In February I had the honor of attending PR legend Harold Burson’s 95th birthday party in New York City.
Burson built what was once the largest PR firm in the world on the back of a vision, strong culture and leadership, remorseless attention to detail and client service, and voracious networking. Almost every one of the 34,000 "Burson persons" who worked at the firm remembers their time there fondly, and the influence of this alumni group spreads far and wide throughout the global PR client and agency population to this day.
This resonated strongly with me as I read the 2016 PRWeek Salary Survey. Talent recruitment and retention remains the single most problematic and debated topic in PR, especially in agencies.
It is impossible to underestimate the importance of building a culture in your organization that attracts and retains the best talent. Burson did it. Andy Polansky is doing it at Weber Shandwick. Richard Edelman has his unique take on it at his eponymous firm. Donna Imperato does so at Cohn & Wolfe; Dale Bornstein at M Booth; Aedhmar Hynes at Text100, and so on.
Culture starts with strong leadership and spreads down through an organization. As the survey shows, this is particularly important at a time when staffers are more emboldened than ever. Money is key, but if smart PR pros don’t get what they want in all aspects of their current employment, they know they’ll be appreciated elsewhere.
PR is a people business built on relationships, and attracting and keeping the best talent has to be top priority for every senior manager in the profession. Close analysis of the Salary Survey will help you achieve that.