JPL Integrated Communications Reviews | Glassdoor

JPL Integrated Communications Reviews

Updated May 3, 2017
12 reviews

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3.7
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Luke Kempski
7 Ratings

12 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great Place to Work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Project Manager in Harrisburg, PA
    Current Employee - Technical Project Manager in Harrisburg, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at JPL Integrated Communications (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great casual environment, nice people, fun employee learning campaigns (TED talks at lunch, Employee Short Film festivals and much more), extremely smart coworkers, true team environment, caring management, 14 years making the Best Places to Work List, and finally truly a fun environment. Its truly one of the best companies I have worked with. Company has a salad bar Monday through Thursday to encourage healthy eating. They also pick a take out restaurant daily to coordinate orders so that employees can get lunch faster and easier. When its sunny people will be walking outside during lunch or playing Four Square. Other times, employees are playing ping pong during lunch. Always ways to become closer as a group at JPL.

    Other reviews seem to have been people who did not fit in with the work hard - play hard culture of JPL. Working in this competitive field requires individuals who turn work around quickly and cost effectively by understanding the client's needs quickly and working well with others as a team.

    Cons

    They have set my standards for a dream job too high (that's good).

    Advice to Management

    Keep valuing employees and looking for ways to grow the business while encouraging employees to add new skills in the fast paced market.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Account Rep"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Marketing Professional in Harrisburg, PA
    Former Employee - Marketing Professional in Harrisburg, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at JPL Integrated Communications full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    It was a great place to learn best practices. They are a very process driven and produce some amazing work. Staff really tries to push the boundaries when it comes to creative. There is a sense of collaboration and idea/creative freedom. Personally, I felt my ideas had value and they listened. It is a fun place to work and designed well for younger audiences.

    Management is smart. Very seasoned marketing people who know how to set up a successful organization that will be around for a long time. I am thankful for the time I spent there. I just spent too much time before moving on.

    Cons

    There seems to be more focus on the monetary values of the business than doing the right thing. Legacy employees of early JPL years remember when the focus was on doing the right thing for our clients.

    Instead of doing what is sometimes best for the client, it's often about what is the most billable. Individual billable percentages directly connects to your raises and your future value. This leads to either over billing the clients or over estimating projects or campaigns. While this is not discussed in-house, it is done often.

    Upward mobility within the company is virtually nonexistent. There are a few examples of young staff after 10+ years moving up one level. The culture is focused too much on the work place fun instead of helping actual staff members create a fair wage and long term career with this company. They sell the company on the fun culture and hope you don't notice the low pay, long hours and minimal raises.

    In short, if you're young, come in, learn, gain experience and move on. Invest no more than 5-years here and don't be tempted by all the "fun."

    Advice to Management

    Management should understand that employees are not a commodity. They have future ambitions. They will work hard for you and work extra hours if needed. They want to find a place that actually values them as individuals who will grow with the company. Also, cut back on the shinny fun stuff and stop caring about the Best Places to Work awards. Theses awards seem to matter more to management than the staff.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "It doesn't get much better for an agency in south central PA."

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

    I have been working at JPL Integrated Communications full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    JPL is a great place to work. Management is open to understanding all aspects of any topic. Its an open workplace and you can assume your manager's door is always open. JPL supports and pays for employee training, ISP or gym reimbursement, work from home policy and flexible hours, competitive health benefits and 401K. They provide a great culture that makes working enjoyable and is a good mix of working hard and playing hard. I've found many employees are friends outside of work as well. Most of the negative reviews on here are employees or contractors that did not fit well with JPL's open culture or didnt take direction well overall.

    Cons

    Compensation is fair for the market but many feel they should make more. Expectations for the creative and work product are extremely high. Incredibly high focus on client experience. As with other reviewers, not really a con - but a necessity in our industry. This sometimes causes for stressful situations or tight deadlines but its well balanced overall. Employees typically work 40 hour weeks and are not taken for granted.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to be open to new forms of project workflow and collaboration within teams. Always value people and treat them fairly. This isn't news - I feel most of this advice is already established by most principal folks around JPL.


  4. "Deserving of their best places to work nod."

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

    I have been working at JPL Integrated Communications full-time

    Pros

    Flexibility to do work and enjoy life. No one is watching or enforcing "seat time". Doors are open, if we have a problem or issue, we can go directly to the source. Fun culture; beer taps on the wall, foursquare, arcades, pranks.

    Cons

    Expectations for each other and our work are very high. We are always working hard to adapt and improve. Not really a con in our industry I suppose.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to look for ways to improve the worklife, processes in the organization. Any way that we are able to make life easier for the team, the more they can focus on providing excellent results to our clients.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Not the best places to work for 10 years!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Harrisburg, PA
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Harrisburg, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at JPL Integrated Communications full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    A few of the employees are really talented and a joy with which to work.
    Good training ground for entry level employees.. giving them experience with which to move on to other companies.

    Cons

    Management is always attempting to create this atmosphere of "best places to work" but it is all hype! Salaries are low. Vacation time is not in line: I worked at JPL for ten years and only received two weeks.
    The CEO is difficult to work with. One day he compliments you at the staff meeting. The next day he considers letting you go. You never know where you stand with him. The rest of senior management...well if you are not part of the "in crowd", you don't get treated well. Despite their projected image, senior management does not like when you think outside of the box. They want you to do it their way, which can be unorganized. Some senior management have very little experience in the area they are working. If fact I was confused what some management did all day. They didn't seem to add value to any job.
    Too many staff meetings and other internal meetings. It seemed like 20%of my day was devoted to being in staff or departmental meetings, or preparing for the meetings. It is more important to put that energy towards client projects. We are always working to "make the building really cool". Which consumes too much creative energy from the staff.

