SmartBrief Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

SmartBrief Washington Reviews

27 reviews

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Washington, DC

2.9
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SmartBrief President & CEO Rick Stamberger
Rick Stamberger
10 Ratings

27 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"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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. Helpful (2)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

  3. "Sales and Marketing Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Sales Operations in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - Sales Operations in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SmartBrief as a contractor (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Depending on which of the teams you were working for, the people were knowledgeable and resourceful,l especially regarding content distribution. In the particular group, I was in, I found innovation and creativity were encouraged and we were open to sharing results and trying different methodologies to get the sales and marketing objectives met.

    Cons

    There was an obvious disconnect between senior management and what was going on in the trenches. On more than one occasion, certain projects were abandoned or delayed because communication was happening on all the right levels. Some of the people that had been there for some time were very "content" with the old way of doing things and were not necessarily interesting in exploring new strategies.

    Advice to Management

    Make a long term and short term plan and make sure that all the employees know what role they play in getting this plan accomplished.


  4. "Okay culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    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.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "A sad place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Going sideways. Very slowly."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Innovative people with lack of motivation."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Beware"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  9. "Great experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at SmartBrief as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Everyone there loves each other which makes for a very fun environment.

    Cons

    No cons at this time.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Felt compelled to write a review for this internship -- Web Developer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Junior Developer in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Junior Developer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at SmartBrief as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    So many pros to be honest. Every other week during the summer we have company wide happy hour events. At 4pm the company gathered and did things like: Sang Karoake, Played Beer Pong, Raffled Prizes, Got Hypnotized by a "professional" hynotist.

    It was a really fun experience and there really are alot of great people working here right now. I can't speak for how it used to be, I saw old reviews on here that trashed the company but honest to goodness this was an incredible intern experience.

    The management style in the Tech department was really hands off and they allowed me to build a web page and helped me with making that happen, It made me want to be better and work harder knowing that gave me the respect and trust of working on my own without micro management. There are so many smart, funny, and friendly people in the Tech department, really no complaints at all.

    Can I say also that the CEO Rick Stamberger really seems like a great guy, we had an intern project we had to pitch to him and he is such an encouraging person and just wants to see you succeed, he doesn't want to pick you apart. It really rubs off and you feel compelled to work harder.

    Cons

    Ok so maybe it was a bit of a double edged sword when I said that the management was hands off, because I didn't receive alot of 'training' per say.

     This was really just due to the fact that the Tech deparment is going through a process of dealing with old legacy code and reforming their code to be more state of the art. Long story short, they are overworked it seems.

    This lead to my supervisor trying to juggle pressing issues with teaching me beginners web development. So really I was left to fend for myself, which I actually really enjoyed but I do wish they had more time for me. All in all not that big of a con and could be remedied by the time a new intern comes around and the Tech team has grown thus disributing the workload more evenly.

    Advice to Management

    Keep in the direction you are going, expand the Tech department because I feel the projects could get more ambitious and really pay off in the long run.


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