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About/FAQ | North America | EMEA
Best Agency to Work For is possibly the only predictive award that PRovoke Media gives out. By this, we mean there’s a direct correlation between the agencies on this list and those that take home our biggest honor (often times at some point in the future) — Agency of the Year recognition. That’s because firms that take culture seriously attract and retain smart and creative talent who, in turn, produce stellar work. It’s a simple formula but one that’s easily overlooked amid the breathless pace and tremendous pressures that are a seemingly inevitable reality of agency life. But this pace is exactly why agencies shouldn’t underestimate the power its culture has on the work its employees produce, factors that have only increased in prominence amid the turbulence of the past few years.
The firms recognized on the rankings include a few holding company firms, but mostly independents. Some have generous benefits, others prioritize mental health, professional development or interesting work that keeps talent engaged.
The top ranked agency in each category will be recognised at the 2022 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards, which return in person on October 13 in Singapore. Tickets for the evening ceremony are available here, as part of the PRovoke Summit Asia-Pacific on the same day.
#1 Archetype (Next 15)
For an unprecedented third year in a row, Archetype takes top honours in this category, underpinning its status as the best large PR agency from which Asia-Pacific employees can navigate the unique vagaries of the Covid-19 era. The Next 15 firm's perennially strong employee culture has no doubt been tested by events of the past couple of years, but its scores again reflect why a pioneering focus on staff satisfaction has helped it emerge in stronger shape than its rivals.
That approach is borne out by particularly strong net promoter metrics, with employees also lauding Archetype for strong and supportive management, empowerment of women in senior positions, and an enviable ability to build careers. Employees noted an "inclusive, healthy and nurturing" environment, while also praising "the leadership's commitment to maintaining the appreciation for employees and treating everybody fairly."
Archetype had implemented hybrid and flexible working policies for its 341 staffers long before the pandemic hit, but these have been overhauled in recent months to better address current realities, after extensive employee research and an elevated focus on ensuring local offices can customise their approach. This has resulted in considerable investment in onboarding, training and DE&I, while the 'Archetype Way 2.0' model includes numerous initiatives to improve remote working practices. Case in point, 'Archetype Anywhere' provides staff with four weeks per year when they can work from anywhere. "The flexibility that empowers people to really live the work-life balance and never short of enriching us with training and wellness initiatives," is how one employee puts it.
#2 Vero (Independent)
#3 WE (Independent)
#4 APCO Worldwide (Independent)
#5 The Hoffman Agency (Independent)
#1 AKA Asia (Singapore/Independent)
Singapore consultancy AKA Asia owes much to a culture that is underpinned by five core values, which include putting people first, being a leader, a self starter, and having a passion to learn. These are reinforced by consistent training that helps employees understand how they shape the firm's existence, ensuring that AKA's values are more than just words on a website.
The firm's employee scores reflect the success of this approach, with particularly high net promoter metrics and strong showings for mentorship, entrepeneurialism, anti-harassment, DE&I and work-life balance. One employee, for example, describes AKA Asia as "a deliberately designed safe space for people to collaborate and deliver creative, quality work for clients," while another notes "extremely human bosses who are empathetic, caring and also ambitious."
AKA Asia's culture-first mentality is supported by a range of policies that took shape during the pandemic, notably an enhanced focus on wellbeing — which includes increased mentorship, greater business transparency, mental health support and leave, sleep coaching, and agency career mapping. There is also working parents support, considerable workplace flexibility, and more collaborative hiring — adding up to an agency where employees feel empowered, supported and creative.
#2 GCI Health (Regional/WPP)
#3 Sling & Stone (Regional/Independent)
#4 Maverick (Indonesia/Independent)
#5 Allison+Partners (Regional/MDC Partners)
#1 PR Wire (Sri Lanka/Independent)
Sri Lankan market leader PR Wire wins Best Agency to Work For honours for the first time in its 12-year history, thanks to a work culture that prioritises a culture of belonging, respect and innovation. The agency's staff score their employer particularly highly for diversity and empowerment, flexible Covid policies, entrepreneurialism and fun, with one respondent describing "a culture which thinks employees are their greatest asset."
In terms of specific policies, PR Wire's work from home approach and flexibility stands out, while there are also initiatives that address female and inter-generational empowerment. Many team members laud the firm's flexibility and empowerment, with one noting the "purpose-driven focus and authentic leadership of the founder and management," and another praising the focus on staff wellbeing.
#2 Sefiani (Australia/Independent)
#3 Honner (Australia/Independent)
#4 Veritas Reputation PR (India/Independent)
#5 On Purpose (India/Independent)
BEST ASIA-PACIFIC AGENCY TO WORK FOR, MICRO (1-14)
#1 Alexander PR (New Zealand/Independent)
Alexander PR is no stranger to this category, with the New Zealand boutique regularly attracting plaudits for an empathetic staff culture that is reflected not only in the long tenures of its 11 staffers, but consecutive honours as a Best Agency to Work For. There were uniformly high scores across the board, including such metrics as employee pride, confidence in senior management, teamwork and passion, empathetic leadership and ethics policies.
"Nurturing, loyal and fun" is how one employee describes the culture, while others note the team is "honest, collaborative and happy". Amid several lengthy lockdowns, Alexander PR stepped up its focus on culture during the pandemic, focusing on team-building, personal and professional development support, support for charitable initiatives and flexible working policies. "Over the last two years, despite the pressures and challenges of the pandemic and world generally, we have continued to do work that lights a fire in my belly with its diversity and innovation — all while feeling completely supported by the team," concludes another team member.
#2 Bud (Singapore/Independent)
#3 Manifest (Australia/Independent)
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