LRN Reviews | Glassdoor

LRN Reviews

Updated October 1, 2017
237 reviews

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3.3
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LRN Chairman and CEO Dov L. Seidman
Dov L. Seidman
198 Ratings

237 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work from home facility is rocking (few employees abuse it though) (in 13 reviews)

  • Good work life balance in terms of timings (in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • After all, we are self-governing (in 14 reviews)

  • LRN says it is a flat organization (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (5)

    "LRN is Gaining Momentum"

    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 LRN full-time

    Pros

    Our mission to “Inspire Principle Performance” is a mission that is as lofty as it is worthwhile.

    LRN has a real opportunity to grow its business with hard work and focus. Individuals that are self-starters and are driven have the chance to take on as much real and meaningful work as they can handle and make a real impact on the business.

    LRN is going through a revitalization of its ethics and compliance education business. We are committed to improving itself in all areas: content, technology, sales, marketing, support, etc. It is hard work, but we are seeing tangible positive impacts on our colleagues’ experience here and on specific business metrics. Employee retention is at a high point. Content and technology is being created at a more rapid rate than in the past. Sales are increasing. All of this, and more, have helped LRN to achieve its mission while at the same time improving our colleague’s work-lives (and business success has certainly helped most colleagues financially as well).

    While no place is perfect and each has its own limitations, our mission is of the highest import and our business is on a very good path.

    Cons

    Like any organization, we are not perfect. Striving to be self-governing requires effort and energy, though the promise of the effect is transformational.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to invest in your colleagues and don't sweat the small stuff.


  2. "finding a shared work-life ethos"

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

    I have been working at LRN full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I’ve been with LRN under the “new guard” for more than two years, and in this time, I’ve seen tremendous growth in the sales, platform product, and course content initiative. Being part of a positive trend is as fulfilling as it is challenging.
    But just like any place else I’ve worked, hard work pays off.

    True, there is an unconventional ethos at LRN, where we aspire to be self-governing, but I find that if you show up as your best self and work in concert with others, you will not find it all that different. It really is a “mission with a business.” In that regard, it’s “mission-critical” here to be accountable to yourself and others. Isn’t that a good thing?

    Though there’s not a traditional organizational structure, there is leadership and support. In this regard, you don’t have to carry a certain title of a certain weight to make a difference or make decisions; you are personally empowered. To me, it’s actually quite liberating to not have to ask permission to try something new. You might just try it, test the experience, and discover a better way forward. Or, maybe it doesn’t work, but if you’ve done your homework, if you’ve enlisted support from your colleagues, and if you tried your best, you get back up and try again, maybe with fresh energy. If you have the mindset for this type of environment, chances are you can be successful here.

    That being said, if you are uncomfortable with asking questions, seeking out advice, and being proactively in charge of yourself, LRN may not be for you. Some people like a lot of formal authority. That’s fine. Here, we stress an ethical approach: what is the right thing to do? With this simple framework for self-inquiry and decision-making, it’s really not that hard to get things done, and done the right way. You may be asked from time to time if your acted with this notion of moral authority at the center of your ethos. If you have, that’s not a tough position to speak to. What is tough is justifying unethical behavior. You will get some honest feedback. If you are open, it will be a learning experience that will help you be better at work and carry over into other aspects of your life.

    Working at LRN for me coincides with what I hope continues to be a great awakening and conscious-raising here in the United States. I wasn’t quite sure what I would find here, but I can say I try to bring an ethical practice to every aspect of my life. I’m not perfect, but I’m learning and growing. LRN supports me on this journey.

    Cons

    Decision-making can be slow when others don't understand why processes can be long --share more

    Advice to Management

    Be clear, be mindful of perceptions (this is improving)

  3. Helpful (6)

    "Good and Bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Sales in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I was on a small team and for the most part our manager was able to keep us isolated and well - we even had a really smart sales process and kept things nice and simple. Back when I was there we had a good VP and good team of managers - LRN even had resources like a SF Admin and people to help with RFPs. I had a lot of fun moving deals and closed a ton and LRN paid monthly so that was nice. If we could have kept our group and been a nice software team I would still be there today. instead it became about the CEO.

    Cons

    Our manager could only do so much to keep our group together and from being wrecked by the leadership. Which leadership did do - eventually - like the rest of the business. I mean we literally went from a business to the CEOS PR team.

    Advice to Management

    The old days were the best days.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "The LRN Experience – My Truth"

    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 LRN full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you’re reading these posts because you are thinking of a career with LRN, I hope that sharing my experience and my observations will be helpful to you.

