The era of the interchangeable employee is over. Finished. Dead. This is a tough pill to swallow for any professional services business that relies on headcount to scale. In PR, I hear it everywhere: “hiring is hard!”. And it’s true: hiring is absolutely hard! But in this world turned upside-down by the COVID pandemic, organizations have to understand that their own wants and needs are now just one part of the hiring equation. This shift in mindset to one that is employee-centric is also good for business. Let me give you some more context:
Since our start, Rally Point was designed as a place for people to enjoy and find balance between their work and personal lives. We thrived in a remote work environment for years by adopting a simple policy: as long as our clients are happy and the work is top notch, employees should take the time they need to pick their kids up from daycare, run to the grocery store, or enjoy a great vacation. Were we ahead of the curve? Absolutely. Now we’re seeing the world shift to appreciate our perspective.
The pandemic is part of a total change in mindset for the PR industry. Offices, once the largest expense on any balance sheet outside of salaries, are shrinking. We’re all a little less concerned about where our employees are physically. We’ve also seen a talent pool that is more willing to move from employer to employer. What does that mean for recruiting? Anyone who runs an agency must now view their workforce from the perspective of their employees in order to survive and scale.
Here’s how we’re breaking through:
- Hire with empathy
We always work to understand who our employees are in total, not just the skills they bring to the workplace every day. Some are caregivers who need extra time with their families. Some have religious or volunteer commitments that need to be honored. By understanding where our team is coming from and their personal priorities, we create an environment where work flows around life while also holding each other to account for great client work.
- New workplace expectations
The traditional office-bound 9-5 has been withering on the vine for years, but it’s now been firmly kicked out the door. Our office sticks to normal business hours as best we can, but there is flexibility involved. That doesn’t just mean a business trip on behalf of the company – it also means time to hit the gym during the day or to run a quick errand. We trust each other to do the right thing and we do! This also means that we’ll never be a fully in-office agency. Happily, we’ve established that we’re all far more productive in a dynamic, hybrid model that blends in-person activities with the comforts of working from home.
- Nontraditional paths are valuable
When our team recruits, we consider all angles. It’s rare that a perfect balance of industry and agency expertise presents itself, so we look at skills and experience. We also consider diversity, personality and the more nebulous “cultural fit.” No agency experience but prior customer service experience instead? Strong writing ability? Demonstrated work ethic? All of these questions can be answered without a specific set of experiences. That’s why it’s critical we find people who are right for Rally Point specifically, not those who simply check the box of who the ideal PR pro should be.
- Compensate fairly
This last one is a no-brainer, right? Not necessarily. Horror stories of poor pay and long hours abound in the agency world. We believe in fair pay that keeps our teams engaged and blends base salaries and incentive compensation. Everyone contributes no matter their spot on the org chart and we work hard to make sure our compensation planning reflects that.
With these guideposts in mind, Rally Point continues to grow rapidly and we’re competing successfully against all types and sizes of PR agencies. The key to our success? Put culture and connection at the forefront, especially through periods of significant growth. If we aren’t delivering great work, being rewarded for it, and having fun, then what’s the point?