PEP Reviews | Glassdoor

PEP Reviews

Updated July 3, 2017
70 reviews

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3.4
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PEP President Dave Kroeger
Dave Kroeger
53 Ratings

70 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Serious commitment to work-life balance (in 21 reviews)

  • I read in one of the reviews how Pep is not a real project management company and how what they do is not real (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • High turnover - everyone I know leaves the company, hardly do people stay after 2 years (in 7 reviews)

  • Leadership will tell you that the perks make up for the low pay but if you take the time to do research you will find that this is not true (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Account Executive"

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

    Pros

    Fun & Flexible environment, ability to work directly with clients

    Cons

    Low salary, limited growth opportunities at the time


  2. Helpful (9)

    "The Cons Greatly Outnumber the Pros"

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

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

    Pros

    Good medical benefits. No set number of sick days to care for yourself or your spouse/child with doctor’s note. Clean work environment. Convenient, company-paid parking. There are groups of kind people who are easy to befriend and get along with. Monthly happy “hours”. Ability to flex your time. Monday through Friday work schedule. Paid holidays. Special perks distributed at beginning of the year (gift cards, memberships, time off, etc).

    Cons

    Depends. Possibly very few if you have a decent human being for a manager and your co-workers aren’t poisonous pit vipers. It’s a slippery slope with a culture so closely mimicking high school. It’s all about the people, so the cons largely depend on what position you’re in and who you work for/with. Unlike high school though, at Pep not “fitting in” doesn’t cost you a social life, it costs you a living.

    I could go on and on with examples, but it all boils down to an obvious double standard. If you’re at the cool kids table, you’re loving life; opportunities for growth, training, face-time with management, work = social life +1, 20 minutes late every day = promotion, mistakes = “no worries, we’ll find a scape goat”, gold stars, A+, etc. Not so cool? Well then expectations are as they should be in a professional work environment for you, but management still has no responsibility. Don’t want to blabber on and on about what you’re going to do this weekend, omg? Don’t think, speak, act and learn just like they do? Not a mind reader? Then you’re the problem. Management can’t be inconvenienced by such menial management-type tasks such as coaching, teaching or even bothering to show up to regularly scheduled one on ones. No. Their solution is passive aggression, humiliation and bullying. Professional attitudes in my department were non-existent. My co-workers and manager regularly spoke terribly of good people behind their backs. Communication was rarely professional and regularly demeaning. Co-workers in my department regularly made our internal customers uncomfortable with their abrasive and belittling attitudes. I will never understand where the horrible people I worked with got their sense of entitlement to treat others like “lesser thans” but more and more they seemed to be getting rewarded for it in their careers. So it appears that’s what Pep values. In general, Pep replies to these reviews to have the last word, so take it all for what it’s worth. I think it’s obvious that 90% of the cons fall directly on a handful of nasty people with too much power and not enough experience dealing with the people side of managing. Many people are happy at this company and have successful careers, there’s no debate. And there are a lot of really great people, that’s certainly true. But there’s no denying that there’s a strong theme. Despite Pep’s “apparent” attempts to turn their ship away from this reputation, there are still individuals wielding enough power to keep the catty, cliquey, downright “Mean Girls” culture very, very alive. I’m sure when they see this, they’ll promptly IM each other to go to Starbucks and discuss at length.

    About the company as a whole: I know there are other pockets of individuals in similar situations, so it is not an isolated situation. But there are still good, decent people that are very friendly and want the best for others. It only takes a few bad apples…and Pep has more than enough. The monthly happy hours are designed to be two hours long, but don't stay more than 20 minutes. I have heard of management holding this against good employees. The turnover seems pretty high because a lot of people have similar experiences to mine and see what Pep is really about. Either that or they leave for more money, which can be another con. Also, if you work for Pep and decide to leave…be very careful to whom you disclose where you’re going. It has been said that management will call your future employer in an attempt to tarnish your reputation before you get there.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs to learn to adapt to how quickly it is growing. They can't continue to be the cool place to work while being successful and not getting sued for discrimination. There’s way too much favoritism and inconsistency in treatment among employees and it’s going to get them in trouble if they don’t get a handle on it. Instead of being the cool place to work, be the professional and fair place to work. Care about your employees enough to help them grow instead of feeling empowered by their weakness. Upper management needs to pay more attention to what’s going on within the teams under them and take employee feedback more to heart.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Stepping Stone"

