Swirl Reviews | Glassdoor

Swirl Reviews

Updated March 24, 2017
41 reviews

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3.4
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Martin Lauber
17 Ratings

41 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great place to work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Media Strategist in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Media Strategist in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Swirl full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Swirl’s culture and work environment is by far one of the best in San Francisco. Not only is the location beautiful, but the people are great to work with. You are given the opportunity to craft your own career, as long as you put in the time and hard work.

    Cons

    It’s Advertising, so you will work some long hours, but the people make it worth it.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to communicate with your employees and invest in training and employee development.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Ups and Downs All Around"

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

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

    Pros

    - Incredible people to work with; Swirl does a great job of hiring people who will contribute to teams, develop friendships, and embrace each other's different, quirky natures.
    - Beautiful work environment; if you can make it out to the Presidio easily, its a gorgeous location (minus the lack of food options available).
    - Snacks; the kitchen has plenty
    - Company 'mission' or 'core values' focus on kind, talented, hard working team members, and aim to create a 'family' or 'community' feeling amongst the company - something rare in many ad agencies
    - Fun events; happy hours, quarterly parties, holiday events - they even try to celebrate national donut day...
    - Interesting range of clients; if you are lucky you will find yourself immersed in the best ones, fortunately this agency is not pigeon-holed into one type of work
    - Hours are pretty fair (some long nights, some short days, flexible work arrangements for many)
    - Great benefits (good healthcare + coverage, holiday time off, outside of work clubs/sports/activities etc.)
    - Pathways to career development are pretty robust (but you need to take the initiative first!)

    Cons

    - Lack of transparency from higher management; which leads to employee uncertainty, mistrust, and general trying to jump ship
    - Poor integration between departments (and often times a lack of emphasis or support on a whole department..)
    - Can be difficult to get there (unless you have a car and want to pay for parking, which Swirl does not reimburse)
    - Occasional 'Surprise!' Monday layoffs
    - Quite a few terrifying clients (also some really great ones!)
    - Insistence that everybody eats 'healthy' (stop removing the M&Ms from the trail mix..)
    - Lack of resources; never enough people to do what you need to get done
    - Clashes between upper management (why does nobody agree here?)
    - General feeling that the company does not know which direction it is going in, what clients it might secure or how those accounts are doing, occasional money woes that result in cuts in different areas of agency spending, and what sometimes feels like a high turnover rate

    Overall - you can do REALLY well or REALLY poorly at Swirl - and it all depends on where you land. What team you're on, how your direct report handles their team, what department you're in, what clients you're on, how well Swirl is doing business and financial wise at THAT particular moment, how you bond with co-workers, how far you live from the Presidio, whether you enjoy trail mix with no M&Ms, etc etc etc.

    So go in, interview, get a feel for it - but make sure you set up your expectations, needs, wants early on in the game. Know that you may land a role at a place that's awesome for you, or you may be one of the unlucky miserable folk. If you make certain you've prioritized and communicated -from the outset- what you're looking for in a company, in a role etc. then you can know what you're getting yourself into, and make the best of Swirl!

    Advice to Management

    Please be more transparent with your employees. We know when you lost an account, when you've lost money, when higher management stopped showing up for work.. Transparency and honesty helps everyone feel like we're in this together.

    Make sure you value and support each department equally - so the work in the agency feels like a shared, team mission.

    And stop giving us M&M-free trail mix.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Nice People. Low Pay."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Visual Strategist in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Visual Strategist in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Swirl (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice People. Beautiful location. Fun activities for team building. Good insurance benefits.

    Cons

    Low Pay. Long hours. Not much to put in portfolio.


  4. Helpful (7)

    "Just don't."

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

    I worked at Swirl (More than a year)

    Pros

    The ONLY good thing that came out of my time at Swirl were the friends made. Logical if you spend 60+ hours weekly with people you are bound to create a strong friendship.

    The perks were OK but even those seemed forced unto the masses and made you not want to participate.

    Cons

    The biggest con is the management team, from CEO down to department leaders. They live in their own bubble: the 1% Old White Man bubble.The ideas produced by this team are recycled and unimaginative, they have absolutely no clue as to how to run an organization. A CCO who has never produced a single piece of creative in his life - yup, that makes sense. The MVP that only gained the title from jumping from agency to agency and never learned how to set up a proper process and why the team doesn't know how to properly bill a client - also makes sense. ECD with no back bone to stand up to incompetent CCO - yes, you can find that here.

    Management does not know how to build a proper process for the agency, which is why potential buyers have walked away from every opportunity - they know what to to look for and aren't blinded by the facade created.

