Small Agency (2-29 UK employees) Winner: Missive
Missive, founded in 2015 by former O2 head of PR and campaigning Emma Hart and Hotwire’s Nicola Koronka, has a mission to "leave PR in a better state than when we found it" - and also to be a great place to work. The 13-strong company’s dedication to innovative employment practices greatly impressed the judges, and suggested it is on the right track.
The agency is described as an "evolving cooperative", with an aim to give the team greater say over how the agency is run. The plan is for all staff to have share options by the end of the year, which came from a request from the team – Missive prides itself on an open, non-hierarchical culture that encourages feedback.
Missive’s benefits package includes a £500 personal wellbeing allowance to spend per year, a paid sabbatical after four years, a free personal trainer, birthday leave, an annual all-expenses paid holiday, enhanced parental leave pay, and flexible working. The latter means every member of the team can decide whether to work from home or the office - they just have to tell their line manager in advance.
Mental health and general wellbeing support includes counselling and psychotherapy.
On a lighter note, each year Missive takes all staff abroad – to a destination starting with ‘M’ - for a ‘thank you’ trip. Manhattan, Montisi and Malta and Marbella have been the locations so far.
Missive has been growing 20 per cent year on year since it was founded - showing that ethical employment practices can go hand in hand with strong business performance.
Highly Commended: Liberty
Impressive policies towards staff happiness and an approachable and accessible culture helped nine-strong agency Liberty scoop highly commended in its size category.
Liberty’s "employee first" support scheme covers financial, social, physical and mental well being, providing access to counsellors, financial advisors and discounts to support physical health.
Each employee has a tailored "happiness plan", which could include anything from supporting them on a masters degree to time off for parental reasons or charitable causes – Liberty stresses that it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Weekly mindfulness and meditation sessions are also available, and every employee is given wellbeing objectives alongside traditional career milestones.
To encourage everyone’s voice to be heard, Inclusion Councils have been set up to feedback to the senior team.
Line managers receive training on mental wellbeing to help identify potential problems. Any concerns are reviewed by senior management and if necessary escalated to Liberty's CEO who can help provide support either through independent counselling and advice or through more informal means.
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