Manifest Digital Reviews in Chicago, IL | Glassdoor

Manifest Digital Chicago Reviews

36 reviews

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Chicago, IL Area

2.4
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Jason Benedict
13 Ratings

36 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Casual workplace and great people, generally (in 5 reviews)

  • I met amazing people during my time there and still have lasting relationships with them (in 2 reviews)

Cons
  • Senior management is both devious and clueless (in 5 reviews)

  • No one cares about how you feel (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Once the dust settles - could be a good place to be"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Manifest Digital full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Passionate, intelligent people who want results and get right to the point - this makes up the majority of the leadership that worked at Manifest when I was there.

    A merger with another agency had introduced a good deal of opportunity into the mix for those who are willing to battle the chaos and ambiguity that come with any merger of this size.

    Cons

    1) The merger with another large agency (which itself was still just getting settled in after a previous merger), had introduced quite a bit of chaos into the day-to-day, at the time of my departure.

    2) The agency world grows more competitive by the month. Clients continue to move work in-house. Agencies will need to continue to evolve to survive in the next decade, and Manifest is no exception.

    Advice to Management

    What is the agency focused on as revenue streams? What are its core competencies? Answers to these questions will pave the road ahead.


  2. "Change is good."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The environment is built on "do what you can to make it better" - you are always given the opportunity to work "beyond your title"

    Cons

    There is a lot of change. Always a lot of change. Is it good or bad? Only time will tell.

    Advice to Management

    Pick a path, and stick with it.

  3. "Cutting Edge Work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Manifest Digital (More than a year)

    Pros

    Grade A clients, awesome works space location in downtown, dev leadership smart and great to work with.

    Cons

    On some of the projects, requirements changed and the dev team took the hit in meeting very aggressive deadlines. However they were very large scale projects, and that can tend to happen.

    Advice to Management

    Keep on providing a great culture / environment.


  4. Helpful (16)

    "No focus. Crummy CEO."

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

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

    Pros

    The people have big hearts and want to do great work. The employee ambition is in place. There's opportunities for advancement but it's due to the high turnover.

    Cons

    The talent is OK. Small pockets of smart people carry the load. The CEO has a really large ego; he's absent. I don't know where we should focus. Do we do Digital, or Print, or Content, or Mobile, or Technology? We're too small to be competent across everything. The answer to my focus question is "This is a priority" without action or leads in place to define what this means. We're too small to be competent across everything, which makes my job painful. Acquisitions are a walking hangover because few people here know what to do after the deal is inked.

    Advice to Management

    Pick a direction, and deliver on it well. Don't let the CEO interact with employees.


  5. Helpful (6)

    "A Changing Agency"

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

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

    Pros

    I came into Manifest to manage a strategic project. A year ago, I would have never worked for this organization, but the leadership convinced me that they are interested in changing the work environment for the better. As I convert to a full-time role, that change will be one of my responsibilities. I have no doubts that this change is desired from the very top. I also have no doubts that it will happen. This change requires active participation.

    Cons

    There is a lot of uncertainty during change. Manifest is in an acquisition phase, and the design business is rapidly changing. As with many organizations, this can make people anxious. I tend to thrive when the possibilities broaden and responsibilities become less formal. Change brings opportunity.

    Advice to Management

    I see the negative reviews and feel some anxiousness. I would suggest communicating change from the bottom up. I would suggest letting people help create the environment that they desire. It would also be helpful to make the decisions necessary to promote these changes in a more timely manner. The first rule of change management is to communicate.


  6. Helpful (14)

    "I don't miss it..."

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

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

    Pros

    I met amazing people during my time there and still have lasting relationships with them. I grew tremendously while there, but it was because I was thrown into a sink or swim environment.

    Cons

    Top heavy and they don't care about their employees. I had a few serious issues that I brought to the attention of HR and leadership, but nothing was done about it. They don't care about their employee experience. Lots of talk about improving, but nothing happens.

    Advice to Management

    Look at the true root of your problem. It's certain people on your leadership team and not the employees. Talk is cheap, do what you say you're going to do. You'll keep losing the best people if you don't. Oh, wait, most of them were laid off or left at their own accord.


