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Retention can be a dirty word

Posted: Oct 2023
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Keeping your corporate communications teams happy

Having a happy and productive team at your PR and corporate comms agency is more than just providing a good salary, interesting clients and a clear career path.

There are generations in the workplace now who will simply ‘move on a whim’. If they feel the culture is not the right fit for them, or they are not progressing at the rate they are happy with, they will quickly move on to another company. This makes it hard to keep a steady and consistent workforce for your agency and means more thought needs to be put into staff retention. Are you taking the time to think about your culture and how to keep your teams motivated and engaged, beyond pay and benefits? It’s healthy to have a turnover of staff but when it’s tipping 25%, retention can be a dirty word. People are at the heart of communications businesses which are fuelled by human growth, so let’s look at ways to improve your retention rates.

Thoughtful rewards

The demanding nature of corporate communications can't be understated. Juggling multiple campaigns, meeting tight deadlines, and ensuring consistent high-quality delivery, is all in a day's work. Pitching is part of the day job and keeping an eye on the financial targets is essential. Amidst this high-pressure environment, recognising and valuing your teams’ efforts becomes even more crucial.

When teams put in the work and push boundaries to achieve great results, a simple acknowledgment can go a long way. This can be in the form of positive feedback, thoughtful rewards, or even just a word of appreciation. Such gestures show your team that their hard work isn't going unnoticed. It’s not only money (although this is important) that helps make people feel valued in the workplace.

Beyond just boosting morale, recognising efforts can also enhance productivity and commitment. When your team members feel seen and valued, they are more likely to be invested in their projects and show increased dedication. This not only benefits the individual's sense of job satisfaction but also contributes to the overall success and reputation of the agency. In short, investing in people, through acknowledgment and recognition, is pivotal for both morale and results. It’s also important when looking to attract new employees as ‘a great culture’ is high on the wish list for comms professionals looking for another role.

Don’t stop learning

Training and professional development are cornerstones for any thriving PR and communications team. As the landscape changes, it’s important to keep up, even stay ahead, and you can only do this with learning. It’s important at every level; senior comms professionals need to keep their comms and coaching skills sharp too. It’s often assumed that training is just for the ‘delivery levels’ who are climbing the ranks, however, once you are at the top, it’s probably more important to keep evolving.

Do you provide access to regular training? Offering courses, bringing in trainers, guest speakers, or even giving your colleagues the go-ahead to attend industry conferences can be a game-changer. These opportunities not only impart new skills but also help you and your people to think creatively, approach challenges differently, and stay ahead of industry trends. Training also gives employees networking opportunities with peers and potential new clients, bringing new ideas and potentially new business to the agency.

But it's not just about staying current. Investing in training also conveys a clear message to your team: the agency values you and your career progression. This boosts confidence, morale, and can play a significant role in staff retention. After all, employees are more likely to stay loyal to an agency that is actively invested in their growth and success.

Check-in regularly

Good communication is the backbone of any successful team, especially in the fast-paced world of corporate communications. Regular check-ins and open dialogues ensure that everyone is on the same page, and any issues can be addressed promptly. By regular, this can be as much as daily for new or more junior team members.

Time to listen… and ideas please!

Don’t think all your ideas are the best ones. Are you giving your team a platform where ideas are shared, concerns are raised, and solutions are brainstormed? A supportive environment, where team members feel heard and understood, fosters collaboration and creativity. Agency pace is fast and full-on but taking the time to share ideas and listen is vital for a strong culture.

A positive working atmosphere is also crucial for staff retention. When employees feel supported and believe they can openly discuss challenges without fear of retribution, they're more likely to stay with the agency. In a nutshell, maintaining open channels of communication not only streamlines operations but also fosters a cohesive and loyal team.

Your people and culture are the differentiator

Looking after your teams effectively is a smart move. It's more than just a good practice; it's a strategy for success and what makes your agency stand-out. When the team is content, motivated, and equipped with the right skills, they produce better and more innovative work. This reflects positively on the agency's reputation and its profit margin. Let’s face it, it also makes it a more fun and positive place to be.

Staff retention is a key benefit in looking after people properly. Recruiting and training new team members can be time-consuming and costly. By ensuring the current team is happy and feels valued, agencies can reduce turnover, save costs, and maintain a consistent quality of work.

In essence, it's simple: when you take good care of your staff they take good care of your agency's reputation and success. Investing in their well-being and professional growth is a win-win for everyone involved.

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The Works Search: a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and are known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email:

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