Danny Rogers: Satisfied PR staff need more than money

Last weekend's Best Small Companies to Work For report saw an extremely strong showing from PR consultancies, with Shine, Bite and Lexis making the top ten.

Danny Rogers
Danny Rogers

Brands2Life, Blue Rubicon, Red Consultancy and Text 100 also appeared in the top 50 or so, and this was from nearly 600 small companies that entered the Sunday Times-backed survey.

Not only did the three highest-ranking PR agencies climb the table impressively, but they put to shame rival agencies in the marcoms sector (the highest-ranking advertising agency, Elvis, came 26th).

These consultancies scored high employee satisfaction rates despite The Sunday Times reporting an overall fall in such sentiment during the recession. And the three leading PR agencies are not thought to have enjoyed a stellar 12 months in terms of revenue growth (these figures will become clearer when the PRWeek UK Consultancies 2010 report is compiled in April).

One therefore presumes that all seven PR agencies listed in the report have learned the lessons of previous economic cycles. The PR industry tended to lay off staff in troubled times, and then hire talent again in the boom times, at the price of spiralling salaries and exorbitant headhunter fees.

At a deeper level, there is clearly a growing recognition among employers that a talented staff is the prime asset of such businesses.

From the employees' point of view, one senses a shift in attitudes. Where once money and promotion were the key motivators, self-fulfilment and personal development have become at least as important.

A number of surveys, including PRWeek's own Best Places to Work report last year, have shown that 'soft' rewards such as duvet days, charity initiatives and self-development courses, have grown in attraction.

Such initiatives can no longer be window-dressing. Shine - which ranked sixth in the table - shares one-quarter of its profits among staff, Blue Rubicon offers 148 hours of training each year, and all of Red's 128 staff devoted time to homelessness charity Centrepoint last year.

Indeed, we could be seeing the early signs of a workplace revolution, with PR consultancies at the helm.

BSME Editor of the Year 2008

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