    There is a lot to be said about being part of an organization dedicated to helping companies and their people operate in principled, ethical ways. Both individual employees and the organization as a whole are held to a higher standard, as they should be. Of course, neither are perfect. However, during my tenure at LRN, I have had the opportunity to speak with ethics and compliance executives at hundreds of companies who are seeking a partner to help them create and enable a corporate culture where their people understand that trust, values and ethical behavior lie at the heart of a sustainable business. It’s an important decision, and they have many choices. It is always a privilege when they select LRN as the company to help them do that. It is then our responsibility to lead with our values and principles and support them with an exemplary standard to continue to earn their trust.

    Over the past 22 years, LRN has achieved a deep connection and partnership with many of our clients. This has given us the opportunity to do creative, innovative, important work and has created a need for accountable, creative, and innovative colleagues.

    I accepted a position at LRN 16 years ago today. Like many before me and after me, I was inspired to join a company that was mission-driven and people who are committed to making society better by helping people understand how to do things the right way. I have had the privilege to work with some of the smartest, experienced professionals in the industry. Hard-working, caring people who support each other and go out of their way to make new colleagues feel welcome.

    For me it has been an environment that has encouraged and challenged me and allowed me to grow personally and professionally. It has not always been easy, and I have not always agreed with decisions that we have made as an organization. But I have always been encouraged to voice my dissenting views. When I have done so, I feel that I have been heard and that my opinion has been respected.

    Full participation in this type of open culture requires the ability not only to speak out and hold yourself and others accountable, but also to be willing to give and get candid feedback. If you’re not used to it, it can be uncomfortable, but it becomes easier when you think of feedback not as positive or negative but as truthful.

    We have a capable, caring group of people on our governance council who are applying rigor, accountability, and transparency in setting the direction of LRN. There is a focus on diversity, inclusion and career paths. We have a sales organization that is collaborative, eager to help each other succeed and committed to do what is right for our partners and prospects. We’re making a big investment in innovation, technology and our support teams. We are welcoming many new companies into our partner community who have been referred by existing clients, and our year-over-year renewal rate is increasing. Companies who left us for other providers are returning to our partner community. It’s a great time to be at LRN.

    I need to say a few things about our CEO since almost all of the posts on this site mention him. It’s true I don’t work out of the New York office, but I have worked very closely with him for 16 years, and I believe I know him well. He’s incredibly smart, demanding, with a strong moral compass and very high standards for himself, the company, and the people around him. He wants us to be our best selves and LRN to be the best company. He does encourage and participate fully in the notion of real-time, honest feedback which can at times feel intense. He knows he is not perfect, and he encourages all of us to give him truthful feedback as well, either real-time and/or in performance reviews. He cares about our partners and our employees, and I’ve experienced and observed some incredible acts of kindness on his part. He truly wants LRN to make a difference in the world.

    Cons

    I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the turn-over LRN has experienced. LRN attracts smart, committed, dedicated professionals. When they leave, not only is it sad on a personal level, but it also drains institutional knowledge that is hard to replace. I have developed some deep friendships with people I have met at LRN. Some have left, but they have acknowledged that their experience at LRN made them better. Some have actually returned to LRN. I was at a team meeting recently where the collective tenure of the 13 participants was almost 100 years—that speaks volumes about a young company.

    The lack of an organizational chart and titles can be challenging for some, and it can be a difficult place to work for individuals who need structure.
    LRN, like most companies, is a very lean organization which results in many of our colleagues working long hours. If you are seeking a 40-hour work week, LRN might not be for you.

    We have high standards and aspirational goals. Sometimes we make mistakes, but we work on self-reflection which allows us to identify and address those flaws. You need to be willing to be an active participant in the culture.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to encourage and embrace open communication throughout the organization and listen and act on the feedback you receive.

    For all of my colleagues: continue to speak up, collaborate, celebrate our successes, hold ourselves and each other accountable when we veer off course, and most importantly, let’s be proud of what we’re doing.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Former employee"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at LRN full-time

    Pros

    Unlimited vacation, good benefits

    Cons

    No career growth, huge turnaround

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your people


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Short title"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at LRN full-time

    Pros

    Great location in Manhattan. Near Central Park

    Cons

    Very high turn over people leave all the time for various reasons.


  7. Helpful (10)

    "Not Worth It"

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

    I worked at LRN full-time

    Pros

    Some of the people are great.

