I recently spent time with the fabulous Grayling Midlands team in their office experiencing life as a PR agency bod first hand.
As a recruiter who specialises in PR it is easy for me to talk about what PR is, what my clients and candidates do, ignorantly assuming my understanding is accurate. After today, I have gained an invaluable level of insight into my industry, spending time with individual team members getting under the skin of the accounts they lead on, understanding what they do for them, hearing internal discussions among the team and listening to conversations over the phone to media and clients. Not only have I learnt heaps about the scope of the work these guys do for their clients and the extensive knowledge and expertise this awesome team has of the PR industry and their clients’ needs, but arguably most importantly I have experienced the day to day running of a highly prestigious PR agency in action.
For me this final point is perhaps my biggest learning point to take away from today. As a specialist recruiter for the wonderful PR agency world, I am faced daily with pushback from my candidates about agency side opportunities. The ‘dark side’ that is agency is often a feared entity that assumes long hours, overbearing work load, devil clients and a total lack of work life balance. Now, it may be that the Grayling team are just fantastic actors and now that I’ve left they are all chained back to their desks, but in the time I’ve been with them today there have certainly been no shackles in sight.
The reality of what I saw was a very happy, dynamic and energised team of creative and talented individuals excited by what they do, full of passion and enthusiasm for their job. But equally these guys are not a team of PR obsessed zombies who can only talk the language of PR. This lot all have fulfilling lives outside of work which agency life most certainly isn’t hindering, but is actually promoting and encouraging. As a team they are actively encouraged to get involved in as much ‘extra-curricular’ activity as possible and their health and well-being inside and outside of work is prioritised. From daily stretching sessions to reset the mind to half marathons to provide a challenge to aim for; from samosa selling to allow the blossoming chefs within the team to showcase their skills to ad-hoc puppy visits to put some smiles on faces, this bunch have really mastered the balance of keeping sight of employee happiness and wellbeing. And yes, they still do a blooming good job on the PR front too!
So to summarise, for those of you out there that say “I categorically cannot face another agency!”, I am keen to stress that I love my PR agency market and as today has reconfirmed for me, there really are some gems out there. Don’t allow your preconceptions to limit you or hold you back. Agency life can often be misunderstood when in reality, it’s absolutely awesome!.
Thank you Grayling for having me.