Learning A-Z Reviews

Updated 8 Sep 2020

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3.0
47%
Recommend to a Friend
15%
Approve of CEO
Learning A-Z President Lisa O’Masta (no image)
Lisa O’Masta
7 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "The big driver is profit over people with the new president who lacks any leadership and teambuilding skills(in 6 reviews)

  • "This company is full of upper management favoritism and nepotism(in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Good Company"

    5.0
    Former Employee - Editor 

    I worked at Learning A-Z part-time

    Pros

    Quality products produced by quality people

    Cons

    Lots of restructuring right now

  2. COVID-19
    Helpful (16)

    "Diamond in the Desert is now a Lump of Coal"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Product Developer in Tucson, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Learning A-Z full-time

    Pros

    This business used to stand out for the creativity and collaboration of its employees who saw it as more than a job but as a passion and social responsibility to help kids learn and to support teachers. The results showed in skyrocketing growth "year after year after year" as the CEO would have everyone chant. Ideas were fresh, people were energized and the culture was very positive and supportive. Benefits were generous, with a good health plan, 401K, annual bonuses, and a healthy amount of paid time off. There were employee functions a few times a year to recognize success and reward hard work. People were generally cheerful and proud of the products being created. Leadership struck optimistic tones and made people feel valued. But then...

    Cons

    The company revenue started sliding as it lost market share to competitors that were more agile in responding to trends, had better websites, more advanced technology for customers, and were able to demostrate the effectiveness of their products, which LAZ always struggled to do. After being sold to a private equity firm, the staff knew things could get ugly, and they did. The well respected president, Patrick Marcotte, was forced to transfer to another business unit in Dallas under the Cambium Learning Group umbrella only to be laid off immediately, carefully hidden from view of the Tucson staff that loved him. Sneaky, sneaky! The replacement, Lisa O'masta is nothing but a corporate hired gun with a fake smile and no humanity. Looking back, when she told us at her first introduction that she was leaving the family dogs behind on the east coast, we should have seen what was coming. It would have been much cheaper to bring in a college intern to look at a spreadsheet of salaries and decide which 25 to lay off to save the most money. She blew smoke about how much she respected the amazing team, many of which were brilliant people who helped build Learning A-Z up from a tiny idea to a large revenue company. But then she and the corporate leaders stabbed them in the back. Many incredibly loyal, hardworking and talented gems were smashed with the icy coldness you expect from a parking ticket officer, not the head of a company that makes books for kids. There was no “Thank you for giving us the best years of your life and helping us make loads of money.” No explanations for why so many pillars of the company were targeted while far less experienced people were kept on. No compassion for people suddenly out on the street in the midst of a pandemic with kids to feed. "Year after year after year" many of us came in early, stayed late, worked weekends and gave up work/life balance for the company. We struggled every day to make difficult decisions with high quality service to teachers and students in mind. But in the end we were kicked to the curb like rotten leftovers. Thinking back to all the times CEO John Campbell spoke at events and sent out newsletters talking about the importance of the people who make up the company, I see now that it was all a lie. Say anything to keep the worker ants producing while you and the owners cash in. The minute things go south, slash and burn. Bring in someone to be your grim reaper. Then expect everyone who remains to keep calm and carry on. This isn't just bitterness about the latest round of layoffs. I had a great run and now it's over. That happens. It's just really disappointing that something so beautiful was destroyed by corporate heartlessness. Who's idea was it to think that a company could succeed by becoming less human? Even before the new president was brought on, everything was becoming way too structured and corporate. Spirits were already in decline for several years. But bringing in a ruthless hatchet to make heads roll was the tipping point to really kill the golden goose. The "diamond in the desert" has turned into a lump of coal.

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great products and a great place to work."

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Executive 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Learning A-Z full-time

    Pros

    It’s a pleasure to sell the best literary products on the markets!

    Cons

    I don’t see any negatives about the company.

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    Learning A-Z Response

    Sr. HR Business Partner

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience of working at Learning A-Z. It’s great to see your excitement about our products. Learning A-Z is evolving to meet the changes in the market, and we are thankful for our fantastic team of employees that dedicate themselves to providing the best product and service to our students and educators. We appreciate everything you do for us.

  4. Helpful (8)

    "A Once Great Organization Has Lost Focus"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Regional Director in Tucson, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Learning A-Z full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Fair base salary, very good commission plan, great benefit package. I had an excellent immediate Supervisor, however it went down from there. Learning A-Z was a dream company to be a part of when it was a closely held corporation in my first few years. Great progressive product line and training.

