The Teaching Company Reviews | Glassdoor

The Teaching Company Reviews

Updated June 1, 2017
52 reviews

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3.2
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Paul Suijk
25 Ratings

52 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • They don't have a work from home system set up for call center reps, which is too bad (in 5 reviews)

  • Many employees are fired within a year of starting employment, an indication of ineffective hiring or management or employment practices (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    "The Teaching Company - Pride in what you do"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Teaching Company full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Teaching Company is a wonderful company where employees take a great amount of pride in the product that they produce. That product -- The Great Courses -- changes lives, and those employees who work in the call center are privileged to hear every day from customers who just love the experience.

    I worked in several functional areas during my years at The Teaching Company. The experience of working here will vary dramatically depending on where you start.

    Customer Care: This is a huge department, occupying the ground floor of the building. This is a traditional call center job, with hourly employees taking calls in shifts that run all hours of the day. What makes this better than many call center jobs is that it's all inbound calls, mostly taking orders from smart people who already love the product. They only hire college grads, and while call center work isn't often a career job, it's worth noting that over 1/3 of all employees across The Teaching Company started in the call center. If you're reading reviews of the company, make note of whether it was from an hourly call center job, or from the salaried staff in the professional departments upstairs. They are very different types of work.

    Production: Another large percentage employees work on the production of the courses. This group is somewhat isolated from the other departments, occupying their own floor of the building that encompasses studios, control rooms, and pre- and post-production space, plus offices and cubes for writers, producers, editors, and content specialists. There is a lot of creativity and learning that goes on in these jobs, and it can be very fun for the intellectually curious. You are never working on the same thing for very long, but you must be able to enjoy a military-like adherence to schedules and deadlines. If you ever wanted to work for a Hollywood production studio, this is the closest thing you'll find in the DC area.

    Professional departments (Finance, Administration, Marketing, Execs, etc.): These departments represent a minority of employees, with the largest of those being marketing, and this is the part of the company that has undergone the most change in recent years. There's been turnover in management since 2013 as the company shifts from being purely a catalog direct marketer to being a multi-channel distributor of audio/video content through digital subscription services, mobile apps, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon, Audible, etc. This transition has put pressures on the team that will continue until the transition is complete, which will take many years. If that frightens you, then it might not be the right place for you. If that excites you, then TTC is a very stimulating place to be.

    Most functions are very process- and data-driven. It helps to be very analytical if you want to succeed here.

    Benefits and company outlook: The Teaching Company is a profitable company with good margins, and has been so for many years, but it has nonetheless had some rocky times as the company has had to pour every penny back into investments in its building its digital future. They went through this in years past as they transitioned from audio cassettes to VHS tapes to CDs and DVDs, and now are going through it again with mobile apps, Apple TV, and digital subscriptions. This means ups and downs as bonuses have only been paid twice in the last 4 years, and it means only the most critical things get funded. If it's not about making courses or marketing the company's relatively new (and successful) digital subscription service, then it's not likely to get a lot of resources.

    Benefits are good, nonetheless. Health insurance is paid 100% for individuals and nearly 100% for spouses, which is rare these days, everybody gets 4 weeks vacation regardless of tenure, and all professionals are bonus-eligible.

    The main reasons to work here remain the ongoing learning, the pride in the product, and the difference made in people's lives.

    Cons

    There's great stuff going on here, but it's a closely-held private company and budgets are tight, so the biggest frustration will be that there aren't enough resources to move as fast as you'd like or do everything you'd like to do.

    The Teaching Company Response

    Jun 12, 2017 – The Teaching Company

    Thank you for your review. We are glad to hear about your good experience with us and it is very encouraging. We will be continuing our efforts on keeping our "employees first " and hope to add more... More


  2. "Positive Environment"

    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 The Teaching Company full-time

    Pros

    The hiring process was fast and easy, the HR department really cares enough to get to know each hire personally.

    There are plenty of company events to keep employees actively engaged with each other.

    We are encouraged to join groups to discuss how to better the company. I feel as if the communication between everyone is open.

    The employee benefits are great!

    Cons

    For the first time, I do not have any complaints about a company.

    The Teaching Company Response

    Jun 12, 2017 – The Teaching Company

    What great feedback – thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. It means a lot to hear you say that. We’re thrilled to have you on our team and look forward to your continued growth with... More

  3. "Account Manager"

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

    I have been working at The Teaching Company full-time

    Pros

    Wonderful work atmosphere that encourages a healthy work life balance.