    Cons

    Leadership can't actually get anything done. They're not willing to stand up for their colleagues. It's all a power trip. They are unwilling to give growth opportunities.

    Advice to Management

    Be honest with what you actually want to accomplish. Don't make empty promises.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Intern at LRN!!"

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

    I have been working at LRN full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to work, good energy. Very nice people, not like every other environment, no one is above you. All at the a same level. It is on 5th Ave!!

    Cons

    Only 6 month contract, I don't want to leave. They need to hire permanent Desktop Support Technicians.

    Advice to Management

    Keep everything how it is and help more companies do the same.


  9. Helpful (21)

    "Not what it seems! BEFORE ACCEPTING: 1) use your network, 2) contact a former employee, 3) hear how it really is"

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

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

    Pros

    The CEO pressured staff to post a favorable review here (as he's done with so many others). Now that I've left, here's the truth:
    1. Excluding the sycophantic leadership team, the people here are really nice.

    2. Spacious offices in good locations. It’s like Ikea, but with a lot of recently emptied-out desks.

    3. Working at LRN will actually allow you to not only read Orwellian literature like Animal Farm, but actually experience it first-hand, like you're actually living the book from the inside - as part of an experiential immersion exercise!

    4. If you work in LA there’s flexibility around working from home. The CEO is actually against this policy, so this doesn’t apply to NY. Because there are arbitrary, different rules for different people here. Reflecting on the literature noted in my 2nd point above, this quote from that book is apropos: "All [people] are equal, but some [people] are more equal than others."

    5. Job seekers reading about LRN on Glassdoor: if you join, you will soon have the opportunity to go ‘through the looking glass’ and post about Glassdoor yourself. Either because the CEO pressured you to do so or because you've left and feel it is your moral obligation to warn others.

    Cons

    Please note:
    Many of the effusively positive, strangely jargon-heavy posts on this site are made under duress from the CEO.
    I know because I once had to do one.
    I'll explain...

    Imagine for a second you're working at a private organization (that many other Glassdoor posts accurately describe as 'cult-like') with an all-powerful CEO/Owner. Everyone is scared of him. He 'disappears' people he doesn’t like from the organization all the time. When he's nearby, it's sort of like Darth Vader is standing behind you. That is actually what his presence feels like.

    However, he's obsessed with his public persona. Although people flee in droves (8 months is the average attrition rate for people working in the main office at LRN), he's figured out that when you control the official Soviet state messaging, produce tons of PR to dilute all the negative reports, and dismiss the comments of all dissenters because 'a revolution is not for everyone' ...then you can cover up what it's really like behind the iron curtain and get people to continue to emigrate. This is LRN, Comrade. High-five!

    Now imagine, that one day the scary CEO pulls you aside, looms over you and says: "All these people are posting bad things about the company on the website. Tonight I need you to ‘volunteer’ to go and post a review sharing all the good things about the real company!" (Implicit in this voluntary activity: The CEO will be checking it and viewing what you wrote as a loyalty test). Ahem: "This work was strictly voluntary, but any [person] who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half."]

    So imagine this happened - what would you do? What we all do. We keep our jobs.

    This exact scenario has happened to so many people.

    Please take that into account. Because it happens. A lot.
    This post is my real review.

    Other extra awesome bonus features of working at LRN:

    > The endlessly referenced 'mission' of the company (to make businesses more ethical), which may be a factor for why you want to work here, is totally inaccurate and misleading.
    The real mission is to be a PR agency for the CEO. This wouldn't be problematic if you were working for a Kardashian and knew what you were hired to do. In this case it is soul-crushing because the CEO you are championing is worse than a misplaced focal point for your ethics PR efforts; once you work closely with him you realize he's actually the opposite of who should be the face of this movement. He has what's known as the "Dark Triad" of personality characteristics.
    So, if you care about business being more ethical, ironically by working here you may come to feel like you're undermining that end goal. Example: imagine if you worked at an organization that claimed it's committed to making sure people get enough vitamin D. But instead of just distributing vitamin D, you spend all your time booking this CEO guy for articles and at speaking events so he can talk about how he's some nutrition messiah who's figured out the world needs more vitamin D. After speaking, he hands out some t-shirts with his picture on it and some 'proprietary' LRN pills, supposed to boost vitamin D.
    (Note: These pills have not been proven to contain any vitamin D.)
    That’s sorta what it’s like.
    Ask yourself, how many years of your life are you willing to commit to that?

