The publishing industry has faced many changes over the years, none bigger perhaps than the digital boom. We’ve seen numerous publishing departments restructured, as companies shift to digital. In 2016 Pearson Education, once the largest publisher in the world, announced it would reduce its workforce by 10% by the end of 2017.
But how can this adaptation and its benefits be achieved? We asked a number of industry insiders how they manage change.
Change can’t happen effectively unless employees in your publishing company know what the plan of action is. A point stressed by Marcus Leaver, CEO The Quarto Group: “Change is messy. Communicate it as clearly as you can. Communicate it often. And know that it is messy and you can always communicate it better…..”
The communication theme was echoed by Gareth Lowe, Chair of Unite’s National Publishing and Media Branch; “Change should be managed after thorough negotiation, ideally, but if this isn’t possible, employers should at least consult on change. Once a decision has been made, this needs to be communicated clearly and in a timely fashion”. Without communicating your carefully thought out plans to your colleagues and working with them to implement them, they will simply be plans that can’t be implemented.
Gareth then added: “Of course it’s not just employers that can instigate change; employees can and do this, too. It’s often the response to change that determines the outcome. If the rug is pulled out from under you, standing firm will usually result in you falling to the floor. Agility can help to stay standing in such circumstances; alternatively, such an occurrence might be an opportunity to soar”.
As with any organisation, in publishing there are two types of change – those that are thrust upon us, leaving us no choice, and those that we make by choice, intentionally. Both can be beneficial but we must ensure we know which are truly necessary and beneficial. John Bond, Founder of Whitefox explains how he has seen both. “Knowing that change is essential in any organisation, I’ve tried to learn positive lessons in previous roles from smart people who have managed it transparently and effectively. And equally learned how not to do it from some people who get addicted to change for changes sake.”
Learning from others who have experienced and implemented change is perhaps the most insightful way to learn how to manage change. So, we decided to run an event offering the chance to do just that. An evening with insights from expert speakers who have led change initiatives, been on the receiving end of change and supported workers impacted by external change. The aim of the event is to examine how to manage change at all levels within an organisation. And with the experience, insight and foresight of the speakers you’ll doubtless be inspired to think differently about change.
United We Publish III: Consent or Coercion – Shape your Fate in an Age of Change
Wednesday 19th July, 6.30pm | St. Bride’s Foundation, London
You can book tickets for £16.50 here (includes panel discussion, food and drink)