Houston Chronicle Prez Still Obsessing Transformation to a Top 50 Workplace, Cites Own Special Section As Handy Guide for Employees

John O"Loughlin, president of the Houston Chronicle, was apparently beside himself with bliss after this weekend's special section on the Top 50 Workplaces in Texas, calling it "stunning."

In an e-mail sent out to the entire Chron staff, he pointed out that not only was this a mammoth, year-long enterprise [with tons of advertising dollars and making friendly with prestigious business people in town! he did not say] but something for them to aspire to.

The winners are determined by what Houston-area employees have to say about their employer. Yes, that's how you make the Top 50.

As we reported in early September, Chron management announced it wanted to make it to the Top 50 at the same time as it said there wouldn't be raises and employees were encouraged to enter group activities like 5K fun runs.

What we at Hair Balls find stunning is the idea that you can downplay reporters' bylines, take away any potential raises [only the occasional merit bonus from now on], and reclassify several of them to the point where there's no overtime ... and EXPECT THEM TO BE HAPPY.

Here's an excerpt from the O'Loughlin memo that went out on Veteran's Day:

From: "O'Loughlin, John T" Date: November 11, 2012, 3:07:50 PM CST To: "HC_BB Distribution All EE" Subject: Top Workplaces in TODAY's Sunday Edition

As we seek to become one of the top 50 workplaces in Texas, it's important we recognize, celebrate and try to emulate peers with similar aspirations. Let me call to your attention a stunning, 48-page special section in today's Sunday Houston Chronicle that wraps up a year-long effort, including a big Thursday evening gala where we hosted more than 900 of Houston's business leaders and their employees, recognizing and awarding the very best as voted by their peers. This initiative - in event, print, and web - represents one of our most prolific and profitable initiatives, with our 2012 installment being our 3rd annual and nearly doubling the participation and revenue from last year.

I encourage you to share the press release, which is attached, and this link to Thursday night's highlights on Chron,com at: http://www.chron.com/business/top-workplaces/article/Chronicle-names-Top-Workplaces-4021925.php. Then spend some time with the complete Top Workplaces section in today's paper and continue to send us ideas on how we can join these top companies in 2013.

Which means, if they do it correctly, those Chronicle reporters will have a chance to write about themselves in a year's time! And if they don't, well...guess they'd better start collecting those votes.

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