Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2.4 of 5 298 reviews
www.hmhco.com Boston, MA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reviews

Updated Jul 5, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.4 298 reviews

                             

53% Approve of the CEO

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt President & CEO Linda K. Zecher

Linda K. Zecher

(91 ratings)

24% of employees recommend this company to a friend
298 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in

Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "GREAT work life balance, if you are looking for a strict 9-5 this is the place"
    in 12 reviews
  • "I get to work from home and I love it"
    in 11 reviews
Cons:
  • "Senior Management are pretty much clueless"
    in 30 reviews
  • "There hasn't been any support from upper management"
    in 21 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Better, but stalled

    Supply Planner (Current Employee)
    Boston, MA

    ProsGood first job out of school
    Great location for commuting and getting errands done
    Generous time off (as long as your boss doesn't black out dates, which many of them do)

    ConsLots of odd cultural issues (see comments)
    Low compensation

    Advice to Senior ManagementHMH has made progress in the past few years. The days of rampant, obvious nepotism are mostly over. The company's new owners have mostly cleaned out the poor leadership leaving... what, exactly? What's left is a company culture that leans authoritarian and micromanagerial, but there's not really any vision left. There's little appetite for change, growth, or improvement.

    What's left is not so much a publicly-owned corporation, but a confederacy of a thousand little fiefdoms ruled by petty tyrants, each with their own rules. Decisions are made because, "oh, X won't like that," or "we tried that once but X complained." Low-level managers, stranded without precedent or procedures from above, vary widely, from a workaholic who won't let their employees do anything to one who piles the work beyond what an employee is qualified (or compensated) to do. Depending on where their cubicle sits, a person with my job title could be a glorified data entry clerk, or a jack-of-all-trades managing most of the supply chain and a lot of the production aspects as well.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Great co-workers and environment!

    Marketing (Former Employee)
    Austin, TX

    ProsI learned a lot from working at HMH. Great job experience and fantastic co-workers. Good schedule too.

    ConsLow pay - no raises in 3 years.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTransparency please!!!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Good experience, but low salaries.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat team and very smart - at all levels.

    ConsSalary, some bureaucracy and red tape. Since it's the only major publisher in Boston there is some malaise at higher levels from lifers who have been at the company for decades.

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    • Culture & Values
           
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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt offers customers a venerable brand in the education industry.

    Director, Product Management and Marketing (Current Employee)
    Boston, MA

    ProsHMH is a large company with an excellent reputation and infrastructure. It has deep content and great brands.

    ConsHMH is struggling to innovate in a disrupted market (education). In the time I've been here I've seen three different so-called innovation initiatives come and go without achieving any impact in terms of actual innovation.

    Advice to Senior ManagementManagement needs to focus on one innovation strategy and stick with it until it achieves a meaningful outcome.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    I worked there a freelance graphic artist. It paid very well for the time.

    Freelance Graphic Artist (Former Employee)
    Orlando, FL

    ProsWell established company, with benefits.

    ConsCompany caught in the change of technology, making it very hard to adapt.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMake sure you have the most updated software for your employees to function with.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Started great until merger.....

    Executive Administrator (Former Employee)
    Boston, MA

    ProsGreat people and some bad people

    ConsPolitics can get quite feisty and nobody within HR get disciplined!

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet rid of the liars, sneaks and snakes!!!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Extremely siloed company with no clear direction. Trying to improve, but long way to go.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsWork from home. Or in an office. A huge percentage of the company works from home, but there are offices in many major metropolitan areas. So whichever option floats your boat, you will likely be able to achieve it.

    Coworkers. For the most part, many of the coworkers were great.

    Some of the products were interesting in the education market.

    Some managers are advocates for their teams, even if they can't truly affect change.

    Movement within the company. Many employees have worked in many different departments int he company, and the HMH seems open to moving people into different roles/departments.

    ConsFeast or famine environment. you may go months with having absolutely NOTHING to do, to months/years of having EVERYTHING to do. There is no clear direction, so employees are just always trying to stay afloat with whatever is the new focus for the day. Or stay engaged with nothing to do.

    Continuous re-organization. Seriously, it's ridiculous. Most employees that you speak to will have had multiple position changes and multiple management changes in the course of 1 or 2 years.

    Lateral movement. Very, very limited opportunities for advancement. And even when positions and responsibilities change, they are only lateral moves with no changes in compensation.

    Very little gets vetted. Not the management - many ineffective managers. Not new ideas - often it appears to be a just a "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" kind of mentality. Thus, employees are trying to manage against ever changing priorities and expectations without clear direction or insight.

    Internal competition - very odd in how the company competes with itself (similar products sold into the same markets by different sales teams so there is competition).

    Advice to Senior ManagementThere is a huge disconnect between the market the management and the employees. ALL managers should go through a thorough evaluation and some should be moved into new positions (non-management), the remainder should go through training.

    Silos should be removed - this is one company... every group/dept should not have their own set of rules, processes, products, etc. This is extremely inefficient and forces employees to spend valuable productivity time trying to hunt answers or re-doing things.

    Efforts to improve are recognized, but thus far, ineffective. Going public creates a level of scrutiny and expectations that I'm not sure the company, as a whole, will be prepared to meet. Too many changes, not enough clear focus, and a workforce that is getting burnt out.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    office closed down and relocated to another city

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Prospay is comparable to other companies

    Consmanagement is not in sync with the lower groups in company and does not listen to the feedback supplied

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    3 people found this helpful  

    So much potential wasted

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat company, ability to work from home, great benefits, ability to work with a vast array of people, great ability to make your own schedule.

    ConsManagement doesn't listen, upper management keeps secrets, cliques all over the place, distance from upper management alienates employees, bonus structure is shady, raises are almost non-existent, wants and needs are non communicated effectively.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to your front-line people more, show more appreciation for your workers, make sure you know what your employees strengths and weaknesses are.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Love my company, not so much the parent company HMH

    Production (Current Employee)
    Boston, MA

    ProsI work for a subsidiary of HMH, not in Boston. At our company, management is top-notch and my colleagues across the board are the hardest working people in the business, bar none. This is the best place I've ever worked. Managers understand the importance of work-life balance and treat employees with respect. That said, when HMCo acquired Harcourt (and all the companies within that umbrella) things slowly changed, and not for the better.

    Cons- HMH management's top-down imposition of company values rather than looking around at the company's great values already in place

    - Preoccupation with looking good/healthy to outsiders rather than taking the temperature of its workers--compensating employees fairly (e.g., asking employees to give and do more in their jobs but also to do volunteer work on top of it to make the company look good)

    - Health care benefits are hardly that. Like a lot of companies that are self-insured, employees are stuck with higher premiums (this year 8%) but rarely get more than a 2-3% cost of living increase

    - Asking more and more of dedicated employees but not giving anything back in return

    Advice to Senior ManagementCompensate your greatest assets--your employees--more equitably. Supply more budget money for newer, faster computers and software so we can do our jobs.

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Why Work for Us?

Our Culture As champions of curiosity, our employees are as much a part of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt brand as the programs we promote, the products we sell, and the services we provide. We view every… Full Overview

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