Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

  www.hmhco.com
  www.hmhco.com

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reviews

Updated December 19, 2014
Updated December 19, 2014
322 Reviews
2.6
322 Reviews
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt President & CEO Linda K. Zecher
Linda K. Zecher
105 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. 1 person 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
  2. 2 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
  3. 4 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
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  5. 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
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Almost 10 years and still going

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I have found that HMH really believes in supporting a work-life balance.

    Cons

    Sometimes it seems that managers don't provide as much direction as employees need.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Educational consultant equals lots of travel

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Educational Consultant in Detroit, MI
    Former Employee - Educational Consultant in Detroit, MI

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great product line, and some really good people

    Cons

    Travel was way off balance with no respect for quality of life

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better scheduling of assignments

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Terrible Company to Work For

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

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Pros

    Compensation is inline with the job market for that particular location.

    Cons

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (“HMH”) was identified as one of the worst companies to work for in the United States in a recent article published by the Houghington Post. One of the main themes of organizations that struggle is associated with the lack of controlled management initiatives that should seek to identify and correct inefficiencies within a department. Poor training and the lack of adequate materials lead to high turnover rate. Especially in a role that is complex and requires months of training to evaluate the performance. An unclear performance matrix leads to discrimination and an unrealistic approach of how to properly assess a person’s performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Updated training manuals is critical to the future success of an organization including hiring quality leaders and instituting a realistic performance matrix will certainly reduce the company's high turnover rate. HMH will never become a Fortune 500 company if it continues to operate the way it does today.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 8 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
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Very sad place and watch your back

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

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

    Pros

    This place used to be about great products, a place to share opinions, and a team work to build success.

    Cons

    It has become very much like middle school. You either go along with the cool group (senior management) or you are dismissed or worse destroyed. I have seen it happen. The CEO picks and buys products that are completely inappropriate. Nepotism is rampit. Senior management is buying their time until their huge stock options come through. Options that most of the company did not get nor has any idea were given out to a select few. You cannot ever trust HR as they tell confidential information to managers who then share. People are encouraged to gossip, lie, to help with agendas. It has created an atmosphere where people cross lines to save themselves.

    Lastly, don't expect to move up with a competitive salary. There are opportunities to move up. However, HR has instituted a cap on pay raises for internal employee promotions. You will make much more if you leave the company and return. You may get promoted to a much higher position but will only get a 5-7% pay raise. This leaves many people working VP and Director jobs and extremely low salary levels. This is especially compounded by the meter cost of living raises that sometimes get given. However, a person with your same level can get hired and come in at a significantly higher salary. Again, HR cant keep anything confidential.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There are a few good senior managers and they are too scared of loosing their jobs to do anything.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 6 people found this helpful  

    Awkward transition creating rift between management and workers.

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

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

    Pros

    Management has a vision for the future. Workers are talented and hard-working people with great knowledge of the industry and education.

    Cons

    Management's vision of the future relies on business theory, without an understanding of how good education content is created. It's apparent that management believes that rough transition to digital content is due to backwards-thinking, set-in-their-ways workers who refuse to learn new technology and practices. They consistently choose leaders who have little content, or even publishing knowledge, and misguidedly expect workers to embrace bad ideas with enthusiasm. The recent "Content Manifesto" released by upper management is a laughable, hypocritical, and thoroughly condescending document that is an insult to anyone who can actually create content.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your leaders are ruining the content. Quit blaming the workers. When you give us a process that's recognizably awful, you're going to get resistance. We may have old-fashioned practices, but we'll embrace change that makes sense. Your employees are as educated as you are, with expertise in more difficult subjects, so don't treat us as if we are backwards.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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