Editor's Note: Great Places to Work in Not-So-Great Times
If you’ve been a Book Business reader for several years, you’ll recognize the feature in this issue highlighting the “Best Book Publishing Companies to Work For.” This is the third year we’ve conducted this study not only to recognize those companies that have gone the extra mile to create places where employees thrive, but also to share the characteristics of positive work environments to help others striving to improve their workplace culture.
This year, however, was a difficult one for the book publishing industry, like many industries. The economic recession and the ensuing trail of publishing companies announcing layoffs and cutbacks added to the discontent of those unhappily employed, and it strained many companies that otherwise were pretty good places to work, as employees questioned the stability of their companies and jobs.
The corner office faced a particularly grueling challenge, evaluating where cuts could be made and how to keep as much of their workforces in tact as possible, while meeting the demands of the difficult financial environment.
Staffs were challenged with doing more and more with fewer resources, and I think it’s safe to say that morale at many companies dipped to an all-time low.
The good news is that many steps can be taken to help create a more positive work environment without necessarily increasing spending, as many of the companies on this year’s list of “Best Companies” prove.
Common among most of the “Best Companies” is an effort to not only ask employees for their opinions and suggestions, but to also actually utilize those suggestions. And this can directly benefit a company. Prestwick House (no. 10 on the list) believes that there cannot be true customer satisfaction in the absence of employee satisfaction—a concept that many companies unfortunately just don’t get. F.A. Davis’ efforts to develop a place where its employees feel valued have paid off in employee retention. And, creating a great workplace can help to lure talented executives from other companies.