Bigger and Better

There are two ways to grow. Whether it’s an individual’s personal savings plan, an entrepreneur’s roadmap for growing his or her small business or a government administration’s annual forecast for an economy as large and diverse as that of the United States, it remains a fairly straightforward equation: Either add more or do it better.

With our latest news, we think we’ve found a way to do both. Last month, MediaTec Publishing Inc., the parent company of Talent Management magazine, acquired Workforce Management from Crain Communication Inc.

Now in its 91st year, Workforce is one of the oldest and largest continuously published business magazines in the U.S. From its beginning as an academic journal called The Journal of Personnel Research through its evolution into today’s rich news-driven multimedia magazine and website, Workforce has evolved with the industry. Along the way, the magazine has become a vital resource of news, analysis and insight.

For more than a decade, MediaTec has served the human capital management industry as one of the nation’s leading multiplatform media companies. The three award-winning magazines in our Human Capital Media Group — Chief Learning Officer, Diversity Executive and Talent Management — are widely recognized as the premier resources in their respective industry segments. From the beginning and continuing today, our aim has been to build a community of readers by delivering the kind of deep insight and commentary tailored specifically to the needs of the executive in charge of those functions.

The addition of Workforce creates a content powerhouse with 153,000 magazine subscribers, about 1.5 million annual Web visitors and a combined database of nearly 600,000 human capital professionals. The combination puts more resources into the hands of readers in ways that will help them grow themselves and their department.

Economists have a term for that kind of expansion. It’s called extensive growth, and it is perhaps the simplest way to grow. Corporate bosses often engage in this sort of deal making and acquisition for that very reason. The simple addition of resources, talent and intellectual capital — the extensive part of the growth — quickly delivers a boost to the bottom line.

In budgetary terms, it means injecting more money or resources into a project or initiative. In investment, it means adding capital, and in human terms, it means adding more or better people to an organization to spur movement forward. In our case, the combination of Talent Management and its sister publications with Workforce creates a powerful boost in nearly all the above. We now have a deeper pool of resources to serve readers, nearly a century’s worth of intellectual capital and the deepest and most experienced bench of journalists, writers and contributors in the industry.

But there’s a danger in relying solely on extensive growth. The boost it delivers can be short-lived and is easily mimicked. As more resources are added over time and competitors adjust in response, these growth strategies deliver significant but diminishing returns. It also tallies up powerful intangibles like talent, ideas and innovation like items on a balance sheet and fails to focus on the value those things deliver.

Fortunately, smart economists tackled that problem and developed a second idea called intensive growth. In economic terms, intensive growth comes from the discovery and development of new and better ways to use resources. Intensive growth can spring from a technology or an innovation in a process. Think of how the assembly line remade manufacturing or how email transformed communication.

It also accounts for things like creativity, problem solving, insight and innovation. And with the addition of Workforce Management to the Human Capital Media Group portfolio, we now provide thought leadership, strategy, news, education and analysis across the hire-to-retire spectrum of human capital management from the C-suite to the front lines.

Workforce Management is a perfect complement to our three magazines, delivering exactly the kind of practical information and tools organizations of all sizes need to execute strategy and effectively manage their workforce every day. The combination of all four magazines and the talented people behind the scenes who produce them promises to make us not just bigger but also better. I look forward to sharing the next leg of this growth with you.