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Sparxoo Reviews

Updated Jun 17, 2019

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Found 22 reviews

1.7
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
13%
Recommend to a Friend
9%
Approve of CEO
Sparxoo CEO David Capece (no image)
David Capece
10 Ratings
  1. Helpful (3)

    "Director"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Tampa, FL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Sparxoo full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Sparxoo is an ambitious company with exciting goals and good leadership. All employees are given the opportunity to grow within their role and learn new skills that interest them and align with their strengths. As a new parent, Sparxoo has exceeded my expectations in creating an environment that is welcoming to new parents and promotes a family-friendly workplace.

    Cons

    None at this time.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to invest in current employees, both in terms of training, advancement opportunities and culture activities.

    Sparxoo2017-03-07
  2. Helpful (16)

    "From “promising” to “disappointing”"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Sparxoo full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Beautiful, modern office. Regular free food, happy hour, champagne etc. Talented coworkers.

    Cons

    I, like many other people, joined Sparxoo based on the image they projected and what I was told during my interview. You see the website, you see the office, you meet some of the team and you just immediately think “Wow, this is awesome.” But once you start working, reality sets in. A lot of what I have to say has been repeated in other reviews, but in my experience: - Turnover and churn is at nearly 100%... annually. Seriously, if you interview with them you should ask about employee retention metrics and watch them squirm in their seats. You may wonder why . . . - Timelines and clients are mismanaged. Sparxoo often promises clients work or projects and often doesn’t even have the staff to perform the work. It’s just assumed things will get figured out, but it’s pretty hard to complete a content project with there are ZERO writers on staff, or a paid media project when there are ZERO paid media people on staff, because they quit weeks or months ago. They do always seem to have designers, but the designers are worked to death and forced to pull all-nighters constantly. Understaffing is constantly an issue because people are always quitting. - Sparxoo will try to fix these issues through arbitrary team restructuring and management changes but these changes only matter on paper; nothing changes day to day regardless of what team you are on or who you report to; you will always have too much work and no way to get it done. If you somehow do get it done, it will be so sloppily or hastily done that it will have errors and the client will be frustrated or you’ll simply deliver something you aren’t super proud of. - Whatever they hire you for, may not be what you end up actually doing. Unless you have a technical skill (like design) you can expect to be pigeon holed into whatever role they need you in based on staffing issues. “Hired you to do X? Well, not anymore. Now you do Y. Because we said so.” There’s no investment in personal growth, mentoring, real management, etc. They give lip-service to these things with “Coaching Month” and other scheduled events, but they aren’t effective because the most talented people that you could learn from end up quitting and for those that stay, there is no time to mentor or coach because they are constantly struggling to keep the business afloat. If you’re lucky, you know what real coaching and real mentoring feels like . . . You won’t get that here even though most of the people are great. Sparxoo changes its business objectives several times a year. One day they are a digital performance agency focuses on lead gen and growth. They next day that are a “strategically creative” agency with a focus on video. Point is, don’t make any major life changes, like moving to Tampa, in order to work here because the agency and your role may not be relevant (or even exist) a few months from now.

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    Advice to Management

    There’s no way you can say that anything written here is untrue or exaggerated. If you do, you’re lying to yourself and the people on this website. If you’re going to respond to this review, I challenge you to address your retention issue.

    Sparxoo2019-06-18
  3. Helpful (14)

    "A bunch of excellent people trapped in an awful situation"

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

    I worked at Sparxoo full-time

    Pros

    The team of everyone below director level is filled with excellent, hard-working, talented people. You'll make great friends with the people who live their lives in the Sparxoo trenches at your side.

