2016 Best PR Agencies to Work For, EMEA | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations
The Holmes Report's Best Consultancies to Work For are determined by a comprehensive survey of agency employees, at around 50 agencies throughout the EMEA region.

The process solicits employee views on a wide range of issues ranging from the integrity of senior management to the quality of professional development, from empowerment and risk-taking to compensation.

Being selected as a Best Consuiltancy to Work For by the Holmes Report is considered the ultimate benchmark of PR firm culture and workplace performance, in an industry whose primary asset remains its people. 

The three 2016 EMEA Best Consultancy to Work For Winners will receive their awards at the SABRE Awards dinner on 25 May in Berlin.

BEST EUROPEAN NETWORK TO WORK FOR: COHN & WOLFE

Cohn & Wolfe’s philosophy is brought to life throughout the agency’s mantra “Dig Deeper. Imagine More.” (DDIM), which emphasizes a supportive environment that fosters creativity and outstanding client work. DDIM is supported by a “work-style” programme called Emergenetics, which provides clues into how people think and behave across four distinct categories—conceptual, analytical, structural and social—and helps to build well-balanced teams.

The firm also gets the fundamentals right: competitive salaries, a strong benefits package, and a wide range of learning and development opportunities. The firm is working to promote diversity and inclusion, supporting candidates from diverse backgrounds as they find their feet in the industry. And in the firm’s own most recent employee survey, 91 percent of employees surveyed agreed that Cohn & Wolfe was a fun place to work.

But it’s the softer side of the business that draws the plaudits: “I like coming to work every day,” says one respondent. “I feel challenged and am driven to progress through the agency.” Another says: “I have never seen anyone within our team blame or put unneeded pressure on anyone else. It is very much a team attitude here.” And finally: “Everyone—from top management down to junior consultants—takes pride in being nice, kind and supportive.”

Honorable mentions: APCO Worldwide TRACCS, Weber Shandwick, Chandler Chicco

BEST CONTINENTAL CONSULTANCY TO WORK FOR: SCHWARTZ PUBLIC RELATIONS

Two things set Schwartz Public Relations aside as an employer of choice in the highly competitive German market: first, absolute transparency; and second, absolute respect, trust, and personal responsibility. The former means that every member from junior levels to directors has full insight into the agency’s business, informed via weekly staff meetings and constant open doors. The latter means individual employees get to decide when and how long they work and how they run their accounts.

Throw in a strong commitment to internal and external trainings—in technology, PR, social media and more—and it’s easy to see why employees are enthusiastic. One respondent cites the “transparent way of leadership communicating with the employees as well as the flat hierarchy.” Another offers a long list of reasons to love the work environment: “My co-workers, my boss, the team spirit, the family-like atmosphere, colleagues are highly supportive of each other, everyone is encouraged to bring in their ideas and share their thoughts, open communication.”

Honorable mentions: LVT (Netherlands); Tribeca (South Africa); Fink & Fuchs (Germany); Canela (Spain)

BEST UK CONSULTANCY TO WORK FOR: SALT

One of the three guiding principles at salt is an emphasis on culture, and in particularly on the ability of individuals to balance their own needs with those of the teams in which they work. There is a  salt “behavioural framework” that is aligned with the salt values and forms the heart of the recruitment process, line management, and appraisal programme. It includes transparency—involving everyone in setting the agency’s direction—and a flexible, supportive workplace. A bespoke leadership development programme means everyone has the opportunity for personal growth.

“We are encouraged to bring our passions to work,” says one respondent. “Everyone's contribution is valued, good performance is celebrated and promotions aren't based on tenure; if you have passion and can deliver great work the opportunities are there for the taking.” Adds another: “Everyone respects one another. There is amazing culture. The company rewards its staff, and the benefits are amazing…. Everyone is always happy and as a company we celebrate on every occasion and celebrate success as well.”

Honorable mentions: Tangerine, Hope & Glory, Cirkle, Unity