This week started off with PR ‘maven’ Roxy Jacenko slamming her own staff as ‘lazy’, questioning the work ethic and commitment of young Australian communicators and calling for them to put their hand up to work long hours without questioning their compensation.
CEO and founder of The IMPACT Agency, Nicole Webb, says Roxy has it just plain wrong.
I take extreme offence to Roxy Jacenko’s recent comments that imply people who work in PR agencies are lazy and not committed to the job.
As a business owner, go right ahead and work long hours. Sit in bed at midnight and shoot-off emails. That’s your prerogative – you chose this life and hopefully the effort you put in pays off.
But, it’s unfair to expect employees to reciprocate this behaviour and nor should you want them to. As a manager, part of your role is to support your team so they don’t burn out.
An overworked employee who sleeps too little, sits too much, stresses and struggles to find balance or create boundaries in their life will only result in poor work and personal misery. You can kiss goodbye to your clients too Roxy, that’s what happens when frazzled employees produce sub-standard work.
Report after report tells us that the marketing and communications industry, both in Australia and around the world, are leading offenders when it comes to clocking long hours in salaried positions with no compensations paid in time or money.
PR agencies should be capacity planning and making sure work allocated does not exceed the set billable hours. In our industry the benchmark range is 4 to 6.5 target billable hours a day, which can comfortably be done in a standard 9 to 5 work day.
Yes, there are times when agency work can be overwhelming and deadlines have to be met, but the high intensity mid-campaign work should be balanced out with time allocated for quieter, more introspective, work.
We offer days off in lieu so staff can recover from time-intensive projects and events, and chill days once a quarter so staff can have a mental break when they need it.
In the 20 years of running The IMPACT Agency I know that people will go to the end of the earth for you if they have a great manager.
It comes down to hiring the right people, setting expectations and providing the best possible work environment you can. At the end of the day, you don’t have a business without engaged, dedicated staff.
Gartner research shows that every 10 per cent improvement in engagement can decrease an employee’s probability of departure by 9 per cent.
A communications agency isn’t a sweatshop, Roxy. Invest in your people and take the time to create a supportive culture; productivity and great work will follow.