Wolff Olins Reviews | Glassdoor

Wolff Olins Reviews

Updated Feb 1, 2019

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Found 43 reviews

3.8
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
62%
Recommend to a Friend
83%
Approve of CEO
Wolff Olins CEO Sairah Ashman
Sairah Ashman
19 Ratings
Pros
  • "35 billable hours a week means great work life balance, summer Fridays and lots of vacation time, sexy clients(in 3 reviews)

  • "(in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • "Shifting its direction around a bit, for a company that purport to be all about one clear direction and purpose(in 2 reviews)

  • "Senior management has become isolated(in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Best agency for bold, radical work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Wolff Olins full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Do radical work for companies at the forefront - Wolff Olins is called upon to partner with executives to tackle gnarly creative challenges that have global human impact. Work with talented, ambitious and optimistic people, and develop your craft alongside the most seasoned and experienced practitioners in the industry - at Wolff Olins everyone is a practitioner, including the CEO, so you get to learn from and work...

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    Cons

    No cons if you love to do bold work, thrive in ambiguity and have an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not the place for complacency, nor is it for people who want to be spoon-fed, play it safe, or care more about what type of free food is available than doing great work.

    Advice to Management

    Stay critical about what type of work the agency takes on and for whom. Saying no to clients that do not align with Wolff Olins ambitions and values speaks volumes inside and out. Continue being transparent about decisions.

    Wolff Olins2018-06-08

    Wolff Olins Response

    June 27, 2018Global CEO

    Hi - it's Sairah here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences ... and for helping to build such a great team and body of work in San Francisco.! We're super proud of what we're achieving together - the amazing clients, ambitious work and incredible people - it's very special. ...

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  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Wolff Olins full-time

    Pros

    - Most intelligent people I have ever worked with - Great legacy of work - Culture is invested in - lots of interesting activities and learning

    Cons

    - More theoretical than practical in delivery - External reputation is not as well known as is thought internally - Process is not a four letter word - embrace efficiency - Big egos often get too much glory - Some senior management out of touch due to long tenure. Lots of coasting - Most top heavy agency I have experienced - Digital knowledge is poor - puts company at significant disadvantage - Does not practice...

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    Advice to Management

    Great company and enjoyed time there very much. Know Sairah will embrace all these points head on and make great improvements in the right direction Some tips: - Do more purposeful, meaningful projects. Many crave it - help the world as well as the behemoths - Understand and embrace digital (practically not theoretically) to remain competitive - Get clear on what the WO brand is - Empower + listen to junior/mid-levels...

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    Wolff Olins2019-02-01
  3. Helpful (4)

    "An aspiring change agent that's shy about changing"

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

    I worked at Wolff Olins full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    WO understands that it needs to transition from designing logos to creating great customer experiences. It's the way the whole branding space is going. WO has a handful of case studies that demonstrate that, at its best, it is capable of doing a new kind of work. And, because it is the smallest and most fleet-footed agency within the top tier of players, it has the potential to set the pace.

    Cons

    With some marked exceptions, WO does not have the right leadership or the right talent to pull off the transformation it needs. It needs fewer decorative designers and more design thinkers. It needs strategists who understand how business really works. And it needs management that's capable of giving clear direction and assuming accountability for results.

    Advice to Management

    They may already be doing this, but management needs to design a plan that effectively bridges WO's past and future. That means taking on traditional branding work to keep the agency alive and well, while making the right hires and patiently winning the belief of new clients that it is capable of building brands from the inside-out (and not just the outside-in).

    Wolff Olins2019-01-09

    Wolff Olins Response

    January 14, 2019Global CEO

    Hi - it's Sairah here. Thanks for taking time out to share such a thoughtful appraisal and do drop me a line if you have more to share. "If you're not changing, you're dying" is an often quoted line around here and we do need to constantly look at ourselves to ensure we're growing ...

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  4. Helpful (1)

    "Toxic and fearful. Stay away."

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

    I worked at Wolff Olins full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    A pretty well respected name that opens doors.

    Cons

    So, so toxic. Favoritism is everywhere. Who gets hired, who is put on what programs, who gets promoted. If you are not on someone's good side, watch out. Leaders are petty, and the SF office is burning through people left and right.

    Advice to Management

    So many serious problems in SF. Fix them before it's too late.

    Wolff Olins2018-10-03

    Wolff Olins Response

    October 10, 2018Global CEO

    Hi - it's Sairah here. Gosh, I'm terribly sad to read your feedback. I had thought that all of the wonderful work the team are delivering and our recent launches were providing a lot of positivity, satisfaction and forward momentum. It would be good to hear more first hand if ...

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  5. "Good People, Top-Heavy, Creative Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Designer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Wolff Olins full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    People at moments are great, good benefits, holidays, flexible, locations Creative work can be plentiful, but need cash cows as well.

    Cons

    Compensation if you are not in UPPER MGMT, not many raises, operates like an inverted pyramid so there are a lot of high high salaries at the top and that's why people at the bottom don't get raises often.

    Advice to Management

    Watch out for the people doing the work without drama, the squeaky wheel shouldn't always get the bone.

