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Top five marks of great PR company culture

As Babel’s newest recruit, I’ve very recently been through the arduous process that is job hunting. Despite its tiresome nature, it’s been extremely eye-opening, giving me the chance to really scrutinise different PR agencies, their approaches and their company culture.

And then there’s the interview. This process really is a two-way street. Candidates should view interviews as an opportunity to find out as much as they can about a PR agency and if they’ll be a good fit within it. Because, as stressful and scary as moving jobs can be, learning new skills and taking on new responsibilities can be secondary to simply adjusting to a new working environment. If an organisation has a great company culture, it can significantly improve a new-starter’s integration into their new workplace, as well as their overall experience.

As such, companies need to use interviews to highlight some of the best features of the working life they offer, in order to essentially ‘sell-themselves’ to high quality candidates. I’ve found that PR agencies especially, will push the culture aspect of the role, with each one claiming to have the best work-life balance and offering a better flexible work scheme than the last. Over the last couple of years, it seems that ‘company culture’ has become a buzzword in the HR space. But what really makes a strong, positive company culture?

Here are my top five indicators for sussing out the real story:

  1. Low employee turnover and long-term employees

It may sound obvious, but happy and engaged employees, who feel valued in their place of work are more likely to stay longer and it’s a sure-fire indicator of great company culture. Even in the PR industry, which has infamously low levels of employee retention, (compared to other sectors), positive company culture can still have an impact. Babel turned 13 this year and a number of the original team are still with us. This is surely a testament to the great company culture and opportunities for career progression that Babel provides.

  1. Leaders are visible and accessible

In my short time working in the world of PR, I’ve been lucky enough to work for two agencies where everyone sits in the same office space. Senior members of the team are not closed off in separate offices, which I find improves the perception of their approachability and generally provides a more open and inviting environment.

  1. Work-life balance and flexible working

Technological advancements in today’s society have meant that flexible and remote working has become commonplace, and more and more employers are offering some variation on the idea.

Babel offers its employees the opportunity to fit their working hours around other aspects their life. For example, many team members are also parents, who successfully manage their working lives around their families, maintaining balance in both areas. Similarly, a number of our colleagues who live outside of London, are trusted to regularly work remotely, to avoid lengthy commutes.

Babel also embraces its ‘summer hours’ scheme, whereby employees can work an hour less each day in August and take advantage of fleeting summer months. We have a year-round early Friday finish time and are regularly encouraged to take daily 15-minute ‘Babel breaks’, intended to improve wellbeing by getting time away from screens.

If you’re interested in reading more about flexible working at Babel, take a look at UK MD Jenny Mowat’s take on the subject.

  1. Professional development and career progression

One of the most critical factors in company culture is the opportunity for career progression. If employees don’t feel that they are developing personally and professionally in a role, it can negatively impact motivation and subsequently productivity. It’s important to feel that you’re moving forwards in a role and that you’re in a position to reach the next stage. Babel prides itself on promoting on merit, rather than hierarchy. This creates a positive office culture, where employees are rooting for one another instead of being pitted against each other.

  1. Colleagues and friends

Having respect for your colleagues is one thing, but actually liking them as friends is guaranteed to strengthen your working relationships and produce a positive dynamic within the office. Obviously, companies cannot force friendships between employees, however regular social events and outings can significantly improve the chances of this. Spending time with your colleagues in a context outside of work can improve your understanding of one another, and generally make working more enjoyable.

Babel offers fantastic opportunities for all its team members and consistently delivers for its clients. To find out more about our company culture and working life, please get in touch.

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