HZDG Reviews | Glassdoor

HZDG Reviews

Updated September 27, 2017
60 reviews

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2.6
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Jerry Zuckerman
35 Ratings

60 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • There are a lot of really nice people at HZ (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. Helpful (3)

    "Developer"

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

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

    Pros

    I've recently joined and thus far have been very very pleased, it's really been a wonderful experience. I almost didn't take the job because of previous Glassdoor reviews and I can only assume there have been major changes within the last year because I'm really enjoying it here, greatly appreciate my managers and the talented people I get to partner with.

    Something that blew me away was the fact that teams were invited to dinner... at the CEO's home. That was strange in that it's unusual, but incredibly cool, and other things like that show that they care.

    Cons

    Smelly soap in the bathroom, so you almost have to wash your hands twice for it to go away, not implying anything, like changing the soap...

    Advice to Management

    Keep empowering people to grow and giving opportunities to jump in on large business ventures. More chocolate!

    HZDG Response

    Apr 13, 2017 – Chief Operating Officer

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a positive review. We are happy to hear that you have enjoyed your experience at HZ thus far. We are actively working to improve the employee journey... More


  2. Helpful (5)

    "A serious learning experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at HZDG full-time

    Pros

    Great clients and creative work.

    Cons

    I can not say that I didn't gain anything from my time at HZ. I grew within my profession, I learned, and I met a few great people. But these few positive moments are nothing in comparison with the unprofessional work environment, political games, verbal abuse, and constant anxiety this company had caused me. They tell you from the beginning this is "sink or swim" workplace, and they truly do not help you swim. Most of the managers are hard to reach- they leave at 2pm, are on vacation, "working from home," or unavailable. This was majority of the first two months I started, and it is a terrible way to onboard someone, get them the help they need, and have them succeed. I was hired after one interview, and I should have known right then that this process was the first red flag.

    Everything at HZ is about who you know. Upper management gossips about everyone, even to junior positions. The issues discussed between upper and higher positions were unbelievably inappropriate- talking about other managers, the CEOs, coworkers & employees. This type of behavior started from my first week, which at first I thought was "funny" or "cool" and later realized this was a form of bullying that did not stop the entire time.

    There is absolutely no safe-zone. If you think you are having issues with a manager/coworker or a certain project, there is no one you can go to (including HR) to get help on the issue. If you do, everyone will know within an hour or two. There is absolutely no transparency, and I found it to be a constant string of headaches trying to figure out what anyone was actually asking and/or thinking. I spent majority of my time in a whirlwind of confusion, and in my case in particular, this could have been because of my erratic manager.

    I could name at least 5-6 managers or higher positions throughout multiple departments I worked with that ever single person in the company had issues with, is incompetent, and/or negatively effected other peoples work. Even when one of these (lower) managers were treating me inappropriately (the entire time I worked there- verbal bullying, mismanagement, terrible feedback, etc.) they were not punished for their actions. The feedback the managers gave were solely based on their mood that day, and this form of mismanagement and abuse was told to upper management and totally ignored. They said a lot of "I understand or we all know that about xyz" but nothing was ever done about this. I do not ever want to work at a company where my entire team says "Don't ask our boss this today- he/she is in a bad mood" " He/she is going to get pissed at you're question, because they're not in the mood to deal with it." So many issues were left unsolved, so many questions were unasked, and so many problems could have been avoided if people knew how to separate their personal and professional lives. HZ was one giant mind game.

    I will say, I had opportunities to do some of the most creative work I've ever done at HZDG- I learned a lot, but at the expense of my sanity, self esteem, dignity, and respect- which is never worth it. I hope HZ begin to take these reviews seriously and realize their lack of proper management is insane. HZ talks a lot about "caring for their employees" - but I'm not quite sure if thats true. A lot of employees I talked with (ones that have worked there for years) also agree, and I'm not sure why exactly they have chose to stay for so long..

    HZ has completely changed my mindset on what I'm looking for in an employer, and in some ways I'm glad I went through this terrible experience because now I know how *not* to be treated.

    Advice to Management

    Please take what I've said seriously to avoid these constant issues with your employees.

  3. Helpful (7)

    "Prepare yourself to get burnt out!"

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

    I worked at HZDG full-time

    Pros

    - They're very good at standing out compared to other ad agencies in terms of their brand. They really like to show off.
    - The work is good and it's ideal for someone right out of college. (if you're willing to accepted below ideal wage)
    - Some really nice people there... buuuut then the rest of them are two-faced.

