LRN Reviews | Glassdoor

LRN Reviews

Updated March 21, 2017
222 reviews

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3.0
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LRN Chairman and CEO Dov L. Seidman
Dov L. Seidman
185 Ratings

222 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • flat, self governing structure can at times create role confusion (in 12 reviews)

  • The flat organization can impede quick vetting and approvals on projects as an endless feedback loop was not atypical (in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Great Place for People with Initiative"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales/Enlistment in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Sales/Enlistment in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    LRN is a great place to work with very supportive colleagues and a management team that digs in on the details. I have worked for LRN for 1 ½ years and was given more than a fair amount of time to ramp up. There are the usual pressures to perform but there is also more focus on people’s actions and whether they are fair, respectful and align with the principles of the company. Initiative, Gratitude and teamwork are emphasized and practiced. Over the last 12 months, management has done a great job improving communication and applying more rigor, transparency, and accountability around many key drivers of differentiation for LRN.

    Cons

    LRN’s self-governing/flat structure was challenging initially because it wasn’t always clear how things operated and the best way to have an impact. It’s definitely an environment where self-starters can thrive but they’ll need to leverage their prior success and acumen to add value and drive results.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the focus on R&D, communication, accountability, and execution. R&D and execution are critical if we are to continue our growth and maintain differentiation in the marketplace. Communication helps everyone understand how things work and how to get things done. Finally, accountability is key to quickly mitigating issues and driving optimal performance.


  2. Helpful (24)

    "Engagement"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engagement in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Engagement in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    A paycheck for a few years. I liked the people very much but is was just life during wartime.

    Cons

    The CEO does not want employees, he wants cult followers. Or at least he wants people who can function well in an atmospheres of extreme cognitive dissonance. See Chapter 6. of the HOW book. The difference between the LRN promise and reality is enormous. All that is supposed to be inspirational at best and benign at worst is, when actually working at LRN, tedious and soul-crushing. On a daily basis, I felt like I was losing my mind. Just one example: following a long CEO talk about values and human dignity, I would hear him publicly humiliate a co-worker because he/she did not live up to LRN values. He uses his manufactured ‘Leadership Principles’ to punish his enemies inside and outside the organization. The LRN culture is dysfunctional and authoritarian. Do not believe a word of the happy talk about a LRN being a ‘flat organization.’ That is complete nonsense and just something the CEO says at Davos to be edgy and provocative; just like the unlimited vacation policy. Total baloney. The CEO runs the place with an iron fist and you won’t last the week if you cross him in any way. I should know. I told him that I thought he was being unreasonable once; I was let go soon thereafter. So much for truth, openness and tolerance. Fear is rampant. Stay away.

    Advice to Management

    Run. All your heinous behaviour is catching up to you. Karma will not be kind to you.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "These reviews...and horrible, unethical culture and hypocritical CEO"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Location near Bryant Park was convenient for me
    The office is nice
    Smart co-workers

    Cons

    DO NOT BELIEVE THE POSITIVE REVIEWS. I was forced to write many of them by the CEO while he stood over my shoulder, arms on his waist and condescending patting me saying what a "good idea" it was for me to write reviews. Sci-fi moment.

    CEO will do his absolute best to humiliate you publicly to see how dedicated you are to the "mission." If you do end up working there because you need a job (be a bartender or something else, really), when this happens just be as obsequious as possible and denigrate another employee for not understanding the values of the company. The CEO will love it.

    Quite culty - except nobody is really committed to the jargon because the CEO is a nasty person and a complete hypocrite

    Don't even think about getting promoted unless you are willing to undergo a mean-spirited public shaming by the CEO the likes of which rival Game of Thrones -- it won't matter if you're an executive or a secretary

    Find the reviews entitled: Principal, Lawyer, and Administrator. I worked with these people. They are real reviews.

    RUN. No REALLY.

    Advice to Management

    I hope you receive your karma. You may be rich but I question how content you can be if you need to be so toxic and hurtful to people who work for you and God only knows who else.


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  5. Helpful (24)

    "A house of cards"

    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 LRN full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some of the most intelligent, hard-working employees.

    Made me realize the type of company that nobody wants to work for.

    Cons

    CEO egotism is absurd. Slowly killing off a successful company by putting himself above the company. Trying to establish himself as though-leader or industry pioneer by "saying" instead of "doing". Very intelligent person, just falling short on fully delivering. Would make an OUTSTANDING politician.

    Spread too thin. No product/service is given the attention it needs.

    Lack of bosses means nobody in middle management to give direction. You have to politic or swoon people to help.

