DWA Reviews | Glassdoor

DWA Reviews

Updated July 19, 2017
27 reviews

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3.2
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DWA Chief Executive Officer Deborah B. Wood
Deborah B. Wood
22 Ratings

27 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Senior Manager"

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

    I worked at DWA full-time

    Pros

    Fantastic working environment; smart, team-oriented people; caring leadership

    Cons

    Fast paced growth over the past 4 years; leadership highly competitive; tends to be a politically charged environment

    Advice to Management

    Watch the politics at the top, is distracting, and counter productive


  2. "work to understand who the valuable people are and aim to make them want to stay around"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Some smart, motivated, decent people
    Flexible work options. This also can be a con when it's expected you are available at all hours.

    Cons

    Most of the work is done by a small number of very overextended people. Everyone else cares only about convincing senior management that they are busy and engaged. This ends up wasting the time and testing the patience and frustration capacity of the few who do all the work. It also burns an insane amount of money.

    Advice to Management

    If you think about it and look at what type of employee leaves your company after only a short time, you will understand who actually gets the work done. Maybe focus on making their lives easier even if it hurts the feelings of the people who don't really do anything useful.

  3. "Great people, little organization."

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

    I have been working at DWA full-time

    Pros

    Decent benefits and perks, flexible, friendly environment

    Cons

    Little corporate vision, management doesn't heed advice.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees.


  4. "SEM Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

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

    Pros

    Good overall company culture.
    Smart colleagues who are willing to share skills and knowledge.
    Good life and work balance
    Good team work

    Cons

    Fuzzy management transparency.
    Nothing too much other than that


  5. "A Company to be proud of"

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

    Pros

    Hire quality people and inspire excellence, fun, creativity, and life long learning. Company stands behind their people and values. Recently walked away from profitable business that was damaging to the culture. Company is successful and growing. Lots of career opportunities. Company is always striving to be better....

    Cons

    ...Company is always striving to be better with already very high standards. Lots of process improvement and development activity going on year round. Lots of change.

    Advice to Management

    I know we can't stand still. But on occasion can we slow down our pace? It is fun to be in a company with this energy and intensity and success. But ever so often it would be beneficial to take a breather- pause and refresh.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Feel compelled to write a review for my time at DWA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Indianapolis, IN
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Indianapolis, IN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    After reading the reviews on-line, I definitely felt compelled to write a review for DWA/Avant. I feel it is important to know the pros and cons, but also to understand that this industry is extremely competitive and definitely requires expertise, a strong business acumen and commitment to succeed. I do think there are people in this organization who care and do want to succeed, so I definitely want to give them credit for that. And many of their processes are grounded in good methodologies (PMP, six sigma, etc). I also think they have hired some good creative people. But beyond that, there are a lot of red flags that need to be understood before considering this company.

    Cons

    First of all, the CEO does not have scientific or industry expertise. She has been at this for a long time, and basically, the company has maintained meeting management as it's core business function. However, because of that lack of expertise, there is also a lack of direction. Not really understanding your vision and where you want to grow adds to a very splintered business model. They have tried to compete with other companies who definitely have much more of a focus and have invested in that focus. Unfortunately DWA has not, so they flounder and try to become the next agency, or speakers bureau, or film company. You cannot succeed when you want to be everything to everyone, and it has left them with a lack of expertise and identity. They have hired mostly "ex-Lilly" people who either didn't cut it there, or needed to stay in the area. Some are good, but none of them are visionaries in the industry. The pay and benefits are ok, but not great. And the atmosphere is very "cliquish" for sure... It doesn't have to be that way, but this behavior is steeped in the people at the top. I think there are many other options that should be considered before going here.

    Advice to Management

    I think this company needs to decide what it wants to be and invest in that, only that, to excel and become a real competitor in the marketplace. You can't do that without a true vision and understanding of where the need is in the industry. You just aren't there.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Don't base your decision to apply just on Glassdoor."

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

    I have been working at DWA full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Some of the reviews here on Glassdoor are surprising. It appears as though this website has a bit of the "Yelp Effect" – people only get on to review when the going gets bad. I'll try to be as unbiased as possible.

