- Former Employee, more than 1 year★★★★★
Fast-growing company that needs to put its employees firstJul 1, 2021 - Content Marketing ManagerRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Animalz hires incredible people. Current and former employees are now great friends and trusted confidantes. If you're looking for a place to start your content marketing career, Animalz could be a great fit. You'll work with knowledgable people and get a lot of experience. I think the salary is fairly competitive for a first job. I believe there are people in leadership who legitimately care about the CMs they manage. They are willing to work with you to find solutions to problems and try to support you, but I think sometimes their hands are tied and they can only do so much.
Like a lot of companies that quickly expand, Animalz is experiencing growing pains, and unfortunately, it causes stress for overworked and under-compensated CMs. Salaries are transparent, but I do not think that compensation is always competitive for CMs or always logical. New graduates may make more than employees at higher levels. People with technical skills are not compensated for their knowledge. Employees with 10+ years experience or postgraduate degrees make less than those without as much experience or education. Maybe these people are just better negotiators. It is unclear. I accepted a lower salary because Animalz promises lots of opportunities for promotion, but I finally realized that the only way to get a reasonable salary jump was to leave. (After talking to other former employees, compensation was a major motivating factor. Most everyone now makes at least $30K more and has better work-life balance.) As stated above, I had great co-workers, but I rarely felt supported as a team member. CMs have so many customers and so much work that there is no support system in place if you need help or need someone to cover for you. It was hard to take vacation because I was responsible for finding my own coverage. And it is widely accepted that you will be working hard before, during, or after your vacation to make up for it. I think there is simply too much work for each CM. It is a juggling game of keeping customers happy and continually churning out content to meet stress-inducing quotas. My team lead was so busy that they rarely had time to help me with problematic customers. There just is not enough people or time in the day to provide that support and CMs struggle because of it. I liked the culture of positivity that Animalz had when I joined, but I think it has taken a turn. Now that positivity seems somewhat toxic. Employees are even instructed not to complain or vent in Slack. Transparency is talked about a lot but practiced inconsistently. You can ask leadership anonymous questions, but they can also go unanswered. When questions are addressed, sometimes leadership is noticeably unhappy with you for asking tough questions. There is a growing sense of distrust. Why do we need to sign documentation that leadership can read our DMs? Why are employees questioned about their social media posts? Are the employee engagement surveys truly anonymous? These changes in company policy and culture left me feeling unsafe and unable to function to the best of my ability. While I appreciated working for a women-led leadership team, I do not know if they have the necessary power to make the major changes that the organization needs.Continue reading
- Current Employee, more than 1 year★★★★★Jul 7, 2022 - Content Marketing ManagerRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
A few days into my career at Animalz, I knew it was a great fit. However, because of past toxic job experiences, I was wary that I was in a "honeymoon" phase that would eventually wear off. Over a year later, it still hasn't worn off! No company is perfect, but what makes Animalz stand out is that leadership genuinely cares about their people and is working to make things better. Sometimes that progress is slow, sometimes it creates growing pains, etc. But I've been in places where no progress is made at all...so dealing with growing pains feels far better. It's a sign that they're continually trying to make things better and are always willing to admit when they're wrong and need to change direction. Agency life in general can be hard. It requires a focus on production, which can be stressful. But over the years they've reduced the number of articles to a manageable amount after listening to their employees. They're also working on ways to reduce the emphasis on production numbers. That's not an easy task in an agency environment, but they're willing to take it on for our sake. As far as workload, the expectation is 8 articles a month (on the months you don't take PTO). If you come from agency life, you know how manageable this is compared to most agencies that require you to write an article a day sometimes. The feedback process is hefty, so in general, the articles do take longer from start to finish, but it's so nice to be able to focus on quality over quantity.
If you haven't been in a position where you're writing full-time (or if you have no agency experience), there might be a steep learning curve to ramp up to the production required. So if you're genuinely not interested in writing full time, this probably isn't the position for you. The company is also facing growing pains right now (largely due to restructuring how teams work). This is natural with any company, but if you're easily stressed out by change then maybe consider applying 6 months from now when things have stabilized.Continue reading
- Former Employee, more than 1 year★★★★★Jan 9, 2023 - Content Manager in New York, NYRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
If you’re someone who’s terrific at context switching, and a very competent (and patient) writer, Animalz was once a pretty neat gig. The pay was and remains awful relative to US market rates, but the previously high-trust, low-oversight management approach meant it used to be easy for skilled people to do work and own their own calendars by-and-large. This made the place a mecca for people who worked to live, instead of those who live to work, and for people who had other projects/businesses/side-hustles to also give their attentions to. However, I am currently talking about a completely different company (the Animalz of the past) than the one I am about to talk about (the Animalz of the more-recent-past and present).
Animalz is an absolute textbook of mismanagement – in my time the company went from being in a position of imperious advantage through the COVID period to being in an absolute death spiral now. The company is awash in cynicism at every level. Shocking rates of pay compared to market averages. No-clue leadership team rinsing the company for massive salaries and reciting Monty Python bits during All-Hands despite catastrophic staff churn and client churn. Product announcements than come to nothing. Deafeningly insensitive attempts at DEI. If you’re a writer here you’ll pretty quickly start wondering why you’re doing a lot of customer success and strategy work, despite the fact that: there is almost certainly a CSM and a strategist on your team; they both get paid more than you; and, in the present climate, their jobs are more secure than yours. Idiotic org chart management has plagued Animalz for two years at least while prior management play-acted that the company – a standard-issue content farm – was actually a technology startup. CSMs, for instance, are redundant for a company that sells something so simple and that most clients, unfortunately, treat as a tiresome irrelevance anyway. No one in the ‘product’ division ever had a clue about product, and the Animalz array remained sadly undiversified despite the fact that the company would now be printing money if they’d invested in, say, video content during the pandemic. As with all mismanaged companies, incentives for Animalz employees are absolutely all over the place. Knowing that there’s not enough work to go around, the leadership team decided to impose production quotas. This was such a self-own that, despite the initiative ostensibly being put in place to increase output, it led to the company firing or downgrading a number of their best people just because they hadn’t been given enough work during a given month to meet quota or, as is incredibly frequently the case, because the work they’d done had been improperly billed. Animalz has no institutional memory and does not account for historical productivity; it arbitrarily assigned a uniform quota, and anyone who was below it after a couple months was sent to the slaughterhouse, irrespective of specific circumstances (including being on vacation, illness etc.). Again, these quotas are mandated despite: a) a lack of available work b) a lack of training for new CMs, several of whom I mentored and who had horrific experiences here c) imbalanced distribution of duties among the team, so that CM workloads frequently get overwhelming, while non-CMs bear no responsibility whatsoever for deliverables or performance d) the fact that you as a writer are not even going to be paid market rate for your experience or skills, while doing 2.5 jobs, at least This complete waking nightmare for writers is not made any easier by Animalz’s pointlessly over-elaborated editing schema. While individual editors here are good at what they do, the editing norms at Animalz appear to take it as given that all of the company’s writers can’t write, and that all of the readers of the company’s work aren’t bright enough to understand even the most familiar turns of figurative language. Not a good basis for getting the best possible work out of your writing stable. Training and institutional knowledge access are both non-existent. I’d be astonished if the company still exists for all intents and purposes in a year – best case scenario it will have morphed into an AI content farm (a Christmas which a great many of the more turkey-minded staff seem weirdly enthusiastic about). Plenty of other perfectly good writers will have been ground through the mill by then, whatever the outcome.Continue reading