Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

www.hmhco.com

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reviews

Updated January 19, 2015
Updated January 19, 2015
330 Reviews
2.6
330 Reviews
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt President & CEO Linda K. Zecher
Linda K. Zecher
107 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • I have found that HMH really believes in supporting a work-life balance (in 14 reviews)

  • I get to work from home and I love it (in 11 reviews)


Cons
  • In the past Senior Management failed to communication with the employees (in 31 reviews)

  • Upper management has designed a box and expects everyone to fit into the same box - Customer Service is the worst (in 24 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Setting up employees to be laid off

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Operations Manager in Orlando, FL
    Former Employee - Operations Manager in Orlando, FL

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you have a good manager and the communication is great and you know your work orders things are great.

    Cons

    I had a great manager for years. my last 9 months before being laid off I was set up for failure with my newly assigned manager (who didn't manage any of us on the team). Our manager was very flirtatious with selected females and gave the males big opportunities to advance. He changed my title, gave me a new role to make me fail and basically was setting me up to fail with crazy goals. I surpassed my goals and did really well and I was still given a bad review. I showed proof to HR and they said I had to work with my boss to fix it and his response was that he wasn't changing it and I had to accept what was coming. Once they are set on getting rid of you there is nothing you can do. HR is doesn't even help you. That was probably the worst part - when they hire someone new and they don't realize your worth.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not sure really what management can do since they contribute to allowing this behavior to happen. If a manager wants someone out they go the whole nine yards to make it happen so they can hire their friends and have you train before they lay you off.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Moving in the right direction. Fostering life long learners thru meaningful learning experiences.

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Pros

    Committed co-workers. Passionate teams. Respectful work environment.

    Cons

    Too many initiatives, too many different directions. Intense.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider the vital few instead of the panicked many initiatives

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 9 people found this helpful  

    Was really good for a while, but then the strategy wheels fell off and the company moved to survival mode.

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

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits: holidays, occasional absence policy, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, insurance, etc. Really understanding when it comes to personal time for sick children, family emergencies, car trouble, etc. Some of the nicest people you will ever meet work there.

    Cons

    No clear strategic plan, vision, or mission, and the leadership (at least while I was there) was very weak. "Senior" leadership was equivalent to mid-level managers in other companies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Really evaluate the markets and trends (in a meaningful way) and create a balanced portfolio of products rather than chasing after what appears to be a "sure bet" but never is. Staff at appropriate levels and create a system to evaluate employees in a really meaningful way that helps them grow and develop. The practice in place while I was still there was not meaningful and saying that people who pull the weight of two is the "new normal" is not productive or encouraging. A lot of great talent walked out the door in the last five years I was there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    bad place

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

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Pros

    spent over 5 years of my life here, conclusion: horrible

    Cons

    be prepared to kiss up a lot

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    care about your ALL of your people

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Great people Bad Leadership

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Telecommuting is great, some very talented people. Very friendly environment and at least at the lower manager and worker level there is a real drive to produce the best options for our customers and for education.

    Cons

    There is a huge bloated level of upper management there are 3 SVP's answering to one SVP who answers to an EVP who reports to the CEO. All for less than 70 employees in my division. There is absolutely no room for personal growth I was told point blank unless someone quits or there is a reorganization and a position created I cannot be promoted. Evaluations are solely focused on internal commitments and have nothing to do with how we work with our customers. Benefits are very good but also very expensive $1200 per month for a family at the same level of benefits I get through my wife's work at $300 per month. Sales is completely out of whack with product and implementation teams selling stuff that doesn't exist yet and then leaving up to the implementation teams to work with the product teams to divine what the sales guy thought up and how to implement the solution.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Step back and refocus on the product and direct the sales team to get in line or get rid of them. Also add the necessary resources to the project teams with the right skill set and the projects will go faster and with less issues.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Horrible place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Geneva, IL
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Geneva, IL

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Pros

    Friendly people to work with (for the most part).
    Decent pay

    Cons

    Horrible management
    BS reviews
    No real leadership
    Being great at your job is never good enough
    Very stressful environment
    Too many layers to the company

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have only one manager for employees to talk with, weed out the layers, have better communication with employees, make known what is expected of them, and talk directly to the employee if you aren't happy with them not to other employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  8. 7 people found this helpful  

    Industry and Company in Transition

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Vice President Product Marketing in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Vice President Product Marketing in Boston, MA

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    People, Schedule Flexibility, Salary, Educational nature of work, customers who care, employees who care

    Cons

    Entrenched individuals and silos, restructuring occurs too often, difficult to navigate organization, lack of accountability, lack of respect and professional behavior by some, entitlement by many who have been at company for a long time, arrogance by some senior managers, lack of senior management physical presence anywhere other than C suite

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop restructuring and communicate more with employees face-to-face about goals and strategy, hold people accountable for their actions (good and bad)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Lead Design Architect

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Pros

    You can work at any level of capacity.

    Cons

    There is no accountability. Low or even non performers are kept on staff. Expected to train others with no training offered. The company hierarchy is too general and flat. So many people with different skills and responsibilities have the same title.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good Start

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Pros

    Great company to start with right out of college. There is lots of room for growth as a young professional.

    Cons

    Makes for a stressful work environment due to the constant restructuring.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 11 people found this helpful  

    HMH Has Lost its Soul

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Wonderful, creative co-workers who take pride in their work and truly believe in helping
    Students and teachers- Lots of excellent educational materials, but we have many weak spots as well- Fun, rewarding job when you are actually given time to do it and not stuck creating endless reports, SFDC updates & taking endless online courses - The company also offers good benefits, generous vacation time, paid volunteer time - I think the CEO has a promising vision, but I don't know that she has the right people assisting her with that vision-Sometimes I also wonder if she just talks a good game as she clearly isn't seeing what is going on in the trenches- I love working with my customers and co-workers, but can't take much more of the stress and abuse by upper management-

    Cons

    Bloated management and upper management- not sure what most of the VP's and executives do- lots of titles with no apparent substance- Even though we have a female CEO, the old boys network is alive and well at HMH- Lots of talk about "living our values" but seems to be more of a PR stunt- Territories are too small (too many reps) and quotas ( and territories) are not equitably distributed - It's feast or famine in the field- Stress and pressure is never ending and upper management doesn't want to listen to the facts-Pressure is more intense since company went public last year- Upper management shows no respect for reps- If you have 1 bad year (out of many good years) there is no mercy- No one cares about your history or the truth about why the territory isn't producing- Lots of old copyrights which make it difficult for us to compete- Technology could be a lot more seamless at elementary level - Company just keeps putting bandaids on elementary technology - Start from scratch and stop throwing away money on a system that is over 15 years old - Morale is low and the company has lost many good people in recent years-

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your people in the field and to your customers - VP's -Stop ruling by fear & intimidation- Look at territories and divide then equitably and stop thinking only about your head count- Seniority should mean something - We need new programs - The old programs are hurting us -Clean up the technology - Stock options for all employees would be a wonderful idea-

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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