School Specialty Reviews | Glassdoor

School Specialty Reviews

Updated June 26, 2017
191 reviews

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191 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great people with a desire to produce great work and make the company better (in 14 reviews)

  • Work-life balance is excellent at this company (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • No pay increase, no acknowledgement of job well done, no 401K match (in 15 reviews)

  • Upper management isn't good at all (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Looking good!"

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

    I have been working at School Specialty full-time

    Pros

    - People are great.
    - Executives are making a lot of long over due changes.
    - Changes are making positive impact.

    Cons

    - Has gone through some rough times
    - Reputation is not what it use to be

    Advice to Management

    Good job in turning the company around.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Horrible managerment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Greenville, WI
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Greenville, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at School Specialty full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    They do have a large flexibility with family life, as long as you take off. Lots of days off because you get two weeks or three weeks of Furlough! so you get to take as much unemployment as the state will allow! :)

    Cons

    I'm not even sure how to describe my experience while working there. There was a manager who was moved up in ranks b/c of tenure and had no business in her position.

    Metrics can be unrealistic at times. There are "advancement" opportunities, but they are lateral movements and do not pay much more. it is most certainly a "girls club" .

    Advice to Management

    I belive there needs to be a new training program installed. The opportunities that you have given to help are not enough. The furloughs are getting to be a bit much.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "sales"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at School Specialty full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    your in charge of your destiny

    Cons

    new management is difficult to work with


  4. "The experience was difficult but rewarding"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Charlotte, NC

    I worked at School Specialty (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Enjoyed my team I worked with, had good relationships

    Cons

    Difficult to not have support

    Advice to Management

    Treat people well that are out there making it happen!!!!!!


  5. "Some things for job seekers to consider"

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

    I worked at School Specialty (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - The majority of staff are great to work with; a caring and friendly environment
    - Modern, clean facilities with occasional games and competitions (if you like that kind of thing)
    - An abundance of home-cooked food and other treats brought in by staff
    - A scenic, peaceful setting, though it is remote from shops and restaurants
    - Work-life balance is excellent at this company. They are very accommodating for childcare and appointments and you do not get the guilt trip if you have to take a day off sick. Work hours can often be flexible.

    Cons

    - Pay is disproportionately low for the type of work performed. Fast food currently pays a few cents less, and is not nearly as stressful or demanding. My position could easily garner several dollars more per industry standards, but the nature of the work was not accurately represented in the job advertisement.
    - Think carefully before agreeing to the automatic 401k deduction, and ask about it if it is not mentioned. There is a $50 non-refundable fee to withdraw your hard-earned money (!) and it is also subject to taxes. Unless you plan on contributing thousands or holding the investment until retirement, you are throwing money away.
    - You aren't allowed to sit outside on the lawns during breaks (!)
    - There is a small element of forced socialization in the company culture which I found very weird.
    - You may have to work on holidays and overtime, if required, is intense.

    Summary: This may be a good opportunity if you are living at home and going to college and need a few extra dollars, but not if you have dependents, are repaying debt, or otherwise need to support yourself or others. This is a very expensive city in which to live and the wages are out of touch with local market conditions.

    Advice to Management

    A long-term strategy is needed to improve the product beyond that of cheaper global competitors. Compressing domestic wages and offshoring is not a good long-term solution from a profit perspective.


  6. "Up and Coming Company"

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

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

    Pros

    One of the best CEO and leadership teams I have ever worked for. They are fixing the issues and turning this company around. I would not be surprised if they are over a billion dollars in revenue in the next 5 years. As of August they not have a 401k match and the benefits are in line with the industry average. The work environment is team oriented and flexible with work hours. The are a gold company in wellness. They now truly care about there employees. The employees have received there yearly bonus for two straight years now.

    Cons

    No pay increase for all employees since 2014 but non sales employees have received performance bonuses the last 2 years. In some departments it is hard for an entry level employee to promote because most departments do not have middles level managers.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work. I was a pleasure to work for you.


  7. "Inside Sales"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Inside Sales Representative in Annapolis, MD
    Former Employee - Inside Sales Representative in Annapolis, MD

    I worked at School Specialty (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good management team and enjoyed job responsibilities. Was able to work from home. Developed additional skills and was allowed to work pretty much independently.

    Cons

    Too many management changes led to downsizing


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Overhaul of Customer Service Dept. Needed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Advocate in Greenville, WI
    Former Employee - Customer Service Advocate in Greenville, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at School Specialty (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Some great people here. Health insurance is cheap and starts on date of hire, with other benefits after 90 days. CEO is doing a good job trying to turn the company around, and he seems to have a good philosophy and vision. He's focused on the sales and distribution departments currently, but seems to have some things in mind for updating customer service "soon."

