What You Should Know
Ten out of 10 employees at Sessions College for Professional Design report this online design school is a great place to work thanks to a creative environment where staff quickly advance their careers. Employees praise College executives, commenting that they’re transparent, easy to talk with and eager to create a great working environment.
The College, which has 18 employees based in Tempe, Arizona, says it offers a “no-barriers to promotion” environment, noting that most employees are promoted within a year (and often sooner). “I love how we hire from within, and feel that decision is so positive as it relates to team morale,” one staffer said. “There is a fast-track career growth plan, and the executive team always makes the time to ensure all employees have positive challenges to work with.” To develop their creative skills, employees are given free access to the College’s courses.
Since the school is focused on design, illustration and photography, employees say the environment is filled with “innovative” individuals. “We celebrate personal creativity,” said one staffer. “It adds a lot to the personality of the company.” Nine in 10 employees say they can be themselves at work, with one commenting that “we are not ‘numbers-driven,’ and really focus on using our design experience” to help students.
Executive leadership at Sessions gets high marks from employees: 100 percent of the workforce reports managers are competent at running the business, as well as honest and ethical. The executive team is “always available, approachable and willing to get involved with its employees,” said one. Employees have regular opportunities to connect with leaders, including “Chat ‘n Chew” events, where executives host lunches to get feedback and discuss opportunities for company improvement. “Management is constantly attempting to make the work environment better,” one employee said.
While their highly-regulated industry can be challenging (thanks to “so much paperwork,” says one employee), Sessions takes time to appreciate its people for their hard work and contributions. Spontaneous Staff Appreciation Days help maintain morale during high-intensity periods, and employees sometimes enjoy bonus long weekends and early holiday starts. One-hundred percent of the College’s employees say managers show appreciation for good work and extra effort.
Sessions College's inspiring environment, full of opportunity is “a great place for driven, smart people to develop skills, gain responsibility, and make a difference,” summarizes a team member.
What Employees Say
Management is honest and ethical in its business practices.
Our facilities contribute to a good working environment.
Management is competent at running the business.
Management is approachable, easy to talk with.
I am treated as a full member here regardless of my position.
What They Do
We asked Sessions College for Professional Design to explain what they do. Here is what they had to say.
Sessions College is a fully online college that offers programs in Graphic Design, Web Design, Illustration, Digital Photography, and more, Our students are primarily adult learners who seek to enter or progress a career in the design industry.
About this Company
| Website: www.sessions.edu|| Industry: Education & Training|
| US Headquarters: Tempe, Arizona, 85281|| US Sites: 1|
| US Employees: 18|| US Revenues: $2.5 million|
| Worldwide Revenues: $2.3 million|| Corporate Structure: Private|
| Founded: 1997|
Perks and Programs
We asked Sessions College for Professional Design to share a few programs they feel really capture what's unique about their workplace. Here is what they had to say.
- Cross Department Resolution Teams: We empower our team to not only identify issues and problems but to develop new policies and operational practices to solve our problems and to optimize our opportunities. This practice has resulted in many changes and improvements while breaking down any traditional departmental differences.
- Understanding the Regulatory Environment: The for-profit college industry carries a heavy regulatory burden with ongoing compliance reporting required by the federal and state government, including the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, Veteran's Administration, as well as formal accrediting agencies such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (among many others). Our team is trained and versed in the importance of these organizations, including why they are important to what we do and how. By being so equipped, staff have an appreciation of the importance of their work and are able to meaningful contribute to our ongoing success.
- Design Community Involvement: We feel it is important that Sessions College be considered relevant to and within the design community so as to better serve our students. As such we participate in events and partnerships that include design industry sponsorships and partnerships. Our staff identifies those opportunities and is responsible for making those events a success which also provides them individual recognition within the industry.
- Fast Track Promotion Policy: Team members at Sessions College enjoy a no-barriers to promotion environment. With a strict "promote from within" goal, staff are able to be promoted at any time and are not restricted by a time in grade or published open position obstacle. Most staff are promoted in under a year (often sooner) solely based on their individual contribution to date and that their future contributions will continue to be significant. New roles are created frequently, often combining components of various departments to ensure both bench strength and policy and operating improvements.
