Cengage Learning

  www.cengage.com
  www.cengage.com
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12 people found this helpful  

The products and overall company direction are on the rise; the office culture is not.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Associate Content Developer in San Francisco, CA
Current Employee - Associate Content Developer in San Francisco, CA

I have been working at Cengage Learning full-time (more than 3 years)

Pros

When I left, Cengage was changing for the better -- more of a movement towards sofware development (with all the appropriate steps, redesigning process and workflow, hiring UX designers and engineers, etc.), a great new space in SF, and a management that takes responsibility for it's errors. The work is very rewarding, Cengage is very honest and vocal about being customer-focused, and a healthy work-life balanced is encouraged around there. The CEO and management have taken big steps to "turn things around" and I have seen words turn to action based on the desires and needs of customers and employees. If you are looking for a bright, energetic office where you can contribute to dynamic, meaningful projects with a sense of the customer in mind, you are coming to the right place.

Cons

The company culture has had some serious issues in the past, and recent reorgs have not completely sorted out all the problems. During my time there, I witnessed two abusive managers get away with inappropriate behavior for over a year (one eventually quit, the other was laid off during a reorg.) The behavior of both managers was known, casually discussed, and essentially endured for the fact that they had both been there for years, and the upper management showed an apathy to actually fire them and improve both teams. Though both of these individuals are gone, the impression of "you can get away with all this" still lingers - people slack off, act rude, and generally can be cruel to others based on archaic silos and labels from the past. There are "tenured" managers who are "above the rules" in the way they run things, and people who get promoted are often "favorites" of those managers who recreate the cycle. I would warn someone considering working their to trust their gut feeling about whichever manager and team that they are interviewing with. Also, be prepared to encounter (and avoid) some petty in-office politics between "rival" teams.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

The HR team in SF needs to be MUCH more proactive in facilitating and responding to issues. Have them hold office hours or allow people to schedule one-on-one sessions with a person they feel comfortable with (in some cases, the HR person you are "forced" to talk to because you're matched with them is not actually someone you feel comfortable speaking with.) Better yet, hire new HR people to shake up that team the way you have with so many other departments. You've already come so far in bringing about improvement, keep enforcing accountability and transparency and you'll figure out who to keep (and who needs to go!)

Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

432 Other Employee Reviews for Cengage Learning (View Most Recent)

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  1. 10 people found this helpful  

    All Over the Map

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assistant Editor in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Assistant Editor in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Cengage Learning full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Many smart, dedicated colleagues who want to make a positive contribution to learning. Good benefits.

    Cons

    Senior leadership are spin masters, some messaging is contrived and not sincere. Favoritism is rampant - promotions are held because of budget problems. Some managers adhere to policies while others get away with way too much. CEO talks about accountability but doesn't hold all senior leaders to some basic behaviors of decency. Respect for employees is not always apparent. Workloads are all over the map -- some people work crazy long hours (expected to be available during vacation) while others barely have enough work to do to fill their days. (so they stretch the work to look busy). CEO is an elitist who doesn't value the "common" worker who actually does the work and cares about students.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Apreciate the lower level people who get paid very little and don't cash in on the big bonuses reserved for "leadership"

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Cengage Learning Response

    Sep 25, 2014CEO

    I regret that you’ve had this experience. I would like to see us recognized as a meritocracy, where the best and brightest have opportunities to grow their careers, in a frank and open environment ... More

  2. 26 people found this helpful  

    Great potential in many areas but at mercy of dysfunctional Product Group management without ed tech skill or vision

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

    I have been working at Cengage Learning full-time

    Pros

    Great engineering, finance, legal and other teams and many talented, smart people in rank and file in Product Group --- on their own these would rate a 4+, but averaged out with the severely dysfunctional, backward Product Group management who have consolidated power a 1 is highest possible, since they call all shots and their track record is appalling and getting worse

    Cons

    Echoing other reviews: very poor product and product development leadership (leadership culture of fear rather than collaboration), especially on qual side.
    Huge gap and disconnect between the skill-set and knowledge base of senior Product Group mgt and the direction the company needs to head. "Executive management seems determined to destroy the company. The handful of people who actually understand educational technology in the company are marginalized or outright fired, while people who have years of demonstrated incompetence are put in charge because they are old world publishing"
    .

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Michael, are you aware that top managers in Product Group routinely respond (literally) with a mocking “waah waah” (sound of baby crying) to student and instructor painpoints? If students think textbooks are too expensive for the value, “let them give up their designer jeans’-- also an actual quote. Shall we let them eat cake too? Student PIRG would not be amused. This is neither a joke nor an aberration but representative of the attitude at the director level and up in Product Group towards both customers and employees (also, as a related aside, why does a director with a history of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior with 'underlings' keep his job?) Advice: don’t mistake the “tell it like it is”, hardline, bullying culture of this senior mgt in Product group for intelligence, skill, or the ability to get things done. On the contrary, the culture of fear and intimidation in product and product development (on qual side at least) is completely strangling creativity and collaboration and the best and brightest (and anyone else employable elsewhere) are leaving as fast as they possibly can. As other reviews have warned, all that will be left is this below-average publishing old guard (though fairly young) who have no real understanding about or skill in educational technology and fear those who do (hint: these people say they “want to get their hands dirty” a lot as code for micromanaging so it looks like they’re contributing something while they interfere and impose their opinion in areas they know nothing about ) BTW, have you seen the latest development director promotion? think about it :-)

    While your suggestion to other reviewers to "talk to your manager or HR" is well-meant I'm sure, that is the very problem with the leadership culture of fear rather than collaboration instilled at every level by the Product Group mgt.--no such frank communication is possible and those farthest from the customer challenge decide the path forward autocratically ("this is not a democracy” after all, another favorite quote).

    Prediction: Look for serious tech product quality issues and delays in fall given Product Group mgt decisions this spring. Then look for them to place blame on their reports or other groups as usual rather than where it squarely belongs-- on their shoulders. I'm afraid you did a magnificent job bringing the company through bankruptcy last year only to risk it collapsing for good at the hands of these cowardly bullies. You're better than that, and owe it to the organization and truly talented workforce not to let old publishing cronyism prevent it from becoming the true educational techology powerhouse it has the potential to be.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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