    Cons

    There is a very stark difference between the proclaimed vision for Sparxoo’s future and the day-to-day realities faced by Sparxoo’s team. Trust the other reviewers on this site, they all speak the truth. The employee turnover is over 100% annually. Employee turnover is a serious reflection on the reality of any company’s culture and HR practices—and Sparxoo is no exception to this rule. The Sparxoo culture... is one of burnout and manipulation. The clients all come from the personal networks and friends of the leaders, so everyone gets a . There is blatant disrespect for the team of people who actually have to execute the work for the tight deadlines, extra rounds of free revisions, and underpriced SOWs sold. Sparxoo built a team of young high achievers who do not want to fail or fall short of expectations, and when they reach a breaking point or resist tight deadlines they’re told to get “scrappier” and work harder. This team will regularly work early mornings, long nights, and full weekends just to finish the week’s work, and there is no room to redistribute work because there aren’t enough people to execute the current workload. The salaries are extremely low for the Tampa market, and it’s frowned upon to ask for a raise or rationale. There is no overtime pay, performance bonus, or reward for working extra hours. Crying in the office or needing to take a ten minute walk in the middle of the afternoon to keep from having a panic attack or screaming is a daily occurence. When the team does meet an insane deadline or unreasonable request, they’re rarely met with even the most simple thank you, as these situations have become the norm due to mismanagement of client expectations and lack of clear communication to the team from directors who write inflated scopes and do not properly account for work completed, extra rounds of revisions, or additional deliverables. Instead, the directors who caused these situations get praised and rewarded for their “leadership,” when in reality their ineptitude is what caused the problem to begin with. In interviews and on their website, Sparxoo brags about “unlimited” time off and a flexible work schedule, but the reality is that only leaders and directors are able to take advantage of these “perks.” Most of the supervisors make it extremely difficult for anyone who isn’t a director to take advantage of their earned work-from-wherever days (the fancy way they’ve decided to “rebrand” work from home) or take even an afternoon off for medical appointments, let alone a whole day or several days. Meanwhile, directors and leaders take extended paid vacations or leave early nearly every day for personal hobbies and leisure. The HR practices are erratic at best, and are regularly filled with legal and ethical violations which have resulted in one lawsuit so far. They put a lot of stock in a personality profile called the “Predictive Index,” which is a test they make you take during your interview process that boils people down to four basic elements and refuses to acknowledge that people change over time. If a prospective employee’s personality profile doesn’t perfectly line up to an arbitrary “ideal” for the role, they are disqualified from hiring. If someone is on the borderline and manages to get hired, they’re treated with skepticism. If you step out of line, ask too many questions about their practices, try to improve the culture in a way that doesn’t directly align to HR's control, or if someone on leadership decides they don’t like you, your days become numbered. If you make one misstep or rub someone the wrong way, you can expect to have your role shifted unexpectedly, be put on an arbitrary performance improvement plan without reason, or just be fired. In an interview setting, Sparxoo talks a big game about potential for growth, an exciting work environment, and amazing benefits. In reality, you’ll be dealing with poor communication, mismanagement of client expectations, and a hostile work environment. It might be bearable if the creative vision and expertise of the hard-working team was trusted, but instead you can expect to do round after round of revisions to ultimately produce work you’ll be ashamed to put in your portfolio.

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    Advice to Management

    Your employees consistently ask for more transparency in scopes and timelines, more work-life balance, and a clearer growth path, and are consistently met with a dismissive and vague promise to “circle back,” resistance because “that’s not how we do things,” arbitrary restructuring of roles/teams, or are passed off as weak for asking questions and told to be “grittier.” Do not tell your team you don’t want to be... accused of lying, cheating, or misdirection when these are the day-to-day practices of your leaders, especially HR. Conducting a survey twice a year and periodically having a beer or bottle of champagne in the office every once in a while doesn’t constitute culture. Putting an obscene amount of time, money, and faith into a personality test with all the scientific and psychological merit of a particularly well-written Buzzfeed quiz doesn’t constitute culture. If you truly want to grow as a business and finally leave the startup phase, you need to listen to your team. You need to work with them and invest in them. And you need to invest in leaders with higher emotional intelligence and a team-leading mindset rather than ones whose management style constitutes bullying, blatant lying, and gaslighting. As an aside, the inability to retain a consistent team for 6 full months also renders any trend data from your biannual culture survey statistically irrelevant due to inconsistent sampling.

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    Sparxoo2019-06-02
  4. Helpful (20)

    "There are thousands of better agencies to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tampa, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Sparxoo full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Insanely beautiful office - Decent pay and benefits - That's literally it...nothing else

    Cons

    Oh, where do I begin? - As a creative person, they wanted to utilize those talents, but when bringing ideas to the table, upper management shoots them down and goes with their favorites. Why hire me in the first place? This forced me to do hours of grunt work that seemed useless. - The last thing they care about is your life outside of work. Be prepared to take work home with you. - There is a huge... passive-aggressive culture in the office that begins to cause mental strain and worry when working on projects. But don't worry, you will hear about your shortcomings later. - Just take a look at how many job openings there are. You might think they are growing so much, right? NO! People come and go like a 400x400 Olympic sprint. A common game played is who's next to quit or get the sack. - I'm no rookie; I've worked for many companies and understand that this company has terrible organization and processes. This is due to poor communication from management. - Last but certainly not least, it is overall a depressing, anxiety-filled environment.

