Berner Says The Cumulus Culture Is Changing


For the past year one of the biggest challenges CEO Mary Berner has said plagued the company was a toxic culture. And it’s hard to turn around a company when you have employees who do not want to work for you. However, Berner says the culture is changing.

In a presentation to investors, Berner said in May, 94% of the employees believed the company is changing for the better, compared to 89% in January. She also said 92% are proud to work at Cumulus, compared to 87% in January and 86% are excited for the future, compared to 84%. Turnover is also down. In 2015 total turnover was 34%, so far in 2016 it is 25%. Full-time turnover in 2015 was 30%, so far in 2016 it is 20%. And, voluntary sales turnover in 2015 was 36%, so far in 2015 it is 24%.

Here’s what Berner said in the September Radio Ink cover story interview about changing the culture. “You have to be authentic. The point is, which I want to emphasize, I say no a lot. I say no more than I say yes. Lest anyone think it’s just because we’re giving an extra vacation week or something, it is so not that. Our biggest issue for our employees right now is our health insurance. Our employees would like it to be stronger. We can’t afford it. So I said no. On big things, we have to say no. But I think what’s important is it’s honest and it’s transparent, and people understand why.”

“I don’t try to spin our employees. You do that and you lose people, because people aren’t stupid. They understand. I’ve been really clear that what we’re doing is difficult. What we’re doing is high-risk. What we’re doing is going to take time. It will require sacrifices. We will have some setbacks. For every two steps we move forward, we may have a half a step back. But we have a plan. We know where we started. We know where we’re going. So it’s up to us to execute it. And we will be completely transparent and rigorous about communicating where we are. Most people can get behind things if they understand why, where, when, and how, and who is doing it. So we’ve been very, very focused on that.”

Read that full cover story interview HERE


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