  7. Helpful (13)

    "Just left the company, not putting title"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good people (but they are all leaving)
    Great location in Chicago
    Cool history, original idea of a UX industry leader was ahead of its time, once was a great place
    Flexible work hours, they are on the move and competitive in letting people work remotely
    They just opened other offices, so travel could be cool if they stay in business

    Cons

    Bad management, senior management with C's in their title don't know what they are doing
    Staff want to quit, will just be asked to turn in their security key, they don't care
    The president can't run a company of this size but is not going anywhere, in over her head
    Everyone comes to work afraid, then has to smile or they will be fired, low morale but has to be hidden so they think we are all fine, those who've tried to speak up get fired or demoted so when they ask say nice things and keep your mouth shut
    HR there could be good but they have no authority, they do what the president says to do
    Management is defensive and insecure so they brag about themselves on the website
    They think taking you for a drink will fix everything, everyone goes and has to just smile

    Advice to Management

    Get new leadership unless you do not want to be a UX leader anymore. Does anyone work in UX there anymore? Do you still have any clients left?
    Bring in more mid-level managers to work with us on a daily basis without disappearing
    Let people know who to go to other than the president to be heard without hurting their careers
    The CEO could be good but he only listens to the president and is out of touch with what is happening, he should find a way to talk to staff about what is really happening for himself
    Put more training into place and start caring about your employees more
    Pay better. Everyone leaving is getting better paying jobs and we are all helping each other so there will be more people leaving. Stop making promises you don't keep.
    Get better benefits. The market is good and your benefits are OK at best
    Get more help in HR and put out more of their programs which are good but not enough of them
    Fix your website which is embarrassing and maybe why you have no clients anymore
    Do not trust people who make you look bad and should not have a C title, listen to your employees
    Spread out the authority there so it is a group, not one person, have Jason Benedict visit more and talk to staff about their jobs, not just small talk. The CEO seems to know what he is doing but he is too far removed and should bring in more executives to help him.

  8. Helpful (10)

    "A Quickly Sinking Ship"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Decent compensation, including good insurance and vacation time

    -All you can drink La Croix

    -Good weekly snacks

    Cons

    -Latest company change is due to lack of business, and a need to find a different income source to cover pay roll and expenses

    - In a 150 person company, the CEO never speaks or interacts with employees. He never gets to know anyone other than his senior management, and treats everyone like nameless, interchangeable tools.

    -Account Management rules the company, often over selling services that do not exist, and forcing project managers to clean up the many, many problems they create. Project Managers are blamed for everything that goes wrong, when 90% of the issues are client services based. Client retention is very low

    -Middle management has no spine; they won't back up employees, and let upper management walk over everyone

    -Employee retention is very, very low: 35%-40% turn over a year is standard.

    -They burn through employees with long hours, poorly articulated deliverables, no career development, and no management support

    -a complete, and utter mess. To be avoided at all costs.

    Advice to Management

    Clean house. Remove upper management, focus on your core talent (UX, not content), focus on employee retention. Establish a new PM/AM relationship for shared responsibility and accountability. Create a formal review and career path for employees; don't let them rot in their positions for years with no potential.


  9. Helpful (13)

    "Stifling, Despite Acres of Chalkboard Paint and Dry Erase Walls"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The office space, amenities, and building give the impression that Manifest Digital is actually a really cool, innovative, interesting, successful place.

    Work, at least in my department, could be left at work.

    Cons

    The only department that appeared to be growing in my time there was the HR department which was roundly distrusted and for good reason.

    Leadership was either non-existent or willfully absent, and the culture (if you could call it that), is one of paranoia, unease, and a pervasive disinterest in engaging with coworkers on any level.

    When I first worked there I assumed that everyone was just a snob — no eye contact when you pass each other in the hallway, barely any interaction... but after being there for a bit you realize that the office has been overturning so frequently that no one really was willing to make connections because no one knew who would still be working there the next week. I had read that opinion before (on this site, and on AgencySpy) but assumed it was hyperbole.

    It's not.

    Any attempts to create a culture were quashed by some shadowy force(s) in the agency. Attempts at personality, joy, enthusiasm, or irreverence was be quickly and efficiently stifled, maintaining the status quo of all-around disheartenment.

    Advice to Management

    Rent the office space out for weddings and private events because it's so cool. It is likely a more profitable business plan than what is currently happening.

    I know it's not how these things work, but please just begin phasing this agency out — allow whatever employees are still there to interview during their lunch hours and slowly start shutting the doors.

    It would be an admirable, cutting-edge, forward-thinking, compassionate thing to do for an agency that really has never been any of those things.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "Good potential, mostly wasted"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - User Experience in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - User Experience in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Manifest, like most agencies, has many amazing and talented people
    Work/Life balance is generally good

    Cons

    Leadership is completely disconnected from staff
    Leadership is mostly disconnected from clients and the work
    Leadership is mostly disconnected from reality

    Advice to Management

    Be more engaged, spend time thinking about the work, staff, and clients


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