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What makes your PR office a good place to work?

1st May 2013

Client-side life

Diversity, inclusivity and opportunities are important for building society Nationwide says Keith Astill, human resources director:

“Our employees are our biggest asset; we know this because our members consistently tell us. That’s why we invest in our people, rewarding them for how they behave with our membership, offering great opportunities to progress in their PR jobs.

“We are not a one-size-fits-all organisation. Far from it. We strive to be diverse, inclusive and balanced. Nationwide is the only UK financial services organisation to achieve Gold Standard from Investors in People. We’re also recognised for our progress in promoting gender and race equality by Business in the Community, and were recently named in the Times Top 50 employers for women. The list goes on.

“Much more than just a company, we are a community – one that offers a compelling proposition for those interested in working within a top performing organisation that is rich in culture and values.”

Big PR firm perks

A common purpose, an entrepreneurial spirit and fun events help PR firm Edelman get included in The Times 100 Best Companies and rank as a “best place to work” by organisations such as and LinkedIn. Alexis Guthrie, account director describes what Edelman offers employees:

“Edelman gets the details right. A client-centric approach, strong code of ethics, commitment to quality and rock-solid values ensure all employees have a common purpose, know why they’re here – and why everyone else is too. Our entrepreneurial spirit, means employees are encouraged to develop, own and see to fruition much of their own thinking.”

Last but not least, Guthrie says the agency believes in having fun: “Our London office’s Python Lounge hosts free drinks for employees on Thursdays. Employee teams regularly participate in long-distance physical challenges, and volunteer opportunities – either via pro bono work or actual time out of the office – abound.”

A collaborative culture, pensions schemes and fruit bowls are perks of working at Ketchum. In 2012 Ketchum was named as the 12th Great Place to Work in the UK by the Great Place to Work Institute. HR executive Alice Clarke, Ketchum discusses why she loves working there:

“Ours is an extremely friendly and collaborative agency, where even employee's pets are welcomed! The agency runs a number of initiatives to positively contribute to the local community and the environment from its on-going partnership with Room to Read, to its summer CSR programme, even offering local students summer work experience placements.

“The agency listens to employee feedback and actively acts on the opinions and views of its employees from introducing a new pension scheme to weekly fruit bowls. In an industry which can be associated with long working hours, Ketchum encourages its employees to have a work-life balance by running weekly well-being classes on site including Zumba, Pilates and Boot Camp.“

Medium-sized agency benefits

People, teamwork and perks are what makes agency Hotwire an inspiring place for a PR job to work says Emma Hazan, UK deputy managing director and helped it gain a top place in the Holmes Report Best Consultancy to Work For awards:

“Without inspiring people to work alongside, who you can bounce ideas off, lean on for support and learn from, PR would be a soul-less place. That’s why we have account teams and don’t work in silos – to bring people with different experience, passions and skills together to create a powerful team that can do great things. ‘While each individual here is truly brilliant and all bring something unique to the party, the party itself would be a bit lame without us all working together. And the perks aren’t half bad either.”

Small agency style

Fun, a supportive atmosphere and profit sharing makes Man Bites Dog win awards as a great place to work says Claire Mason, managing director:

“We offer a London career with a Brighton lifestyle. We're only a stone’s throw from the beach, so the more adventurous often take a swim in the sea when the weather's nice. Most Fridays, we flex our cocktail-making skills at the bar or make the most of our central location – enjoying comedy nights, gigs, beer and food festivals, local restaurants or drinks on the beach.

“Our fun, high-achieving culture, is coupled with a supportive atmosphere. The outstanding work we deliver for our clients is rewarded by a 10 per cent profit share for all. We also offer generous maternity and paternity leave, as well as a duvet day for every staff member. We encourage healthy living with our cycle to work scheme, free fruit and yoga sessions.”

What makes your company a great place to work?

Annabel Jaram, senior associate at PR firm Burson-Marsteller:

“The temptation is to say the free breakfast, and the frequent appearance of cake, but really it’s about opportunities. There is an extensive training programme, chances to work abroad, and we receive fantastic professional development. Opportunities for fun are also plentiful with free Friday drinks, regular social events and one-off special occasions like a trip to the Udderbelly cabaret show. Staff benefits are many, just a few are the generous pension and private dental and healthcare schemes.”

Nancy Prendergast, managing director of PR agency Tannissan Mae:

“It’s always been about having great clients who treat us like the professionals we are and appreciate the work we do for them. We also have a lovely, bright studio environment and enjoy our office dog Cooper. “

Written by Daney Parker

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