    Cons

    No realistic career path unless you were willing to sell your soul. Annual goals became unrealistic once LAZ was bought out by Cambium Learning. Some misguided backstabbing due to lack of cohesion between departments. Separate departmental agendas served to divide, rather than allow departments to understand there is (or should be) a common goal to improve performance year over year.

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    Learning A-Z Response

    Sr. HR Business Partner

    We appreciate your more than 8 years of service to our organization and thank you for the feedback. Collaboration, transparency and communication is a high priority within the organization and something that is included in every employee's 2020 goals as a priority for improvement now and for the long term. Thank you and we wish you the best of luck in your career.

  5. Helpful (12)

    "Rapid Decline"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Graphic Designer in Tucson, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Learning A-Z full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great company culture and work environment. Great products for children, teachers and schools.

    Cons

    Our great company culture and work environment have been ripped apart by the new "leadership." Many positions have been eliminated due to "restructuring" as mandated my the new president and the venture capitalist owners. This company used to be a "jewel in the desert". A company unique in its own right and a company Tucson could be proud of. It was a wonderful place to work. The original founders of this company cared about the employees and they cared about helping children become better readers. They cared about more than making huge profits. I'm sad to see what has become of Learning A-Z. At one time we felt valued as employees. At one time we believed in our so called "mission" and we felt good about helping children all over the world become better readers. At one time we trusted and believed what the leaders of the company would tell us. At one time we looked forward to coming to work and all the positive aspects of working here. Those days have sadly come to an end. Numerous talented and dedicated people, several who have been with the company since its inception or early beginnings have been discarded –not to save the company from financial ruin, but in the name of maximizing profits. Our beloved Learning A-Z ripped to shreds.

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    Learning A-Z Response

    Sr. HR Business Partner

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience; we appreciate and value your input as an employee. While change is never easy, it is essential for Learning A-Z to understand and adapt to the evolving needs of students and educators. Despite the need for change, the passion and mission of serving educators has never been more important. We encourage you to reach out to your manager or HR to help us shape the future of this fantastic organization. We look forward to hearing your voice in ensuring that the ongoing changes never cause us to lose the heart of our mission.

  6. Helpful (14)

    "A Sinking Ship"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Tucson, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Learning A-Z full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    During first reorg in 2020, company got rid of several upper management buffoons. There are many nice and competent people left but who knows for how long,

    Cons

    New president is gutting the company with the blessing of the corporate parent, She made financial projections she was never going to meet and is now trying to save her job by firing anyone who is older, hoping to save on salary and benefits. This is at the expense of the people who built the company, That someone who has been at the company 6 months can fire 20+ very effective people who have each been there 10+ years may not be the best idea, She will most likely be fired anyways and it was all a waste, Other cons include: antiquated technology, no vision, upper management chasing their tails, HR trying to be 'corporate' and wasting peoples’ time, very limited opportunity for advancement, no diversity, lying management.

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    Learning A-Z Response

    Sr. HR Business Partner

    Thank you for your more than 8 years of service to Learning A-Z. While change is never easy, it is essential for Learning A-Z to understand and adapt to the evolving needs of students and educators. Despite the need for change, the passion and mission of serving educators has never been more important. Thank you again for your years of service to our organization. We wish you the best in your career.

  7. Helpful (16)

    "Used to be a great place but not any more. Stay away its a horrid place to work now."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Designer in Tucson, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Learning A-Z full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    There's a paycheck attached to whatever soul-sucking task you are given.

    Cons

    Upper management doesn't care about its employees they are constantly laying people off. Micromanagement occurs on all levels. They cling to old techniques and technologies. The overall size of the staff continues to shrink and the workload does not. They keep changing people's titles at a whim and do not communicate with anyone. The big driver is profit over people with the new president who lacks any leadership and teambuilding skills. There is little to no diversity and no inclusivity.

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    Learning A-Z Response

    Sr. HR Business Partner

    Thank you for taking the time to write Learning A-Z a review on Glassdoor, and thank you for your more than five years of service to our organization. While change is never easy, it is essential for Learning A-Z to understand and adapt to the evolving needs of students and educators. Despite the need for change, the passion and mission of serving educators has never been more important. We encourage you to reach out to your manager or HR to help us shape the future of this fantastic organization. We look forward to hearing your voice in ensuring that the ongoing changes never cause us to lose the heart of our mission. Collaboration, transparency and communication are high priorities at Learning A-Z and are included in every employee's 2020 goals as a priority for organizational improvement now and for the long term. We encourage you to meet with your departmental leader on transparency to help us improve upon our actions toward these goals. Thank you again for your service to our organization. We encourage you to reach out to us directly to further discuss your concerns.

