HZDG Reviews | Glassdoor

HZDG Reviews

Updated March 27, 2017
57 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

2.8
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Jerry Zuckerman
34 Ratings

57 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • This is a great place to come in if you have an open mind and a hard work ethic (in 5 reviews)

  • great opportunity to learn if you are a Jr/early mid-level employee, but only if you are self-motivated to teach yourself, or have a smart mentor (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • No work/life balance unless you have a good amount of seniority and live within 20 minutes of the office (in 9 reviews)

  • Long hours and a little stress come with the job (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (5)

    "Committed to easing the growing pains"

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

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

    Pros

    The company started as a mom-and-pop shop, so there have been some growing pains as it has become a 200-strong operation, but management is committed to solving them and improving employees' day-to-day experience. Leadership is taking steps to improve transparency, and there have been several professional development opportunities spearheaded in the last year by an agency newcomer that have made this a place you can actually grow and learn. Perhaps the biggest pro about HZ is that, at least as a digital team employee, you can be involved in shaping the role you want -- granted, you have to put some time in (as you should!), but for those with a few years of agency experience, the opportunity to create a niche that only you can fill is there for the taking.

    Cons

    Change is hard, even for agencies that make a living off of selling change to their clients. In some instances, leadership has been slow to implement processes that will drive efficiency and improvements, but that seems to be changing. In certain departments, there are team members who are still living in the Mad Men days, and that's too bad -- it's 2016, guys. As other reviewers have said, it can feel a little clique-y, but the agency takes every step possible to introduce people to each other -- clubs, game nights, etc. Of course, you'll encounter drama and gossip, but you'll find some of that in every office. The best thing to do is to keep your professional life professional, rise above bad behavior, and stay positive.

    Advice to Management

    Practice being nimble and responsive when it comes to implementing change. Make small operational fixes -- better HR process, transportation benefits for employees with long commutes, etc -- that don't make a big bottom-line impact, but are deeply important to employees. Know when it's time to show someone (employees and clients alike) the door.

    HZDG Response

    Nov 15, 2016 – Chief Operating Officer

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. We appreciate that you've noticed the effort agency leadership has been making to crystalize HZ processes and culture. We welcome all feedback that can help us ... More


  2. Helpful (6)

    "Enough with the negativity"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Creative Director in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Associate Creative Director in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Collaborative work environment, feeling like you are a part of a family, flexibility, great opportunity to learn from others, empowering their employees, workshops, work-life balance.

    HZ has made some huge changes over the past 12 months with the hiring of new CD's who really understand the culture, and have begun breaking down any existing barriers between departments.

    I feel like most of the complaints on here have been from people who have jumped around to other jobs. With some folks having been at HZ for 20 years or more, the company is obviously doing something right.

    There is a lot of younger talent that comes into HZ expecting to not have to actually work to get what they want out of their careers; or they leave for a "money grab" at an agency where they will have the same high level problems of every ad agency in the world. In my time at HZ a bunch have people have left the company, only to come back 6-12 months later.

    Don't let the negativity of people who didn't fit into the culture, or work to achieve personal goals and fight for what they want, have an influence on your decision to apply for a job here. The ability to have a work-life balance, without being micromanaged by your supervisor provides a great opportunity to showcase leadership skills and taking the initiative to speak up and work with your boss to create a clear vision for your career path, and what you can do to get what you want within a reasonable timeframe.

    Cons

    As with any company that has grown as quickly as HZ there have been some growing pains, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

    Advice to Management

    More transparency, better review process. Could be more clear about the DC location and how it is used within the ecosystem of the overall agency.


  3. Helpful (7)

    "If you like challenges..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Manager - Search in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Senior Manager - Search in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    I could only speak from my own personal experience working at HZDG, and I can honestly say that it was overall positive. I no longer work for the company so this review is not coerced, paid, nor created from a fake account/profile. Hopefully this review will be helpful to those seeking new opportunities within HZ, since I will cover various pain points that are addressed in a lot of the reviews here on Glass Door.