    > The interview process feels like a bait n' switch where whenever you ask what you will be doing, you will be repeatedly told 'there are no titles at LRN' - then you will be hired for a very discrete, prescribed role which is actually a demotion. (Yay!)

    >You will be underpaid. The not-so-secret business advantage about "not having any titles" is that no titles means no salary bands and no way to benchmark yourself against the industry for what, say, an IT manager should make. No titles also means no such thing as a promotion - even when your role or responsibilities considerably expand. The CEO reflexively low-balls everyone on salary. Ironically, most of the money gets routed back to the CEO, like when he funnels company money towards buying hundreds of thousands of copies of his own book to artificially boost its sales numbers. (Remember, this is the guy you will be spending most of your time promoting as the face of the corporate ethics movement).

    > All decisions bottleneck at the CEO because he's a micro-manager (or as he normally says "I'm just micro-interested"). The organization is not flat – as it claims to be. Which reminds me of this: "No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all [people] are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?"

    > On at least a monthly basis you will be berated publicly by the CEO for not working hard enough for 'the mission'. Not for any particular reason. Just because you were nearby and he decided to 'interact' with you. He has 2 modes of one-on-one interaction: jokey bullying vs. scary intimidation whilst citing your inadequacy and reminding you how disappointing you are. (This is not surprising, as there is almost always an overlap between Corporate_narcissism and workplace bullying)

    > If you are an optimistic person committed to social good, after working here you'll probably leave a much more skeptical and jaded person about organizations in general. That's what happens when you take a pay cut to work on a meaningful social issue and then discover it's a big snow job.

    Advice to Management

    The only advice that will change anything is: to get rid of the CEO. Won't happen.
    Here's coping advice to everyone else…
    Abandon the illusion that LRN is addressing the problems it claims to focus on and has any real purpose besides being the CEO's PR narcissism machine. Yes, it also creates decent Compliance training. Admit the HOW stuff is all a joke. The more you can say that out loud at a happy hour, the more you cast off the shadow of Voldemort.

    Unburden yourself from pretending these solutions, semantic maneuvers, and frameworks are anything besides an absurdist exercise in a Dilbert cartoon. Embrace it. Make Bingo cards to get yourself through those all-hands calls.

    Don’t cling too tightly to the rationale that LRN is at least raising awareness on ethical behavior even if it contributes mostly vapourware and hot air. It's ok to acknowledge that it's possibly making the issue worse by monopolizing airtime on the topic, associating the solution with an abusive narcissist, and feeding people empty calories.

    When you get a chance, take a good look in the mirror. Reconnect with whatever younger part of yourself still exists which once hoped to make the world a better place. Now take a deep breath and admit that you've probably gotten lost. That idealistic part of yourself matters - don't squander it forever trapped in the later chapters of Animal Farm. You can find it again in a different place. The reflection looking back at you in the mirror will be much happier once you do.

    If you are long-tenured and have carved out a sustainable LRN existence where you work remotely and only have to kowtow 4 times a year, don't ignore the ongoing and very real psychological abuse experienced by younger employees who work closely with the CEO in the NY office. There is a reason why employment agencies won't send the CEO any new secretaries. There are fresh emotional scars, clinically demoralized people and new derailed careers every day. When you cave into the CEO's pressure and shore up the "come join us" party-line, part of that responsibility is on you. Please don't ignore how many good people (and friends) you've worked with who have left LRN in a much worse state: in terms of their career prospects, their psychological health and their shattered idealism.

    It's not just that "LRN isn't for everyone". That's a talking point designed for‘misdirection’. Answer this question instead: how many of the people you know and respect who previously worked at LRN would actually recommend it? How many would recommend it of the population that worked in the NY office?

    Narcissists can't function without enablers. Stop enabling him.
    Stop expending your genuine smarts, heart, talent, and the prime years of your life to help this guy get his name in the paper.


  10. Helpful (15)

    "Buyer Beware!"

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

    I worked at LRN full-time

    Pros

    don't know how they do it, but they hire truly awesome people
    no rules...... seriously! no employee handbook, no t&e policy, no limits on time off

    Cons

    have you read Animal Farm? LRN is a flat, self-governing organization with the exception of the CEO, CFO and Gen'l Counsel (all animals are created equal, except for us). There is no room for advancement and beware of their claims to transparency. It is used to ostracize and humiilate publicly

    Advice to Management

    Listen to all the feet marching out of the office. People want some structure and knowledge that they can grow their skills / knowledge.


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