As I look back at the last decade, one which I’ve spent solely at H+K, it simultaneously feels a very long time and no time at all. From advancements in technology to the evolution of communications, we are seeing our old ways of working and thinking shifting as we navigate our way out of the pandemic.
Hurray for change, I say.
It’s pretty rare for someone to stay so long in a business in modern-day employment – yet, as I review my team and UK business overall, it is astounding how many people have been here as long, if not longer, than I have. That to me is something special. And it has got me thinking: what IS it that makes people stay? Especially when our ideas are pivoting on what business can offer us today.
I saw a really amusing post on LinkedIn a few weeks ago, which read something like… “Do you remember the smell of mount spray? Or how long it took you to look through BRAD to build a press list?”
For those reading this blankly, I can tell you both were the horrors of my youth; many a late night was spent wondering “is this really PR?!” Of course, there was a lot of fun too, but the universal response to any complaint of “you’re lucky to be here, there are 100 people wanting this job” is pretty well the reason I stuck at it. Thank goodness that’s not the response now.
Today though there are new challenges for those starting out; reporting is more complex, the channels more varied, the audiences more sophisticated, and our ways of communicating more purposeful. We’re more open and transparent about the impact on the world around us. We’re demanding more support from the businesses we work for. A salary and a career path are not enough; we want to know how that business is going to care for us pastorally. What’s the culture? Do the values ladder back to my beliefs? Will I get support for mental health, life moments, and physical wellbeing?
It’s not really a surprise we want this now. The demands of people in the world of work are so different now. We are bombarded with information and our clients want to know we can make sense of it all, that we see the impact on society and can unpick how it is relevant to their brand. Our job is to be global, diverse, and data-led. We should be a mirror to the world itself, within the beating heart of our business.
That is why I have stayed at H+K. Over time we have evolved; we’re on a journey to respond to the needs of our clients, but also of our people. We are a people business – and, as such, we need to ensure we’re a place people want to work. That they are fulfilled and able to be their best creative, strategic, most successful selves. And while we don’t get it right all the time, we listen, we pivot, and together we thrive. That’s the kind of company I want to work for – one that is continually challenging me, that is able to challenge itself to offer something special to its people and its clients. It’s this reason I believe people stay.
For my next decade of work, my ask is that we keep asking our place of work to do this. Because that’s what will keep us there; it’s what we will feel invested in and what will enable us to deliver the best quality of work. I want to be a critical part of making that happen. To enable others to thrive, which surely is the best way to be remembered – as someone who supported others to become their best.