SmartBrief Reviews | Glassdoor

SmartBrief Reviews

Updated November 22, 2016
45 reviews

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2.9
Star Star Star Star Star
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SmartBrief President & CEO Rick Stamberger
Rick Stamberger
18 Ratings

45 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The culture and location of the office is very appealing to many young adults and its obvious to see why with the beer machine and ping pong tables (in 9 reviews)

  • The work/life balance here is pretty well respected (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Mis-management of entry level employees (in 4 reviews)

  • There was an obvious disconnect between senior management and what was going on in the trenches (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "happy contractor"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - HTML Coder in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - HTML Coder in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at SmartBrief (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fantastic office culture and co-workers

    Cons

    I can't think of any


  2. "Practice what you preach more"

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

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

    Pros

    Great product, mostly great people, fun perks, great culture

    Cons

    managers don't always communicate effectively, pay is lower than market value


  3. "Intern Perspective"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great environment and even better people! Flexible hours, external work bonding events. Ability to travel.

    Cons

    Lack of diversity in the workforce.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "SmartBrief struggles with lack of strategic direction, management challenges"

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

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

    Pros

    Lots of hardworking employees, particularly at the lower level. Great and capable tech and content teams. Good and interesting product. Good work life balance.

    Cons

    There is a severe dearth of leadership at the company that translates through every level of the organization. Bad management at the middle manager level compounds this problem, meaning turnover is high. Some teams offer too liberal an interpretation of work/life balance, meaning there is flexibility in terms of working hours but too little accountability when it comes to deliverables and goals.

    Advice to Management

    Fire incompetent employees, particularly those at the management level. Emphasize the importance of good management and provide training for employees that have recently been promoted to a managerial role Create clear, transparent growth tracks for all departments and teams.


  6. "Okay culture"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Copy Editor in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Copy Editor in Washington, DC
    Recommends

    Pros

    Managers are firm but fair and helpful. Performance reviews are actually used to help people get better at what they do. And I've never had any problem when asking for time off.

    Cons

    Pay is low for freelancers.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "A sad place"

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

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

    Pros

    Great location close to many different train lines, the kitchen is bright and the patio is inviting. Free beer is great when it's actually stocked.

    Cons

    This is not a place where you go to push yourself and advance your career, this is a place where your career dies and you spend most of your time realizing why everyone leaves this place disgusted and exhausted.

    Advice to Management

    Ask your employees if they're happy.


  8. Helpful (5)

    "Going sideways. Very slowly."

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

    I worked at SmartBrief full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I loved the people I worked with. SmartBrief is a good place to work as an entry- and mid-level employee. Because it operates in so many different industries it offers a unique, high-level overview of the mechanics behind various industries and types of businesses. The motto, "save busy professionals time and keep them smart" may not be an earth-shattering aspiration, but it affords a nice sense of contributing positively to the world. The core product is a good one.

    Cons

    As one gets closer to senior management, dysfunctional aspects of the leadership structure become apparent. The CEO and CFO are co-founders, and it's not clear who is in charge. The CFO is hands off. I'm not confident he understands the needs of the business in an era of tough competition. The CEO is largely hands off, but will occasionally involve himself--often after the fact--in lower-level decisions like the design of marketing collateral and entry-level hiring. The CEO's behavior is generally inconsistent. He seems to change his mind repeatedly about small things, which causes an unhelpful amount of confusion and factionalism in the management ranks.

    If there is a larger strategy for growth and innovation, other than "do what we're doing, but more of it," it has not been fully communicated.

    Advice to Management

    Take a look around at the pockets of excellence in the company: who is hitting the goals they've set for themselves? Who is assisting in their colleagues' success? Who is ensuring that the various types of clients and partners are served? Invest in those people.

    Also look at pockets of resistance: where does momentum go to die? Where do projects stall out? Who consistently says, "we can't do that?" Make sure those folks aren't empowered to get in their colleagues' way.

    Delegate authority, for real, and hold people accountable.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Innovative people with lack of motivation."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - QA Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - QA Engineer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    SmartBrief has many very motivated people and great ideas. The culture and location of the office is very appealing to many young adults and its obvious to see why with the beer machine and ping pong tables.

    Cons

    With the amount of motivated people there is an equal amount of high level employees killing that motivation with their attitude and lack of will to innovate and use new products. Very constricting and makes the job quickly become stale.

    Advice to Management

    Use your employees ideas and get rid of the outsourced work. Sending work to other companies is a bit offensive when we have enough developers to get things done.

    Pay your employees better.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Beware"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time

    Pros

    Laid back, lots of young people, fun happy hours. if you just need a job for a few months while you look for something better, its not a bad place.

    Cons

    Lots of companies have layoffs or let people go. But only at Smart Brief do they fire the most productive people who work the hardest but leave the slackers and under performers. After the layoffs in December a lot of junior people started leaving on their own because tehy saw their bosses who they loved were treated so badly. Now lots of departments don't have enough people to do the work. it doesnt take a wizard to predict that more people will leave soon. And that means more work for the rest of us who stay.

    Advice to Management

    I don't have any. Its too late. Keep collecting your big checks and enjoy the downward slide.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Positive working environment at a growing media company"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The people are the best thing about SmartBrief. Everyone is enthusiastic about our products and mission. It's gratifying to work with a group of people who all believe in what we're doing. Although there isn't always another position or promotion on the horizon, there are always opportunities to do and learn more. I've held three different jobs at the company, but I've done something different almost every year I've been there. The key is to identify the opportunities you want (beyond just a title) and start working toward them. This is a company that rewards proactive and innovative thinkers if you act on your ideas. The company also offers a a considerable amount of flexibility, depending on what your job is. I particularly benefited from that flexibility when I returned to work after maternity leave (slow transition back, some regular work-from-home days, schedule shift to accommodate my child care, etc).

    Cons

    It's a small-to-medium-sized company, so there isn't always another position to move into when you think you've mastered the one you're in. There aren't necessarily a lot of promotional opportunities. But because the company is always changing, there is always something new to work on. Sometimes you just have to think outside of what you're assigned. That often means working longer hours or really moving outside your comfort zone, but it's almost always worth it to work on something that challenges or engages you. No one is going to tell you what you can do to expand your opportunities for growth in the company -- you need to find it yourself. That's an idea that can be freeing to some people and daunting to others.

    Advice to Management

    More structured training around building leadership skills.



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