Question Two: Problems in the advertising department
Evening Courier is a newspaper printing group which worked six days of the week except on Sundays. They were the sole sellers in towns with little populations like 200,000, hence they served as a monopoly by monopolizing the customer market base. Since it was a monopoly their sales were directly influenced by advertisements, and hence the company encountered major challenges over time because it depended on the Advertising department which were responsible for most of their profits. The Evening Courier had its backbone in its Advertising department because they provided more than 80% of the revenue the company makes. More so it was the advertisements on the newspaper that increased the demand for the paper. In other words the more the adverts are published, the more the newspapers are sold. Nonetheless, the advertisement department did not enjoy the full monopoly Evening Courier has on the press side but for it enjoyed semi-monopoly. Other than advertising on the paper, the client could opt to put their adverts on the local radio station. Therefore the advertising department was facing stiff completion from the local radio stations were taking a keen interest in the advertisement.
The Editor, Edward Coulouris who was the highest ranked person in Evening Courier, was so keen on developing and improving the editorial standards of the company not only for the newspaper section but the entire group as a whole. Coulouris started work for the company as a journalist, and more so he still is a member of the National Union of Journalists. Recently the editor had noticed there is a serious problem with the advertisement department since it was failing terribly. The sales were depreciating every year with the radio stations winning the advertising competition. After speaking to Doreen, he told her that Evening Courier could do better with a person like her only to be informed that they never used her while they had the chance. These prompted Edward Coulouris to reassess where things started to go south for the company.
The biggest problem that the advertisement department had was the high rate of labor turnover. The number of employees that were leaving the department had increased significantly over the past few years. In the classified advertisement section, the job turnover rate was the highest with 270 % per annum. The other two parts of the department were running at a labor turnover rate of 180 percent. Therefore an employee could not last more than three months in the office before handing in their resignation letter. Also, the district is facing a problem of increased sickness rates and absenteeism. However, the high labor turnover rate has directly influenced the poor morale and performance in the advertisement department of the staff that is available is of poor quality.
The department was full of inexperienced staff. The advertising manager Alison Merton was responsible for the one-week formula training to the new employees before being placed on a job. Unfortunately, this was the only training most of the employees had since most of them were just direct from school or were still schooling. When Alison Merton who has been with the company for fifteen years was asked what was going wrong with the department, she attributed all the mistakes to poor staffing, and she was rectifying that by selection of high-quality staff. Besides the reduced staffing, there was poor communication between the production and sales sections which Doreen an Employee at the company noticed it was far less efficient than her previous company. The creative quality of the adverts was good however the degree of error was so high during publishing as compared to the rest of the process. All these errors occurred because of poor filling and cataloging in the department.
Also, there were poor public relations with important and established clients in the company. It was a bigger mess since it affected the clients the most. One of the most clear examples is when the editor pulled down a large displaying advertisement without informing the customer with the claims that the advert was too sexually suggestive. There was the monotony of work in the trade motor and classified section to the extent that an employee could compare the work done at the department to work at a call center. The Department of selling and checking adverts was not compatible and required different skills for someone to do the job perfectly. However, this was a major problem in the company since they only employed one person to do all the job. The department also overworked workers without motivation, and when required to work overtime they were unpaid. Also when workers are sick, they are not covered by the company sick pay scheme.
The company was full of incompetent managers who had little to no managerial training, and they have retained their work for so many years even with the high labor turnover within the advertisement department. More so the company was not providing exit interviews to workers who were leaving the company due to a large number of employees leaving. Finally, the manager in the department had the problem of power-plays thus could not listen to the employees and discuss a possibility of change in the office as is evident with Doreen when she proposed that the department higher a proofreader which could increase the sales by allowing her time to contact the clients.
Question Three: Problem Resolution
Problem-solving is the main reason why we have leaders. Hence, therefore, Edward Coulouris as a leader and has identified the major problems in the advertisement department he was bound to solve them quickly for a chance of redeeming the ever failing ad unit. The biggest problems were high employee turnover, absenteeism, and sickness which were due to poor management, to some extent poor hiring decisions and finally for the case of Doreen was a failure to meet the employee’s expectation. Therefore to reduce this problem the company should provide a competitive benefits package by employing the workers on a permeant basis as was the case before, the inclusion of employees in the healthcare or medical scheme from the company, and improving work condition of the employee. More so the company should incorporate regular team building exercises which will help develop employees and increase productivity. The company should empower employees to make decisions. It’s common knowledge that everyone would want to feel relevant and useful in the workplace. For instance, for the case of Doreen, she had a good idea when she proposed that a proofreader is employed since the benefits could outweigh the cost of hiring the person. But her request was turned down without a second thought.
Edward Coulouris should advocate for two-way communication between the managers and the employees. By doing so, all the workers can work hand in hand as they point out major issues that are causing the advertisement department to fail. As much as Doreen was working so hard to give her best she was not noticed and worse off as she opted to leave the department she came to learn that Margaret had informed the former colleagues that she could not do her work. Besides the solutions presented above the company could also incorporate employee recognition and reward programs whereby the most hardworking employee with good performance would be a reward. The rewards will reduce the poor performance and boost the employee’s will to work. The communication problem within departments as in the case of production and sales could be easily solved. Edward should make it clear that Evening Courier is an organization without boundaries. So that no department should feel the other departments outrank them, hence they can help each other when the need arises. For instance, the creativity of the advertisement had excellent qualities, but at the time of publishing errors kicked in. Due to poor communication at long last, the advertisements published are of poor quality. More so the systems should be put in place to facilitate the interdepartmental communication. Email is an excellent tool to promote communication between departments.
The other major problem was a poor public relation between the senior management and the clients. The editor did not communicate to the customer or rather provide a reason for the client as to why their advertisement will not be published but instead went on to remove it although the customer had paid a lot of money for it. Public relations in the department was a disaster. However, the best way to eradicate the problem is to cooperate. Cooperation amongst workers and managers, employees and clients, and managers and clients is crucial for a better and improved public relation. Therefore the employees should have it in their mind that wok is not all about competition but is all about working together for the sole purpose of pleasing the customer or client. With cooperation, the key issues of errors in advertisements, poor publishing, and removal of scheduled advertisements without the proper channel of communications would be reduced. Therefore improving the quality of performance, and more so the clients will be satisfied will the services offered.
Finally, the company should contact employee competent, well-trained and experienced employees. With skilled and well-trained employees the problem of poor filing and cataloging will be avoided. Besides the employees, all the managers without any managerial training should be given a refresher course or rather enroll for an executive course. The current requirement of becoming a manager in the company seems to depend on the number of years that one has been with the organization and did not rely on the skills and merit. For instance, Doreen was the only person in the company with managerial training and hence better placed to be a manager more than those who were her boss. With trained, skilled and experienced personnel the advertisement department will have a chance of experiencing its glory days.