2016 Best PR Agencies to Work For, Asia-Pacific | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations
Already well established in North America and EMEA, the Holmes Report's Best Agencies to Work For research took place for the first time in 2016 in Asia-Pacific, via a comprehensive survey of agency employees, at around 25 consultancies throughout the 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 Agency 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 Asia-Pacific Best Agencies to Work For Winners will receive their awards at the SABRE Awards dinner


BEST ASIA-PACIFIC NETWORK TO WORK FOR: TEXT100

Always a contender for best workplace honours in North America and EMEA, it is no surprise that Text100 is also an employer of choice across several Asia-Pacific markets, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Singapore, helping it prevail over strong network competitors.

The agency runs a number of initiatives designed to help its people grow, learn, and acquire international experience through avenues including international secondments, sabbaticals, and organisation-wide flexible working, and the firm has also invested considerable resources in ensuring its integrated mindset is successfully deployed via a variety of training programmes.

But it's not just the quantitative factors that stand out. Staff laud an agency culture that is "absolutely core" to the work — "the people here are smart, connected and really care about each other and the work they do," in the words of one respondent. Others pointed to a benefits programme that reflects a genuine commitment to work/life balance. "There is a strong sense of family within the agency," said an employee, while another noted the "team culture and the open communication amongst peers and management. The company doesn't tolerate politics and ensures everyone feels part of the family."

Honorable mentions: Cohn & Wolfe, Lewis, Zeno

BEST NATIONAL AGENCY TO WORK FOR: AVIAN MEDIA

Talent management in India's PR agency market is not for the faint-hearted, so it makes sense that Avian Media's rise as one of the country's premier consultancies is underpinned by a vibrant and creative workplace culture. Staff take a high level of pride in their workplace, believing that the transparent, ethical and collaborative nature of the firm helps spur some remarkable ideas and campaigns, resulting in a sense of commitment and ownership from junior to senior levels.

Avian Media not only scored particularly high on the culture metrics, but also for its committment to client satisfaction and service, and for a gender-neutral workplace that takes ethics and values seriously. "It's a vibrant place to work," said one respondent. "The ideation that comes out from the agency is extraordinary. This, in turn, leads to award winning campaigns. Avian has great energy."

Honorable mentions: N2N Communications (Australia), Red Bridge (China), Sunny Side Up (Japan).

BEST SPECIALIST AGENCY TO WORK FOR: SLING & STONE

Sling & Stone's focus on disruptors and innovators is reflected in a workplace culture that prizes people as the firm's greatest asset. The agency believes that it can only hire and retain the best employees by being transparent, while also ensuring that salaries and profit-sharing arrangements are as competitive as anything on the market. There is also a strong focus on career development, which includes collaborative training, and a firm commitment to the softer benefits, via a range of staff perks.

All of that pays off with scores that are truly remarkable, even by the standards of boutique agencies. "Sling & Stone is one of those rare agencies that can truly say that they have an incredible team culture," says on respondent. "Every individual on the team is supportive of one another and we work cohesively as a collective. More than that, it is the lack of hierarchy that is evident in our interactions with each other."

Or, as another staffer points out: "I love the freedom and trust we are given to steer our own course. I love the pace at which we move, make important decisions and apply learnings. I love our agency's culture, the team we work with and the brands represent. I love the career growth opportunities we offer each and every staff member and the non hierarchal open and transparent environment we have created. I love that everyone's voice is heard and headed and that we have zero politics as a result." 

Honorable mentions: Rice Communications, SPAG Asia, Cosmo PR