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Swift Agency Reviews

Updated February 2, 2018
25 reviews

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3.1
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Swift Agency CEO Liz Valentine
Liz Valentine
20 Ratings

25 Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (14)

    "Positivity"

    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

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

    Pros

    Swift has grown at an amazing clip over the past 3 years. With growth comes change, and with change comes disruption. But, one thing that never changed is Swift's commitment to a culture of positivity - something that typically falls by the wayside as agencies grow at such a pace. If you're looking for a place that rewards energy, values kindness, and is unafraid to evolve with the insanity of the advertising world, then Swift is a great place to land.

    Cons

    Swift is a work in progress and needs people to help them continue building. If you're looking to get a job, plug-in and cruise along, then this isn't the place for you.

    Advice to Management

    The past few years have been intense! Continue to invest in your culture. Get bigger, get better, get more creative, and build an agency that only Swift could make possible.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Was a great, small boutique agency to work for!.. Back when it was actually a small boutique agency."

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

    I worked at Swift Agency full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Potential opportunities to work on visible brands, including Nike, Adidas or Hot Pockets.
    - Get the social clout associated with working at a pretentious Portland agency.
    - Kitchen is usually well-stocked with tea and snacks.
    - ... Uh, the new building is pretty sweet, I guess.

    Cons

    - Swift prides itself on its "culture," which—spoilers ahead—largely consists of having a turntable in-house and free lunches on Friday.
    - The work/life balance was an integral part of their approach when I first started with Swift, but after the merger with POSSIBLE it became clear that Swift was more interested in increasing output at the expense of its employees whilst simultaneously limiting raises and eliminating the (historically offered) holiday bonuses for non-executive employees.
    - Management touts "opportunities" for movement within Swift. However what they are generally referring to are lateral moves to a different team or position without any increase in compensation—even if it's a more demanding job.
    - The "feel" of working for Swift is tantamount to corporate culture masquerading as small agency culture—a veil that will be quickly lifted after a short time with the company. That being said, if you don't mind corporate culture, you could go elsewhere and likely get better pay for your work.

    Advice to Management

    None, really: all was irrevocably lost once Swift sold to POSSIBLE. We had a good run, though.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Review Title Review Title Review Title"

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

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

    Pros

    *Most of this review pertains to the creative department.*

    9/10 people at Swift will say their coworkers are the best part about Swift. That's probably because it's true. For the most part, you won't find the mega-agency ego there. People are nice. You'll find folks who genuinely like being around each other and rolling with the punches together. You will make friends and learn from them.

    Swift sets a good example for gender equality and representation. Toxic Adbros™ are awful and you wont find them at Swift (to my knowledge).

    Management cares about culture. I've seen the ups and downs of Swift, and the partners/managers have always cared about how to make the place better. Employee input is valued there, but in the past it has taken too long to implement.

    Work////life balance. This could also be seen as a con depending what role you have and the account you're on. You either work too much or you didn't expense dinner last night.

    Big clients and scrappy shoots. You won't be sitting on an animatic for six months. At Swift you work fast and smart.

    Great spot to be if you love social media.

    There are ample snacks, drinks on tap, and happy hours/parties. That should just be a cherry on top. If hummus and kombucha decide where you work, you are weird.

    Cons

    Can feel top heavy. Needs to prop up the mid/junior staff for success. Some managers feel like they're there just because they've been there. Others are fantastic to work for.

    Some of the work can feel small. Occasionally you can feel underutilized, then there are times where you get a piece of something big. At Swift it's about seeking/creating those big moments even if it means staying past 5:29 PM.

    Can feel frantic. Some of that is the nature of social media, some from clients, and some of it is from the systems/workflows in place.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to host events that empower women and include marginalized people. Set more examples. Do more and talk about it less. Others will talk about it for you.

    Keep supporting period.org.

    Continue to support directors and employees who go above and beyond.

    Compensate and support juniors/mids. Hire more interns.

    Continue to push for larger work and demand realistic timelines from clients.

    Keep the strategy and creative close.

    Avoid Possible's buzzwords.


  4. Helpful (7)

    "Anxiety-Inducing"

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

    I worked at Swift Agency full-time

    Pros

    Standard agency perks. They care a lot about (the curated image of) culture so as others have said, they throw fun parties, lunches, events, photoshoots, etc.

    At one point, coming to Swift meant being surrounded by people you genuinely enjoyed being around - inside and outside of work.

