iStrategyLabs Reviews | Glassdoor

iStrategyLabs Reviews

30 reviews

Filter

Filter


3.9
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
DJ Saul
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

  1. "Creative Technologist"

    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

    Great team and work atmosphere, emphasis on good technology.

    Cons

    Fast paced environment, possibility of working nights and weekends.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "A Hot Mess"

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

    I worked at iStrategyLabs full-time

    Pros

    A cute office, with some cute dogs, snacks, and time-off

    Cons

    Layoffs, cliques, poor direction

    Advice to Management

    Clean that place up or close.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Highly Creative Space to Work"

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

    I have been working at iStrategyLabs full-time

    Pros

    Lots of great co-workers and a fun culture. A lot of great work gets made for very cool clients.

    Cons

    Young company - Still figuring some things out.


  4. Helpful (10)

    "Sad to see where ISL is now"

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

    Pros

    - Good onboarding process. They make sure you know (most) of the things you need to know before you work on your own.
    - Dogs
    - Snacks
    - Cool work place that's unique in a city like D.C.

    Cons

    - No safe space to have open conversations with upper management
    -Pay is subpar and is very hard to negotiate salary/raises. (I was told that I'd be taking away money from my colleagues if I wanted more money)
    - Very political. Your best way of climbing the ranks is to make the right friends.

    Advice to Management

    A lot of current and former ISLers will tell you that when you first start working here you think you've hit the jackpot because of what ISL claims itself to be but you slowly come to realize the cracks in the foundation. Sadly, this only got worst after the acquisition. My advice to management would be to be honest and open about what's going on. There's a reason why so many people have left within the last year....


  5. Helpful (37)

    "Why I Left My "Dream Job""

    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 iStrategyLabs full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Beautiful office
    - Some very kind, intelligent, creative people
    - Awesome client social media work
    - Efficient, productive work environment

    Cons

    When I applied to work at ISL, I thought it was my _absolute_ dream job. How could it not be? Just look at that list of pros.

    So why did I quit my dream job after 2.5 years? Because after just a few months, I dreaded going to work at that company every day.

    Here are a few reasons why:

    1. No matter what they say, ISL is a social media shop: When I left, we had just two active web build projects, one being a retainer. The JWT acquisition only made it worse because they only wanted us for our social media work. Peter loves to pretend like ISL is a product shop when, in reality, the few non-client products we built didn’t even work that well. On more than one occasion, I saw videos cut and manipulated to look like the product was way cooler than it actually was. If you want to work for a social media shop, then ISL is great for that. But don’t let them convince you they’re something they’re not.

    2. “Promotions” without raises: ISL is a huge fan of promoting people without giving them a raise. Sure, dropping the “Junior” from your title is nice and all but that’s simply not enough. ISL promotes people, gives them way more responsibility, and expects them to continue working on $45K a year for a mid-level role with NO overtime pay. And trust me, you'll work overtime every. single. day.

    3. Horrible work/life balance: Late night slack messages, emails all weekend. It’s not just the young people who are sending these messages late into the night. It comes from the top, starting with the executive team! When I left ISL and started at my new job, I was shocked when I realized I wouldn’t be getting messages 24/7 from my coworkers.

    4. Sick? Work from home: There’s no such thing as sick days at ISL unless you’re dying in the hospital. There’s a culture of working from home when you’re sick, and you’re expected to be online and fully available. There was one day when my coworker was WFH sick and I needed some crucial client information from her. For a few moments I was legitimately angry that she wasn’t online even though she was sick. I realized then that ISL had made me into a workaholic monster.

    5. Firing anyone who’s not a good “culture fit”: What makes someone a good cultural fit, you ask? At ISL, a good culture fit means you don’t speak out against the unspoken rules of the company. Shouldn’t people be rewarded for calling out negative aspects of the company and offering solutions? Instead, they’re labeled as a “bad cultural fit” and fired. I’ve seen so many diverse faces kicked out of the company because of this.

    Advice to Management

    A few things:

    1. Culture problems are management problems. If you're firing people because they're "not a good culture fit," maybe the problem isn't the employee's culture, but the company's culture.

    2. Stop being sneaky! Everyone can see through it and it just makes us hate you more and trust you less.

    3. Let your employees grow into the roles they perform best in. Just because someone starts on social media accounts doesn't mean they can't grow into digital work.

    4. Give employees their evenings, weekends, and sick days back. As someone who went from ISL to a company focused on work-life balance, I can tell you my productivity shot up 100% when I suddenly had more time to myself.


  6. Helpful (7)

    "Great place to start your career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Learned a lot
    - Great if you are just jumping into the work force
    - Nice company events
    - Happy Hours

    Cons

    - No growth
    - Once you have reached your max at a position it's hard to grow there


  7. Helpful (23)

    "Blind Leading the Seeing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative Strategist
    Former Employee - Creative Strategist
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I have to echo many of the others who have mentioned that a lot of people who work here are smart, interesting and creative.

    Snacks.

    Cons

    Anyone with a broad spectrum of experience other agencies or walks of life prior to joining the company was incredibly undervalued.

    Despite seeming organized and on the cutting-edge, the foundational business practices were not just confusing but couldn't possibly be successful - for instance, there was no actual time tracking so everyone was wildly over or under-allocated and accounts were either wildly over or under-servicing. It was very clear that the executive team didn't have much experience themselves.