    Cons

    -Very poor customer service management structure. Supervisors are not on-site and are typically inaccessible. Structure is arranged in "teams," and one team has two brand new supervisors, the other has the more experienced supervisors. Very frustrating when none of your supervisors know what's going on.
    -My supervisor was generally uncaring. For example, I had requested off for a family member's funeral and she denied my leave because three other people asked off that day. When I advised her that I was going to go anyways, she told me she didn't even bother reading why I wanted off and just denied it because of the numbers. I had also stated my availability during my interview, but another one of my supervisors told me she didn't bother to check it because she assumed all advocates had open availability. This will not work for a person with a child in daycare if the daycare closes at 6pm- apparently, everyone is assumed to be free until 7, or until the last person gets off the phone, whichever is later. I had to adhere to that schedule for a month before they could find someone to replace me on the shift.
    -Very outdated systems make it nearly impossible to meet all benchmarks. There are average handle time, accuracy, calls per day, and follow-up time benchmarks. System frequently crashes, and no time is given to catch up with workload. Customers are often very frustrated because of long wait. Supervisors set up a meeting to review weekly (though they often reschedule it several times and skip it anyway).
    -Management prefers that you keep customers on the phone and make them wait for you to type up call noting requirements, send e-mails, call other companies and departments (where you can be put on hold for 10+ minutes and still have it impact your average handle time) rather than e-mailing, adding notes or getting contact info and following up with the customer after the call. Definitely NOT a customer-centric point of view.
    -Preferred positions are not given based on merit, but whim.
    -There is no structure to respond to e-mails, so customers call in days later, already frustrated because no one has answered them.The e-mail system that is in place is cumbersome and results in the same e-mail being rerouted through the system multiple times before it's addressed.

    Advice to Management

    Even if you do nothing else to help the customer service department, upgrading the systems to something like SalesForce, OnContact or a version of Oracle that actually works reliably would go a long way toward improving morale.
    Localize the managers- OH managers should manage OH advocates, and WI managers should manage WI advocates. Any new manager hires should be office-based, not remote- phase that out.
    Look at a person's benchmark stats to award positions on more desirable or specialized teams- don't just give it to them because they said they want it. If someone's doing well and you're starting a new program or an opening is available on a special team, offer it to them based on merit at their one-on-ones. Also, respect those one-on-ones and don't constantly reschedule.
    Designate a handful of people who can write a decent sentence to respond to e-mails as their primary job, and have them cross-trained on phones when they get the hang of it. It would cut down on confusion and the number of days before a customer gets an answer.


  9. "Incompetent management, unfair hours"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenville, WI
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenville, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The best part about working at School Specialty was the two 20 minutes breaks.

    You are pretty much guaranteed to get the job if you can pass a drug test

    Cons

    The majority of the upper management couldn't care less about the employees, and most would spend their time berating and ridiculing the employees instead of providing constructive criticism or trying to help you out.

    You are perform expected to perform your job with very little explanation of what you will actually be doing.

    The department heads worried more about making themselves good than trying to help with the tasks at hand, and often times will just sit and watch you work, while they complain to you about productivity.

    There are meetings at break time that are supposed highlight the positive aspects of the week, and provide an overview of the week, but instead they would use that time to yell at the employees, and even insult them on occasion. (There was also one instance where a department head said that we were all replaceable employees and they would have no problem terminating any of us).

    Everyone gets so sick of working there, that by the middle of July, half of the employees hired for the summer quit, making the hours longer and the tension higher.

    They will train you for one department, and they will move you to a different department on a whim if they are behind on productivity. They will not train you for the department you got moved to, and they will then pull you aside to talk to you about your productivity in the area that you've never worked there before.

    The 1st shift gets let out at a designated time each day even they didn't finish the days tasks. The 2nd shift will then need to finish the 1st shifts duties, as well as there own, often making 2nd shift stay anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours later. This would turn an 8 hour shift into a 11 hour shift with no prior warning.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees like people, and understand that people make mistakes on occasion.

    Focus on creating an enjoyable work environment instead of trying to squeeze the life out of everybody that works there.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "The Company is turning around"

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

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

    Pros

    The coworkers you will be working with are wonderful. Working for a company that gives back to education and the community is amazing. We have gone through a lot of hard time but the new leadership team is starting to get things turned around.

    Cons

    No 401k match and for exempt employees benefits are kind of expensive.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work.


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