- Free Design Courses: Since all of our team are designers by trade (with few exceptions), we encourage them to continue their education by taking free courses at Sessions College.
- New Product/Program Development: As a fully online school, Sessions College is unique in that we internally develop and produce our own digital courseware and other multimedia assets. Sessions staff are encouraged to identify market opportunities and to help drive product/program development regardless of what their position in the company may be.
- Chat 'n Chew Events: Monthly company meetings with Executive Management team members - structured as lunch and round table discussions of challenges and opportunities to improve student experience and to improve and enhance career opportunities within the company.
- Staff Appreciation Days: The success of the College is totally dependent upon the staff working coherently and efficiently as a team. In recognition of high intensity periods and/or particularly good results and outcomes, Staff Appreciation Days will be spontaneously designated resulting in unexpected longer weekend breaks or early starts to holiday periods.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
| $38,000 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Admissions & Marketing|| 100% Match of employee’s 401(k)/403b contribution up to 4% of salary|
|50% Company-paid health coverage for employees|
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
| 24 days Paid time off after one year of full-time employment|| 13 days Paid sick days after one year of full-time employment|
| 21 Days Paid time off as of first day of full-time employment|
FAMILY CARE BY THE NUMBERS
|42 days Job-protected maternity leave (including FMLA/STD) |
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Alternative treatments (such as acupuncture, homeopathy, or chiropractic)
Community and Environmental Impact
| $5,000 Philanthropic donations in last year|
- Written policy prohibits discrimination based on (at a minimum) age, disability, race/ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender and sexual orientation
Great Place to Work® collected feedback from Sessions College for Professional Design employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"This is an innovative company that provides an excellent education to its students. It's also a great place for driven, smart people to develop skills, gain responsibility, and make a difference."
"Fair to employees. Always tries to promote from within. Highly organized and disciplined therefore objectives are almost always met. Management constantly attempting to make the work environment better from a physical plant perspective and a systemic one."
"We are a creative company and celebrate personal creativity in many ways. With almost every person at the company, we have a good sense of who they are through their personal art and creative projects. It adds a lot to the personality of the company and I think that's pretty unique and special."
"We have a strong office culture, and hire like-minded, creative/innovative individuals. All employees are instrumental in reaching the big-picture goal of the company. Ideas are welcomed, even (and especially!) from those in new positions. We are not "numbers-driven," and really focus on using our design experience to provide the most individualized attention to provide the right educational pathway prospective students."
"I always loved how we hire from within, and feel that decision is so positive as it relates to team morale. There is a fast-track career growth plan - the executive team always makes the time to ensure all employees have positive challenges to work with and feel recognized for accomplishments."
"The executive team has a great deal of trust in employees - there is no micro-managing involved. They are open and comfortable to connect with."
"On a monthly basis we have company lunches with the executive team to discuss details of where the company is as a whole and where we are going. The Executive team does a great job in keeping everybody in the loop on what is going on and values our own feedback. In most companies employees usually don't get a chance to have lunch or even talk to the Upper management of an organization. Here that is not the case. The Executive team is always available, approachable, and willing to get involved with its employees. That is nice to have."
"Everyone works very well together and it is a great environment to work in."
"Casual dress code, laid back and quiet atmosphere."
How to Get Hired
We asked Sessions College for Professional Design for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
There are several key components that we look for: 1. We value written communication skills and therefore look for interesting and thoughtful responses to our open position postings 2. Verbal communications are also key since we do not see our students and faculty on a face to face basis. We look for good listeners, positive attitudes, and enthusiasm and passion for the design industry and the opportunity to help others achieve career success. 3. Current staff must feel the candidate will succeed in the position and contribute to the growth of the team as a whole. 4. Management must feel that candidate has career desire and potential beyond the position being considered.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
By demonstrating proficiency and experience in the design industry coupled with a clear desire to help others enter or progress in the field.
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
Admission advisers, Student Service advisers, Content and educational program developers, Finance and accounting, Compliance reporting
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
Review the College's web site and send cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
| 2 Forecasted positions to fill in coming year|| 30 Average applicants per opening|
| 90 Total job applicants|| 4% Openings filled by current employees|
| 18% Voluntary turnover for full-time employees|| 67% Voluntary turnover for part-time employees|