Words & Numbers Reviews

Updated April 24, 2015
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Glenn T Evans
3 Ratings

17 Employee Reviews

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  1. Happy Place

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Staff Employee
    Current Employee - Staff Employee

    I have been working at Words & Numbers full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    work life balance, nice people, interesting work, good industry - I really enjoy the various learning opportunities provided. It is a good group to be around and the people are very nice.

    Cons

    There are many virtual workers. It is hard to establish a relationship beyond email exchanges and phone calls. While I appreciate the flexibility of working virtual, it can be tough at times.

    Advice to Management

    Love to see more training on digital tools and upcoming trends. Also, put more snacks in the break room.


  2. Editorial Assistant

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Editorial Assistant in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Editorial Assistant in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (Less than a year)

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

    Pros

    There are plenty of nice people who work there. The offices are modern and comfortable. The projects are interesting and the clients are impressive.

    Cons

    No one talks in this office. It is eerily quiet, because everyone uses Skype messenger to communicate instead of speaking. Supervisors work remotely, for the most part. The company culture doesn't promote collaboration or innovation. There is a huge industry disconnect in Words & Numbers-- they call themselves educational publishers, but they are really only content creators and managers. They don't use any of the industry technology. The computers cannot support the use of Word, Firefox, Adobe, and Excel at once, so they regularly crash. Content is edited using post-it notes in Adobe reader, and despite the fact that many of the staff hold publishing degrees and possess the skills to use the technology efficiently, the company discourages the use of InDesign or the Adobe Creative Suite. The actual publishing is outsourced to other companies, which is an unbelievable waste of time, when the trained and skilled professionals are sitting in cubicles wasting time until they get files back from another company. Finally, moving up in the company is random and difficult to do. Company hierarchy is like a game of chutes and ladders. HR will promise in the interview that there are opportunities to work from home, but then strongly discourage you to do so after you're hired. The best thing this company has going for it is its lower- and mid-level employees, who are hard-working people with integrity. But management doesn't seem to value them at all.

    Advice to Management

    Value your employees. It was rumored that one of the CEOs, Nanda Krish, said he doesn't care if Editorial Assistants stay or quit, because they're the lowest rung of the ladder. Not only is that an insult to the educated professionals trying to work their way up, but it is a terrible way to conduct business. Stop wasting clients' time and money by outsourcing design and publishing, and instead invest in your employees and the technology to stay on the cutting edge of this quickly-changing industry.


  3. Awful Experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Ediitorial Assistant in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Ediitorial Assistant in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (Less than a year)

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

    Pros

    -The people -Could be a good place to get staryed right out of school, but don't stay long

    Cons

    -Insultingly low salaries -Very high turnover -Leadership treats employees very badly

    Advice to Management

    To retain great talent, you have to pay people well and make every employee feel valued.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Do not take contract work here!

    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Writer
    Former Employee - Writer

    I worked at Words & Numbers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    As someone else stated, the assignments can be interesting.

    Cons

    Horrible pay. Constant pressure from W&N staff to get assignments done faster. They take MONTHS to pay. If you are starting out... maybe get your feet wet here, but if you are an experienced education or edtech writer, stay clear!

    Advice to Management

    There will always be someone who will do the job for less. And this is who contracts at W & N.


  6. I loved this place while it lasted.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If you are passionate about the work, you will love W&N. You work with many people who are similarly committed, which helps when you are in the trenches. You can advance quickly. Benefits are decent, which includes being able to work from home. Not sure if the on-site child care facility is still open, but that was a lovely perk.

    Cons

    Management will fire a person at the drop of a hat for fabricated reasons. Pay is terrible. It's a small enough company that you can be noticed, which can turn out to be a disadvantage.


  7. Helpful (1)

    So Far, So Good

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Words & Numbers

    Pros

    I haven't been working there long, but my favorite part about W&N is the amount of communication. I am encouraged to ask for more work, to ask for different kinds of work, and to let people know if I don't think I'm being challenged enough. I also love the schedule flexibility.

    Cons

    It's hard to get to know people because everyone is in cubicles and because a lot of people work remotely. However, I'm sure that's true of a lot of companies. That's one of those things where I just have to work harder to put myself out there. They are very conscious that it is hard to meet and get to know coworkers, and they try to have events that encourage people to get together.


  8. Helpful (3)

    A perfect example of how NOT to run a company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Editor in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Words & Numbers 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

    Frankly, the only good thing was that there is the freedom you have in terms of schedule. There's no real management structure so employees have the freedom to come and go/work from home as they please. Most of the management is absent/working from home all the time so you don't have a lot of micromanagement, which is nice. There are people in the office who have never met their managers, even though they live in the same town as the office.

