Are You Satisfied?
In one of those happy accidents, two of our features in this issue play well off of each other in the sense that one proves the point of the other. Our cover story with Mary Berner—as far as I can tell, the first major story she has done in the trades since taking over as CEO of Reader’s Digest Association—details, among other things, her continuing cultural overhaul of the venerable 6,000-employee, $3 billion company. “This company has had an embedded culture that at times has been detrimental to its growth,” she tells Folio:’s managing editor Matt Kinsman in the Q&A.
Berner recounts how bureaucratic ennui settled in and contributed to perpetual performance shortfalls. “These are very hard working people but it gets tiresome to not reach goals year after year,” she says.
While RDA’s bureaucratic mass isn’t necessarily reflective of the rest of the industry, the company’s new focus on employee performance and concerns is a standard that perhaps more organizations should consider for themselves. And here’s where two of our features dovetail.
In a ground-breaking new study, we present Folio:’s first-ever job satisfaction survey. Over 1,000 magazine publishing executives participated, revealing how the many trends we cover in these pages are actually impacting their jobs. For instance, the number of respondents who are satisfied with their jobs is comfortably in the majority at 73 percent. That metric is heartening, but it’s also a bit surprising. The industry is in the midst of a major upheaval that’s affecting job responsibilities in often frustrating ways.
And that’s just the beginning. The survey goes on to reveal the sources of employee satisfaction and frustration. These details are critical for corporate managers in the sense that by taking the time to identify what impacts job satisfaction they can implement changes that can ultimately lift performance. These changes can be small and simple or, in the case of Reader’s Digest Association, large and comprehensive.
Overall, the survey provides an industry benchmark that the Berner interview proves on a more micro level. Publishing and media companies everywhere are initiating significant structural and operational changes—whether organically or via acquisition—to capture and broaden revenue opportunities in the face of a relatively flat print market. All of this impacts job satisfaction.
And this survey is certainly not the final word. We’ll be presenting it in its full glory at the 32nd annual Folio: Show, September 23-26 in New York. In the meantime, keep in touch and tell us: Are you satisfied?