    First, the pro's: Great work environment, including two break rooms with three coffee areas, and generally speaking great camaraderie with co-workers. Great work events, including holidays, summer annual meeting, and inter-departmental get-togethers.

    Really great office itself, that only improves as the company grows.

    Outstanding CEO, I've learned so much from her. Outstanding CTO, CCO, CIO, and a number of good VP's and Execs.

    The company is fair about compensation and will offer many opportunities for growth, including paid training depending on what it is (we have several PMP's, for example).

    Great benefits. Medical is average, but where isn't medical average? Dental is great. 401k is great. Time off is OUTSTANDING, a week around Christmas/New Years, and three weeks personal days STARTING. Another week per 5 years.

    All leadership really seems to appreciate and value input and new ideas (even if they don't always take them). They take time to say thank you and acknowledge your work.

    Folks, it's made Indiana's Best Places to Work for several years for a reason.

    Cons

    It's about as corporate as it could be. Some of the reviews on here lament the sorority culture. I see their point of view, for sure. But that's just business... you make friends and people buddy up to each other. It's silly but it's life.

    I'd say that most of my cons come from the earlier years I worked there, but it's constantly improved. One con that has always existed is so-so middle management. That's a fair criticism as well. You work there long enough, you get auto-managered. They also make people with zero people skills managers sometimes, which ends up being pretty hilarious.

    I think technology needs to be improving more rapidly, and that every employee should need a mandatory amount of technology training (we're talking "what is a FTP" level training). We have to act like an agency in the modern age.

    Advice to Management

    I'd like to see the company get more aggressive with innovation and digital disruption. Don't be so risk averse. Bring in those non-manager-level players into the "big leagues", eg client meetings, and take the leash off. Let us sell your wonderful company for you, in ways you don't even know we can.

    And this may sound absurd, but don't be afraid to fire. So many reviews on here describe inadequate leadership, but you don't seek input enough to justify firings of that leadership. Give those not in management a voice.

  8. "Amazing company that invests in its people and the community!"

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

    I have been working at DWA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Strong integrity throughout the organization led by experienced individuals. Excellent training program, and a CEO who genuinely cares about ALL employees and their families. This company has many excellent opportunities for growth.

    Cons

    Quick growth with new accounts/clients make it hard to keep up with hiring so work load balance seems off at times. Workforce is largely 20-something year olds, which brings with it lack of maturity at times.

    Advice to Management

    Keep investing in your people, don't let individual passive aggressive comments change your course. The company culture is a differentiator! I've worked for companies, who are poor in this area, and it is not fun to be there..."Top Workplace" awards are earned not just handed out because you show up.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Good place to work right out of college"

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

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

    Pros

    -The people - met some very close friends here when I was new to the area
    -Flexible work arrangements (for some)
    -Good benefits if you're single
    -They attempt to promote employee wellness and work life balance

    Cons

    Like others have mentioned, it's very politically driven and sorority feeling. If you don't play their game and aspire to their lifestyle values (e.g. live in Carmel with a family and drive a mini van), you will eventually outgrow this place. It's a very traditional mindset despite their best efforts to be "innovative".

    Pay is low is you grow from within. They have outrageous "ranges" for the same position, so you can have 2 people doing the same job with up to $20,000 difference in salary just because one of them interned at a pharma company one summer in college.

    Though there are some exceptions, leadership is very inexperienced and the structure needs work. Middle management is self important and stuck in their ways which causes ambitious employees to get sick of pushing for change and leave.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your current employees rather constantly hiring from the outside. Stop with the childish politics and promote people based on their performance and not whether or not they're in the inner circle.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Maybe they are experiencing growing pains, but overall a fabulous company to work for!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Carmel, IN
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Carmel, IN
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at DWA (More than a year)

    Pros

    Culture, Supportive Management, CEO trying to hear from the employees more to restructure the company, fast-paced work environment, supportive of modified works schedules, multiple ways for employees to get involved outside of normal job-responsibilities - i.e. DWA CARES (charitable committee), Live Well (health and wellness committee), Investment Committee, Innovation Festivals, etc...

    Cons

    Quick growth has brought growing pains to the company over the past several years, but currently trying to restructure to solve pain-points

    Advice to Management

    Continue "beefing up" training program and offer better benefits, including maternity/paternity leave


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