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    Advice to Management

    I understand that money is everything, but maybe if you focus more on employee morale and fixing internal issues you will see a massive improvement in client retention.

    Sparxoo2019-01-21

    Sparxoo Response

    February 1, 2019VP, People Operations

    Thank you for your review of Sparxoo. Although we agree that we are not perfect, we have to say, we don't believe your claims are correct and don't reflect the current culture we work hard to build and maintain. Leadership puts employees first, focusing on growing our team as we grow the agency. We are sorry you didn't feel this way at the end of your time here, but understand that your expectations simply didn't align with ours. We always encourage the team to come to us informally to chat about any concerns proactively, as we actually love a solutions-driven coffee walk to break up the day. Sometimes we do take work home with us, but it's not always and as frequent as you are implying. We would never tell anyone that this never happens, as that's a conversation with have with every candidate in our first interview with them (it's only fair, right?). Sparxoo has many deadlines and conflicting priorities always -- however, hard and smart work is met with flexibility, appreciation and thank you's through many different ways, including flexible start and end times, unlimited vacation, WFW days, team-building events, daily and monthly recognition, competitive pay and benefits, the list just goes on and on. We wish you the best in your next role and we hope that you find something better matching your expectations.

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  5. Helpful (21)

    "Toxic Environment - STAY AWAY!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Sparxoo full-time

    Pros

    Honestly none. The office looks cool, but what you can't see is the shackles on your desk and the general disdain in the air.

    Cons

    Where to start... The CEO is emotionally driven and lets the clients dictate the pace and timelines of each project and deadlines are wildly unrealistic and impossible to meet, based partly on the leaderships inexperience on how creating marketing assets are actually created and developed. The communication between departments is lacking yet there have been efforts to improve the day to day process, but it seems... like everyone there is just happy with the sub-par status quo. The staff is wildly unhappy and overworked. Morale is gloomy. The company has a pretty standard 50% employee turn over rate about every 6 months. The CEO speaks explicitly negatively about his employees, even the junior ones, which seemed to me wildly un-professional and mean spirited. There's a whole laundry list I could go through, but it's really not worth listing. Just stay away from this place.

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    Advice to Management

    Quit. Give up. Please do not hire anyone else, pay your current employees severance, and close your doors.

    Sparxoo2018-12-18

    Sparxoo Response

    December 26, 2018VP, People Operations

    We're sorry to hear that you didn't have a good experience at Sparxoo. Tight timelines are part of agency life and as a team, we pull together to get these accomplished together. We make sure to clearly communicate this in our interview process so employees understand this. We also have times where tight deadlines don't exist, and you'll find the team taking advantage of our unlimited vacation, coffee-breaks, yoga in the office or happy hours during these slower times. Our team values high-quality work we always strive to produce, the transparent communication we work towards delivering and the flexible work environment that allows our hard-working staff the freedom to flex their schedule in a way that works for both our clients and their personal lives. Our CEO has passion and great intentions behind every decision and change we make at the agency, which is what makes him a great leader. Talking negatively about other employees is simply not something that happens. We do, however, discuss coaching best practices and ways to improve and develop our current team. We would have to disagree about morale - we believe it's at an all-time high, according to current team members. Closing the doors is not in the cards, as we have ambitious goals in which our team is excited about helping us reach. We wish you all the best and hope you find an environment that better fits your expectations.

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  6. Helpful (28)

    "Catch the Premiere for Survivor: Harbour Island on CBS"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Sparxoo full-time

    Pros

    -Coworkers -Location -A lot to learn -Feedback is somewhat acted upon -They do put effort into culture

    Cons

    The best way to explain Sparxoo is to think of a TV game show "Survivor" Who will be eliminated from (Harbour) island next? Who will get tired of being treated badly by some company leaders and quit next? But "Survivor" with a twist, if you win the game- SIKE- you wouldn't get the prize. It's a shame because there is potential with many skilled team members. Start doing everything you can to keep your... employees so they can make you more $. Help new (and old) team members grow/learn but only with things they are interested in- it should be two-way communication not one-way.