    People in different departments with a basic understanding of technology, regularly stepped in months down the road and steamrolled the direction of projects.

    Feckless management, treading water while interviewing elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    Immediately get serious about focusing on technology to deliver your offerings.


  6. Helpful (13)

    "RUN!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I genuinely can not think of one.

    Cons

    Please note that the positive reviews you see on here have mostly been written because the leadership desperately wanted to clean its image on this site. They struggle to get people hired. Please read the positive reviews with a huge grain of salt.

    Most employees are unhappy and here is why:

    LRN’s main mission is to inspire principled performance but unfortunately they couldn’t get their own leadership to act in accordance with the values they so often preached. I’ve outlined the things LRN wants to say they are and how it actually was when I worked there.

    LRN says it is a flat organization. They think because no one has titles that it means everyone is a leader.

    Reality:
    Although they claim everyone is equal, there is a MAJOR distinction in ranks. The two major rankings include leadership, and everyone else. Because no one was given titles, people took liberties by calling themselves the heads of departments and constantly craved power and authority. One major theme that rose from this “flat” structure is that people were constantly put down or blamed if they weren’t leadership. This also gave way to a culture that encouraged others to feel lost, feel unappreciated for their hard work, feel invisible, and feel frustrated because they could not define their next step professionally.

    LRN says it believes that you create a tone from the top.

    Reality:
    This one is actually true. The tone that the CEO gave the rest of the company was that you can get away with bad behavior, bullying people, not respecting those that aren’t at your level, and never taking accountability for mistakes. This is how a lot of people close to the CEO also treated the lower ranking employees. Bad behavior was normal. My colleagues would often be crying in the bathrooms after having being belittled. When you did complain about people’s bad behavior you were basically told “We all know that this person is like that. That’s just how it is.” Happy hours were spent swapping horror stories about the "leaders" and how they had been passive aggressive bullies who craved authority and lacked basic human decency.

    LRN says it supports innovation and promotes inclusiveness and creativity.

    Reality:
    LRN does not want anything to change and anytime anyone has a new idea; it is met with difficulty and blockages. An example of this is when a few of my former colleagues wanted to start a Diversity and Inclusion committee. The colleague who spearheaded it was to present the idea to the leadership committee (ironic because apparently they are flat?) and while he presented the idea with a lot of positivity, he was faced with backlash. Leadership questioned if we had a problem at all with diversity (which they did) and why it was even important. The colleague who put this together was finally given the green light but continued to receive strict rules on what this committee should look like and how it should operate.

    To be honest, I can go on and on about the bad behavior of the organization, the hypocrisy, the huge turnover rate, and stress how the positive reviews on here are DEFINITELY lies, but ultimately I’d like to leave you with this: DO NOT WORK THERE.

    Advice to Management

    Start reading the reviews and actually doing something about them rather than posting fake positive ones. Start practicing what you preach.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "A Place for Trail Blazers"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Producer in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Producer in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at LRN full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The mission attracts the best, the brightest and most wonderfully idealistic colleagues one could ask to work alongside. Every day is an opportunity to learn, grow and enhance the culture around you while helping companies around the world to the same.

    I’m sorry to see recent reviews bemoaning the closure of the LA office, but strategically it was a smart, though tough business decision and a lot of thought went into it. I say this, even as a casualty of that decision. At LRN, they celebrate reflection, collaboration and thoughtfulness in all decision making and this situation was no different. I enjoyed my 10+, ever-evolving years at LRN and generally feel that the company did right by me.

    Cons

    LRN sets a high bar for itself, in terms of mission and principles, so when any of its colleagues or leadership falls short of that bar, it opens the company up to criticism. So, if you work there, be ready for critique. It’s also not always a place with a clear track for career advancement, BUT it is a place that openly encourages every single employee to flex their leadership muscles and to blaze their own path to further the mission. Admittedly, that’s not for everyone, but for those who welcome the opportunity, it can enhance your career and your worldview.

