As I spend more and more time gaining experience in the PR industry, and as I continue to befriend other flacks and get to know them professionally, I’ve managed to catch a “glimpse” so-to-speak into a wide variety of PR agencies. Large, small, public, private, corporate, and consumer, it’s astounding how different every firm is.
Unfortunately, as much as I get to know about all of the things that my acquaintances love about their companies, I also tend to see the negative side as I cross into the “confidante” territory. One unsettling trend that I’ve started to see more often is agencies who don’t value their employees and treat them as replaceable hit machines who are expected to treat their job as their entire lives. This is by no means the standard of the industry, but it’s something I see more than should ever be the case.
Since it is our job to keep our finger on the pulse of the media and know exactly what’s going on in the world, our industry tends to be incredibly fast paced, which in turn creates a stress. And since PR is a service-based industry, we constantly have to be thinking about our clients and what could benefit them and make them happy. To be honest, most of us don’t turn off and zone out when we go home. But that doesn’t mean that flacks shouldn’t be treated like real people with real lives.
Some examples I’ve seen to the contrary are employees who are made to feel guilty when they leave work on time and agencies who use “hits” as the only measure of a PR pro’s success. In many of these cases, the nature of the PR industry is used as an excuse for this behavior. As someone who works in an incredibly positive and encouraging environment, this is really disheartening to me. And as someone who knows what this feels like from my past experiences, I am confident that this is NOT the way to success.
It’s such common sense, but happy flacks are productive flacks. I don’t understand why more bosses don’t see this. An employee that believes in their company is 100% more likely to want to make things happen for that company and their clients. Additionally, having more agencies that understand this concept could drastically improve the reputation of our industry considering there won’t be as many PR pros who are starved for coverage. Many people work better under pressure, but there’s a difference between feeling the stress to get something done and feeling like your job is on the line if you don’t. It’s great that we have such a busy and exciting industry, and there’s no doubt that this can co-exist with happiness and positivity.
Do you agree with my call for a shift in the industry? Do you think that it could change the PR world for the better if more agencies strived to create a more positive environment for their employees?
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