Highlights for Children Reviews | Glassdoor

Highlights for Children Reviews

Updated February 9, 2017
45 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

2.7
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Kent S. Johnson
26 Ratings

45 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great place to work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Columbus, OH
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Columbus, OH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Highlights for Children full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    My manager is the best leader I've ever worked for in my career. Overall, strong commitment to culture and very strong mission and values. Family- and life-friendly work environment. Work environment is great.

    Cons

    We are starting to move toward more current technology and practices, but has taken awhile to get off the ground. The family of companies includes several companies that do not always work together well for the good of the whole. Some silos exist but this seems to be getting better. I've had these issues at many other employers, though, so it's nothing new. Some of the reviews here are obviously from disgruntled employees and it would be much better to talk with someone currently working here to get an idea of what it is like to work here.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to try to modernize in all areas, including products, technology and business processes.


  2. "Manager"

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

    I have been working at Highlights for Children full-time

    Pros

    Good company to work for.

    Cons

    Could implement summer flex hours.


  3. "Assistant Editor"

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

    I worked at Highlights for Children full-time

    Pros

    -Close-knit work life. You'll make friends--real friends, not just work friends!
    -Interning there is the best way to end up with a job there. Also, they pay their interns!

    Cons

    -Very small town location.
    -At times, responsibilities can be overwhelming. The company accomplishes a lot with a relatively small staff.


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  5. Helpful (13)

    "One foot stuck in the past, one trying to find a new direction"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    You can feel proud to work at a place that produces such quality products for kids and families. Strong brand with a great history.

    Cons

    The corporate culture can be stifling. Individuality is not valued. The company knows things need to change in order for brand to be relevant again, but seems unsure of strategy. Keeps changing direction. There is a chronic sense of inertia. Dysfunctional communication between Columbus and Honesdale offices, as well as between management and employees.

    Advice to Management

    Improve communication and be willing to embrace new ideas. Be more transparent. Embrace new opportunities to market products because not as many young families are aware of Highlights as you'd like to think. Find ways to trust your employees' ideas and make them feel valued. Be more flexible.


  6. Helpful (28)

    "Relationship status: "It's complicated""

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Columbus, OH
    Former Employee - Manager in Columbus, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Highlights for Children full-time

    Pros

    Highlights is a company that has the potential to be an amazing place to work. Unfortunately, for most people, most of the time, it’s unrealized potential.

    What is great about Highlights is that at its core is the question, “What is best for parents and kids?” This question actually matters more than the question, “How can we make the most money?” The legacy of the founders is strong; and being family-owned gives the operational freedom to stay true to that. The family are smart, principled folks.

    I imagine this is all sounding pretty good, although even an ideal version of Highlights would be a frustrating environment for some. It should and would still have a conservative culture that was never an early adopter of new trends and technologies for kids. Highlights thinks things through.

    Cons

    Now for the frustrating bits. Somewhere along the way, Highlights has lost a culture of productivity. Helping the business succeed in a way that aligns with their mission is not the way to succeed. The way to succeed is often opaque, but has more to do with being liked or viewed as a hot shot by certain entrenched leadership forces. [The best way to do this seems to be to mock other people’s ideas or sneer at attempts to try new things.]

    After you’ve been there a while, it’s hard not to notice that there are certain workhorses – typically bright, talented women in middle management – who shoulder most of the work of the company. Meanwhile, there is a revolving door of new leadership who are hired based on their ability to look like the shiniest flash in pan. They come in and swing their egos around, terrorizing the place for a while before getting themselves fired. It’s a frustrating cycle.

    Aside from this, there is just not enough focus in most areas on results and productivity. Once people realize that they are more likely to succeed by appearing clever than being useful, even people who might bring great value to other companies tend to re-orient themselves this way.

    Advice to Management

    I honestly don’t know how you change a culture that has lost touch with rewarding real work and results. Perhaps a place to start would be to look around at the handful of people who are keeping the work of the business afloat while leaders swing in and out, brandishing unmoored opinions and flashy mountain bikes. Consider that business acumen does not always express itself as “genius,” embodied by guys (and gals) with big egos, but is actually a practice developed overtime by people who show up and do the work. (This last sentence cannot have enough emphasis and more than Highlights would benefit from getting it.)

    I kind of can’t help myself. I love this company because I love what it wants for kids. I hope it can start to look around at the adults that work there and realize they deserve the same kind of respect for their innate worth and ability to learn and grown that it has for children.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "mailroom"

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

    I worked at Highlights for Children full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    great business cares about children and what is in the books worlds most important people are the children

    Cons

    people managers are not taking time with under management take more time to here what is being said

    Advice to Management

    listen to others


  8. Helpful (8)

    "Lacking Leadership & Alignment"

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

    I worked at Highlights for Children full-time

    Pros

    - Great brand reputation
    - Family-owned & operated
    - Impact on children always considered in prduct & marketing decisions
    - Great place to learn a lot when early in your career

    Cons

    - Lack of solid & aligned leadership in top, key positions
    - Revolving door of shiny new leaders who quickly lose the support of CEO
    - Lack of clarity around goals, decision-making & accountability
    - Inconsistent vision & communication
    - In order to survive, most are looking out for themselves rather than what they believe is right for the business
    - Too slow to react to changing market conditions
    - Too slow to evolve product portfolio
    - Not consistently living their values

    Advice to Management

    Create alignment, cosistency and transparency at the top so well-intended employees can act based on experience and vision rather than fear, & can focus on productivity and accountability rather than political gamesmanship.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Work with a Purpose"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Penn, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Penn, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    In a word: integrity. This company walks its talk. Coworkers are top notch and dedicated to the company's mission.

    Cons

    Small town location might be off putting to those used to big city vibe. Opportunities for advancement are small compared to larger organizations.

    Advice to Management

    Find more ways to expand opportunities for growth and advancement.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Project Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Columbus, OH
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Columbus, OH

    I have been working at Highlights for Children full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    There are many projects going on at any given time.

    Cons

    Conflicting priorities, lack of overarching strategic goals driving the projects, and limited resources to realize success on much-needed efforts.

    Advice to Management

    Get a better handle on the true effort it takes to do something well and have lasting results.


  11. Helpful (11)

    "Let's be honest"

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

    I have been working at Highlights for Children full-time

    Pros

    Some of the pros of working a Highlights for children is that I have a reliable pay check.

    Cons

    The cons are quite another thing altogether. I find it quite dishonest and condescending in the free form of diliberate apologetics of the person who wrote the "Happy Employee" review on September 4th. If wasn't anymore clues into the office politics, I'd think the CEO themselves wrote it! It's quite laughable, almost like a PR release. They seem to want to overcompensate for the overwhelming amount of negative reviews their employees have given them. But instead of listening to the complaints, as any management team should, they seem to just want to attempt to shove them under the rug and blame it on the token "disgruntled employee". Let's be honest - the world is moving faster than anyone can keep up with and Highlights is like the last bastion of conformity. The only companies will survive the technological challenges we face now are the ones that embrace them and adapt to them, not recoil from them. Our competition will eventually either destroy us or buy us out because we're still being stone walled by the old aristocracy.

    Advice to Management

    Time to embrace new ideas, listen and trust your underlings because let's face it - they're all smarter and more creative than you. Use them to their fullest potential and listen to them and let them implement their creative and strategic ideas to help you grow stronger for the future. They just want to help you. And stop with the fake glass door reviews, ok? We can all see right through that expose and about face routine.



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