    Advice to Management

    As I said before, LRN attracts the best and brightest. Listen to them, even if you don’t agree with them. Significance will be found only through the connection and collaboration between the leadership of the company and its colleagues and partners. This also includes former colleagues, even those who have written negative reviews on this very site. Find the kernel of truth in every criticism, try to see LRN through the eyes of its critics and work to learn and grow from it. That is what is asked of each employee and the same should be true for the company as a whole. There is great potential at LRN to change behavior and it must be always willing to enhance its own behavior to get there.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Bringing Your Best Self Matters"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 (More than a year)

    Pros

    Without discounting some of the experiences some employees have had, I want to note that withholding judgement is a lost art in our culture. If you choose to work in a non-traditional environment, you really have to keep your mind open for a while and settle in before summing up the place. Non-traditional workplaces also evolve more consistently than other types of organizations; that doesn't mean there is no goalpost. That said, LRN offers its employees the ability to be self-accountable, creative, and innovative. I've worked at a wide variety of places in a number of fields, and I've never experienced this level of trust and freedom anywhere. After many years as an adult in the non-work world, I am finally viewed as a grown-up within my own workplace. How refreshing. With that trust and freedom comes a responsibility to deal with your own internal motivators and the lack of an overt external rewards system. I think people should really consider that carefully because it will color your day-to-day experiences. Are you really someone who wants to rely on yourself to bring your best self to your work each day? Will you continue to be excited to use your skills and work hard if you are for the most part your own "boss," and therefore it may feel like no one is patting you on the back (though good work at LRN definitely does not go unnoticed)? If so, you will likely be quite happy at LRN. This is not to imply that people who have had negative experiences are lazy or not motivated—to flip it: some people are fully accustomed to highly structured environments with external rewards and are happy with that, and some are not. The rewards of being at LRN are weaved in to the day-to-day experiences of working with outstanding, intelligent, and morally conscious people; being able to draw a clear line between what you do and how it has benefited the company as a whole without someone "holding it over your head;" having room to grow and utilize your skills in ways that might fall outside the lines of your day-to-day work, as well as explore new skills; and, being valued holistically as a human, as opposed to being just a worker who is good/bad at their job. These rewards and others are your own if they are meaningful to you. Still, LRN also offers great "traditional" professional development opportunities, compensation incentives, and an outstanding benefit package. As a prospective employee, it is also important to look carefully at the mission and philosophy of LRN and understand and respect that it is actually alive within the company. Does the company mission resonate with you? If not, it is not the best opportunity for you. I have personally felt inspired that there is much more than lip service given to LRN's mission. I would also like to add there is a friendliness and joyfulness at LRN that I have not experienced elsewhere. Like every other work environment, it is not pure perfection, but there is a tangible "can do" vibe that comes from a positive place of caring, rather than a negative fear of retribution or loss.

    Cons

    Not everyone is wired to be self-driven and accountable; or, sometimes it takes time to learn how to be when given the opportunity. This can create a sense of imbalance with regard to who is "working hard" and who isn't.

    Advice to Management

    The focus on the positive is great, and operational changes are really having an impact. With so many super smart, quick-thinking people on board, the promotion of active listening as a day-to-day practice during collaborative efforts might be beneficial.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "A Wonderful Place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The employees at LRN are fabulous. Never have I met such a dedicated group of people who not only are very serious in their work, but maintain a sense of compassion, humility and warmth that I have never experienced. The workplace is open and conducive to sharing different opinions, which is very important .is a company is to grow and be successful.

    Cons

    There are some very long hours, but it is definitely worth it

    Advice to Management

    Keep the momentum going. Things are only getting better!


  10. Helpful (11)

    "Wonderful colleagues"

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

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

    Pros

    I met many wonderful people there that I am still friends with and who have helped me along in my career path. The mission of the company attracted smart, loyal and ethical people. Unfortunately, they couldn't keep many of them.

    Cons

    I worked there many years ago (before 2012 but that was the earliest option on the pulldown menu) and at that time the atmosphere was dysfunctional beyond belief. There was a 40% voluntary turnover rate.

    Advice to Management

    Don't sweat the small stuff.


  11. Helpful (17)

    "Closed LA"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    So I heard they closed the LA office for good. Such fond memories of always being torn away from work and made to sit in the lobby and listen to the CEO talk about, well....whatever he wanted. We were all his practice and his experiment. Oh yes I will miss the memories of sitting on couches trying not to listen to the insanity as his number 2 stood over me shaking the change in his pocket. Great times. Also I sold a lot of business here. I had a manager who likes to make money so did anything to stay on Dovs good side. Some nice people but they always came and went.

    Cons

    Too many to list really...CEO who killed a viable business to write his own book. A CEO who killed off a team of 300 in an LA office just to leave that all behind and start a new. Cruel leadership. Manipulation. Constant turnover. Lots of adults humiliating themselves in the name of trying to be liked. No LA office.

    Advice to Management

    I got nothing for you.

    LRN Response

    Nov 10, 2016 – Company Response

    Thank you for taking the time to post this review – although the personal nature of the feedback you provided was unfortunate. Our LA office played a crucial role in our founding, growth and ... More



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