    Wolff Olins2018-02-06

    Wolff Olins Response

    February 14, 2018Global CEO

    Hi - it's Sairah here. Thanks for taking time out to share your thoughts and your positive feedback about the work and the benefits we offer. I take on board your advice to ensure those who don't make a fuss don't get overlooked. The external pay benchmarking survey carried out ...

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  6. "Big thinking for positive impact in the world"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wolff Olins full-time

    Pros

    Amazing combination of strategy & design Some brilliant people in the business - e.g. Robert Jones

    Cons

    Generally amazing projects with spectacular clients, but sometimes jobs are taken on more for the $ than the ambition Turnover has been high, which has hurt culture, morale, cohesion Not always super organized in sharing knowledge internally Can sometimes be too focused on graphic design, not on other kinds of design that are important for brand building

    Wolff Olins2018-01-12

    Wolff Olins Response

    February 13, 2018Global CEO

    Hi - it's Sairah here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I was really pleased to see your headline as big thinking and positive impact are so core to who we are. I'm also a huge fan of Professor Jones - he's wonderful. I agree with your point about sharing knowledge internally ...

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  7. "A passionate place for ambitious people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wolff Olins full-time

    Pros

    A chance to help ambitious clients solve important problems. A unique combination of creative and strategic skills - no other place achieves the same heights in both areas, and blends them with such impact. A real belief and support for doing good for the world, and making that true in our work not just our extra-curricular activities. Amazing people - smart, talented, fun.

    Cons

    It can get political the higher you rise.

    Advice to Management

    Keep being ambitious and caring for the people that make the magic happen.

    Wolff Olins2017-09-20

    Wolff Olins Response

    September 22, 2017Global CEO

    Hi - it's Sairah here. Thanks for taking time out to share your thoughts. You touch on a core set of ingredients that I think make Wolff Olins really special; our incredible people, the bold challenges we get to solve and our intrinsic belief in both commercial and social impact ...

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  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great work and intentions"

    StarStarStarStarStar
      Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
      Approves of CEO

      I worked at Wolff Olins full-time

      Pros

      Working in a small team means that there is a steep learning curve but I also was involved in lots of things, I was with clients and really tested. There are some bold clients, and we are answering out there, difficult questions. People really care about the work they are doing and the people they work with.

      Cons

      There has been some turn over so teams can be new working together. Things can happen overnight as you are working with global teams so it can be a challenge to wake up to things that have moved around.

      Advice to Management

      Keep on doing what you are doing, and build the teams on the ground to do this. Keep laughing.

      Wolff Olins2017-08-29

      Wolff Olins Response

      August 31, 2017Global CEO

      Hi - it's Sairah here! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We do love a knotty challenge and an ambitious client don't we! I'm so pleased to read about the care that our people put into the work and into supporting one another. It's one of the things I've always felt passionately ...

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    • Helpful (2)

      "A place to flex and grow like none other"

      StarStarStarStarStar
        Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
        Recommends
        Positive Outlook
        Approves of CEO

        I worked at Wolff Olins full-time for more than a year

        Pros

        People - a very sharp bunch. The diverse backgrounds, experiences, interests of everyone there ensures an elevated baseline in which every conversation begins (both professionally and personally). Clients - a roster to envy The above 2 things push you to step up your game more than you knew you could.

        Cons

        Size - a small shop that punches way above its weight. But this also means the people need to shift gears all day as the demands are many and diverse. Parent company - the corporate office is feeling its way through multiple cost-savings initiatives. Nothing novel about that, but the initiatives are unnecessarily opaque and burdensome. All of the industry holding companies are doing this but some are better at it...

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        Advice to Management

        Sairah has no shortage of challenges and opportunities to pursue and tackle, but she is an immensely impressive leader who will do the hard work that needs doing. I'm excited to see what's to come from this crew.

        Wolff Olins2017-08-19

        Wolff Olins Response

        August 21, 2017HR Manager

        Hi – it’s Sairah here! Thanks for taking time out to share your thoughts. A lot of us would agree with what you say in terms of Wolff Olins being a pretty special place to learn and develop – both up and across in ways we didn’t always know possible. And while I wouldn’t describe ...

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      • Helpful (3)

        "A unique organization truly passionate about great work"

        StarStarStarStarStar
        • Work/Life Balance
        • Culture & Values
        • Career Opportunities
        • Compensation and Benefits
        • Senior Management
        Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
        Recommends
        Positive Outlook
        Approves of CEO

        I have been working at Wolff Olins full-time

        Pros

        Everyone is really intelligent, curious, kind and ambitious Design, Strategy and Program Management are valued equally Most briefs tackle big business challenges Many clients are some of the most innovative businesses in the world Client contacts are senior decision makers and everyone gets client exposure Project teams naturally consider social as well as corporate impact Opportunities to learn from senior...

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        Cons

        There is no process so teams are always reinventing the wheel Introverts can take time to thrive in very extroverted culture Junior team members compete with senior leader-practitioners to shape work

        Advice to Management

        Find ways for introverted personalities to shine Formalize learning between senior and junior team members

        Wolff Olins2017-08-15

        Wolff Olins Response

        August 16, 2017HR Manager

        Hello – it’s Sairah here. Thanks for taking the time out share such thoughtful feedback. I think we all feel very lucky to work with the clients we do, solving such interesting challenges and with such amazing teams. Long may it continue! I also hear you on finding ways to make ...

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      Found 43 reviews