To underscore PepperCom’s commitment to its workplace and to ensure client satisfaction, PepperCom conducts quarterly Client Report Cards. Every 90 days, management consultant Dr. Richard Harte calls each client and asks them to rank PepperCom on a scale of 1 – 5 (5 being the highest) on Strategy, Creativity, Responsiveness and Execution. We strive to garner fives across the board from all of our clients.
With this as our standard, PepperCom developed a unique training program called PepperCom State University. Through interactive sessions taught by senior management, PepperCom has trained all employees to consistently be strategic, creative and responsive for all of our clients and to execute programs that deliver bottom-line results. Each quarter, PepperCom develops a training program that empowers our employees to succeed in the following key areas:
Strategy: Constantly reinforcing the client’s positioning through proactively creating partnerships, being far in front of business competition, providing astute feedback and concise analysis. PepperCom offers fresh approaches and angles to the client by “turning ideas on their heads.”
Creativity: Taking a standard PR practice and reinterpreting it through brainstorms to devise PR campaigns that “take on sustainable legs” with the media in the USA and internationally.
Responsiveness: Helping to set and meet sustainable goals/expectations with the client in terms of strategic/creative PR planning, ideas, venues, opportunistic media outreach and placements. PepperCom is responsive by being alert to breaking news and leveraging it at all times for client/spokespersons to interview and secure national media coverage.
Execution: PepperCom sets and meets timelines and deadlines in partnership with the client. PepperCom sets and meets sustainable goals and measurable objectives for “success” with the client.
Each session is taught by a team of PepperCom’s senior management to the middle managers in the agency (management supervisors to senior account executives). Then, a team of middle managers is selected to “teach back” the session to the account executives, junior account executives and interns, under the leadership of the senior managers. To close the loop on the learning circle, the junior team members then teach the session back to the senior management. This process not only ensures that the key concepts have been taught all the way through the agency, but provides more junior staff members with an opportunity to hone their presentation skills. This method also allows for smaller, more interactive sessions.
All PepperCom State courses are evaluated by the attendees through an anonymous survey. We then refine each session based on this feedback and develop ideas for future courses. In the fall of 2001, topics covered included:
· Developing a compelling presentation
· Understanding and communicating PepperCom’s capabilities
· Public speaking and presenting
Media Relations – The News is Up to Us:
· Pulling news out of the client
· Asking the right questions
· Creating pitch angles
The Learning Curve:
· Understanding our clients and their business
· Bringing new team members up to speed
Each session also includes handouts, which provide tips and techniques to help employees achieve success in their roles. In addition, we invite editors in to discuss specific industries. John Salak, editor-in-chief of tele.com Magazine, came into our office to talk about the telecom industry and Claire Atkinson of The Journal of Commerce spoke about the supply chain and transportation industries.