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PR… Public Relations or People Relations?

Let’s be honest. A lot of people outside the media-consumed world we live in don’t really know what we do. To this day my Dad still thinks I’m a journalist. However, anyone working in the PR industry will know it’s a fast-paced and challenging, but hugely rewarding career path that allows you to continue learning and evolving, regardless of your age, background or job title.

As someone who started out measuring the value of a piece of coverage with a ruler, it’s been incredible to watch the industry evolve thanks to technological innovations and digitisation. Once upon a time, news wasn’t 24/7 (shock horror!), stories didn’t break on Twitter and lines hadn’t even begun to blur between earned, owned and paid. Brands, audiences and the way we consume has evolved and it has added a lot of extra layers to the meaning of PR.

But, there’s one thing that remains the same and sits at the heart of PR, the people.

Take advantage of those around you

One of the main reasons I’m heading towards ten years in PR is the people I’ve had the privilege to work with. From clients and MDs, to interns and colleagues, there’s so much to learn from the people that make our industry tick. Ways of working, attitude, attention to detail, compassion, tenacity, drive, the list goes on.

Ways to ensure a happy hive

I’ve been part of four amazing independent agencies across two countries (UK and Australia) over the last decade where I’ve worked alongside and learnt from the best. Everywhere I’ve gone, people have been the heart of agency life. I’m not one for remembering quotes, however Richard Branson’s mantra that ‘if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients’ has always stuck with me.

Here’s my six golden rules for creating, and maintaining, a happy hive:

  • Training – investment in every team member – whether that’s internal or external training – should be non-optional. Specialist training will pay for itself ten times over in the long run as you build a highly skilled team and generate new commercial opportunities. More importantly, it shows your people that they are important to the business and the business is invested in their growth
  • Mentors – senior team members can offer really important ‘I’ve-been-there’ advice, both from a work and personal perspective. It’s also important for seniors not to underestimate what they too can learn from juniors
  • Flexible and remote working – I believe the availability of these two things are a direct result of trust in your employees. There’s a ton of research that shows how flexible working has a positive impact on team moral and levels of output
  • Personal goals – makes sure every team member knows where they’re heading, but also how they can get there. Goals aren’t something you only dust off and look back over once a year. Encourage them to be used as a compass
  • Team fun – while some (boring people) might not think there’s any benefit to ‘Fizzy Fridays’ – where we all get together for a catch up over a glass of bubbles – I can say from experience that this is where *real* team bonding happens
  • There’s no ‘I’ in team – never ever should one person on a team feel like they are going it alone. Embrace the highs and dig deep through the lows, together

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