    Advice to Management

    Wake up. You've hired some amazing talent and all you do is shove them out the door with your incompetencies and inability to actually run a functioning full service agency. There is so much potential and y'all are blinded by your wallets and non-existent relationships with clients.

    Set up a proper process for EVERYTHING. Learn how to communicate with the company properly (e.g. when you communicate something and actually have a plan for execution in place)

    Stop it with the nepotism.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Nice company, some nice people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative CW in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Creative CW in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Swirl full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good location and good clients

    Cons

    seems a bit out of date creatively. revolving door for ADs and CWs.

    Advice to Management

    revolving door for ADs and CWs.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Best ad agency work environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Media Planner in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Media Planner in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Exciting place to work
    -Ammenties and benefits made you love coming to work
    -There is no corporate vibe, very young spirited place
    -New business is constantly coming, a sign that they are doing things right
    -Departments heads, supervisiors and chairman are all fun down to earth people
    -Competitive pay and great health benefits
    -Agency is located in some of the most prized lands in San Francisco (The Presidio)

    Cons

    To be honest Swirl was a great place to start a career in advtising. The entrepretneural spirit that runs through the heart of the company makes it an ideal place for anyone ambitious about working in advertising. Like most agencies there is a lack of diversity in race but that's not enough to dismiss how great of an agency Swirl really is.

    Advice to Management

    Culture at times seams a bit forced and not organically formed. Employees are chosen based on their ability to fit in with the culture which doesn't exactly welcome new or adaptive culture. Culture is very important understandably, but over regulatiing it weeds out great talent that can bring new and exciting things to Swirl.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Good company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Account Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Good company with great culture, benefits and work life balance. Driven and compassionate leaders who are invested in your professional and personal development. Opportunity for autonomous growth and leadership.

    Coworkers are talented, good sports and pleasant to work with. You're bound to make some great friends along the way.

    You're responsible for your own fate, so make sure you make friends at the right places and be prepared to get your claws out when necessary.

    Cons

    Lean structure. Account folks must be comfortable running their own accounts with little support. There seems to be an over-abundance of mid-level account managers. Can feel like a bro culture and favoritism is ubiquitous. Can do without the internal politics.

    Advice to Management

    Please keep politics and bad behaviors at bay.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Squirrels"

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

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

    Pros

    It gives you a perspective of what not to do. Lots of snacks, beverages and activities to the highest level of distraction so you don't hear that sucking sound in the background. Presidio rocks. Beer on tap.

    Cons

    Work is soul sucking at best. Long hours with other confused people. Lack of focus, lack of direction for the agency as a whole. There is an almost Orwellian atmosphere of fear in the hallways because you never know what's going on. Everyone in upper management seems nice on the surface, but behind the smiles, you get a sense that they are trying gauge what you would taste like with some fava beans and a nice Chiante. If you'd like your career to join the Witness Protection program - this is the place for you.

    Advice to Management

    Get better clients. Do work that matters and gets noticed. Floss.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Only Partially Impressed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Media in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Media in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Swirl (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Nice environment overall. The Presidio is beautiful to walk around at lunch when you can, and the office itself is clean, bright, windows are left open so airflow is great.
    - Pay was decent

    Cons

    - Tedious to access and limited places to eat considering getting in/out of the Presidio is so time consuming
    - My Director was very disengaged and socially awkward. I rarely worked with him
    - Did not feel there was real interest in growing their people, or at least not as much as I wanted from a company I joined with 3 years experience under my belt. Little direction was provided in terms of goals and expectations, and communication was often unclear when coming from upper management.
    - I often felt like I was expected to conform to their culture, but that could have just been the team I was working most often with. I had multiple friends in other departments.

    Advice to Management

    Communication needs to be more consistent and clear. Upper management needs to want to work closely with everyone they hire, not just their favorites. If someone is working more on solo projects, ensure they have the support from upper management to actually get stuff done.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Solid work, great people!"

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

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

    Pros

    Smart leadership, caring co-workers, great benefits, beautiful office. I really enjoy seeing the solid, innovative work that comes out across the board. And it's a nice change to be around inspiring, funny, eccentric, and hands-on hardworking people. From the moment I walked in for my interview, I was sold. I haven't found a company like this in a while and plan to stick around.

    Cons

    I can't think of any but I would urge them to to continue focusing on the well being of the company and the people after such a big growth spurt. They have done very well and need to continue to keep a close eye on it. Activities, process, protocol, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work! I'm looking forward to seeing the progress and success of our company goals this year. Continue to be transparent about the plans and being so involved.


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