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Animalz

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Animalz

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Employee Review

  1. 3.0
    Former Employee

    Questions of integrity

    Oct 31, 2021 - Content Writer 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Work from home, average benefits, meet lots of great people

    Cons

    I was willing to leave my experiences with Animalz behind when I left the company. But I recently came across a job post for Flow Club that prominently featured Haley, Animalz COO. The job post said, “Also in 2021, the team met Haley Bryant as one of Flow Club's early members and biggest advocates. Haley joined as an angel investor and a part-time operations lead.” In the spring and summer of 2021, Animalz was having difficulty retaining employees and customers. Overly ambitious sales goals were made, experienced writers left, and Animalz hired a bunch of new, less-experienced writers. This caused customers to churn, because the quality of work was not where it should have been. At the same time, Haley was soliciting Animalz employees to learn about, sign up, and use Flow Club. As COO, an endorsement carries additional weight. Those who use it will get more time with a powerful person within Animalz. It feels awful knowing she was working to financially benefit from Flow Club while promoting the service to Animalz employees. I believe getting employees to sign up for a service in which she has financial interests (salary, gains from her investment) puts her in violation of the non-solicitation clause at Animalz. Second, Haley’s decision to be an angel investor with the Hustle Fund may be a conflict of interest. Animalz policy expressly prohibits providing work for a direct competitor, supplier, distributor, or contractor for Animalz. I would think, given the team was encouraged to use Flow Club, that they count as a supplier. And given Flow Club calls her an employee and investor, I would think that counts as “providing work.” Upper management may have known about Haley’s relationship with Flow Club, but Animalz employees did not. And that calls into question whether or not Haley has financial interests in other tools or services she promotes. Animalz has a lot of problems, and it’s surprising that the #2 leader seems to be part-timing the job (while she part-times a few other jobs.)

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    17 people found this review helpful

    Animalz Response

    CEO

    I appreciate genuine feedback and questions from current and former staff; however, the above posting contains a number of inaccuracies and reflects a misunderstanding of our business and the tools offered to assist Animalz team members. * There is no violation of conflict of interest or solicitation policies * Haley is not now nor has she ever been an employee of Flow Club * Animalz pays for Flow Club sessions for team members who elect to use it; there is no charge* to team members nor any requirement to utilize sessions. * Neither Flow Club nor Hustle Fund are vendors to Animalz, nor is there a remunerative relationship between these businesses. *Initially, some team members paid for a Flow Club out of their own pocket. When we were made aware of this, we asked Flow Club for a list of paying employees, refunded them, and added them to the Animalz Flow Club account. Since using Flow Club at Animalz, approximately 25% of the team has elected to attend sessions and/or become hosts. I am happy to provide this benefit to the team and to support a small business in the process! As a small but growing business with a fully remote team, maintaining a connected culture is an ongoing challenge for us. Flow Club has been a huge asset in helping us bring the team together, and I’m grateful that Haley brought this service to Animalz.

Other Employee Reviews

  1. 5.0
    Current Employee, more than 1 year

    A great fit for me, but not perfect for everyone

    Jul 7, 2022 - Content Marketing Manager 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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.

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    8 people found this review helpful
  2. 1.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    A company run on cynicism

    Jan 9, 2023 - Content Manager in New York, NY
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    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).

    Cons

    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.

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    7 people found this review helpful

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