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Sapling Learning Reviews

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2.9
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James W. Caras, Ph.D.
13 Ratings

22 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Well organized, supportive, interesting work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anatomy & Physiology Writer in Indianapolis, IN
    Former Employee - Anatomy & Physiology Writer in Indianapolis, IN
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Sapling Learning staff provide great on-boarding training and are helpful whenever a question arises throughout the project.

    The science writing work is interesting and helped me, an adjunct professor, to be a better teacher by helping me think about and explain the subject matter from a different perspective.

    Their online study and teaching platforms are high quality and I am proud to have been a part of it.

    The hourly rate for contract employees is very reasonable for this type of work.

    Cons

    The only downside for me was that the project was completed and my work for Sapling ended!


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Sinking Ship"

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

    Pros

    The now half-empty office is located in Downtown Austin.

    Cons

    In the past year, layoffs or people leaving sped up at an insane rate. Every week at least one person leaves for a better job, which is any other job, or is laid off. Entire groups get laid off without warning. Upper management, in particular the CEO of Macmillan Learning, give uplifting messages filled with corporate-speak that no one believes because everyone is in fear of losing their jobs.

    Anyone who has a better opportunity left or has an escape plan.

    Advice to Management

    The CEO of Macmillan Learning knows exactly what he is doing.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Produce Good Products, But Expect to Burn Out"

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

    Pros

    *Work with smart, creative, passionate people
    *Dress how you like
    *Work when you like as long as you get your work done
    *Produce products that are truly helpful to teachers and students
    *Increase the breadth and depth of your knowledge
    *Great benefits

    Cons

    *Often asked to do tasks that are far beyond your orignial job description and skill set
    *Work LONG hours if you care about putting out good work
    *Juggle very different roles such as customer service, training, marketing, and content production
    *Constantly having to redo work to accomidate updates in technology, academic standards, and intended audience (some of this is just the nature of the Ed Tech world, but a fair amount is also because of a lack of foresight and preparation of upper management)
    *Company uses contractors instead of hiring full-time staff for very complex tasks so full-time staff spend a lot of time and energy editing/redoing work
    *Salary was a bit low considering the nature of the work

    Advice to Management

    Hire more permanent staff even if that means having part-time positions. Teaching new contractors everything a full-time staff member needs to know wastes a lot of time, money and energy. Your full-time staff members need a consistent community of reliable co-works in order to keep their work-life balance in check.


  4. "Good Benefits, Lack Organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Digital Solutions Specialist - Tech TA in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Digital Solutions Specialist - Tech TA in Austin, TX
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Sapling Learning is owned by Macmillan, now collectively called Macmillan Learning, and has amazing benefits. Work environment is very laid back environment and you can set your own schedule, making it a great place to work if you have kids.

    Cons

    There is no organization in the company so people cannot move up in their careers. Everyone, a new employee to someone there for 5+ years, gets paid the same. Raises are the same, as well as bonuses, so there's no compensation for performance. The company doesn't value maturity or experience.

    Advice to Management

    Have tiered positions so that employees can move up and get paid appropriately. Give people raises and promotions based on what they do, not just the same for everyone.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Good potential, lousy follow-through"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Sapling Learning full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The location in downtown Austin is great. Technology is making STEM education an exciting field to work in right now. Passionate co-workers. Good benefits and generous vacation time. Casual work atmosphere.

    Cons

    High turnover plus the roll-out of a lot of new projects at once means that many projects start months later than originally planned and are chronically understaffed. Project goals are set very high, but the goals often seem to be based on little market analysis or none at all.

    There is a lot of pressure to create new products very quickly with little up-front planning. So staff often have to cut corners and can't take pride in the quality of work that they've produced, breeding disgruntlement. Layoffs have put even more pressure on the remaining work force.

    The pay is lower than similar companies in Austin.

    Advice to Management

    Remember that you need to sell your organization to your employees just as much as you do to your potential clients. You treat many of your employees like they're just cogs in a machine, but then you talk about the organization as though it's still a creative, tight-knit, startup environment (it isn't). Ask for frequent feedback. Actually follow up on that feedback.

    Provide your middle managers with managerial training. Don't just assume that because they were competent in their other positions that they'll automatically excel as mangers. In fact, some of your managers are breeding a toxic environment. They aren't doing it maliciously, they just don't know what they're doing. They need your help.

    Allow your employees to take pride in the work that they do. Let them be more involved in project planning. Give them more creative freedom and more time to work on projects. Work to make it so employees want to stay with the company instead of fleeing once a new job opportunity comes up. This will help with employee retention, saving the company tons of money in the long run.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Blind Leading the Blind"

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Have the opportunity to positively impact educational experiences around the country (and even internationally). Very casual dress code. Flexible schedule.

    Cons

    Gross inefficiency, ineffective leadership, lack of managerial ability, constantly changing goals, perpetual moving targets, not a meritocracy, allergic to accountability, not concerned with customer experience.

    Advice to Management

    Be willing to blame yourselves when things don't go well or as planned. Reward the employees who are able to perform at a consistently high level. Take responsibility away from those who don't.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Ar/Ap Clerk in Kyle, TX
    Former Employee - Ar/Ap Clerk in Kyle, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Sapling Learning (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great work environment, good people, highly intelligent.

    Cons

    No cons at this time.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Imagination is welcome and appreciated for developers"

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

    I have been working at Sapling Learning full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Creativity is valued and nurtured here. Most teams are comprised of folks who go out of their way to support each other. No such thing as blame here, and folks appreciate that enough to avoid damaging this aspect. Flexibility in work schedule, only limited by healthy respect for teammates.

    You can develop yourself here with friends.

    Cons

    Being education based, there are limited funds for projects and pay, but the pros make up for this, including a good benefits package.

    Advice to Management

    Maintain freedom, continue to defend our space to innovate, and we can continue to solve much with less and improve ourselves.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Uncertain Times..."

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

    I worked at Sapling Learning full-time

    Pros

    Good health benefits. Compensation is okay, but not great. Work life balance is excellent - they are very flexible in where and when you work. You get to work with smart, passionate people who really care about education. The content created is generally of high quality, and largely has a positive impact on student learning. We have many happy customers.

    Cons

    When Sapling Learning was initially acquired Macmillan's leadership took a hands off approach, allowing Sapling to focus on long term growth and innovation. A recent change in CEO has meant a shift in focus to profitability which, while understandable, is having a significant and mostly negative impact across the company. Restructuring has resulted in layoffs and a lot of people continue to feel uncertain about their future. Sadly, these changes are ultimately going to make Macmillan and Sapling less disruptive and less innovative.

    Advice to Management

    Moral across the company has never been lower, pretending everything is great in company meetings doesn’t help. You need to be honest with employees and try to give them more certainty for the future.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Just the expected growing pains"

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

    Pros

    Great work environment, great health benefits, wonderful people. We get to produce a product that really is geared to helping students learn STEM education. In general, I enjoy coming in each day and working with the people around me. Many employees have moved into new internal positions and disciplines as we've grown larger.

    Cons

    As you've probably read, the start-up was purchased by Macmillan. Luckily, as far as I've been able to tell, the effects have only been positive when looked at overall. There have been a few minor layoffs, but mostly due to changing focuses and centralizing employees. The larger company is having trouble adjusting to our mission, but compromises have been found to allow both parties to agree.

    Advice to Management

    Don't forget what got us here. Efficiency is important, but not at the cost of servicing both student and instructor.


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