Cover Story: What's So Hot About Hachette?
"I don't know many places where you can walk into a CEO's office just on a regular basis if you so desire, and be welcomed," she says. "And by ‘you,' I mean any employee at any level can make an appointment with [Young] and talk to him."
New-hire breakfasts hosted by Young; informal lunches (where Young meets with representatives from various departments); annual meetings offering detailed accounts of goals, strategies and financial standing—all are further examples of internal connectivity and openness, Weinzimer says. According to Young, even the president of parent company Hachette Livre, Arnaud Nourry, has been known to walk the floor at all—employee meetings and sales conferences, taking the time to interface with attendees.
"There's a collegial culture here, and I think that's why people love being here," Weinzimer says. "People enjoy one another and enjoy their interactions with each other, and appreciate how their managers feel about them. In fact, when we do employee opinion surveys, across the board we hear that ‘my manager cares about me, as an employee, but also as a person,' and that they can go to their managers and talk about issues and be respected for who they are."
Pride in Product ... and Parties
Effective communication, Young and Weinzimer say, does more than just instill confidence. It also makes a real difference in how people feel about the products they produce. This is especially important with large numbers of employees working away from New York—at a large distribution center in Lebanon, Ind., as well as in Nashville and Boston. The company prides itself on its ability to balance autonomy with a unity of focus among its various divisions.
"As an organization ... I think the whole company knows what we are trying to achieve," Young stresses. "We don't do anything in isolation, we go out and communicate the ‘why' of what we are doing, and I think people appreciate that, even if they are not working on [a given project]."
Staff across the board, Young says, "are interested in the business of book publishing, whether they are directly working in editorial sales or not."
Twice a year, employees are given free, hand-picked books from the company's catalog; when the fourth installment of author Stephenie Meyers' "Twilight Series" for young adults was released this year, every employee got a copy of the book. The company also encourages its authors to do book signings for employees and promotes tie-in activities connected to book releases.