    Advice to Management

    Really open your mind to suggestions from employees. You say you open your mind to new ideas, but you really are stuck doing it the same old way.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Decaying small business on a downward spiral"

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

    I have been working at JPL Integrated Communications full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Casual dress
    -You get most of the tools you need (ie. software, computer, office stuff)
    -Salad bar and lunch delivery
    -Culture - I heard it was way better before they added a corporate yawn to the leadership team
    -Some very talented people to work with
    -Hard workers

    Cons

    -Culture - feels a little forced fun
    -Slackers - I don't know how a company so small can keep people who just clock in/out while others carry the burden...what does that guy do that sits at the end of the hall???
    -The strategy area talks about insights but really just copies what the client's competition is doing. I would avoid working in this area which includes writing and design
    -Clients don't stick around because JPL charges too much or doesn't offer any value (see point above) so there's a concentration in work with certain clients
    -Disorganized and chaotic, especially with scheduling and getting the work done
    -Vacation time...they only give you 16 days to use for sick time, vacation, and personal time off...after 5 years and even 10 years it doesn't grow. So in a sense, you lose benefits the longer you stay.
    -Flexible hours - they boost it as a perk but clients & projects make it impossible
    -Leadership does not like hearing criticisms so things don't improve, especially with salary or time off

    Advice to Management

    This place breeds poor work life balance from the very top down. And if anyone from there disagrees they are part of the slacker group. JPL needs to look at the market closer when giving salaries otherwise the turnover will increase because there are other places to work. Lots of people complain about pay and time off and it falls on deaf ears and then they wonder why so many people are leaving.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Do NOT consider a contract position at JPL"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Harrisburg, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Harrisburg, PA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    It seems that they treat employees well but don't try to work there as a contractor. It was a very nice environment with creative employees. It's very unfortunate that they make false promises to get quality contract employees that they have no intention of retaining for their full contract.

    Cons

    JPL is known in the Harrisburg Area to be one of the worst to Contract Employees. They promise people full time positions for 6 months to a year or longer and then don't fulfill that promise. I've seen people with families leave their secure position at another company to work at JPL only to have their contract expired within a month with no explanation.

    Advice to Management

    JPL should conduct business responsibly and treat contract employees with respect rather than expendable commodities. They're getting quite a negative reputation in the IT Staffing Community and respectable companies are reluctant to do business with them.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "JPL is overrated, inefficient, ineffective, and has some serious organizational defects"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Web Dev Group Thoroughly Disappointed In JPL in Harrisburg, PA
    Former Employee - Web Dev Group Thoroughly Disappointed In JPL in Harrisburg, PA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    1 relaxed work from home options where job-appropriate
    2 relaxed dress-code
    3 company activities
    4 laid-back work environment in-general
    5. Free, good coffee
    6. crazy characters on staff

    Cons

    1 incredibly inefficient and wasteful
    2 question the experience and competence of management and leadership (I do not think most of them would survive in business outside of JPL)
    3 collaborative communication within certain areas of the business are not effective or efficient
    4 they seem cash-poor based on allocation of resources in all departments
    5 crazy characters on staff

    In summary, while this company likes to tout its "Best Places to Work in Central PA" awards, after being here for a brief time, I've concluded that it is way overrated; heavy on the fluff, light on the substance. I would never recommend a motivated, competent professional who cares about their business and business relationships to make a commitment here. When I first spoke with someone about JPL's supposed culture, they told me that there is more to a job than shorts and sandals; I now understand his passing remark.

    Advice to Management

    If you want to thrive, you need to seek-out more competent leadership and management/leadership that is dedicated to making your company succeed -- not just serve themselves. You also need to treat staff from all areas of your business with equal respect and try harder to foster productive communication and interaction between the groups (not just play-time). Frankly, I'm surprised you guys are still surviving this economy. I had such high expectations for the work environment and had disregarded warnings from others about the disorganization, but now I am convinced that the positive press was either hype, only certain sub-groups of the organization actually love working there, or that people there have never worked anywhere else so don't know any better.

    You could go so much further if you could combine your approach to a work-environment with a leadership and staff that is dedicated to performance and improvement. I am so disappointed and depressed with JPL; it's really disheartening as I had such high-expectations.


  9. "great company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 JPL Integrated Communications full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    They pay attention to what employees say and are transparent around where the company is going. Profit share is good. You get a training budget to stay on top of learning about your craft, and there is a sense that you can affect the company through the relationships you have with clients and each other. I've stayed here as long as I have because the work is interesting, everyone is fair and the people are great.

    You can work from home and there's flexibility in schedules so that you don't live at the office. The bring your baby to work program is helpful to new moms, too. Pretty even split of women-men in most roles.

    Cons

    Getting in the door can take a while and they are careful about who they hire. Clients are demanding.


  10. "Great company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great company that cares about its employees
    Great talent working within the company

    Cons

    Sometimes when big projects come there seems to not be enough time to complete all of the work.


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