    Cons

    Difficult to advance in company due to the structure.

    The Teaching Company Response

    May 31, 2017 – The Teaching Company

    Thank you for your review. We appreciate your positive feedback about the company culture. We are trying to develop better career development options here. The initiatives that we have taken in... More


  4. "Associate Procucer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great team to work with

    Cons

    Going through a lot of change

    The Teaching Company Response

    Mar 13, 2017 – The Teaching Company

    Thank you for your positive review. We are glad that you are enjoying your time here at The Teaching Company.


  5. "Associate Producer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Asssocaite Producer in Chantilly, VA
    Former Employee - Asssocaite Producer in Chantilly, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Teaching Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Interesting work, good product, you learn a lot on each new subject

    Cons

    Not much training, left to own devices a lot

    Advice to Management

    Manuel needs to be created so Associate Producers can all be on the same page. Many different policies were followed, each different.

    The Teaching Company Response

    Mar 13, 2017 – The Teaching Company

    Thanks for your review and suggestion. TTC is undertaking a lot of new initiatives this year which will focus on closing out the gaps.


  6. "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chantilly, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chantilly, VA

    Pros

    It was fine, it was run like a startup, but had the feel of a large company

    Cons

    None that I can think of.

    Advice to Management

    I though Management did a good job, I would recommend.

    The Teaching Company Response

    Feb 3, 2017 – The Teaching Company

    Thanks you for the review. We are glad that you enjoyed your time in The Teaching Company. We strive hard to make ourselves a preferred employer.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Springboard Company"

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

    I have been working at The Teaching Company full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Teaching Company (TTC) has afforded me opportunities to learn new skills and grow a career.
    They produce an amazing product that I’m proud to say I am a part of.
    I love the work I do, and I enjoy working with most of the team at TTC.
    TTC offers comprehensive benefits, and personally for me it’s a great commute.
    Also, there is relatively little micromanaging (in my role). I have the freedom to do my job without hindrance.

    Cons

    There’s an old joke that goes like this:

    Two managers are talking and one says to the other, “What if we invest in our employees and they leave?”
    To which the other manager responds, “What if we don’t and they stay!”

    The joke is amusing unless you’re the butt of it. And at TTC, you often feel like the butt.

    The scenario the joke leaves out is one too often seen at TTC; "What if we don't invest in them, and they leave because of that?" While opportunities arise as positions are vacated, once you take on your role, you're locked in without room to grow, so don't count on TTC developing your skills. Just do the work, take on more tasks until you burn out, then move on to the next employer.

    Here are some of my personal observations from my years of working for TTC:

    Employees in first level management and below are some of the most creative, driven, talented, and hardworking people you’ll ever meet, but the integrity disintegrates the higher up you go on the management chain.

    While benefits are still above average, they are being chipped away every year. The benefit package was quite robust upon being hired years ago, but seems to be losing luster every year. Don't get me wrong, HR pumps up the bennies like they're selling you a Jaguar, but you'll actually be getting a Corolla. The benefits are practical and comprehensive, but don't get starry-eyed from HR gushing over them. Many of the benefits are tied to how the company is doing as a whole, and I haven't received a true bonus in years!

    Pay can range from good to lean based on where you end up in the company. For example, entry level call center representative pay is higher than average, but being promoted from within the company can put you at a disadvantage as you likely will not receive the same pay level as someone being hired in from outside the company.

    While still subject to the elitism of upper management, the CMO is a good enough guy with what seems like a steady plan for the company. However, his background is in flipping companies, which (as a current employee) is unsettling. I worry about what happens when the company sells. Will people will lose their jobs while upper management laughs all the way to the bank? This might seem overly paranoid on my part, but the lack of transparency in upper management only adds to the building anxiety.

    Upper management is cold and unapproachable, to speak nothing of the overly obvious lack of diversity. Don’t bother talking to them or offering your ideas because they aren’t listening to you unless you are also upper management. They passively berate their subordinates, but that’s how they know you exist. The average associate level employees don’t even get a “hello” in the hallway from management because they simply do not even register on their importance radar.

    Even if you wanted to speak with management, you’re out of luck because they’re probably in a meeting. TTC has more meetings to meet about meeting to discuss meeting for more meetings. The over-indulgence of meetings became so prevalent that TTC brought in a professional to meet with everyone in the company to teach them how to have more effective meetings. Sadly, that was another waste of money for the company, as we are still heavily saturated in muddled, ineffective meetings.

