NEW YORK—APCO Worldwide, Text 100, ReviveHealth and Group Gordon have been voted by their employees as the Best Agencies to Work For in North America.
The awards—which will be presented at our 2014 SABRE Awards dinner in New York on May 6—are based on the votes of around 4,000 employees from close to 60 PR firms from across the country.
Best Large Agency to Work For: APCO Worldwide
As one of only a couple of large agencies still led by its founder, APCO has a culture that clearly derives from the values of chief executive Margery Kraus. That means a commitment to diversity and inclusion—“not only does it enrich our work environment but it also helps us to provide smart, innovative solutions to our clients,” says the firm—and a longstanding commitment to employee development, with APCO University offering a wide range of courses taught by internal and external experts. There’s also a Global Employee Scholarship program that allows rising stars to spend time in another of APCO’s more than 30 offices around the world, and a robust commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism.
“APCO is incredibly supportive of its staff and has created a culture in which we can have fun while delivering high quality work under tight deadlines,” says one respondent to our survey. Adds another: “The collaborative culture and interesting work are elements that keep me engaged day-in and day-out. Every day is different and everyone works together to bring forward the best ideas and solutions for our clients.”
Certificates of Excellence: GolinHarris, Weber Shandwick, Cohn & Wolfe
Best Midsize Agency to Work For: Text 100
Asked to identify their favorite things about Text 100, employees cite “the people I work with and the sense of teamwork among the various account teams. From the top down, no one—even VPs and SVPs—is afraid to roll up their sleeves and pitch in where needed to make sure that everyone feels supported and is able to achieve success.” Others like “the dedication to skill development. I love that I can ask to try my hand at a new project or upper level work and be given the opportunity—with minimal micromanaging. Feedback is always constructive and enables me to see how all levels of work contribute to the larger campaign or client goal.”
Text 100 has been our Best Midsize Agency to Work For three of the past four and four of the past seven years, earning consistently high marks for its efforts to help employees achiever work-life balance. The firm’s global network gives people the chance to plot their career across a range of countries and cultures, and the firm is open to creating new roles that match individuals’ own unique skill sets. And Text100’s training programs encourage and inspire employees to seek out new opportunities.
Certificates of Excellence: Allison+Partners, M Booth, Padilla CRT, Finn Partners
Best Small Agency to Work For: ReviveHealth
Our Best Boutique Agency to Work For each of the past three years, ReviveHealth graduated to a slightly higher weight class in 2014, but that’s the only thing that changed. The firm’s core values, developed by the staff and carefully monitored twice yearly with an anonymous survey of all staff, remain consistent: Be better, Be real, Be more than more of the same, Be authentic, Have fun, Respect and transparency, Take the extra step, and Personal growth. Founder and CEO Brandon Edwards is clear about his firm’s first priority: “We will be the place to work for the best talent in the health care communication world, people who can go anywhere and do anything.”
A typical response: “I look forward to coming to work every day and I think that's something not a lot of people can say. Revive is more like a family than a workplace—everyone looks out for each other and has the firm's best interest at heart, not their own. Even though we are two offices, we are one firm. And that ideology is at the heart of everything we do.” Another: “The people are amazing—every single person belongs here, they fit, they work hard, and they gel amazingly well together. It's so incredible to be in an environment where everyone is a standout and no one acts like they're better or more important than anyone else.”
Certificates of Excellence: Davies, Exponent, 360 Public Relations, Cooper Katz & Company
Best Boutique Agency to Work For: Group Gordon
Group Gordon has worked hard to cultivate “an open, contemporary culture like that of Google; yet the quality of our work product and approach aspires to be like that of Kekst.” The process starts with a rigorous recruitment process, seeking out people who are critical thinkers and emotionally intelligent. And a lot of energy goes in to making sure that employees at all levels bond outside of work too, whether through the firm-subsidized dodgeball team “Air Gordon” or Bar Trivia Tuesdays.
The payoff: “There is no competition between individuals or account teams,” says one survey respondent. “Everyone is incredibly supportive and genuinely wants the best for everyone else. We are given a lot of autonomy in working with clients, which helps foster a strong sense of purpose and desire to do well. I feel close to everyone in the office, even the people I don't work with directly, because I feel confident that no one is judging my work or putting me down behind my back. The culture is excellent.”
Certificates of Excellence: Henson Consulting, Warschawski PR, Zapwater, March PR