    Cons

    Swift is an executional social production house that misleads potential new employees by selling itself as a conceptual agency.
    It’s not. The work is of micro-significance. The amount of energy you will exert for a Twitter post would be comical if not so agonizing.
    The managers micro-manage. If you are junior or mid, you will not have ownership. If you stay long enough, you will feel beat down to the point that you question your ability to even do your job.
    The culture breeds anxiety. Employees are let go, seemingly out of the blue, with zero explanation beyond “XX is no longer working at Swift.”
    The constant walking-on-eggshells feeling that you could be on the chopping block next.
    The passive-aggressive communication style from management that breeds...
    Anxiety.
    Anxiety.
    Anxiety.
    For Twitter posts.

    Advice to Management

    Practice what you preach. Stop selling your agency as something it's not.

    Swift Agency Response

    Jan 30, 2018 – COO

    It’s disappointing to hear that your experience at Swift wasn’t rewarding. The people at Swift are hands down the most important part of this company, and employees have developed deep and... More


  5. Helpful (9)

    "Could care less about fostering talent, also a dangerous place for brown people"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Swift Agency full-time

    Pros

    They put a LOT of money into their outward appearance, which means things like catered lunches, beer and wine on tap and they throw a very pretty party (because they LOVE to Instagram that type of thing)

    Cons

    --If you are mid or junior level do not expect any help or mentorship from your manager. If they do "help" you it will be through antagonizing meetings, unclear direction and plenty of fear mongering.
    --If you are any variety of brown-- ESPECIALLY black be prepared to feel like you don't belong. You will have to sit through plenty of speeches where rich white upper management talks about how awesome they are with diversity, while simultaneously sitting through meetings where slave plantations are shown and referred to as "boys running through the sugarfields" google translate is used instead of hiring Spanish speaking individuals, and your mangers talk about how there is no problem with asking people "where they are from" if they have a "funny" accent (yes this all REALLY happened)
    --Upper management does not have a ton of experience in the broader agency world, so do not expect them to help foster your career growth
    --If you like to do work that is not executing things like tweets, or pre-approved "digital activations" this is not the spot for you
    --If you are honest, communicative and excited to do more than keep your head down this is not the place for you
    --If you expect honesty and transparency this is not the place for you
    --If you want a fair salary this is not the place for you

    Advice to Management

    Start making good on all the things you get up and give speeches about, put people with experience in charge, stop promoting people to managerial positions that have no interest in leading a team and most importantly-- start putting more focus on the quality of the work.


  6. Helpful (10)

    "Artificial"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative in Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Creative in Portland, OR
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Once they hung up their independent agency hat, and sold out to Possible/WPP, they were able to build a brand-new building across the street with rosé on tap.

    Cons

    Like most companies, the issues at Swift start from the top. If you're someone who's worked for a range of top agencies, and you're hoping to continue working and learning from really talented leadership, this isn't the place. You'll likely have more experience than most of the partners at Swift as it's the only agency they've ever been a part of. They're bread and butter is scrappy social content, which they're still trying to desperately hold onto even though more and more of their clients are leaving to take that work in house.

    This is an agency who cares much more about their culture, than the quality of work. Normally, this is something I’d applaud, as great cultures drive great work, but the culture feels artificial. It lacks substance, it’s thinly veiled behind faux statements, faux policies, and faux promises all wrapped up in cringeworthy overly manufactured acronyms.

    If you're used to being employed at a place that embraces eccentricities and getting loose, you're going to feel like you're walking around on eggshells. It'll hinder your spirit just as much as it will your creativity. Unless you're able to play by the rules and you're comfortable putting your tail between your legs, this place is going to feel like a kick to the [censored by Swift].

    Advice to Management

    Once you can contractually leave Swift and collect your buyout from Possible, put people in charge who really know what they're doing; Talented, seasoned folks who can foster and grow great talent. Maybe loosen up a bit too.

    Swift Agency Response

    Jan 30, 2018 – COO

    It’s true we care about our culture. And our employees. And the work we create. Because we care so much, this review was hard to read. It isn’t the experience we would want anyone to have at Swift... More


  7. Helpful (23)

    "Ugh"

    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 Swift Agency full-time

    Pros

    Your peers.

    Things on tap, food, snacks, etc.

    Your peers.

    Dogs, and the variety of breeds represented.

    Fancy building with lots of natural light.

    Peers.

    Cons

    Your boss. Your boss's boss. Your boss's boss's boss...

    Who have all been there forever.

    And aren't about to leave.

    And aren't about to be fired.

    And the company isn't really growing.

    Soooooooooo...

    But also then-

    The stress.

    The lack of collaboration & communication.

    The lack of originality. The lack of time for originality.

    The style over substance.

    The megacorp ownership, yet small-time management mentality.

    And the small-time pay. The subtle hostilities. The resistance, or worse, ambivalence towards change or dissenting perspectives.

    The cult of personality.

    The perks you won't have time for.

    The open-office layout. "Employees should have no expectation of privacy." Because there is none.