  8. Helpful (9)

    "When Bad Leadership Gets Worse!"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tucson, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Learning A-Z full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -There are some good, talented people, but none of them are in leadership and will most likely leave as soon as they are able to find new jobs.

    Cons

    -Critical thinking and asking questions is frowned upon and will get you fired. -Nepotism runs DEEP! Promotions only go to friends of leadership. -New president is spastic and ineffective. -So far there have already been two reorgs in 2020. Neither of which was executed with any common sense, intelligence, or empathy. -They talk about transparency a lot but it is nonexistent. Communication is deceptive and on a need-to-know basis. -Diversity is not celebrated or even sought after.

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    Learning A-Z Response

    Sr. HR Manager

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your time at Learning A-Z, and thank you for recognizing the talented people in our organization. We are proud that our employees find great meaning in providing the best products and services to students and educators that use our products. While change is never easy, it is essential for Learning A-Z to understand and adapt to the evolving needs of students and educators. Despite the need for change, the passion and mission of serving educators has never been more important. We couldn’t agree with you more about the need to celebrate diversity. It’s no accident that our number one goal for the entire organization is to attract and retain a diverse community of engaged and effective employees. Additionally, we recognize that collaboration, transparency and communication will be the core of our ability to serve our customers. Thank you again for your feedback. We wish you the best in your future endeavors.

  9. COVID-19
    Helpful (4)

    "used to be great, now very corporate"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tucson, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Learning A-Z full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    people creating the products care and want to help children learn and succeed, they are fantastic remote work (right now, who knows about later)

    Cons

    Environment and culture very corporate now (didn't used to be) Leaders only want profits Employees expendable for the sake of profits. Two rounds of layoffs so far in 2020, one right before the shutdowns and so many losing their jobs, one in early July in the middle of both, which happened because of "restructuring" and had nothing to do with with the pandemic because the company is "doing great" Little or no room for promotion unless someone quits or is laid off Unrealistic and unclear expectations and poor planning and confusing decision-making processes by leadership make meeting the expectations impossible Terrible change management, and changes happen all the time Poor and inconsistent training of new people. Some managers are micromanagers (luck of the draw, but many of the good ones have quit in recent years or been laid off) Sr. Leadership does not listen to managers and employees and has a rose-colored vision of what is really happening with their employees (most of us gave up on complaining) Speaks about diversity and inclusion in social media, but does little else in practice Some questionable decision-making from senior leadership on handling content for international clients have made some on the content teams extremely uncomfortable

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    Learning A-Z Response

    Sr. HR Manager

    Thank you for your more than 5 years of service to Learning A-Z. We agree, our employees are fantastic! We are fortunate to have a team of individuals that find purpose and meaning in our mission of inspiring curiosity, ensuring comprehension, and instilling the joy of learning in elementary students. This purpose drives everything we do, and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to make a positive impact within our very important industry. You mention our restructuring, which occurred in the first half of 2020. While change is never easy, it is essential for Learning A-Z to understand and adapt to the evolving needs of students and educators. Despite the need for change, the passion and mission of serving educators has never been more important. As we manage through the transition, we are focused on defining clear expectations for all those who have new roles within our organization. We couldn’t agree with you more about the need to celebrate diversity. It’s no accident that our number one goal for the entire organization is to attract and retain a diverse community of engaged and effective employees. Additionally, we recognize that collaboration, transparency, and communication will be the core of our ability to serve our customers. Thanks again for taking the time to leave this review; we wish you the best in your career.

  10. Helpful (6)

    "Some great people, and some bullies"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tucson, AZ
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Learning A-Z full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Many of the people with whom I work are great. They care about our customers and their co-workers. Helping kids learn is fulfilling. Casual dress code means no dry-cleaning.

    Cons

    A few bullies in senior roles suck the joy from the work and undermine the confidence of the people they target.

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    Learning A-Z Response

    Sr. HR Business Partner

    Thank you for your over 5 years of service to Learning A-Z. We appreciate and value your input as an employee. We love to hear positive comments about our employees, and we agree, our employees are great! We are fortunate to be in an industry that helps students learn and supports teachers in this process, and our purpose of making a positive impact in the lives of students draws many wonderful, caring individuals to work for us. We encourage you to reach out to your manager or HR to help us shape the future of this fantastic organization. We look forward to hearing your voice in ensuring that the ongoing changes never cause us to lose the heart of our mission. We are working hard to build a culture of communication, collaboration, candor, trust, and transparency at Learning A-Z and it starts with you. Thank you again for your insight; it helps make LAZ a better company for all.

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