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Vokal Reviews

18 reviews

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3.9
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Vokal CEO Reid Lappin
Reid Lappin
9 Ratings

18 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Pretty Decent Digital Agency"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great people and culture! Lots of booze in the break room

    Cons

    Like a lot of start ups, there can be a high degree of turbulence and turnover. I don't think the work was all that great.


  2. "Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Vokal full-time

    Pros

    Great people, great work place

    Cons

    Growing pains and difficulty adjusting to a continually shifting market

  3. "I love it here!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Office Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Office Manager in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great freedom to accomplish task in your own way. Work life balance is amazing and the people are some of the best I have worked with.

    Cons

    I really don't have any cons


  4. "Great Company Where Everybody Know's Your Name"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Vokal gives its engineers a lot of latitude and flexibility as far as technologies are concerned; though that great power comes with great responsibility. If you're on your game and deliver on committed work, it's up to you how to use your time, what languages or stacks to use, etc.

    Cons

    Really the main downside is true of working for any agency—dealing with less-than-ideal clients. Not all of them are respectful, cooperative, and willing to listen to well-reasoned advice. Something that was personally challenging for me (so this might not be a downside for you) was keeping detailed track of how I spent all my time; again, something that just comes with agency territory. Those aren't really knocks on Vokal itself, though, more just something to keep in mind if you come from a non-agency environment.

    Advice to Management

    Just remember to be completely transparent and don't be afraid to communicate fully, even when the new isn't great.


  5. Helpful (9)

    "Growing Pains and Inexperience"

    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
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Casual work environment. Wear whatever you want, and dogs are allowed in the office.
    - Great food situation. Lots of free snacks everywhere.
    - Very nice people. Young, lively culture in the office.
    - Flexible work hours, so long as you communicate and get your work done.

    Cons

    - There have been growing pains as the young management team tries to learn how to grow a digital agency.
    - The company doesn't follow its stated core values very well. It's weird that layoffs happen in large groups for such a small company, with no thanks expressed for years of service and HR people casually drinking coffee in the corner of the room.
    - Individual and team achievements are not celebrated or acknowledged very often.
    - Communication is not very open. When people get let go or fired no announcements are made.
    - Poor team managers
    - Compensation is below the regional average
    - Unnecessarily hierarchical team structure (way more directors and VPs than employees who do the work at the lower levels)

    Advice to Management

    If you grow too fast you dilute the company culture and have to let people go when the clients inevitably disappear. Scale back your ambitions and build a solid base. There's no rush.

    Work on making communication more substantive and human. Many times leadership would speak to the company and use a lot of big words and phrases that ultimately mean nothing. Please remember that you're dealing with human beings here.

    Don't forget your roots—focus less on account and leadership roles and more on actually making things. This place is a top development shop.

    Vokal Response

    May 4, 2016 – President

    Thank you for the positive comments about the business, culture and our growth. As mentioned, we have gone through a significant growth period and continue to learn the lessons of communication and... More


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Not a stable job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Talented engineering team from whom you can learn a lot.
    Many snacks in the kitchen, healthy and unhealthy.
    If needed you can work from home
    Hack days twice a year

    Cons

    The company doesn't follow its core values.
    When the company was facing some difficulties many people got laid off without prior notice.
    The salary could be better.

    Advice to Management

    Make a backup plan for unexpected situations or at least be honest with your employers and give them prior notice.

    Vokal Response

    May 4, 2016 – President

    First off, I want to thank you for your time at Vokal. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the talented people who have contributed to the success of the Vokal family. We take everyone’s... More


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Highly Unstable"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    • Flexible work times
    • Kitchen stocked to the brim with awesome snacks
    • The social atmosphere is very friendly
    • Great PTO plan

    Cons

    • During my time there, people were regularly let go without any notice (including prior notice to them or notice to the rest of the office)
    • There's a regular sense no job security
    • Developers are kept in the basement, with few windows and natural lighting, while management and non-developers occupy the more spacious and naturally lit upper level
    • General mistrust of upper management

    Advice to Management

    Have better backup plans. When your first response to a drying pipeline is layoffs, it breeds animosity. Be more communicative when things are looking south. No one likes a surprise layoff. And monitoring employees as they pack their things to leave is weird.

    Vokal Response

    May 4, 2016 – President

    Thank you for your review and supportive commentary on the business, culture, and our growth. Like any company going through a growth period, there are pains and we certainly have learned lessons in... More

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Company has seen better days"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Great work/life balance
    - Easy to be friends with coworkers inside/outside the company - so many great people
    - Unlimited paid time off
    - Dog friendly office
    - Smart development team
    - Variety of projects

    Cons

    - Inexperienced upper leadership
    - Very little transparency or communication
    - Projects are not best-in-class, and are sometimes chosen out of desperation
    - Vokal’s culture is open but also very secretive. Important decisions are passed down with no explanation or clear purpose.
    - Too many middlemen and “directors” who have a tendency to over-manage. The company is using a management structure for companies in the 150+ people range.
    - Cramped office space with many comfort/amenity issues

    Advice to Management

    Create company wide and team goals - and measurable ways to meet those goals. Keep improving the sales process to leverage your teams to produce the best possible solutions. Cut down the directors and the over-managing to create a more inclusive culture of trust and respect. Listen to what your employees have to say.
    Hire only the best employees and give them concrete ways to improve - so you don’t have to fire them later on and blame vague “business reasons” or the even more generic “performance reasons.” Lastly, when you create company values like "Family" - make sure you stick to those values to the bitter end.

    Vokal Response

    May 4, 2016 – President

    Thank you for your thoughtful review and for your contributions to Vokal. As we have mentioned time and again, we wouldn't have made the considerable progress as a business without the support of... More


  9. "Contractor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant Contractor in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Consultant Contractor in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Vokal (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing people and work culture!

    Cons

    Some growing pains as a booming start up

    Vokal Response

    May 4, 2016 – President

    Thanks! All feedback is helpful for leadership and potential new team members!


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Former"

    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

    Pros

    Good working environment nice people

    Cons

    Too many in one place

    Advice to Management

    Better handling of congested

    Vokal Response

    May 4, 2016 – President

    Thanks for the feedback. We are moving into a new office this June after taking the real estate concerns to heart.


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