    1. Culture: Above everything else, the staff within HZ is the heart and soul of the company. It is why I enjoyed working there. It is why I would recommend people to work there, but it is also why I would not. A lot of the complaints on here are driven by culture fit issues, it was noticeable when I was there, and it is apparent when you read through the reviews now. First and foremost it is a branding agency that is expanding to cover multiple disciplines. There are growth pains in the transition from a traditional agency shop to a fully integrated, full-service company. The merging of the online/offline world is very challenging, and it’s hard sometimes to have AEs, SAEs, Business Development, PMs, Digital, Design & Development speaking the same language. You have to have thick skin, be sociable, and like challenges, while also being able to take take criticism. I liked working with various people, it was hair-pulling at times, but it was worth it.

    2. Pay: I see a lot of complaints regarding pay. I was paid adequately, I would say below industry standard, but I knew that prior I taking the job, and took a pay cut because of the culture and the opportunity to work on great projects. (a. Nobody is forcing you to work here. b. Prove your value and negotiate.) Some days are long, sometimes you have to work weekends, but so are most jobs.

    3. Talent: You’re surrounded by talented individuals in various departments. Take and make the best of it.

    Cons

    1. It’s growing, there are pain points as covered in the Pros section. If you thrive in these sort of scenarios, then apply or continue to work here. It’s not just internally, but clients also have challenges that need to be addressed. A lot of problem solving all around.

    2. Again, culture. Think long and hard if you’re a good fit in this environment. It’s not for everyone.

    Advice to Management

    1. Research and match industry standard and competitors' salaries. That way you'll continue to be competitive with acquisition and retention of talent regionally and nationally.

    2. Apply roadmaps for career growth (Promotions/Pay Bumps). This will ensure that your staff understands what is expected of them while holding them accountable for hitting or missing goals. Totally applicable whether it's a junior designer, traffic, UX, digital marketing, copy, etc. Also make it transparent for everyone, some individuals want to expand their skill sets.

    3. Scalability: Work with your teams to understand how to grow your departments, as junior staff members get promoted to senior, as projects and new business continue to grow...create detailed plans to ensure that work life balance is properly covered with new head count and promotions.

    HZDG Response

    Jul 12, 2016 – Founder + Chief Creative Officer

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review. We appreciate your feedback and the constructive, solutions-based nature of your comments. As you noted, growing pains come along with ... More


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  5. Helpful (5)

    "Amazing change over the past 2 years"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    First, let me start by saying that from my professional experience of over 20 years, and everything I hear from my former and current colleagues, I struggle to identify any company as 5-star. There's always something that can be improved. Show me a company where I'd rather be at work than doing anything else and I'll happily give it a 5-star rating. People seeking 5-stars: prepare to be disappointed anywhere you see 5-star ratings, because they are almost certainly given by people trying to pump a company's reputation.

    OK, now for my HZ comments:

    When I first arrived from another, more digital agency over 2 years ago, the agency seemed to have more of a traditional ad agency focus, where the majority of the energy and established processes existed on the print/traditional media side of the house. Digital efforts tended to be more ad hoc and individually organized with fewer established processes. Since then, though, the digital side of the house has matured almost to the point of "revolution"...established and repeatable processes, teams and schedules structured for collaboration and group (not individual) solutions, and much more communication with development so that every part of the process occurring before development has considered the eventual technical ramifications. On the digital side I see very sustainable workloads and good morale (though I know it's a big company with a good number of individual teams, and workloads can vary between teams and individuals)...I mainly know the details on the digital side of the house. For a big company it still have a small company culture (and the Rockville office has had the same interior look for many years that younger companies in "the city" have achieved only recently)...people seem to hang out a lot after work and the "clubs" that often fail at small companies continue to roll on here. After joining I felt like I had met 50% of the people within the first 2 months mainly because I had my hand in a good number of projects and a more senior designer took it upon himself to help me fit in quickly (thanks!). I'm very thankful for all I've been exposed to since coming here and every day is a welcomed challenge. Compared to my last company it's a lot easier (and more pleasant) to collaborate with other UX and interactive designers, copywriters and more (at my prior employer the disconnect between IAs and visual designers was palpable and distracting).

    Cons

    Well, it's a big company with a growing number of offices, and sometimes projects involving people from different offices can be a challenge. That said, some offices have certain specialties (and self-contained teams around those specialties) and I think that approach helps to avoid some conflicts of people from different offices contributing to the same function for a project. If you're coming here take time to negotiate your initial salary and compensation if you feel like you have the ability to do so (advice not just for this company, but really any job).

