Continental / Middle East / Africa Consultancy


EMEA 2017:
Continental/Middle East/Africa | UK | Networks | About/FAQ

The Holmes Report’s Best Agencies to Work For are determined by a comprehensive survey of agency employees at more than 25 consultancies throughout EMEA. The process solicits employee views on a wide range of issues ranging from the integrity of senior management to the quality of professional development, from empowerment and risk-taking to compensation. For more information on the methodology — and how you can order your own agency's results — visit this section's About/FAQ page. The top winner in each category was recognized at the 2017 EMEA SABRE Awardsat the Roundhouse in London on May 23.

1. Schwartz PR (Germany/Independent)

For the last 23 years, Christoph Schwartz has fostered a familial culture at his eponymous tech firm — an approach that has paid off with Schwartz taking the top spot in this category for two years in a row. This culture is fostered with three priorities, starting with total transparency.

Everyone at the firm, from the most junior team members upwards, has full insight into all ongoing agency business, pitches, revenues and fees. Not only that, everyone has access to client contracts and have input into the scope calculations. Monday mornings start with in-depth meetings where all staff discuss agency news. The firm also values respect, trust and personal responsibility. Pulling this off can be tricky within an organization with hierarchies and clearly delineated responsibilities, but Schwartz does this by allowing team members to determine time and level of service for clients (helped by the accessibility of the contracts). Agency management provides only guidance. The third value is professional development that is delivered through bi-weekly internal training sessions and two-day external sessions developed especially for Schwartz employees. This also includes day-to-day mentoring with junior staff with extensive feedback.

Other benefits include extra holiday; flexible start times; a generous model for working parents and part-time employees; and pro-bono work for CSR clients, as well as plenty of work outings like climbing, hiking and other culture events.

2. Hering Schuppener (Germany/WPP)

Germany’s go-to high stakes reputation and crisis firm, Hering Schuppener, also helps its people become all-stars in the industry’s most the heavy duty work. The firm offers training courses once a month that are led by both internal and experts; and a knowledge-sharing wiki system. And this work paves the way for promotions. To become a partner at the firm, Harvard Business School’s executive education is mandatory.  

But it’s not just professional development that landed Hering Schuppener in the number two slot. Every employees is allotted a three-month sabbatical every three years and working from home is always an option. The parental leave policy is accordance with German law. Junior staff and middle-management attend one off-site per year at the event of their choosing and senior directors have two per year.     

3. LVTPR (Netherlands/Independent)

The idea at LVTPR is that its 43 employees consider the agency as more than just a job. It starts on day one with an in-depth orientation. There’s also a personal development and education plan developed for each employee, on top of the various internal trainings and workshops. The firm holds the LTVPR Academy every two weeks where senior management focuses on job-related themes, like managing expectations, presentation, sales, media relations, among other areas, plus media are often invited to present their insights. Eighty percent of LVTPR consultants are Google Analytics certified.

“From the first day on, juniors are involved in the complete client strategy and management process in order to learn from their colleagues,” says CEO Charly Lammers van Toorenburg. “Seniors have peer-to-peer meetings to improve their general skills and collaboration capabilities.”

The company’s culture reflects the Dutch and Belgian mentalities —  an open and non-political policy, directness, honesty, liveliness, spontaneity and efficiency, and in addition to a flat organization. When employees leave, the firm hosts a farewell party or dinner. Each year, the firm hosts a three-day offsite for employees to get to know each other better. Management maintains enough staff so that working overtime doesn’t become a habit. This is the second year in a row LVTPR has made the top five.

4. Tribeca (South Africa/Independent)

The philosophy at Tribeca — even amid rapid growth — is ‘people first.’ This means, eschewing the grind of 12-hour days worked by over-stressed and over-stretched consultants overservicing to meet overextended revenue targets. As part of this, the agency skips the ping pong tables and Xbox Playstations and instead focuses on running a business that directly improves the lives of its employees.

For instance, capacity is always considered when taking on new business. And team members can opt out of working on a new or existing client if they feel there’s a cultural mismatch (the agency has declined new business and parted ways with clients whose work style and culture wasn’t a fit). The agency has hired a part-time life coach to help employees work through any professional — or personal — issues. (All consultations are confidential between the life coach and the employee, with Tribeca management having no access to information about those meetings.)

The firm provides extensive training and experience for employees to grow professionally, while also providing direct access to management. The firm is divided into seven five-person teams that each take turns organizing ‘Yay days’ - or fun afternoons away from work with generous budgets. Employees have various scheduling options to make room for their personal life. If employees have to work more than 7.5 hours, they can claim time back in half-day blocks, in addition to the 25 days leave per year. The firm also offers four months paternity leave (the government mandates four months for mothers) and no permission is required to tend to ill children. This is the second year in a row Tribeca has made the top 5.

5. Allison + Partners (MDC Partners)

With more than 15 employees across EMEA and the UK, Allison + Partners — already known for having a strong culture in the US — is growing its influence in the region. When it comes to career development, Allison University provides workshops, outings and dinners that facilitate professional development and team collaboration. The Global Employee Exchange Pilot Programme offers two employees the opportunity to work in another Allison office around the world (the agency pays for airfare, visa fees, lodging — plus relocation support), among several other initiatives like MBA reimbursement and Annual Open Door programs.

Other interesting benefits include the holiday donation programme where team members can donate their paid time off for employees who required additional time (to care for a sick relative, bereavement, etc). On top of annual leave, employees can take several days off to for personal milestones, can take summer Fridays, among other morale boosters.  

Continental/Middle East/Africa | UK | Networks | About/FAQ