The Inlander

April, 2015

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RIFs, EROPs, TPPs and NOTFs: The art and science of downsizing By Mark Fitzgerald Over the years from 2008 to 2014, these numbers from Gannett Co. Inc. received plenty of attention in the newspaper industry: 13,500, the number of positions America's largest publisher cut from its workforce, and 5,000, the rounded-up number of those posi- tions that disappeared in 2009 alone. But here are two other Gannett numbes that deserve attention, especially by human resources professionals: One and zero. One is the number of lawsuits that arose from the reduction of 13,500 positions. And zero is the number of settlements or damages Gannett paid out as a result of its massive downsizing. That lone lawsuit actually went to trial, with the final verdict in Gannett's favor. That's no accident, Gannett's Senior Vice President/Labor Relations William Behan told Inland's Human Resources Management Conference in Chicago recently. Gannett uses four main tools for reduction, Behan said: attrition; Early Retirement Opportunity Programs, or EROPs; reductions in force, or RIFs; and restructuring and/or redesign of products, work- flows and enterprises. "The key is using the right tool for reduc- tions," Behan told the newspaper HR profes- sionals. "They are distinctly different, and in my experience they are not interchangeable." For instance, if the purpose of the reduction is a small-scale trimming or streamlining of the workforce, Gannett lets nature take its course and achieves reductions through attrition. Things get much more complicated when the business goal is a large reduction in the workforce, or a significant change in what businesses Gannett will operate and how. Mailed from Sterling, Ill. Inform Post Office if it arrives after April 14 April 2015 | Vol. 29, No. 4 INL ANDER THE Stay engaged. Find solutions. Move forward. DOWNSIZING, CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 Penny Reid, a news content editor at The Herald-Times in Bloomington, Indiana, reigned as champion and won $24,400 over two days on the long-running television game show "Jeopardy." Reid, (right, talking with host Alex Trebek) has been an editor at the Schurz Communications daily for 25 years, describing it as a "kind of a dream to get paid to read the paper." Reid's reign as champion ended on her second show, even though, ironically, she correctly solved the "Final Jeopardy" answer with "Who is Weird Al Yankovic?," the song parodist whose hits include "I Lost At 'Jeopardy.'" Hey Weird Al, this Herald-Times editor won on "Jeopardy" William Behan By Mark Fitzgerald R apid changes forced on newspaper workplaces by technology, dramatic shifts in audience interests, and the coming of age of a new generation of employee is also quickly changing the role of newspaper human resources professionals. At Inland's Human Resources Management Conference last month, top newspaper and HR executives said that's a good thing—and if anything, HR needs to be more involved in decisions at the highest levels of their companies. "Behind every successful CEO is a strong and effective HR executive," Wick Commu- nications CEO Tom Yunt declared at the opening session of the conference's second day. HR executives, he added, "should have a seat the senior management table." That's how it works at Wick, where Director of Human Resources Tom Riebock attends all board meetings and audit and compensation committee sessions. HR departments should be deeply involved in the drafting and managing of compensation plans, he said. Like Yunt, Gannett Co. Inc.'s senior vice president/labor relations, William Behan, argued that a key to HR's value—and why it should recognized as a key management center—is that HR has "a deep understanding of the businesses involved, we know what To newspaper key executives, add HR heads HR, CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 2015 INLAND HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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