The Inlander

February 2019

Digital Edition of the Inland Press Association. Offering financial research, salary compensation survey, training for advertising, classifieds, editorial, circulation, social media, human resources, special sections and niche products.

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FEBRUARY 2019 • INLANDPRESS.ORG • THE INLANDER PAGE 15 RESEARCH WANT AN EFFECTIVE WORKFORCE? REWARD PERFORMANCE APPROPRIATELY —WITH THE HELP OF NICS ROBERT J. GREENE Glenview, Illinois H ow effectively any organization defines, measures, manages and rewards performance will have a major impact on the effec- tiveness of its workforce. And no media organization can succeed without the help of its most important asset—its people. During difficult economic times, org anizations often tur n to cost reduction as a way to o f f s e t d e c r e a s e d reve nu e s. W h e n short-term profit- ability is needed this is a logical strategy. But reducing the volume of paper used and finding more economic ways to handle logistics have been a focus for some time and other sources of reduced costs are still needed. Turning to one of the largest controllable costs (people) is certainly a rational action. But the cost of employees is often in the form of rela- tively fixed costs (wages/salaries and benefits), which means staffing levels must be examined. The alternative is to reduce wages/salaries and to cut the costs of benefits. Organizations in all industries have faced this challenge over the last decade because of the economic crisis. E m p l o ye e s h ave b e e n a s ke d t o contribute more to the cost of their health care insurance. Defined benefit pension plans have been replaced by defined contribution plans. Employer matches to defined contribution plan contributions have been reduced. But very few organizations have cut base pay. Even though the "employment at will" doctrine is dominant in the U.S. and there are few legal/regulatory obstacles to reducing base pay, both employers and employees generally view current rates as being regulated by emotional, if not legal, contractual agreement. Employees establish their standard of living by counting on base pay, which is assumed to be inflexible downward. Reductions can exact financial turmoil. Many organizations have slowed the growth of fixed cost base pay by implementing variable pay programs that are often based on the organization's performance, which impacts its ability to pay. But variable pay plans are rare in the newspaper industry, other than for management and direct sales personnel. The other option is reducing staff size or having work done by parties other than employees. Outsourcing activities, using shared printing and distribution agreements, utilizing "gig- ers" to do project work and other approaches can reduce costs, or at least tie costs to the amount of work to be done. The increased use of allo- cating work to outsiders is certainly not new to the newspaper industry; stringers have been common for as long as one can remember. So it is theoretically possible to cut newsroom e m p l o ye e h e a d c o u n t s by u s i n g outsiders. And each organization must decide the feasibility of that option, considering the likely impact on the quality of the journalistic product. There will continue to be employees. The cost of employing people will be impacted on both their rates of compensation and their productivity. Decisions regarding pay rates must be based on each organization's compet- itive market for talent and its posture relative to prevailing compensation rates. Base pay is a major component of an organization's value proposition when it competes for talent. Paying too little will result in an inability to attract and retain the quality of talent required. Paying too much may ease attraction and retention but there is not strong research evidence that paying even 10-15% above market rates may not have much impact, since benefits and other considerations are also important. So it is crucial for each organization to be able to determine what competitive pay rates are for various occupations. I n l a n d ' s N e ws p a p e r I n d u s t r y Compensation Survey (NICS) has been the tool used by newspapers to determine competitive rates for over 15 years. But the value of a survey is directly determined by the quality of the sample it contains. Each user wants the data from its direct compet- itors for people to be included, so that there is a high confidence level in the results, conf idence that they are accurate and that they are relevant to the organization. Inland understands the reshuffling of job responsibilities has reduced the number of papers that have people filling many jobs. For example, many g r o u p s h av e c r e a t e d r e g i o n a l publishers, which means many indi- v i d u a l p a p e r s d o n o t h ave a n incumbent in the publisher job. And outsourced activities will result in a reduced number of incumbents in some jobs. There is a review underway that will better match the jobs included in the NICS with the jobs that currently exist in the field. Jobs with small data samples will be eliminated from the survey, since the aggregated data does not have statistical credibility. Some jobs will be combined. The result will be a more streamlined survey that will be faster and easier to provide data for. We welcome any input from you as to your compensation survey data needs and how NICS can better accom- modate them. Please provide us with your ideas so we can make the 2019 survey as valuable for you as it can be. Robert J. Greene is the CEO of Reward $ystems Inc., a Glenview, Illinois-based consultancy that works with organizations on formulating, de- signing, implementing, administering human resource management strate- gies and programs. He is a faculty member for professional development programs with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Greene For more information on NICS or to give Inland your input on the survey, please contact Carley Lintz at or calling 847.795.0380. NICS NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY COMPENSATION SURVEY INL AND P R E S S A S S O C I AT I O N Newspaper Industry Compensation Survey 2013 2440W Surveywide Most frequent variations: Digital Sales Representative Calls on outside retail accounts to solicit various forms of advertising for the on-line, mobile and other digital device product(s). Digital Advertising Manager Job title: Job description: Reports to: Online Account Rep or Executive No variation On-line Advertising Manager Number of newspapers reporting: 441 Number of newspapers reporting for this job: Total direct compensation 35,317 36,297 39,451 88,449 By circulation Circulation Median Total direct compensation By revenue Revenue Less than 10,000 10,001-15,000 15,001-20,000 20,001-30,000 30,001-50,000 50,001-75,000 75001-100,000 100,001-150,000 150,001-250,000 250,001-500,000 500,001 and over $2,000,000 or less $2,000,001-4,000,000 $4,000,001-8,000,000 $8,000,001-16,000,000 $16,000,001-32,000,000 $32,000,001-64,000,000 $64,000,001-128,000,000 $128,000,001-256,000,000 $256,000,001-512,000,000 $512,000,001 and over 173 24 15,912 Low Weighted Average (Newspaper) Median High Weighted Average (Incumbent) Numbeer of news- papers Average number of incumbents Weighted Average (Newspr.) Weighted Average (Incumb.) Average circulation in 1,000s 27,040 30,234 31,938 33,751 38,587 38,250 39,954 38,000 47,921 54,898 nsd 21 29 23 20 30 17 8 9 9 7 0 6 12 17 24 39 60 83 123 200 316 nsd 26,543 34,090 34,109 35,789 41,163 37,547 42,983 38,889 51,255 45,953 nsd 27,202 31,969 32,759 34,860 40,930 37,471 42,794 38,285 46,461 51,495 nsd 1 2 2 3 4 5 6 5 4 10 nsd Total direct compensation 23,505 28,587 28,211 35,468 37,907 39,806 43,553 53,538 nsd nsd 6 22 26 38 36 22 13 8 1 1 2 1 2 2 4 5 5 8 nsd nsd 21,073 28,045 31,824 35,771 40,722 40,316 44,538 46,366 nsd nsd 6 12 12 23 42 74 150 272 nsd nsd 22,852 29,114 30,244 35,369 39,608 40,701 42,880 50,973 nsd nsd (For details about incentive pay, please see the next page.) Median Numbeer of news- papers Average number of incumbents Weighted Average (Newspr.) Weighted Average (Incumb.) Average circulation in 1,000s Insight for strategic pay and benefi ts decisions 2017 edition

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