    Cons

    - They've created an environment that is perfect for people who sync with their lifestyle. It's like a sorority.
    - They LOVE to play favorites.
    - Their main office is way too far from DC.
    - The people who stick around are very cliquey. Those people are the HZ's biggest gossips.
    - HORRIBLE pay. They do not know what it means to pay a decent wage. People with the same level of experience as their employees are making x3 more money.

    Advice to Management

    Try to accommodate every employees needs and expectations. Try and make this more of a family environment than a frat guy's party and be a little professional.

    HZDG Response

    Jun 15, 2017 – Chief Operating Officer

    We are sorry to hear that HZ wasn’t the right fit for you. Our team is dedicated to cultivating an environment that empowers our employees to make meaningful connections with clients and colleagues... More


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Incompetent managers and poor communication"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at HZDG full-time

    Pros

    - Summer Fridays
    - Possibility to work remote at their Canvas office

    Cons

    - Badly managed and organized. The managers were chosen because 1) they were there since ever or 2) they're obnoxious. I have met very few managers at that company that were actually competent.
    - Lack of communication. We get rants by email and useless chatter online. The idea of communicating face to face is totally foreign to all managers there.

    Advice to Management

    Stop the awkwardness. Have meetings and give info that matters to employees. Don't promote bullies and obnoxious people.


  5. Helpful (12)

    "Designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Media Planner
    Former Employee - Media Planner
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    It is difficult to grant HZ a single star, as working for that company was far below standard. Dealing with management was fraught with manipulative games, including the silent treatment and passive aggressiveness--I had to remind myself that yes indeed we were adults. But only childish behaviors persisted. Expectations on junior teams are borderline insane. Scratch that. Totally insane. Fundamental communication skills seemed to be missing. The irony is not lost on me. Management delighted in torturing her junior team. Scariest lady I've ever worked for. She honestly looks as scary as she behaves.

    Cons

    I don't know what else I can add here that might be helpful. Except to say...stay clear of this place. It looks very attractive in an interview. But don't be duped. You'll need years of therapy after your tragic and demoralizing experience. Very sad. I actually learned that Workplace Trauma is a real thing after working at HZ. Clinically. A thing. You're welcome.

    HZDG Response

    Apr 13, 2017 – Founder + Chief Creative Officer

    Thanks for your honest feedback. We are sorry to hear that you had a bad experience during your employment at HZ. We understand your concerns and realize we have multiple offices and need to make the... More


  6. Helpful (7)

    "Enough with the negativity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Committed to easing the growing pains"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Digital team member"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice people and relaxed culture.

    Cons

    Poor team communication and poor selection in managers.

    Advice to Management

    Be cautious when selecting the right people in leadership positions.

    HZDG Response

    Nov 8, 2016 – Chief Operating Officer

    Thank you for your feedback. We are glad you are enjoying our culture, the people and casual environment.

    The Digital Marketing team is the fastest growing group in the agency, and while we've... More


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Some positives but have long way to go"

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

    Pros

    -Good people
    -Interesting clients
    -Good amount of effort put into cultivating work culture
    -Summer Fridays

    Cons

    -Small work spaces
    -Employee cliques aplenty - very adolescent at times
    -Management does not seem to have clear grasp on the inner-workings of their teams. Only focus on billable hours and rarely check in to gauge actual workload (which is often more than team can handle, despite putting in very long hours)
    -Non-existent HR - the department (small) itself gets slammed and are over-worked. Do not expect any formal issues or complaints to be addressed. You are kind of told to just deal with it.
    -No work/life balance unless you have a good amount of seniority and live within 20 minutes of the office.
    -Pro/Con - only promotions come with annual review. Some get promoted without producing much work while others work tirelessly and receive very little recognition.

    Advice to Management

    Look past what is on paper and check in with your employees. Trust that they are working most often times above and beyond what is asked yet still taken to task for unimportant house-keeping issues. Don't frown upon working remotely if ill. It's 2016.

    HZDG Response

    Oct 17, 2016 – Founder + Chief Creative Officer

    Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. We’re listening to all comments because we’re committed to improvement, progress and smart growth. As we’ve noted here in the past, employee... More


  10. Helpful (26)

    "Been gone a year and this place still haunts me."

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

    I worked at HZDG full-time

    Pros

    Not one thing comes to mind. It's a weird, weird place.

    Cons

    People: unfriendly, not smart, and very snobby

    Work: disorganized, not interesting, honestly feel bad their clients

    Management: untrustworthy, non-committed

    Pay: way under market, pro tip: always ask for more. they're desperate about hiring people and you have the upper hand.

    Commute: I lived in DC, and to commute to Rockville, I had to leave by 6:45am. I wouldn't get home until 7:30pm every night. Honestly, I wasted too much of my life on this job and would caution you against it.


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