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    Advice to Management

    I have a perfect song for this... R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find out what it means to me R-E-S-P-E-C-T Take care, TCB

    Sparxoo2018-07-20
  7. Helpful (11)

    "Great for Entry Level; Not Great for Growing Career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Digital Marketing in Tampa, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Sparxoo full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Wonderful place to gain experience in the agency setting, especially if you have either just graduated or don't have agency experience - Amazing, smart, passionate coworkers who are incredibly talented and a pleasure to work with - You can learn a lot in a short period of time, thanks to how small and close-knit the company is

    Cons

    - Turnover is incredibly high, leading to consistently changing teams (and lack of stability for clients) - Deadlines have a tendency to be extremely difficult and lead to a lot of late nights, particularly depending on the department you're in - Not a place to grow your career, since promotions seem to go to those who the leadership favors instead of based on talent or experience

    Advice to Management

    Rather than focusing on the bottom line, it's time to focus on the employees - I mean like, REALLY focus on them. Don't just say it. The number of talented people that have worked at and left Sparxoo is shocking, and a detriment to continuing growth. Focus on teaching your current talented employees the skills they need to reach the next level, and when they reach that level, acknowledge it. Keeping them happy is... the key. Clients should always come after employees (though they are admittedly an important part of the life of a business).

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    Sparxoo2018-07-13

    Sparxoo Response

    July 24, 2018VP, People Operations

    We are glad to hear that you believe the Xoo is a good environment for young talent to develop and grow, we think so too. We agree that the team is sharp and talented, they are the best of the best for sure, which is why we invite them to join our team and why we dedicate time and resources to focusing on employees. Allowing a flexible workplace, development opportunities, weekly open office hours and hiring a senior HR lead in a company of 25 should show that our intentions here are not just good, but great. Clients are our lifeline and are always a priority, however, our team members are also very important to the Xoo and each member of the leadership team. We simply don’t hire or keep leaders who do not feel this way. We understand that deadlines can be shorter than preferred by some in an agency setting, and it’s something we constantly look to improve. However, it is a part of our role being client-serving to assist the brands we serve. Late nights are certainly not common at the Xoo, but are also not unheard of either from time to time to deliver truly exceptional work. In exchange for our employees being flexibility with us, we do offer generous benefits and flexibility such as WFW (work-from-wherever) days, unlimited vacation and many fun culture events in order to keep play balanced with our work. We award promotions to members of the team that deliver consistently high performance and dedication to the Xoo. We use many factors to help us make these decision, which includes incremental and final work product, 360 review results, receptiveness to coaching and very importantly, whether or not that employee is ready for additional responsibilities in their area of expertise relative to the new role. By using different insight and data, biased favoritism is never a component of this.

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  8. Helpful (23)

    "It seems really promising in the beginning."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Sparxoo full-time

    Pros

    Wonderful coworkers who are smart, creative, and all around great people

    Cons

    - Lack of clear communication from leadership - Lack of mentorship and guidance - Confusing/broad/non-existing role expectations - Regardless of what you are hired for, management will change your title and role without asking your opinion or input - When seeking advice from upper management, you will only be told to "fake it til you make it" - Quick turnaround projects (which can be expected at any agency,... but management doesn't ever even try to push back deadlines to their clients) - Too many meetings, which makes it extremely difficult to get any work done - Terrible WFH policy

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    Advice to Management

    Hold management to the same standards/expectations that you hold the other employees to. For example, the turnover rate at the company is over 50% (14 out of 25 people in 7 months), yet HR received two promotions? Listen to your employees. The biggest feedback on the culture survey was a better WFH policy, yet you only changed it to benefit those who have been there over a year (less than half of your employees).... Just because they're not in the office doesn't mean they're not getting their work done. If you learn to trust your employees, maybe they'll learn to trust you. "Be human" (one of Sparxoo's values) and learn to give feedback in a way that is supportive. P.S. Please stop telling select employees to write positive glassdoor reviews.