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

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

    Pros

    - Free downtown parking
    - Mini perks selections every November with open enrollment ($100 gift cards, work from home 1x/week after 1 year of employment if your supervisor approves, etc.)
    - emerging Employee Resource Groups... could be a really positive thing once they reach potential
    - CAPM and PMP certifications paid for (catch: you must remain working w/ pep for I believe at least 1 year after you earn your certification, or else you pay them back)
    - sounds really good on paper (i.e., your resume) to be working with big clients like P&G, J&J, Heinz, etc.
    - spirit Fridays 1x/month (excuse to have some free beers with coworkers from 3-5pm on designated Fridays)
    - Volunteer opportunities with the Freestore Foodbank
    - mentor program. New employees are assigned a mentor who is a current pep employee. I know some people had the unfortunate experience of being assigned a mentor who quit their job at pep shortly after, but my experience was positive.

    Cons

    - training. I think feedback on training is currently being taken seriously, but my experience was sitting in a room and watching powerpoint presentations being read by people who clearly had no desire to be there giving this presentation yet again (high turnover = constant training). This goes on for about two weeks in no logical order. My suggestion would be to have the trainings correlate with the lifecycle of a promotion, and have trainees "manage" a fake promo from start to finish during those two weeks of training. Every team has different types of promotions, so trainings that are relevant to specific team placement would be helpful too.

    - it's been said on Glassdoor several times, but the high turnover really hurts pep morale. There are people in leadership positions or expertise roles that don't really have leadership or other applicable experience. Brands notice it too. One of my clients, when I told her about who would replace me upon leaving, said "I wonder how long we can keep this one."

    - feeling like the middle-man. pep declares that its employees are critical members of a brand's promotions & marketing, but - at least for the clients I had experience with - pep AE's are viewed as admin assistants. I spent a lot of my time copying and pasting replies from client to vendor and vice versa. Clients could really use some better understanding of pep's processes and capabilities, but I worry that they already have ingrained in their minds that we just take the grunt work.

    - pay. Not much else to be said here. And don't even think about asking for a pay raise, even if you want be a strong, independent woman. That's something I would take back from my time at pep because it completely ruined the few positives in my relationship with my supervisor. pep took it as a personal offense that I wanted more money (sorry, $40k for 50+ hour weeks is hard to justify) and walked me through an hour-long conversation about it and warned me not to bring it up again.

    - lack of diversity. It is so very easy to feel uncomfortable if you are not a 20-something, white female (who is recently engaged/recently married/pregnant, I might add). Gave the company a sorority feel and not many opportunities to find people who have similar interests or backgrounds.

    - workload. Some reviews claim that there is no expectation to work more than 40 hours per week, but my experience (and the experience of others) was very much the opposite. On more than one occasion, I brought up that I was working late and on some Saturdays, and the reply from my then-supervisor was "yeah, that happens." Happens for 6 months straight with no end in sight? Not worth it to me. And some teams don't have that issue, so it would be helpful to look into workload balances among individual employees and among teams.

    PEP Response

    Jun 16, 2017 – Talent Acquisition Supervisor

    This was a very constructive review and we really appreciate the time you took to provide it! Part of our biggest struggle as a growing organization is that we have company values and expectations of... More


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Project Management Company - Good Stepping Stone"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cincinnati, OH
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cincinnati, OH
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great project management experience. Great Client Base. Opportunities to learn the details of various program types and execute them. A few really great leaders who care about and develop their employees. Great perks (Free parking, annual gift cards/certificates). I'd recommend this position to someone passionate about project management, is new to marketing, or fresh out of college.

    Cons

    Project management company, but many enter with the idea that they will get traditional marketing experience. Senior leadership has made some unethical decisions in the past few years yet questions the loyalty of their employees who decide to leave. Many employees are underpaid and have heavy workloads. Perks do not pay the bills.

    Advice to Management

    For many people, this job is a stepping stone into the marketing world. Appreciate those who do stay, but learn to accept that it's the norm for people to move on after a while (especially since research on millennials shows that it's become the norm).

    PEP Response

    Jun 5, 2017 – Talent Acquisition Supervisor

    Thanks for taking the time to write a review and express your views on the pros and cons of our organization. It appears you worked with us for several years so we are grateful for your service!

