‘Our employees can work anywhere’: How a US publisher is tackling the big quit | What’s New in Publishing

Founded in 2018, Recurrent Ventures is truly the modern digital media company. Backed by venture capital from North Equity LLC, the publisher has spent the past few years on an aggressive buying spree, sucking up a number of well-established media brands including Domino, The Drive, Field & Stream, Popular Science , Flavor and JancisRobinson. .com, to name just a few iconic brands.

In total, the publisher owns 20 digital media brands in the automotive, home, lifestyle, military, outdoor, science and technology sectors, thus reaching 60 million unique visitors per month.

Based in Miami but with regional offices in New York, San Francisco and San Diego, the publisher has faced strong headwinds in recruiting and retention following what has been described as the “great resignation”. .

Driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States has seen unprecedented levels of resignations as staff quit in record numbers to start their own businesses – Americans applied for a record 5.4 million phone numbers. business identification last year according to census data which clearly indicates a comeback of independent entrepreneurship.

For US publishers, this trend has been exacerbated by talented creators leaving publishers to join next-gen platforms (Substack, Patreon and their ilk) that have successfully lured journalists into becoming full-fledged independent creators. .

The Retention Challenge: Purpose and Belonging

For Recurrent CEO Lance Johnson, the solution has been to double down on establishing clear leadership and fostering a greater sense of ownership and purpose within his organization. In a written exchange with WNIP, he says, “Strong leadership, in-house mentorship, and efforts to build values ​​that we can buy into are our priorities.

We try to make sure employees know how much we appreciate them and their efforts to propel the growth of this company that we all own. In return, we regularly receive honest feedback, good and bad, and we respond to them promptly.

Lance Johnson, CEO, Recurrent Ventures

As a key part of this, Recurrent has taken the ownership theme a step further than many of its publisher counterparts – it offers its full-time employees a stake in the business. Johnson comments, “We are all responsible for the performance of the business and we all benefit from success. This team mentality has helped our company stay together, but also attracts the same kind of great people. »

Work from anywhere

As the pandemic subsides, another dilemma facing the publisher is whether to force its staff back to the office full-time or offer a hybrid work-from-home model. Recurrent’s head of human resources, Rebecca Dobson, chose neither and says the publisher’s staff can work from anywhere they choose: “Our virtual work approach means that our employees can live and work wherever they want, as long as they have WiFi and their laptop.Not only does this allow us to hire employees across the country without any relocation requirements, but it also gives everyone unprecedented freedom to dictate our work setup.

During the pandemic, employees moved to new locations or simply changed scenery for weeks.

Rebecca Dobson, Human Resources Manager, Recurrent Ventures

Dobson adds, “While it is imperative to maintain central office environments for employees to meet and work together in person as needed and desired, we have found this policy to work well for us as an option. . As the world continues to open up, we expect employees to benefit more.

Dobson also says that Recurrent’s staff reviews have tracked employee sentiment and gauged overall staff satisfaction: “We run reviews twice a year to provide employees with a separate forum for honest communication with their responsible. This has given us a regular measure of how people are doing and what they need, whether it’s more resources, support, communication, etc. It also helps us set internal growth goals and ensure we are rewarding people appropriately for their work.

popular science

Recruitment Challenges

That’s not to say Recurrent has been immune to the recruiting challenges that beset its publisher peers. With 300 employees, the company has nearly 60 vacancies, a percentage that mirrors that of many US publishers. Dobson says, “We’ve taken on quite a bit of talent over the past few years and our challenge is to fill these positions as quickly as we would like.

Candidates looking for new jobs move quickly, so we’ve bolstered our HR teams to support editorial managers and ensure the process runs smoothly.

Tactically, we are recruiting Recurrent’s shared teams to support a diverse range of properties with expertise in different areas, with a focus on improving our onboarding process and creating new lines of communication for inter-team collaboration.

Rebecca Dobson, Human Resources Manager, Recurrent Ventures

Ultimately, however, Dobson recognizes that employee satisfaction and retention are paramount to Recurrent’s success, adding, “As the business grows, we continue to build our culture around prioritizing given to people and to mission, which is ultimately an environment in which we have found people. want to stay. »

Recurrent CEO Lance Johnson adds, “Our team is full of people who are hardworking people who are here for more than just pay and equity.”