Well see, this is why the company can’t get out of bankruptcy (just kidding!): Tribune Co.’s paper The Sun Sentinel just handed $25,000 and a free Caribbean cruise to Bob Simons, a production manager who suggested a cheap supplier for some office equipment. No, that’s not a joke. Tribune CEO Randy Michaels and COO Gerry Spector said that Simons’ idea saved $1 million for the newspaper alone. Reminds us of that moral-boosting plan at Condé Nast’s to pay out $10k to forward-thinking employees each quarter…though with Tribune currently trying to restructure itself out of bankruptcy while fighting off creditors, giving $25k away to one employee (and promises of more “spot bonuses in the months ahead) might be sending the wrong message…no matter how good the company’s intentions are.
Memo from Michaels and Spector after the jump.
From: Tribune Communications
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 11:04 AM
Subject: Message from Randy and Gerry/Rewarding Performance
Yesterday morning at the Sun Sentinel, Publisher Howard Greenberg handed out one of the largest spot bonuses in Tribune’s history — $25,000 and a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean — to Bob Simons, a production maintenance manager for the newspaper. Last spring, as the Sun Sentinel was replacing some outdated equipment, Bob did something we want all our employees to do-he spoke up. He suggested that there was another supplier the company should talk to before finalizing the purchase.
Bob’s suggestion wound up saving the Sun Sentinel more than $1 million. But, the story doesn’t end there. The Los Angeles Times was engaged in a similar process, replacing equipment at its printing plant. The vendor Bob suggested helped out there, too, resulting in additional savings.
Bob acted like an owner would-he took initiative and he helped save the company a lot of money. Our success as a company going forward is going to be defined, in part, by everyone acting a little bit more like an owner, and we’ve told our managers that when they find outstanding performance to highlight it and reward it. You’ll see more spot bonuses in the months ahead.
One person really can make a difference. Just ask Bob.
Randy and Gerry