    I... More


  5. Helpful (13)

    "The Fun Is Not In The Details"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - P&G Team in Cincinnati, OH
    Former Employee - P&G Team in Cincinnati, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Mini-Perks: These are nice incentives handed out once a year just because.
    Spirit Fridays: Drink beer on a Friday during the month and hang out with co-workers. Hosted by the "Spirit Committee".
    Free Parking: Extremely nice parking location downtown.
    Co-Workers Become Friends: Very fun group of people to work with. Large majority very young.
    Vacation: Standard two weeks and you can buy more days of vacation. I will say though that there is something odd about "buying" vacation. Along the lines of a backhanded compliment.
    Training: They will put you through trainings at their expense, which is nice if you take advantage of it.
    Big Brands: You get to work with some major brand names which is very cool and a great résumé builder. The people you meet who work for those brands is hit or miss, but most are insanely knowledgeable and just all around great people.
    Mentor Program: From day one, you are assigned a mentor within the company that is higher up. They can teach you a lot and are really good resources. However, if your mentor leaves the company (good possibility), you lose your mentor and won't get another one for quite some time. I know this from experience.
    Pep Rally: It's fun, it's free and it gets you out of the office. Plus, you learn a good amount from the vendor clinics they host during the pep rally.

    Cons

    Spirit Fridays: They are more or less used so you can meet the 10 new hires of that week. Turnover is incredibly high, regardless of what they say. It's akin to a college class graduating. Everyone leaves at the same time and in high quantities.
    Making You Feel Valued: I can assure you that upper management will axe you without a second thought. Yea, they might put you on an "Action Plan" so you can prove you can work there, but to most all employees, it's known as a death sentence and I saw it take out a good amount of people. Most say there is little chance that you can pass an Action Plan.
    Honesty Not Encouraged: You'll for sure get in trouble for speaking out and standing up for what you think is right. (Whoever responds to this from the company will say that this concerns them because they respond to almost every bad review so their polished look won't be tarnished.)
    College Lifestyle: Pep won't send you back to school, but they will adopt you into their Greek house of a company. If you're listening Pep, which you are, my vote for a company mascot is "Smoke & Mirrors". That might be too creative for you though...
    Tries To Be Cool: This was true when I was there, not sure anymore, but at one point, the HR department renamed itself the "People, Culture and Development Team" and their "roar" was "Train, retrain and retain!" So cool. Did I mention that selfie sticks were received as a gift during a Pep Rally? #LikeICantEven #CollegeLife
    Management: Woof. A large majority of management is full of weenies. They are so brainwashed in the Pep life that they know nothing other than it. A LOT of them don't know how to lead or grow a team.

    Advice to Management

    ::: To Potential Applicants :::
    As the great Steve Jobs once said, "Keep looking. Don't Settle." You'd be settling if you chose this company. There are plenty of project management firms out there and they are much better and more than likely pay way more. Yea, Pep was voted "Best Workplace in Cincinnati" 4 years in a row, but I can tell you that I have no clue who filled out those surveys (upper management?). Everyone I asked at the company didn't fill one out and I was friends with a large majority of workers there.

    ::: To Management and Glassdoor Cleaners :::
    Grow up. People who work at this company can see through the facade you're putting forward. You're trying to be the non-corporate corporate company that still wants to be viewed as cool but is just failing miserably at it. Equate it to the teacher's pet in high school, said person was always by the teacher's side but wanted to still hang out with the cool kids. You can't have both and Pep is the poster child for that lifestyle. Treat employees with respect and not as disposable numbers like you do. If someone doesn't mesh with a team, don't get rid of them just because. Maybe they had a crap supervisor or the work wasn't stimulating enough for them. Nothing is sacred to your company and it shows to people who have been there long enough. Go ahead and respond to my negative review. I know you will. Your track record proves it. To an outsider looking in though, it only shows one thing... insecurity.

    PEP Response

    Mar 2, 2017 – Talent Acquisition Supervisor

    First of all, I want to commend your passion for writing such a long and detailed response on a Saturday! We love passion at pep- I am sure that's what we saw in you :) As predicted, we will be... More


  6. Helpful (5)

    "AE"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at PEP full-time

    Pros

    -Not expected to work more than 40 hours a week.
    -Working with some of the biggest clients out there like P&G, Kraft, Heinz. Great resume builder. Learn from your clients.
    -Cell phone bill: They pay up to $48 on your bill, more if you are a manager.