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    Sparxoo2018-06-25

    Sparxoo Response

    July 24, 2018VP, People Operations

    We’re sorry that you didn’t have a great ending to your time here at Sparxoo. We are always looking to improve how we are guiding young staff so they are successful in roles in which they are most talented. We understand that our collaborative work environment may warrant more meetings than some prefer, but we are making progress to ensure we are always improving the balance of team collaboration and individual focus. We are disappointed you don’t think our remote policy is up to par, as we are always looking at improving and revising these perks as to how we are flexible with our team members. For example, we have just increased the WFW (we’ve recently rebranded these to work-from-wherever days, as we think the team should decide where they are most productive outside of the office) for team members who have been here for a year, as a “thank you” to those who stick with the Xoo and show us that their work is amazing, no matter where they do it. Turnover is always something HR and leadership look at as a measure of success, but it is obviously not the only one we consider. We have seen some movement of team members leaving the company, as many agencies have in this job market with such low unemployment, but we have to say those specific numbers mentioned are simply not correct.

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  9. Helpful (19)

    "I thought it was going to be a great opportunity....."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Sparxoo full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Cool location and office space. Some employees were great to work with and super talented.

    Cons

    The leadership team seems very fake when they talk to the company. They always say the same thing "we want to grow" "it is going to be tough" but it just turns into blah blah blah and it never seems like they take any action steps to help growth besides hire people. They say they will listen to what employees would like to see change to help everyone work better but they don't care/listen. They seem to only care... about the bottom line, and if that means bringing in new talent then they will force you out. People I still talk to said it continues to get worse and Sparxoo doesn't believe in setting expectations with clients - everything is a fire drill. That is probably the reason it is a revolving door with employees coming and going.

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    Advice to Management

    Stop saying you want to "grow" and act upon it. It starts with showing respect for the employees and encouraging them in a sincere way, not faking it because everyone can see right through it. It gets old really quick and causes a lack of trust and disconnect which I imagine is still evident today.

    Sparxoo2018-06-13

    Sparxoo Response

    July 24, 2018VP, People Operations

    Thank you for your review of Sparxoo. It sounds like it’s been a while since you’ve been an employee, however, I can promise you that Sparxoo dedicates both time and resources to continue to improve many things as we make strides on becoming a world-class agency. Communication from leadership is never disingenuous, so we are sorry that you felt like we did not communicate well while you worked here. We continue to seek feedback from all levels of the company and have brought in leadership and specialists in several different areas to help improve our culture, work processes, training and growth plans for each of our capabilities. Over the past year, we have shifted our focus from high growth to mid-market and enterprise clients and have been sure to keep employees in mind and updated when making these changes. I’m happy to share this is something our staff has very much appreciated, according to results on our bi-annual culture surveys. In addition to these changes, we are continuing to define our new business team and processes and have brought in a few fun and very promising brands to our portfolio over the past year. The growth we seek doesn’t happen just from the leadership team; we rely on our very talented and ambitious staff to help us get there through hard work and dedication to their specialty and our team. As a thank you to these behaviors, we are believers in rewarding with fun and flexibility, as we have continued to evolve our work-from-wherever policy, such as adding more days for those who stay with us and encouraging team members to work where they are most effective. We also have some pretty amazing culture events to reward and inspire.

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  10. Helpful (2)

    "Dynamic, collaborative and friendly team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Sparxoo for more than a year

    Pros

    The people here are genuinely awesome. There is no denying that. The best part is that everyone is willing to teach and help each other grow personally and professionally. No matter your speciality, you'll work with some cool people. The agency has had growing pains, but for the time I’ve been here there has been continuous improvement across the board. This change hasn’t happened overnight but things like... managing client expectations, day-to-day culture and employee benefits have been addressed. I feel really good about the healthcare options now. Managers are pretty flexible in terms of work schedule, which is nice if you have appointments during work hours. We are allowed to work from home once a month and there is unlimited PTO. Communication has tremendously improved since I've been here to. Regular emails and team meetings. There are forums for addressing issues now and you can grab coffee or go for a walk with someone on leadership if you want to talk informally.

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    Cons

    Internal processes aren’t solid and there are really tight turnaround for projects. I think everyone hopes this will change, but not sure if/when. Figuring out how to best work in an open office space can be challenging and we all have to “fight” for conferences rooms when we want to deep dive.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to provide forums for employees to talk and share their concerns. Hire more mid-level managers to teach the young staff. Share the steps you are taking to improve.

    Sparxoo2018-04-10

    Sparxoo Response

    May 4, 2018VP, People Operations

    We’ve grown a lot in the last year and are happy to have you along for the journey! We’re also glad to hear you value the increased communication, flexible work perks and collaborative environment (you’re right, the team is awesome). Thank you for the honest feedback. We’ll take it to heart as we develop as an agency.

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Found 22 reviews