    Advice to Management

    You've listened to suggestions from employees and empowered them to take the initiative over the past few years, so please continue. Also, I've been around the block enough to know that the best way to give suggestions to management is not to post it in a publicly-visible online space :-)

    HZDG Response

    Jul 14, 2016 – Founder + Chief Creative Officer

    Thank you so much for your feedback. We are glad to hear that you are happy at HZ and that you have continued to see improvements over the years. We have so many outstanding employees and we're lucky ... More


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Overall positive experience"

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

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

    Pros

    As a family owned and operated business, it feels like you are with family when you are at work. I have always been treated with respect. The other employees are friendly and fun and I enjoy coming to work everyday. I moved to Maryland with little idea of what I was going to do and HZ gave me a chance. In my several years with the company, I have had the opportunity to grow and learn and finally find my niche.

    Cons

    More organization between different departments to ensure flow of work could be better, perhaps through better upper level management guidance. Recognize and grow those who perform.

    Advice to Management

    I feel that if the employees were given more training and given chances for advancing, the company would prosper and there would be less staff turnover.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "More opportunity than meets the eye."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Client Services in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Client Services in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at HZDG full-time

    Pros

    You know the saying "you only get out what you put in"? Well, that's completely true at HZ. I've been here for a few years, and this place has treated me well—but I've treated it well, too. I've worked hard to carve out a niche for myself, create really good relationships with really creative and smart people, and have honestly learned something new everyday. I like how the agency is ever-changing, pushing to do new things and bringing in cool clients. Healthcare plan is good, and pay is on par with other local agencies. There are a bunch of employees who have been here a long time, and that says a lot.

    Cons

    There are times that I want things to be more formal and organized. But on the other hand, when I visit some of my clients' offices, I'm thankful that we are a 'jeans-and-flipflops'-type place. I just have to turn my head to the clutter.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees, but not everything here on Glassdoor. Really doesn't paint a fair picture. Strive to continuously evolve on all fronts.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "A good place to work (specially for beginners)"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Casual environment, working with talented/nice people, learning tons of useful stuff and feeling that HZ is your second home.

    Cons

    Salaries lower than DC area average, weak annual review method, politics and too much emphasis on culture


  9. Helpful (17)

    "Sweat Shop"

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

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

    Pros

    None. You learn how bad life can get.

    Cons

    No work life balance
    Management is awful.
    Promotions are based on popularity
    Next to no benefits - oh sorry, Obamas fault?
    6 holidays a year?? Who does that?
    Reviews unstructured.
    Pay a decent wage.
    Owners are thoughtless, greedy individuals.

    Advice to Management

    Fire the CFO. Provide timely feedback.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Great place to grow your career"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - SEO Specialist in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - SEO Specialist in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - laid back, creative culture
    - good work/life balance
    - smart people that are great to hang with after hours
    - great list of clients

    Cons

    - groups can get a little cliquey, but that's pretty typical of any work environment
    - there could have been more opportunities to participate in industry events, but they've really come a long way since I've been there

    Advice to Management

    - provide more opportunities to nurture young talent
    - stay awesome


  11. Helpful (9)

    "Creative Minds. Incredible Talent. Management Needs Work."

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

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

    Pros

    The culture is the number one thing at HZ. They strive to encourage everyone to have a personal and professional relationship in order to work better together. This is a great place to come in if you have an open mind and a hard work ethic. Their sink or swim technique teaches you so much about yourself and also encourages you to work harder. The work is fun, the talent is incredible and the people are what make it all happen. As the company continues to grow, there is still a small business, family owned feeling to it.

    Cons

    The pay is low but if you are starting out young and fresh out of college, this is a good place to start. The politics are politics and you find that anywhere you go. The review system is jaded and needs a lot of work but as the company grows larger a new system will hopefully be put into place. Long hours and tough deadlines but that's the industry in general. Management could use some to a lot of work in certain departments.

    Advice to Management

    Be more involved personally to members on teams- periodic check ins don't hurt with individuals on your team. Adjust the review process and how reviews are delivered.


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