AOL

  corp.aol.com
  corp.aol.com
There are newer employer reviews for AOL

 

In the valley of death we walked, now we're far above the valley floor with nothing but more peaks to achieve!

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

I have been working at AOL full-time (more than 10 years)

Pros

Good leadership and vision from CEO, Tim Armstrong. Great executor as COO, Artie Minson. Company has a clear vision to execute against at the heart of it: "deliver great content/products at scale monetized through advertising and subscriptions". It is so nice to have a leadership team at the top that seems to be on the same page and working together instead of backstabbing one another or simply not engaging with their peers as we've had in the past.

Lots of different things and projects to work on means never a dull moment and you are constantly learning new skills and growing, if you want to. On the flip side, if you prefer to be a heads down executor there is plenty of things to do to make sure the company is running smoothly and supporting the change and innovation going on around you... just make sure you change and adapt as required, but in general if you like to deliver consistently, there is probably a role for you somewhere at AOL as well.

The culture at AOL has improved significantly and continues to. Realizing that a company has a culture which can be shaped through talent selection and just reflecting on it is a big step that a lot of companies haven't taken like AOL has. While it can be thought of us a non-important part of a company, folks have to remember they're likely to spend more of their lives at work than anywhere else, why not find a culture that you can respect and appreciate and surround yourself with it.

More mundane things: AOL UnUniversity is an excellent program where employees share their knowledge with other employees; much better than the standard structured corporate classes. Time away from work is encouraged to recuperate when there is a bit of a break in the bustling work of rebuilding a company; that time away is supported with 3-5 weeks vacation a year and 12 holidays. We finally have a good insurance company in Cigna; prior primary offering of United Health left a lot to be desired and alternative BC/BS was just okay at best.

Cons

Sometimes vision is muddled with strange phrases and ideas such as calling our primary websites cities and smaller websites towns with bridges and tunnels between them to recirculate traffic and other support infrastructure like power plants and other weirdness; a lot of the staff (generally the 1500 or so technologist) just scratch their heads wondering why such colorful phrases are used to represent relatively straightforward topics.

The employee ranking/rating system seems to have gotten better for 2012 reviews; but it still can encourage backstabbing amongst the employees and generally is not positive for employee morale. Most folks do appreciate differentiated bonus/stock based on performance so in order to meet that desire they understand that ranking must occur. However having a minimum (or even a target %) of people to fill bottom buckets of Not Meeting Expectations and Off-Track of Expectations is completely bonkers. Fire people when the need to be fired, put them onto Performance Improvement Plans when they need to be, but do not automatically assume there is a certain percentage of employees that fall into those categories.

There still is not as tight of a integration between Product and Technology as there should be. This does not mean they have to report to the same boss, but Product and Technology do have to collaborate at all stages from initial idea to deployment to ensure success. Things are starting to improve here over the last 9 months or so.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Keep it up!!! Make sure all of the CEO's direct reports stay on the same page and work together, not against each other. The same for all of the COO's direct reports.

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

659 Other Employee Reviews for AOL (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Lack of Product Strategy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AOL full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Greater cost controls, more focus on fewer products/brands. Dulles, VA work environment has improved in the last year but at times you feel forgotten if you're not in NYC.

    Cons

    The brand still carries the baggage of being you parents' (or grandparents') internet service. While the financial books are in good shape, the company lacks a visionary to lead product strategy. Also, there have been lost opportunities in the mobile space.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You need product leaders who are given the freedom to innovate. The sugar rush from the patent sale won't last forever. You need bona fide product leads; not finance and biz dev folks running product strategy.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Working here is like working in a hamster wheel

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Independent Contributor in Dulles, VA (US)
    Current Employee - Independent Contributor in Dulles, VA (US)

    I have been working at AOL full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great compensation
    Great perks (especially the gym)
    Terrific people

    Cons

    Top management operates under the "Bright Shiny Object" principle
    No infrastructure - no standard policies, no standard processes, no consequences for not following existing policies and processes

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Set a strategy and stick with it for a few months, please! Projects seem to be developed on a whim, and then dropped just as suddenly as soon as a different idea is proposed but not all stakeholders or contributors to the project are told that the project has been stopped. Brands are launched, then forgotten. Products are developed internally at great cost, but are never promoted because promotion space is reserved for competitor products who pay for advertising, and then the internal products die. Nobody knows what anyone else is doing, or who can answer questions when they arise. There is so much turnover in personnel, and very few handoffs of information when people leave or come in, that trying to find answers to questions is hugely challenging. Overall, this is the most frustrating company I've ever worked for in terms of just getting the basic information needed to do the job - like who is working on which product or on which team.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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