School Specialty Reviews | Glassdoor

School Specialty Reviews

Updated June 13, 2017
190 reviews

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190 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. "Sales Leader"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice Presiddent in Appleton, WI
    Current Employee - Vice Presiddent in Appleton, WI
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at School Specialty full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    A good company where your activities can make a difference on the development of the future of America

    Cons

    You have to work hard and have a plan or you will fail

    Advice to Management

    Keep the open communications coming.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Bid Operations Coodinstor"

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

    I worked at School Specialty (Less than a year)

    Pros

    My coworkers were the best. Great team atmosphere. Great manager- treated you as a human being. The work was interesting. I liked the fact it was education related.

    Cons

    The company has struggled for many years. Upper management suffered very little, but the average worker certainly did. Benefits were cut, no raises for years, involuntary time off with no pay.

    Advice to Management

    Be transparent. Come up with a plan and stick to it. concentrate on doing the basics well- i.e. Answering the phones and filling orders correctly- before tackling more complicated tasks.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Sinking Ship"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    There are some good people at this company, and most of them were on my team. That was one of the best parts of the job. The hours were flexible, my manager was great, and the job was more mundane than average (I mean it's a job, there's a reason it's called "work"). And our managers allowed us to listen to music.

    Cons

    The pay was below average, and healthcare was poor. I worked there for 3 and a half years and provided some vital services to my team and other teams, when I humbly asked for promotions or raises I was always denied. Senior management never even knew about my role and eliminated it when a round of layoffs came around, leaving my team without a PM or scheduling coordinator for production, editorial and design. Later I found out my bosses were laid off too, and the entire marketing department was outsourced. Despite being our PM, my title in the HR system was an Administrative Assistant and I was paid and treated as such. They have a habit of keeping people as seasonal for many years so they don't have to pay them benefits.


  4. "employee"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Fork Lift Driver in Mount Joy, PA
    Former Employee - Fork Lift Driver in Mount Joy, PA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I really enjoyed the people that i worked with

    Cons

    it was so hot


  5. "Sales"

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

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

    Pros

    Great array of products to sell so it's a one stop shop--a big benefit to schools.

    Cons

    Went through a bankruptcy so they are on the rebound from that. Revolving door for Top Management


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Review"

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

    I have been working at School Specialty full-time

    Pros

    The current leadership team gets it. They are making decisions that while not popular needed to be made. They are consolidating and trying to make the company work together as a single business instead of several autonomous business units that did not have the best interests of the stakeholders. They are approachable and are listening to what employees say. They are also making strides to change the culture. For example, changing the dress code was not popular but the sloppy dress was getting out of control.

    Cons

    It will take some time to get back some of the benefits we had such as the 401k match and bonuses.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing the surveys, communication updates, leadership lunch and learns, etc. These consistent messages and forums reinforce that you are different from past leadership teams.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Sales Consultant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Virginia Beach, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Virginia Beach, VA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at School Specialty full-time

    Pros

    Mission - helping students and educators achieve desired outcomes.

    Cons

    Compensation plans changed yearly. Management lost sight of the mission.


  8. Helpful (8)

    "Used to be a good company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer II in Appleton, WI
    Former Employee - Software Engineer II in Appleton, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I was there for many years, and the one thing -- the only thing -- that was constant was the quality of my co-workers. People kept their eye on getting the job done and did so in a spirit of cooperation, even when under extreme stress.

    Cons

    There's really no good reason to join this company.
    1. Management has said that it will be sold within the next two years, so there's no future for you here. This knowledge also puts you in the position of knowing that whatever you do, you're doing for an organization with a finite future.
    2. There's a history of large layoffs, often without regard to who was and wasn't needed. Layoffs such as these scare everyone, since even high achieving quality people have been included. This fear has led to many great people leaving on their own; after all, it's easy to network in a place like the Fox Valley when hundreds of people have been terminated: you know people everywhere! The result is that there are areas of the business where there's no one left with the history and knowledge that is needed to get the job done.
    3. Training wasn't adequate even when they were financially strong, so it's virtually non-existent now. You have to expect to be given assignments without any guidance. This is especially frustrating since as I already said, history indicates that your working harder to do a good job will not help you keep your job .
    4. Assignments seem to have only two priorities: "critical-so-drop-everything-else" and "stop-working-on-that-because-we-changed-our minds". After a while, you realize that it's stupid to kill yourself to get an assignment done, since it may be cancelled anyway.

    Advice to Management

    None. Your goal -- to sell it soon and leave town -- is so completely unrelated to your employees' goals that it doesn't really matter how you get there.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Sinking ship.;.."

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

    I have been working at School Specialty full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Most people who remain at the company believe in the idea of the company and helping educators and students.

    Cons

    Top management is a Good Ol' Boys Club. It consists of family members and people who previously worked with CEO. Feels like their interest lies in making themselves a nice profit and enjoying a good living while the rest of us suffer. No pay increase, no acknowledgement of job well done, no 401K match. They outsourced HR functions and now insurance is expensive and not good coverage.

    Advice to Management

    Try to look down from your Ivory Tower and see how the little people live. The people who are really keeping this ship sailing are the ones doing all the work at the bottom. Promote from within and stop hiring consultants and interns to fill the gaps left by your letting 180 people go.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Org didn't share the same priorities."

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

    Pros

    I worked with a great team, both above and below me on the org chart. The product I managed was a complete change for most of them, but they were generally open-minded and flexible about meeting the evolving needs of the project.

    Cons

    While the product was highly valued within my division, it wasn't especially valued within the corporation as a whole. As a result, it was difficult to get attention from departments that had company-wide engagements, such that when the product was canceled, it was really just making official what had already happened in practice.

    Advice to Management

    If you're not going to commit the necessary resources for a product to be successful, at least be transparent with the product team. Morale will suffer either way, but at least one way involves having some integrity.


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