This post continues a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms.
A managing editor (not from a Digital First Media newsroom) asked my thoughts about developing a plan for pay raises based on performance.
It’s a challenge many newsrooms face (or will face whenever current pay freezes are lifted): Media enterprises’ success is based on performance, so I suspect newsrooms will increasingly consider basing pay on performance. Here’s what my correspondent asked:
What sort of goals could we set for photographers, reporters and copy editors — and perhaps their respective editors who oversee them — that if met would result in a bonus?
I don’t really want to enact quotas for all of what we do, but perhaps that’s helpful.
Do you know how other newspapers who are becoming digital news organizations might reward employees or offer bonuses? Are there other editors you could put me in touch with if you don’t know?
I provided an initial answer, but promised to crowdsource on my blog. Here’s what I said (edited a little as I’ve thought about it more):
I suggest that you invite staff members to propose how their performance should be measured. You might propose multiple ways of measuring. Some possibilities (only offer those that are acceptable to you):
- Straight count of production (stories, photos, videos, etc.). I’m not wild about this, but it might have value in combination with something else.
- Page views (or uniques) for content the staffer produces.
- Social media (and/or search?) referrals to staffer’s content.
- Social media followers (fans, etc.).
- Tweets, likes, shares, pins, etc. for staffer’s content.
- Klout score or some other measure of social media influence.
I don’t love any of those, but I think each has value. I’d suggest that a reporter choose two or three metrics (not limited to this list) to measure his/her performance against. You might measure those metrics for 2-3 months to establish a base line, then set improvement goals.
The editor suggested another metric might be stories picked up by AP.
What other measures would you suggest? If you’re an editor, what kind of performance would you reward? How would you measure that performance? If you’re a staff member, what combination of metrics would measure your performance fairly? What incentives would help you improve your performance?
Update: We had a good discussion about metrics on today’s #DFMchat.
Want to contribute a guest post?
I welcome guest posts on other leadership topics. If you’re another Digital First editor (or a leader or former leader in another organization) and would like to propose a guest post as part of the series, email me at sbuttry (at) digitalfirstmedia (dot) com and we’ll discuss. Sue Burzynski Bullard provided such a post on organizational tools. Nancy March wrote about balancing work and personal life. Dan Rowinski wrote about mobile opportunities. Teresa Schmedding wrote about leadership style.
I’m not interested in a post of general leadership tips. I’d rather have a post on a particular leadership topic. Feel free to suggest a post that might address a topic I’ve already covered, but from a different perspective. I welcome posts that disagree with my advice.
Earlier posts with advice for editors
Here are topics I am planning on covering in this series (the order is uncertain). What other topics should I cover?
- Developing new leaders