Over the past six years, we’ve grown from a team of 20 people offering traditional PR services to a team of 70 delivering fully integrated comms campaigns. We have tripled our income and become a top-five UK healthcare consultancy.
It’s safe to say that we are very proud of this achievement, but more so because we have done it all from our base in the seaside town of Worthing, down on the south coast. There are obviously many reasons behind this success, but ultimately, it all comes down to people. Bright people. Driven people. People on a shared mission, with a set of shared values and all craving the same thing – a first-class career in comms and the lifestyle benefits that come with living on the coast.
Now we are established, have a great client list and consistently win awards for our work and as an employer, so recruiting talent is a little easier. But we thought that we would share just three of the reasons why we have attracted and retained such a great team: purpose, culture and location.
Purpose. Meaning. Call it what you like, but most people like to have a reason to get up in the morning beyond the monthly payslip. We have always had some kind of focus, simply because we have always operated around one specific area of comms – healthcare. But we wanted to take it further. Our core focus has become a single-minded mission that runs through the heart of the business and acts as the filter for the type of clients and campaigns with which we work: "Inspiring healthy decisions."
It is very straightforward, but equally very powerful. And everyone is signed up to it. Every client or campaign opportunity goes through the filter, and unless we can justify it, we won’t take it on. That said, healthy conversations are happening all around us, whether they are about the food people eat, the medicines they take, the products they put on their skin, the lifestyle choices they make or the advice they give in a professional context. So this still offers people from all corners of the traditional pharma and consumer comms spheres the opportunity to work in those areas that interest them most.
We are united in helping people make better decisions and we know this plays a huge role in attracting and retaining staff, because they tell us it does.
We don’t believe you can force a specific type of culture on a business, but you can certainly put the right things in place to help foster and protect one. You can also make sure you find the right people to help it continue to thrive. We place a huge emphasis on personality and fit, and we are always looking for that different something that a candidate would bring. In addition, many of our clients and staff talk about a family feel to Pegasus, something of which we are very proud.
We encourage staff to get involved with everything
from articulating our company values, through to our social calendar and creative awards
We encourage staff to get involved with everything from articulating our company values, through to our social calendar and creative awards. We have also developed an HR strategy that puts people first, to see us through our next stage of growth. We call it Live (culture and wellbeing), Give (charity and community) and Grow (personal career development) and it ensures that every aspect of a staff member’s welfare and career is taken care of.
There has been the temptation to play down our location because we are not based in London. But we have always seen it as a major strength. Not only do we offer staff financial packages that are benchmarked against the best in the industry, and a client list of which any comms business would be proud, but we then throw in a beautiful seaside location (and still just a pebble-skim from London). That’s an incredibly attractive proposition.
Over the next few months, we will be moving the entire company along the coast into Brighton, arguably the country’s most digital town. This can only strengthen our case. This is all still work in progress and we haven’t got everything right, but we do believe that businesses such as ours, which offer staff a clear sense of purpose and foster a great culture, will ultimately attract the best talent to help it succeed.
Oh, and just because we are on a mission to inspire people to make healthy decisions, it doesn’t mean we can’t also have our cake and eat it. After all, there is no harm in spoiling yourself now and again.
Sonia Hall is HR manager at Pegasus