School Specialty Reviews

Updated August 24, 2015
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142 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (5)

    Merchandising Assistant

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at School Specialty full-time

    Pros

    While my time in merchandising I had the best manager anyone could ask for. I also had a wonderful team to work with and enjoyed everyone. PTO: Everyone starts with 15 full days which is nice.

    Cons

    I was an employee for almost 7 years at School Specialty. The same year that I was hired was the same year raises were removed from our benefits as well as 401K matching and bonuses. Both of these benefits are still lacking. The only way to get a raise is to move up in the company. During my time at School Specialty they went through at least 3 CEO's and possibly 4. There were so many changes in that area that it was hard to keep track. The nickname of the current CEO is "Dictator". Personally I was not a fan. At first I wanted to believe he was there to bring change and better, but after the most recent layoff in February of 180 people it's hard to have that faith. I was one of the few that had a small group meeting with him and my opinions of him didn't get any better. He comes off as very harsh, direct and tough. He uses a military style of management. That could be what School Specialty needs to thrive, but it just didn't sit well with me. After 7 years of going through layoffs, turnover, outsourcing, etc. it was time to move on.

    Advice to Management

    Find little ways to show appreciation towards employees. Offer incentives to make people want to wake up in the morning and come into work. Have a root beer float or dilly bar day during the summer. Encourage associates to work together as a team and with each other across departments. It's the little things!!!


  2. Helpful (1)

    Customer Service

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service in Appleton, WI
    Current Employee - Customer Service in Appleton, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at School Specialty full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Excellent co-workers. They are people who truly care. Benefits are not horrid, although there is no match for 401k. Hours are not bad.

    Cons

    No wage increase for over 5 years. Small cost of living given last year, but nothing this year. Micro managed, especially at the middle management. Don't try to 'over achieve'...messes up the bean count. Sent much of order entry and customer service overseas. Customers and Sales HATE it, with many begging to speak to someone in the United States. The CEO talks a good talk, but it does not flow down to the bottom.

    Advice to Management

    Hold your middle managers accountable. One of them doesn't even have mandatory weekly reviews, but nothing is said. Give your employees SOMETHING to hold on to. Look at how much money is going out the door with bad transportation and warehouse snafus. Not the warehouse people's fault; they are trying to do more with substantially less. Upper mgt. needs to spend time in the trenches with the people who are REALLY running the organization.


  3. Good experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Media Specialist in Greenville, WI
    Former Employee - Media Specialist in Greenville, WI
    Recommends

    I worked at School Specialty full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    A lot of variety keeps the job interesting. Good salary. Great co-workers.

    Cons

    Company is going through a transitional phase and the job security is not great.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Shipping Jobs Overseas

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at School Specialty full-time

    Pros

    3 weeks of vacation. plus there is a holiday shut down for christmas. And pay is decent for a customer service position compared to other companies. Plus there is an option to work from home.

    Cons

    So disorganized and miscommunication. Things are always changing and then the teams dont know about it. Plus, they been sending position overseas to the Phillipeans to save money. Let got of 150 people recently.

    Advice to Management

    Share information with the employees. Provide the training needed to do the job correct. Make it seem atleast that you care about the employee. Don't hind in your cubicle all day.


  6. Helpful (3)

    9 years at SSI

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Manager
    Current Employee - Account Manager
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at School Specialty full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule. Working in a rewarding field. Name recognition in the marketplace. Broad selection of product to sell.

    Cons

    6 regional managers and 5 CEO's in 9 years. Each new CEO means they hit the reset button every couple years...zero continuity. One raise in 9 years (until I told them I was leaving) no 401k match for maybe 6 years. Operations are horrible. The company makes decisions that make you look like your incompetent in the field. The executive suite is a revolving door.

    Advice to Management

    Do you need more executives? No. Match 401k.


  7. Helpful (3)

    What a disapointment.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenville, WI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenville, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Fellow employees were very enjoyable.

    Cons

    Inconsistant/absent leadership; poor internal customer service with a "let them eat cake" mentality. Left after less than 6 months. Complete waist of time and resources on everyone's part.

    Advice to Management

    Just shut the place down and sell the place off already. your customer and employee base deserve better. Show some integrety.


  8. Sales

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Regional Sales Manager in Naperville, IL
    Former Employee - Regional Sales Manager in Naperville, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Low pressure sales environment. Easygoing.

    Cons

    Many financial problems at company. No 401K match


  9. Helpful (1)

    Undefined job description - lots of confusion from management. Recent Company restructure- company struggling.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales
    Former Employee - Sales
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at School Specialty full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Direct supervision is decent Health Benefits are decent Company Implements a lot of work life support

    Cons

    Pay Low for expectation- employees not valued. Too many people telling you what to do- no clear direction. Hundreds of lay-offs in most recent 4 years. Not giving newcomers enough time to show what they can do. Listening to the advice of outside organizations. Cut too many corners

    Advice to Management

    Figure out strategy going forward Offer better support for strategies Stop cutting corners Value employees more


  10. Helpful (1)

    Quality Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst in Appleton, WI
    Former Employee - Analyst in Appleton, WI
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible schedules Discounts on purchases. Focus on healthy living

    Cons

    Company changes vision on a daily basis. Leadership is not well trained and do not agree on direction of advocates.

    Advice to Management

    They need to get involved at the advocate level and listen to their employees. Need to get back to basic business practices.


  11. Good opportunity employer overall

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales in Anchorage, AK
    Current Employee - Sales in Anchorage, AK
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The company is a well recognized Industry leader; in the Kindergarten- high school education market, it has immediate name recognition

    Cons

    Company has faced seriously challenging, turbulent times in leadership and chapter 11 did not help; staff and customers have had to endure the pains of change and many have grown tired or weary of so much change.

    Advice to Management

    Clarify the direction you want to go. take the time to evaluate best method of implementing it, and stay the course long term. Be careful not to forget who gave you the time and opportunities to be who you are.



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