‘People drive the future of businesses – it’s so important for them to feel supported and secure,’ says Emma Loizidis, head of people at Fox Agency.
PR is a particularly high-stress sector; even more so since the start of the pandemic – looking after yourself, and those working with you, has perhaps never been more important.
For how to protect yourself from burn out, what companies can do to support employees, and getting a fully-representative (and fully-supported and empowered) team together right from the start of the recruitment stage, read on for advice from Emma.
Individual burn out – what can be done to prevent it?
‘I think it is super important to recognise that if employees have a healthy work/life balance, employers will get the best out of them. When this balance starts to drop or even disappear, mistakes can start to appear, employees struggle and it really isn’t healthy. If employees are burning out, then HR teams and managers need to look at the reasons why:
• Is the team underresourced? Do we need to hire?
• Is the employee in need of further development? Are they happy in the role?
‘Once we address these potential issues, we can then create some actions: that might mean hiring extra people, offering further learning and development improving our wellbeing offerings – EAP services, meditation/fitness classes, etc.’.
What initiatives should comms companies put in place to support their workforce?
‘Being consistently open and transparent with all employees is key, especially as we move more towards a remote way of working – constantly asking our employees (through regular surveys and stay interviews) what is and isn’t working for them, what are their main drivers to come to work every day, and making sure everyone has a clear succession plan which will keep them motivated, excited and challenged.’
How can recruitment teams ensure processes are fair to attract diverse talent right from the start?
‘There are many ways to achieve this. Fair and diverse hiring should be mindful of not only job discrimination laws, but also the idea that hiring should be based on merit, skills and experience and not related to a candidate’s ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other quality unrelated to their skills and experience. Recruiters can take the following actions to help them achieve this goal:
• Write inclusive job adverts using language that doesn’t encourage conscious bias
• Practice blind hiring
• Create a clear selection criteria
• Include diverse hiring panels
• Assess the relevant skills and competencies
• Have a fair background checking process
‘I think it’s also important not to rely on job adverts as a way of attracting talent. Getting out into the community, building relationships with Universities, young enterprises, digital academies, etc. will really allow recruiters to tap into diverse talent.’
Is a People function right for every organisation?
‘When a PR/Comms business reaches a headcount of 40+, this is definitely the right time to implement a People function. It’s very common for most businesses to think, at this stage, a recruiter or talent manager is the next important hire. However, it’s much smarter to hire a head of people to help embed structure early on to prepare the business for scalability.
‘The industry itself is extremely competitive, with employees getting headhunted left, right and centre! It’s therefore so important to create a culture and environment that will encourage our employees to stay and develop within their roles. Ultimately, our people drive the future of the business and it’s so important for them to feel supported and secure.’
For more on building diverse teams from the start of your recruitment journey, check out our previous post How can PR and comms teams make recruitment fair?
Catch up on our interview with with Emma Loizidis to find out more about her work with Fox Agency.