But her efforts to really listen to the problems plaguing the agency, and then to get lean, diversify, generate business, and up-level the quality of our work have made this a great place to work. I can’t deny that.

    You can write your reviews, guys. And you are certainly entitled to your account of the company—in many cases, it's accurate from your limited perspective. But “close up shop”? Really? We have a true modern marketing team—the smartest, most talented, most committed and most collaborative workforce that BuzzBee has ever had in my nearly 4 years here. We are producing strategic, creative, high profile, and quality work—the best work I’ve seen this agency do. For the first time in agency history, we are getting award nominations for the work we do (PSAMA) and for the environment in which we do it (Best Places to Work). There is music going at all times and dogs running around. It is LOUD. It is FUN. I like my job, I like the work we deliver, and most importantly, I like every single one of my hardworking and talented colleagues. And BuzzBee 2.0 is just getting started.

    Cons

    BuzzBee went through an extremely hard time as a company a couple years ago. We had a distracted and absent CEO. We were top-heavy and run by a leadership team with differing priorities. We had three major client companies, the biggest being Microsoft, who went through a recession, slashed budgets and laid off many of the people we did significant business with. As a result, with a reduced client base and plummeting revenue, we had layoffs of our own. Many of the senior leaders left, causing a general panic company-wide. It was scary and hard, and every day you came into work who was going to quit next. I almost quit myself.

    Because of this change, we had to get lean and had some gaps in process as we figured out how to work together as one team. We're still recovering from that, but the changes to our staff in the past year are helping to really solidify our agency process and hone our focus on delivering quality work. It's getting better, but if you don't like jumping in and solving problems in a fluid workplace, this isn't the place for you.

    Advice to Management

    Don’t forget where we came from. Keep listening, keep focused on how to make us better, and continue to stay loyal to the people who helped you get here. Plus, we really like the kegerator.

    BuzzBee Response

    May 10, 2016 – CEO

    Balance is good. We always keep striving for better. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Great talent, great potential"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    This agency delivers high quality content, design, and strategy to their clients. After some challenges with personnel last year, it has developed into a lean, clean and smart organization. increasingly efficient. Great attitude and morale on team. Proud to be a part of it. Lots of opportunity for all team members to grow and contribute.

    Cons

    I'm really happy here. Every company has its areas for growth, and BuzzBee is no exception. But I feel like the progressions of the business itself have been considerable, and that management is listening to the input from both customers and employees to improve the overall experience.

    Advice to Management

    Keep listening and implementing processes that strengthen the team.


  10. Helpful (10)

    "A very bad experience"

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

    I worked at BuzzBee full-time

    Pros

    I can say two positive things but both come with a downside.

    1. I worked with a lot of really wonderful people and there often was a tight-knit family feel. However I believe our bond was rooted in shared misery. We all struggled through a very toxic environment together which brought us closer.
    2. I was able to advance professionally at BuzzBee because the environment felt so grueling and trying that only the strong survived. In order to get ahead and stay afloat, I learned to be a one man show and do everything and I learned very quickly how to manage conflict and how to deal with unrealistic expectations.

    Cons

    Cons: The points brought up in the other negative reviews are completely true of my time at BuzzBee including the unrealistic expectations around work hours and I will add the following:

    • In my opinion I was made to feel like I was never doing enough or like I was not good enough, even when I was successfully carrying an exceedingly heavy work load. I am not opposed to a culture that strives for excellence and pushes employees to work hard and grow professionally but there has to be a point when employees are rewarded and acknowledged for meeting or exceeding expectations especially when the expectations felt so demanding.

    • Working at BuzzBee felt like a nightmare and I felt constantly brainwashed and emotionally abused. Every single person I have spoken with who has left the company is much happier in their new role or company.

    • There were always new missions and visions, new focuses new organizational structures and new performance management processes. The cycle felt never ending and the company was constantly reinventing itself and creating a lot of unnecessary processes and internal projects.

    • I worked with a lot of talented people at BuzzBee but it seemed that there was never a focus on quality. All that seemed to matter was $$$ and because of this people were doing work far outside their capabilities. In order to squeeze every last second (i.e.; billable dollar) out of employees, the most junior level employees were managing projects, account managers were writing, and writers were doing design work. It was a mess and in my opinion it showed in the final work we delivered.

    Advice to Management

    Close up shop, or read these reviews and take to heart what you have been hearing for years. Employees keep providing feedback and it seems never to make a difference, and you have heard time and again why people keep leaving and why people are not happy and it never seems to change anything. I do not believe that there is “an issue with personnel” as stated in the latest positive review and I do not believe it ever has been. Well run companies that treat employees well do not seem have the kind of turn over that BuzzBee has. I think it can be easy to get caught up in the demands of the client work and to think that “this is just agency life,” but let’s be real: this is a small agency in an exciting industry in a laid back city and in my opinion there is no reason employees should feel so mistreated that they’re inclined to leave negative reviews.


  11. Helpful (6)

    "Don't believe the propaganda reviews"

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

    Pros

    Great people, but most of the good ones have left

    Cons

    No company strategy, no clear articulation of what BuzzBee does (mostly build low value marketing assets), lack of focus on clients and client needs, management's full-time focus is on $ (cost and revenue) with no appreciation for client service, BuzzBee CEO does not value employees - disposable, disregard for employee needs (ex. vacations), poor compensation package for Seattle-area 'high-tech' market

    Advice to Management

    Don't know where to start for advice to BuzzBee's single owner/CEO - be nice, take care of your employees (ever heard of the golden rule?), take some time to create a real vision and mission and define your services, spend more time with your clients (don't hide in the office and at home).

    BuzzBee Response

    Sep 3, 2015 – CEO

    Feedback is desired at BuzzBee and always has been welcome over our 15 year tenure. The technology sector is demanding and thus why agency life is so dynamic and fun. Not everyone is suited for the ... More



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