    Cons

    Too many too count. The first con is really about how the company is run. There's no visibility or honest communication from management to mid/lower level employees. The employees have a strong feeling of distrust of the management. There's a general understanding that management does not care about the employees whatsoever and this is reinforced by their terrible wages and refusal to give salary increases (or even real health benefits) to employees who have worked there for 1-2 years or more. The company culture is really non-existent. The office is awkward and quiet all the time. People rarely speak to each other outside of quick work-related questions - most of which take place over Skype or email even if we sit just a few cubicles away. Everyone is always looking over their shoulder and there's a general uncomfortable/ominous feeling over the whole office The pay is ridiculously low. There is a Royal Farms about a half-mile from the I would recommend to anyone that they apply there first instead of Words and Numbers. You have to fight tooth and nail to get a raise, and then if you do, it's barely noticeable on your paycheck. The job market is pretty bad, especially in this industry so management knows they've got 100 applicants that would be happy to take any job right out of college, and their attitude towards their employees reflects that. Everyone is basically replaceable in their eyes. There are some poorly-executed attempts at recognition for peoples' good work, but it's really all just a drop in the bucket and everyone sees through them. Finally, I would bet my life savings (which is admittedly low after working with this company for over 3 years) that most/all of the good reviews posted on this site are fabricated and written by upper management. After 3 years of working there, I knew basically every employee and NO ONE would write a 4 or 5 star review.

    Advice to Management

    Be honest with your employees. Listen to their concerns and treat them like you care about them. If people think they're valued by their company, they're going to work harder. Employees get burned out so quickly when they feel like management does not care about them whatsoever.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Great Company

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

    I have been working at Words & Numbers full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Fun, challenging, creative work with great people, happy hours, ball games, fantasy football, NCAA tournament competition,tuition support, company-wide training, book clubs, flexible hours, onsite day care, and much more! I've been here a while and while no company is perfect, they do have a lot going for them.

    Cons

    Educational publishing is not a market to get rich in.


  10. Helpful (4)

    If you're looking for a fair pay, opportunities to advance, or an ethical management team, look elsewhere.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Assistant Editor in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    One of the few positive sides of working at Words & Numbers was the flexibility to work from home, or take off a day if necessary. Of course, for full time "contact" employees, including ALL Assistant Editors & Editorial Assistants, this meant no pay. Perhaps the only other pro I can scrape up is that the grueling work gave me the opportunity to build a robust portfolio to land employment where I could have growth (both professional and salary) opportunities.

    Cons

    Editorial Assistants and Assistant Editors are considered "disposable employees." Not only are these staff payed an hourly wage that can't even compete with your local gas station cashier, but employees are given no benefits at all. You can opt in for health insurance - if you can afford to sacrifice 25% of your waves. The company usually hires these staff members in waves, when they anticipate heavy workflow, which means starting your first day with a punishing deadline hanging over your head. If you can't take the heat, not to worry - there are almost no distractions in the building. Cube rows are silent as the grave, and staff interactions are limited to Skype messaging system, even if your colleague is only one cube away. Simply put, the company culture is terrible. W&N doesn't invest in their junior employees because they expect these positions to have a high turnaround. The research and writing is so endless and monotonous, with deadlines so punishing, that employees tend to burn out within a year. Some take their poverty level wage (did I mention you need a college degree for these positions?) and land a fair salary and other local publishing companies. Others are not so lucky: if work is slow, W&N has no qualms about "laying off" employees. As a contract worker, they are not obligated to give notice or compensate you in any way. When I was offered my position at W&N, I was told there would be opportunities for growth within the company and signed a contract that would be "up for review in three months." I assumed this would mean possible full-time employment status-- but after 3 months, there was no conversation, and after 12 months, there was not even a raise. To round out another chilling aspect of company ethics: the Words & Numbers senior management staff has talked a great deal over the last few years about an increase in topline growth, but unless the word "Executive" is attached to your title, you won't reap any benefits. The company is also very proud of their "offshore initiatives" which translates to sending graphic and web design work to India so that they can pay these "offshore" employees a minimum wage that falls even below the bottom of US standards, taking potential jobs away from domestic employees.

    Advice to Management

    If senior management is unable to find it within their budget to staff positions with fair salaries and benefits, perhaps they could siphon a little off the top of their well-known six figure salaries?

    Words & Numbers Response

    Oct 2, 2013 – Senior Manager

    Words & Numbers’ graduate intern program has provided entry-level college graduates an opportunity to learn the educational publishing business in an aggressive time frame. In this program, entrants ... More


  11. Flexible, Family Oriented, Great

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Employee in Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Employee in Baltimore, MD

    I have been working at Words & Numbers

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I am a working parent and I cannot tell you how impressed I am with how flexible this company is. I see children openly accepted, rather than shunned, when there are snow days, or crazy dismissal days. If I have to take off all of a sudden due to family illness, or other emergencies, this is allowed with no problems. Working from home is very doable and the managers, staff, and company are very flexible. There is even an onsite childcare, which the company has invested in, which tells you what they value - work balance and family. The other thing which is great is that plenty of people who have worked at Words & Numbers and chose to move on, still stay in touch. Many come back knowing now that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Many continue to to part-time, freelance work, and it goes to show that people feel they can continue the relationship with the company very easily which is pretty cool. Some have left and became clients, still sending work back to Words & Numbers! How cool is that?

    Cons

    As with all companies, this one is no different in that they are evolving to the new economy and struggled a bit in the past two years. This meant that we have seen changes, some positive, others not as much, but I give them credit for trying new things and keeping doors open for communication. I think if you want information, you can get it.

    Advice to Management

    There are plenty of things going right at Words & Numbers - It is a great culture, and the work is creative and important to education. Over communicate and let the people there know that you are there if they need you.

    Words & Numbers Response

    Mar 29, 2013 – Senior Manager

    Thank you for your review. It is always great know about positive experiences and we will continue to work on communication.



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