Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reviews

Updated April 20, 2015
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  1. Helpful (2)

    They are trying to break down the silos but at least in IT development, they have a long way to go.

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (More than 8 years)

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    New Leadership cares
    Growth potential
    Many great passionate co-workers

    Cons

    Silos still exist
    Product has been released to meet contracted dates regardless of quality
    Releasing quality ensures their long term success
    Releasing based on shareholder promises, ensures a less likely road to success

    Advice to Management

    Upper management must break down the IT Development silos. Many people on the outside who have more experience in digital than those on the inside. The loyalty to those inside will kill their product. It takes more sophistication then they have in some important slots. The less talented politically connected get hidden behind those more talented. Management should bring in consultants who have already succeeded in what HMH is trying to do, to thoroughly and independently (without politics) evaluate the DEV process and the team members all over for competency. Management should heed the results that may shock them.

  2. Helpful (8)

    Can be debilitating to effective, smart people.

    • 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 a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are smart, enthusiastic coworkers.
    Company will match charitable contributions.
    While company is spread out, most teams make a good effort to connect/collaborate.

    Cons

    Most products are designed by committee, or worse, by CEO.
    Business is largely based on acquisition. Making good products an afterthought -- if a thought at all.
    Great workers can get buried in meaningless tasks. It's product development quicksand.

    Advice to Management

    Rebuild a culture of trust and empowerment.
    Let the good people you hired do their jobs. Pay attention to what's going on in the world. Many products/initiatives/strategies are dated.
    Stop building McMansion products. Just make something people want.

  3. Helpful (1)

    Project Manager

    • 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 (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    People that I work with are great people and we really work as a team. We publish excellent material and it is a pleasure to do the work.

    Cons

    It is a great place for new hires and not so much for the people that have been there a long time. Loyalty means very little as well as institutional knowledge.

    Advice to Management

    appreciate the long time employees that know the business well.

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  5. Helpful (8)

    The best job I ever had - and the worst job I ever had -

    • 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 full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people are fantastic - benefits are very good - once they went public the entire environment changed heading south.

    Cons

    Management is draconian. No respect for individuals. An employee is nothing but a tick mark on a spreadsheet. Upper management has designed a box and expects everyone to fit into the same box - Customer Service is the worst. No regard for the employee or the customer - it is all about numbers. No support for the sales reps. The management team has designed policies that make everyone work harder - not smarter. Instead of improving production with technology they have adapted manually intensive workarounds that are cumbersome and filled with the opportunity for failure - employees feel "set up to fail" Everyday feels like another day rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Advice to Management

    Find out what is happening "below the surface" Find out WHY people are working longer hours getting less accomplished. Talk to the people who were there when things "worked". There are excellent individuals working there that are not appreciated or used to the best of their ability. Stop micro-managing and allow employees to shine.

  6. Helpful (3)

    Lots of Potential

    • 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 full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people who work at HMH which are consultants and sales representative those out in the field are dedicated to the education of children and helping schools implement their products. The outside sales people really care about their customers and will bend over backwards to make their schools happy.

    Cons

    Management is horrible. They are so busy trying to micro manage people and they do not promote from within. Most of the top level people are from other markets and do not have much of an idea how educational publishing works. They do not listen to the field and treat customers horribly which leaves the field staff to try and clean up the mess. They also do not like to give out bonuses or they try to stiff you of them.

    Advice to Management

    Your sales staff are very dedicated to your customers. A little less micro managing as well as better training.

  7. Helpful (8)

    Unprofessional Atmosphere (Orlando, FL Office)

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

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    -401 K
    -Health Benefits
    -Free Parking
    -Boston Office

    Cons

    -Position changed from what I was hired for.
    -Vacation time was generous, but you were never allowed you to take it.
    -Culture was more dictatorship driven instead of leadership driven. Not allowed to talk to co-workers. Makes it difficult for projects that should be team driven.
    -Employees expected to work all day, nights and weekends. Long hours.
    -High turn-over with the exception of Management.
    -Needed to embrace technology in order for the company to grow.
    -Culture was chaotic, unorganized, bizarre, no sense of direction at any time.
    -Management only seemed to be worried about their level, not the direction of the company or employees.
    -Management gossiped, disclosed highly confidential information about subordinates and looked to get employees in trouble instead of working.
    -Tattle-tailing instead of teamwork is encouraged.
    -Culture more like middle school instead of a professional organization. No innovative ideas or work methods and employee ideas (that could save them money)... were shot down.
    -Highly intelligent employees were never promoted, nor mentored.

    Advice to Management

    -It is not always someone else's fault.
    -I would suggest an abundance of leadership classes for their management, but I think the only way the company will thrive is to clean house and start all over.
    -There is a difference between management and leadership. Companies thrive with true leaders.
    -If the company wants to continue to succeed, the work environment should be collaborative, team-oriented, not a dictatorship.
    -Please implement a professional dress code (Sloppy Jeans and Flip Flops are not appropriate work attire).

  8. Director of Sales

    • 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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Strong commitment to their mission & their employees. Focus on getting the job done and providing solutions to their customers. Love the way they enable to sales force to make it happen.

    Cons

    Need to streamline the technology story, but they are making strides.

    Advice to Management

    Embrace digital and plan for that transition

  9. Helpful (4)

    Great products, tense office environment.

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

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Books to be proud of; individual team members with lots of talent and a positive attitude towards innovation; reduced price books and some free books for employees; decent benefits

    Cons

    Distracting sense of competition between departments; high expectations for management without adequate support (sometimes apparently little to no management training at all with promotions); erratic restructuring decisions; constant sense of dread that more layoffs or restructuring will come around; gossip; too much talk about unfair compensation and lack of job security

    Advice to Management

    Encourage collaboration, not competition, between departments; acknowledge wariness about technology both in the workplace and in the future of the industry, and provide employees with more support; create clearer chains of command and management structure

  10. Helpful (3)

    Company is constantly changing because it has no clear direction while competition is growing around them.

    • 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 (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits: lots of time off, more holidays than most companies, good health coverage, and flexible work schedules.

    Cons

    Low pay, constant layoffs, no clear direction from the top, and not much investment in employees career development.

    Advice to Management

    Make a decision and stick with it.

  11. Helpful (1)

    Nice place to work

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Huge Technology Stack, Multiple platforms to choose/work on.
    Good people to work with. Extremely helpful and clean work etiquette
    Nice perks, including tickets to Fenway when Boston Redsox is in action
    Commuting is so easy.

    Cons

    Not a typical S/W firm setting

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