1. Speed Communications
One of Speed’s predecessor firms, Rainier PR, won our Best U.K. Consultancy to Work For Award in 2005 and 2006 and managing directors Stephen Waddington and Steve Earl have clearly brought their magic touch to Speed, which beat out more than 40 firms to be named number one in the U.K. this year.
The firm’s pursuit of workplace excellence begins with its recruitment process, which makes use of a mixture of digital (Twitter, LinkedIn and the blogosphere) and traditional recruitment methods to find people who fit the culture. The firm offers a structured mentoring programme, with all new employees paired with a company director, and a training programme that draws on the broad expertise of parent company Loewy Group, with the company CEO providing personal one-on-one coaching as well as larger group training on anything from review processes to line management. Employees also enjoy a high degree of autonomy when it comes to achieving their client and professional development objectives, and are trusted to do so whether working at home or in the office. The firm is open about all management and financial decisions, and conducts a bi-annual staff Satisfaction Survey to solicit feedback, sharing findings with employees.
“Since re-launching as Speed in March, we have come such as long way and achieved so much, without any of the negative issues that I imagine might face merging companies,” says one respondents. Others share that enthusiasm: “Speed has launched with a passion and it is a strong and growing agency. It has developed a good work ethic and has a genuinely good set of employees who bring a range of skills to the workplace.” The bottom line: “I feel we have a real identity, common objectives and a hard working but relaxed environment in which to work to achieve our goals.”
Brighton-based consumer healthcare specialist Pegasus draws on a team of professionals that includes PR experts, former journalists, marketers and digital experts, to stay ahead of the London-based competition, and has successfully leveraged its home on the South coast to attract those who prefer (for obvious lifestyle reasons) not to make the journey into and out of the capital on a daily basis. Based on its performance in our Best Consultancies to Work For survey, it’s treating those people well.
The firm welcomes a range of different skills and attributes, but it’s focus is on key personality traits such as positive attitude, enthusiasm, motivation and ambition as well as the ability to work autonomously and as part of a team. The Pegasus Training Programme offers a formal training schedule of activities tailored to each staff level as well as a variety of fortnightly “Lunch and Learn” sessions with internal and external speakers and a new “Meet the Professional” series featuring health related professionals from midwives to pharmacists. On the community front, the firm hosted its own Pink & Purple Ball at the Brighton Grand Hotel last year, raising £20,000 for local breast cancer charities.
Pegasus is “a positive, vibrant company to work for and I am very proud to be part of it,” says one respondent, while another adds: “We've continued to grow and evolve very successfully in recent years, while maintaining a strong and distinctive culture. We've got a great team of people doing very good, award-winning work.”
3. Shine Communications
Shine continues to place a high priority on its positioning as an employer of choice, consistently ranking among the top firms in our Best U.K. Consultancies to Work For study, and offers staff a wide range of progressive workplace benefits, while introducing an external human resources consultant last year to provide career advice to staff. The firm spends £150,000 is spent annually on training (the Shine Business School), company away days, personal development funding, and other perks. In 2008 it introduced a £15,000 fund for non-work related personal development, and an additional £15,000 fund for coaching and mentoring sessions.
Many employee comments focus on the firm’s work hard-play hard culture. “I have worked with a number of PR agencies in the past and Shine is by far the best,” says one respondent. “I have the opportunity to be part of an exciting environment with daily challenges and the support of each and every staff member. The clients, the people/culture and the perks are second to none.” Says another: “We always try to live by our brand values and our managing director takes an active interest in everyone who works for the agency. All staff are encouraged to go to her with problems and she in turn does her utmost to ensure these are addressed.”
Rounding out the top 10: 4. Brands2Life; 5. Regester Larkin; 6. Virgo; 7. GolinHarris; 8. Mischief; 9. Nelson Bostock; 10. Cirkle