    Cons

    -Lack of Maturity. The environment is very young and the managers are very young! This turns into a high school environment! Lots of drama. Your manager acts like a 16 year old instead of a working professional. NOT the place to build your career. This is ONLY good for an entry level job, regardless if they say they're avg age is now 28. Sad to say, but those who are 28 and over are still stuck in high school mindset at PEP. Like I said, this is a place for ENTRY LEVEL ONLY!
    -High turnover - everyone I know leaves the company, hardly do people stay after 2 years. The company is known for their turnover, the clients see it, the vendors see it ,we all see it.
    -Pay is NOT competitive at all compared to what Project Managers get paid, even though the Director or Client Managers will try arguing that. It is 100% low pay. Every person who left PEP, is getting paid at least 10k more gauranteed. The promotions are a joke, you get a MAX of $1000 - $3000 per promotion, and they treat it as if it is so difficult to obtain. I would say it is fine for entry level but leave right after 1 year. You WILL get paid more somewhere else. Again, this is not a place where you build a REAL CAREER.
    -Never take any advice or feedback. No matter how many people quit, and leave the same feedback, write paragraph reviews on Glassdoor, etc - management will not change one thing. Leadership does not change or listen. Even though the response on this Glassdoor comment will try to say otherwise.
    -Treat you like high school students. If you have to leave 1 hour early or have a doctor appointment during the day, you HAVE to ask for manager approval and send out a calendar invite for the whole world to see and it needs to be in advance. If you are 15 minutes late, you have to text your manager. Notice the high school trend I was talking about?

    Entry level job only! Stay for 1 year then go build a real career.

    Advice to Management

    LISTEN to those who provide feedback about the low pay, high school environment, lack of mature leadership and do something about it. Focus less on responding to Glassdoor reviews trying to argue otherwise, and take ownership of how everyone truly VIEWS the company: high turnover, young, highschool, lack of leadership.

    PEP Response

    Mar 17, 2017 – Account Executive

    “Thank you for your feedback. Our leadership team took your advice to focus less on Glassdoor reviews, so I happily volunteered to respond:
    - Career Growth: At pep it is important to us that... More


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great Environment, Great Experience"

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

    I worked at PEP full-time

    Pros

    The main thing that makes Pep a fun place to work are the people. Very fun, positive, hard-working co-workers.
    Working with Pep's clients is great experience and looks wonderful on a resume.
    Pep offers great benefits and perks.

    Cons

    The pay is far too low for the work we do and workload we are expected to handle. Pay is not competitive (no matter how many times leadership repeats that it is)- nearly any other PM agency position in Cincinnati starts at least $7-10K higher.
    Workload can vary wildly from team to team and employee to employee. Many teams/individuals are overloaded with no help given.
    Disconnect between senior leadership and the rest of the company (feels like higher ups vs. those down in the trenches, doing the work).

    Advice to Management

    Try to make sure to stay connected to AEs/SAEs/ACs and the work they do every day. Listen to them when they tell you they're overwhelmed, versus pulling a report to tell them they're not at full capacity.
    If you want to slow down turnover, pay employees fairly for the hard work they do for the company.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Good experience, and that's about it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Executive
    Former Employee - Account Executive
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Competitive pay, fun environment, good perks

    Cons

    My satellite office was basically an accounts payable department for the client we were assigned to, company as a whole is very clique-ish during company events, pretty sure (like 95% sure) CEO is sleeping with a few employees

    Advice to Management

    Grow up

    PEP Response

    Dec 14, 2016

    We’re pleased that you found our pay and perks competitive and our work environment fun. We continue to work toward making employees from satellite offices feel part of the team at company-wide... More


  9. "Account Coordinator"

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

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

    Pros

    Great people, lots of young employees and room to grow from Account Coordinator to Account Executive. Great place to get your start in consumer promotions and marketing.

    Cons

    There seems to be a disconnect from Pep HQ in Cincinnati and the satellite teams.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on helping satellite teams grow.


  10. "Account Executive"

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

    Pros

    Pep hires very enthusiastic individuals and provides a lot of support to new hires.

    Cons

    Working in a satellite can be challenging.


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