    When I started, vacation days were "unlimited" and employee's were reimbursed up to $2k for insurance OOPs. Those unlimited vacation days was blatantly only a perk for the most tenured employees and no one else. When the health insurance requirements changed, we all took a $2k hit to our compensation packages and despite multiple questions on the matter, the issue was ignored by management.

    A lot of decisions that impacted the company (like health insurance) were done through Slack voting, which seemed insane.

    The sale to a holding company was quite disappointing.

    All of the work is content work. Period. And most big efforts are just opportunities to increase the Creative Director's portfolio, regardless of sound strategy for clients.

    If you want your entire life (including your social life) to revolve around ISL, you're golden.

    Advice to Management

    Let your holding company teach you how to be profitable.

    Be actually transparent (and fair) instead of holding quarterly meetings for the Peter to talk non-stop for 3 hours.

    Lose the perks that no one actually cares about and give employees actual benefits.

  8. Helpful (10)

    "Once incredible, now uninspired"

    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

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

    Pros

    - Cool office
    - Smart, talented people to grow and learn from
    - Awesome hardware team

    Cons

    - Uninteresting work and loss of "special sauce": ISL used to legitimately make some of the coolest internet-connected physical devices on the planet. Social Machines were an absolute joy to work on and really pushed the boundary of modern marketing. Now, it's all social media posts, simplistic marketing sites and uninspiring web builds for small organizations. Don't get me wrong, if you are really into working for an agency and do not desire creative freedom, this is a great place for you, but man have things gone down hill from where they used to be.

    - Inexperienced executive staff: This has been repeated over-and-over again on Glassdoor but the issue is serious. Twice, I saw experienced leaders come through the door and be forced out for being too "contrarian". Unfortunately, there is not much upward mobility, so executive leadership rarely sees new faces or perspectives.

    - Alternative facts: I get that spin is a natural part of any organization, but after three times getting excited about landing a project which was "99% likely to happen" and being let down, you start to realize things are not what they seem. Also, when someone quits, the spin that is applied is magnificent. They will separate people into two groups and essentially write off the people they "wanted to leave".

    Advice to Management

    - Take advice to begin with. I can recount numerous instances of someone speaking out at a town-hall meeting and then being privately told they were out of line. The ET creates a culture where if you think there is a problem, you are probably "not a good fit".
    - Be honest. When I was at ISL, trust in the executive team was extremely low
    - Where is Peter? Who is in charge?


  9. Helpful (16)

    "Some good, more bad."

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

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

    Pros

    Some very smart people. Opportunity is there for you to invest in yourself, learn, and take a bit of knowledge from the place. Opportunity is also there for you to operate relatively autonomously.

    Cons

    Really going to try not to rant here, but no promises. First and foremost, they're selling snake oil and their clients are starting to realize that.

    No matter how ISL presents themselves, they are a social media content shop just plugging away at digging the ditch for a roster of boring, tired brands. Add to that an upper management who have no work experience outside of ISL (and are now beholden to a holding company that also happens to be one of the largest, most corporate, advertising companies in the world), really lousy pay, and an overly-inflated CEO who spends probably less than 7-10 days out of a given year in the office and you have an incredibly disorganized place where almost no one is happy.

    Every day at ISL is a fight of one kind or another. Most of the good people, who have been there since ISL's heyday, are taking off. Vibes are not great.

    Advice to Management

    Oh boy, will you guys even take it or care? Well, here's a few things:

    - Actually reward people for being smart and ambitious, don't just say it's something you value.
    - Make sure you're paying your ostensibly tenured employees commensurately with your new hires.
    - For goodness sake, Peter needs to be more involved or step down entirely. His level of involvement in day-to-day operations, or lack thereof, is a morale killer and an embarrassment.

    iStrategyLabs Response

    May 22, 2017 – CEO

    From Peter Corbett, CEO, ISL:

    First: I'm sorry you had such a bad experience at ISL. Over the years there have been a handful of people that either didn't quite fit, or we had bad timing and had... More


  10. Helpful (18)

    "Dysfunction in a Pretty Package"

    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 iStrategyLabs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    There is sometimes free food.

    Cons

    ISL’s acquisition by JWT is more a blessing than a curse for a company who has never regarded KPI’s, KLI’s and ROI’s as anything more than tangential numbers. The content that is created is made at the whims of executive team members, hard facts and analytics disregarded. Perhaps the acquisition will also help to root out the nepotism that exists, the middle school Mean Girls environment that has prospered for years, and the upper level management who have an elementary school grasp on digital marketing. Read through a few of management’s bios, the number of years they have spent within the safe confines and cluelessness of ISL should alarm you.

    I will abbreviate the additional con’s in bullet form so that my post hopefully doesn't get taken down for a 10th time (s/o to people trolling this to report it):

    -Yearly reviews that favor those who spend time drinking and attending company happy hours
    -No pay for time worked, paltry salaries as compared to industry averages
    -Unbearably inept management
    -No ability to grow or room for promotion within this haphazardly constructed company
    -Desperate times- leadership now solicits for new business by having employees use personal connections. When asked what incentive employees have, they answer “your job.”

    Advice to Management

    Fear of the “other” and an inflated sense of self have played out horribly throughout history. Instead of blaming the problems on improper vetting, or employees being ‘the wrong fit’ take some time for introspection.