    Yearly layoffs have been a viable way to skirt EBITDA shortcomings, though 2016 was especially brutal. This year TTC went right for the salary jugular. And while TTC wiped out some dead weight, a few really good people got caught up in the cut as well. As a small company perpetrating as a large company, TTC is already running lean, so you can only imagine how the workload becomes exponentially more heavy with every person TTC let go. Sadly, those left behind are expected to carry on, but are not compensated for the additional work they have added to their already full workload. Good people aren’t given the help they need and burn out under the circumstances. The current hiring freeze makes getting any relief impossible.

    Speaking of workloads, there is a terrifying amount of core jobs within the company that have little to no redundancy. It’s a wonder we’ve carried on as well as we have over the years. Backup plans, emergency plans, and contingency plans are not highly prioritized. As a TTC employee, you quickly learn to always CYA as you will be the person blamed for shortcomings, even if it was due to lack of support or resources.

    Speaking of resources, don’t even get me started on the technology. Assembled of spit and duct tape with a work-around for everything, TTC repeatedly goes cheap and pays the price. I realize budgets are a real hindrance, but there is truth in the saying ‘do it nice or do it twice’. TTC often pays for going cheap with additional man hours and having to buy a better version of something because the cheap version doesn’t do what TTC needs it to do. TTC is a company banking on technology, to save its business, but we can’t get enough upfront capitol to keep relevant.

    With everything that’s been said, I want to have hope for this company. As I mentioned before, I will always be thankful to this company for the opportunities it has afforded me, but like many employees here, I feel that this is a classic “springboard company”. You come in, you gain your experience, then you hit a wall with your career advancement where you find yourself in a position with no growth potential. With nowhere to go at TTC, you then take all your experience and knowledge gained from TTC and springboard into the next job.

    Advice to Management

    Not that they'll hear if from their ivory tower, but please empower your people instead of tearing them down. You hired them because they are competent and good for the company.

    The Teaching Company Response

    Feb 3, 2017 – The Teaching Company

    We thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear about some of your experiences here. The Teaching Company is working hard on our development areas and there has a been a lot of positive... More

  8. Helpful (3)

    "CEO and CBO flushing company down the toilet."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing in Chantilly, VA
    Current Employee - Marketing in Chantilly, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at The Teaching Company full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The employees are good people who work hard. They do the best they can to work with a CEO and a CBO who are little more than greedy charlatans who are in way over there head.

    Cons

    TGC's hands are tied because most of their resources are being siphoned by venture capitalists, so they slowly bleed the value out of their employees, the product, and even their customers. The few resources they do have are spent incompetently by a CEO that means well, but can't do the job. He has 100% faith in a CBO that is incapable of understanding the company, the product, or the brand, yet somehow he's in charge of a big part of all these things. Neither of them have the insight, capability, or experience to run a company.

    Advice to Management

    CEO, fire the guy to your left and then quit. The company might stand a chance.

    The Teaching Company Response

    Dec 7, 2016 – The Teaching Company

    We are sorry to hear about your negative experience here at the teaching company. We recognize that we’re not perfect, but we really try to provide a good, collaborative environment. We have been... More


  9. "qa"

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

    Pros

    Great people to work with

    Cons

    I don't see any cons

    Advice to Management

    keep it up great work

    The Teaching Company Response

    Oct 18, 2016 – Sr. HR Generalist / Recruiter

    Thank you for your response. It is our great people that make it a strong place to work for.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Call center rep"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Call Center Representative in Chantilly, VA
    Former Employee - Call Center Representative in Chantilly, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Teaching Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly working environment
    Everyone is willing to help you
    (Obviously free coffee)
    Flexibility with schedule requests for time off
    4 weeks PTO

    Not sure why there are some bad reviews. I can't speak for the other depts but within the call center, the pay is a lot higher than what you'll ever get at other call centers. You also have plenty of opportunity for overtime pay. There are always going to be a few negatives with any company but overall, I had a great experience.

    Cons

    Upsell percentage could be higher. The health benefits could also be a lot better but that's all I can think of right now.

    The Teaching Company Response

    Oct 18, 2016 – Sr. HR Generalist / Recruiter

    Thank you for your review. Yes, our Call Center pay is above competitiors because we value the hard work you all put in to provide our customers with the best service possible. We are very proud to... More


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