Secrets of the ‘Best Book Publishing Company to Work For’: A Q&A with Hays Steilberg, Random House Vice President and Director of Human Resources
As vice president and director of human resources of the world’s largest book publisher, Random House’s Hays Steilberg knows a thing or two about creating a great workplace. The company recently ranked No. 1 in Book Business’ “Best Book Publishing Companies to Work For” survey (Book Business, October 2007).
Steilberg will speak in-depth on what makes for a great workplace when he serves as a panelist at the Publishing Business Conference & Expo (www.PublishingBusiness.com) March 10-12 in New York City. Here, he gives Book Business Extra a preview of his take on how to attract and retain top talent, and create a happier, more productive workforce.
Book Business Extra: With so much competition for talented employees, how can book publishers still attract—and retain—the best of candidates?
Hays Steilberg: Book publishing has tremendous appeal for individuals who want to be part of a creative and intellectual cultural enterprise. Our challenge lies in finding and identifying talented and motivated individuals, not necessarily just book lovers, who want to be part of our company. We constantly source the relevant networks and talent pools to try to connect with these individuals. Other factors—all of which are Random House hallmarks—certainly are also important in attracting talent: competitive pay, generous benefits, a collaborative work environment, good work and life balance, and a non-hierarchical operating philosophy that allows people to make their own decisions. As far as retention is concerned, providing opportunities for career growth—which includes not keeping people in functional silos throughout their entire careers—is probably the most significant attractor. …
Extra: What is the main skill set you look for in candidates today that you may not have five or 10 years ago?
Steilberg: The biggest changes in our business stem from shifts in the book-retail environment and new developments in technology. The proliferation of digital information and the advent of online social networking and marketing opens up a multitude of promising opportunities for book publishers. Consequently, new hires today must bring a technological affinity and skill set, regardless of their particular hiring destination.