    The work itself.

    The fact that you may be a current employee reading this right now after some ridiculous and stressful situation went down. Sorry!

    Advice to Management

    Reward hard work and creativity above seniority and loyalty.

    Show interest and encouragement in your employees development. Show results.

    Because Swift isn't doing any of these things.

    Give people a reason to believe they have a future with "Swift/POSSIBLE LLC."

    Swift Agency Response

    Jan 30, 2018 – COO

    Your advice to show interest and encouragement in employees’ development is heard and has been echoed by Swift employees. One of the most important factors for employee happiness is feeling like... More

  8. Helpful (8)

    "A warm and caring place, but sometimes at the expense of great creative."

    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

    The opportunity to work on world class brands in an incredibly collaborative and warm environment is unique in the agency world. Employees have a tremendous amount of autonomy and are trusted to deliver. People really do seem to care about each other - in and outside of the office. At the end of the day, I would say it's just a really nice place to come into work everyday.

    People who have experience working at other agencies or companies are keyed into how good things are at Swift. People who have not worked anywhere else or have very limited experience have no context for how challenging or political it can be at other places. No place is ever perfect, but by comparison, Swift is great.

    Cons

    It was sometimes hard to get to good creative. The creative pecking order made it challenging.

    Advice to Management

    Make the tough staffing decisions that need to get made in order to evolve into the hot creative shop that you are on the cusp of becoming.


  9. Helpful (26)

    "Falling Apart"

    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

    Pros

    Typical agency perks. Shiny new offices. Beer and kombucha on tap. Catered lunch on Friday. Dogs allowed in the office.

    Cons

    In short, the leadership at Swift has spent more time and money in the last year trying to appear as though they do great work, rather than just doing great work. They dump money into parties and craft propaganda videos about their "cool culture" while meanwhile, their employees are frustrated, unhappy, and pumping out mediocre work at best. The leadership team doesn't see eye to eye on the vision of the company, creating a general atmosphere of distrust between teams at all levels, resulting in constant bickering and finger pointing when things go wrong.

    Overall the vibe at Swift is incredibly negative. Managers bark orders vs. providing mentorship. Leaders reward brown nosing and compliance vs. merit and hard work. Recently, multiple team members were fired based on personal grudges that leaders had with them. Essentially, if you don't fit the narrow-minded mold at Swift, they fire you or bully you into leaving on your own.

    Swift touts their focus on bringing in diverse talent and having a woman led organization, but don't be fooled. Swift hires individuals with very similar, traditional backgrounds and their staff is 99% white and of the same social/cultural background. Yes, they are "women led" but they do not create an atmosphere that is supportive of women, or supportive at all. The agency has one of the least respectful atmospheres I've worked in to date. Leadership on the creative team, in particular, is full of men who fail to listen to anyone below them, male or female.

    Future applicants beware, Swift will show you their fancy offices, tell you they value work/life balance, and pretend that clients love them, when in reality they are falling apart. Clients are leaving, staff is either getting ruthlessly fired or choosing to leave on their own, and everyone is expected to be working 65+ hour weeks without question. Swift doesn't work hard or smart, they work inefficiently and kill your spirit. Stay away for now.

    Advice to Management

    Clean house. Get rid of staff that has moved up through the ranks simply because they've been there since the beginning. These individuals are killing the open and respectful culture you seem to so value.

    Look at the people you've put in leadership positions and ask yourself if they were ever meant to lead a team. Leaders inspire and get out of the way. Leaders may not be the best at everything, but they know how to assemble a complete team and play to the strengths of each member. Leaders do not belittle their employees, tell them they don't have the right skills for the job, and use them like interns instead of the skilled, experienced professionals that they are. People don't leave jobs because they hate the company or the work, they leave jobs because they hate their managers. This is your problem, Swift.

    Swift Agency Response

    Nov 9, 2016 – Talent Acquisition Manager

    While this is difficult to hear, we appreciate any and all feedback. This has been shared with the leadership team and we're working to address the areas of concern.


  10. Helpful (16)

    "One year at Swift!"

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

    I have been working at Swift Agency full-time

    Pros

    I have been at Swift for a year now and it has been an amazing experience!
    Besides joining Possible this year, the agency has doubled in size since I started! As it has evolved Sr. management has been amazingly transparent about everything that is happening. They are proactive in adjusting process as needed, as well as thinking about and planning for the future. I love the truly collaborative and really decent people at Swift!

    Cons

    As with any company that grows quickly there are thresholds that are hit and changes that need to happen as a result. It is very difficult to make changes as quickly as we would like and thus, growing pains are felt. Swift is in transition right now—it is an exciting time, but can also be difficult.


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