BenefitsEngaged Workforce

CEO’s CORNER: Random Thoughts on the Future

Our CEO touches on the environment, the industry, the future of our magazine content, the growth of online content, and why he’s finally in the tree-hugger camp.

by Elliot Clark

We all have random moments and random thoughts. My guess is the entire history of business process outsourcing, whether it be HRO, FAO, or ITO, was conceived while staring out of airplane windows at 30,000 feet. That is when executives get uninterrupted thinking time. It is also a good opportunity to consider a variety of topics and make some decisions.

When we think about the future, there is plenty to consider. One of the biggest issues all business leaders face is the health of our planet. At HRO Today, our principal impact on the environment has to do with paper. Lots of paper. In my six-month tenure as CEO, I have recognized that we can be more responsible, and we are making two key changes to reduce our footprint. When the magazine was first published, our covers were printed with a UV coating. It’s glossier and offers a slightly heavier feel than the alternative aqueous coating. It is also impervious to water, making our magazine an excellent coaster (I hope you’re not doing this, but I confess to having used an old copy as such). Unfortunately, UV-coated paper is also not biodegradable.

As a company, we generate an average of 18,364 pounds of nonrecyclable cover stock paper each year. We are immediately going to change to aqueous-coated covers (only the most fussy people can even notice the difference, aside from the aforementioned coaster capability). We are also switching to an alternate paper stock that will reduce our use of paper by 27,815 pounds each year, saving roughly 236 trees.*

We will continue to generate a high-quality magazine with an upscale look and feel that caters to senior executives—but it will be more socially responsible, as well. We hope our readers and sponsors support this decision, as we are passionate about the issue.

When I think about the paper we use, I also consider the content that goes on the paper to make sure that it meets the needs of our constituency. With that in mind, we are changing the editorial content of our magazine. It is critical to update and evolve. We have discovered from surveys and feedback that readers value our feature content more than the abundance of columns we have in each issue. We are preserving some key and popular columnists, but some will be eliminated as part of a new editorial format. We will be going to a department-driven format that regularly covers key HRO domains. We will still welcome contributed content, but we will do so differently and generate more content ourselves.

This change reflects the growing segmentation and maturation of the industry, as well as the growing sophistication of our readers. It also allows us to focus simultaneously on enterprise and selective or single-process providers. This is an opportunity to explore the many different aspects of the space. We need to look at all areas of market evolution and provide coverage.

We also intend to extend our new look and feel to our web site. We will dramatically update the site from a pure news and feature archive into a web portal for the industry, with updated and interactive video content, interactive resource guides, and digital magazine content. It will be a significant improvement over the current site and incorporate best practices in online content.

We hear from our readers that they like the magazine for feature content. Contrary to the popular declaration that the web is replacing everything but footwear, readers still want a hard copy, and companies that think the world is going all online will regret placing all their eggs in one digital basket. People want both, because they are fickle creatures. What readers continue to tell us is that what they want online is different content, such as on-demand access to research on providers, best practices, and past articles. We are going to provide both.

You will see most of these changes by January, along with anything else we randomly think about before then. If you have a random thought or suggestion on how we can improve, please let us know.

* Source: University of California, Berkeley.

Tags: Benefits, Engaged Workforce

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