Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reviews | Glassdoor

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Reviews

Updated April 10, 2018
700 reviews

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3.0
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt President, Chief Executive Officer and Director John “Jack” J. Lynch, Jr.
John “Jack” J. Lynch, Jr.
71 Ratings

700 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Company is big on work/life balance (in 50 reviews)

  • Management is flexible when you need time for your kids' activities or to work from home when you're not feeling well (in 40 reviews)

Cons
  • Upper Management are nit known for making smart decisions (in 42 reviews)

  • Past lack of focus and direction of Senior management left the company a bloated shell with a weak skeleton of infrastructure (in 38 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great company!"

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

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time

    Pros

    Extremely optimistic about relatively new CEO, Jack Lynch, and new Management team.

    Cons

    Spread across multiple offices so face-to-face interaction with the entire team is not always an option

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Response

    Feb 2, 2018 – President & Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you for your feedback. I’m happy to see that you recommend HMH as a place to work, and that you have a positive outlook on the company. We do too!


  2. "Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to work and learn! Company is big on work/life balance

    Cons

    Not an easy place to grow

  3. "Software Engineer"

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

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time

    Pros

    Great environment. Love the management team.

    Cons

    Sitting space is kinda small.


  4. "Changing practices"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Target to optimization.
    An ear to good engineering practices.
    Rejuvenated management.
    Constant feedback and consistent loop back.
    Increased pay scale.

    Cons

    Historical background for the company.
    Some slow moving decisions


  5. "Great mission but needs some work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Mission as a "learning company" is impactful and makes the work more meaningful
    - Really nice office, with tons of natural light and high-tech Macs and standing desks
    - Management is very transparent with what's going on in the company
    - Overall great work/life balance, only occasionally need to stay a bit later

    Cons

    - Still a company that's transitioning to keep up with the current times
    - Culture is only as good as the employees make it; company does not really host any events for the company that aren't work-related
    - Future is unknown; will be relevant since education will always be around, but not sure if the company is evolving fast enough to keep up with the changing digital and design landscape

    Advice to Management

    My current job is not very reflective of the original job description. I was expecting a lot of creative freedom, but at the end of the day the decisions revolve around solely on what the higher ups/clients want. Trusting your talent (no matter the level) is what will keep your employees around.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Accounts payable"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Accounts Payable Specialist in Orlando, FL
    Former Employee - Accounts Payable Specialist in Orlando, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good people to work around.

    Cons

    No promotion , and micro managing.


  7. Helpful (7)

    "Frustrating - could be much better"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Finance
    Current Employee - Finance
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very good work/life balance
    Salaries are competitive in my opinion.
    Established company with little volatility.
    Leadership seems to be starting to focus on what matters.

    Cons

    Terrible ERP system (SAP) leading to poor financial information
    All departments are soloed with very little communication among groups.
    It takes 30 people in a meeting to make a single, insignificant decision. Process change policies are archaic.
    ZERO cross-training among departments. Very little training within departments as well.
    ZERO camaraderie & sense of teamwork. No holiday / summer outings in the past few years. No room for personality at work.
    Much of the company appears complacent and does not strive for efficiencies.
    Large office with many empty cubes + offices. I guess room for expansion but leaves some employees in isolation tanks.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to focus on operational excellence. Invest in better systems to allow for better information. Continue to push for accountability and results from group owners.

  8. Helpful (10)

    "A company in wild transition"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    CEO has a vision, but little interest or control over current politics. Really intelligent people work there and they are passionate to change students' lives

    Cons

    Of late employees are not in the know of the direction in which the company is moving, it is becoming more of a top-heavy company and not paying attention to critical sales employees leaving.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to what the core employees feel the implications of 'project fit' has had. There are many employees who have given their lives for the company and new managers, without sufficient buy-in have gotten rid of them.


  9. Helpful (17)

    "Lost hope after new CMO hire"

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

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

    Pros

    This company's goal is to help people learn. and that is something to be proud of.

    Cons

    "The Agency" the design branch of the larger marketing team is an organizational mess. Every major project is last minute. The current management promised better timetables then their predecessors. That never happened and things are worse.

    Advice to Management

    Value experience a bit more. You wouldn't let someone with no business experience be the gate keeper for every business decision. So why should someone with no design background have final say on what design we show our clients?


  10. Helpful (1)

    "A company with great potential"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Director in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Broad range of services and customer base provides great opportunities for learning, problem solving, and development. Working with school districts can be very rewarding and provide a veritable Master's degree in K-12 education knowledge.

    The stated mission of the company is great! As a Learning Company, HMH can make a true impact upon the effectiveness of education on a wide scale. The potential for revolutionizing student learning and improving educators' quality of life is real.

    Strong processes and great people. The structure that has evolved over nearly 200 years of doing business can be an asset.

    The company has a strong set of resources and teams that work from home daily. This means you can save on commuting!

    Cons

    The same structure that can be a strength can become a weakness if relied upon so heavily that it stifles solutions (Make like GM and 'Burn the blue books').

    Upper management has called for a flatter organization with a more collaborative environment, focused upon development. Middle management is still focused on a Theory X management style with evaluation.

    There is a lot of risk aversion to the point of lost opportunity. It can be difficult to get sign off on a decision without upwards of 5 plans.

    Remote employment is can be a bit lonely, especially when a manager is not interested in making time for direct reports or plays favorites.

    Advice to Management

    Follow through with the directives of visionaries at the top. Find balance between planning and doing.


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