The Holmes Report has named the winners of its annual Best Consultancy to Work For awards, which are based on a survey of more than 5,000 employees from PR agencies across the EMEA region. This year, a record 84 firms participated in the survey.

Best Multinational Consultancy to Work For: Porter Novelli

For the second consecutive year, Porter Novelli will take home our award for the Best Multinational Consultancy to Work For in the EMEA region, with employees from around the network of offices in the region praising a “warm and collaborative” culture, “honest and transparent” management, and “strong ethics.”

A team-building exercise for 170 senior staff in Miami last year, regular regional and sub-regional meetings, Christmas parties and summer activities all contribute to strong interoffice cooperation, and a professional development program that includes internal and external trainings, the Porter Novelli University for top performers, as well as a robust exchange program. The firm also offers a variety of flexible options for work-life balance.

Several employees cite the firm’s “Give Something Back” CSR initiative, which allows employees to give a half day of work to volunteer for charities, and encourages local projects such as helping UNICEF draw attention to the East African famine or developing a new platform for the Down’s syndrome foundation in Madrid.

Honorable mentions: GolinHarris, Edelman, Weber Shandwick, Burson-Marsteller

Best Specialist Network to Work For: Hotwire

There have been numerous changes at technology public relations specialist Hotwire in recent years, from the acquisition by troubled Australian holding company Photon to a management restructuring that has seen founder Kristin Syltevik step away from her day-to-day leadership role, but those changes have had no impact on the firm’s work environment, which remains one of the most attractive in the industry. In a recent exercise to identify the values at the heart of Hotwire’s culture, employees identified team spirit, and head of human resources Loveday Langton believes that one reason is the fact that “we are organized into practices, small teams focusing on specific market areas, which gives a sense of belonging to a smaller group within the bigger company.” Says one respondent to our survey: “Hotwire is a truly amazing place to work, with the perfect combination of structure, creativity, leadership, support, and collaboration.”

Honorable mentions: Johnson King, Text 100, Bite Communications, Lewis

Best UK Consultancy to Work For: Pegasus

Consumer health specialist Pegasus believes that the public relations business has at least one thing in common with the real estate business: location is everything. Says managing director Lisa Bradley, “Our location makes us a very attractive place to work. We are nestled just outside Brighton, only 200 yards from the beach. This means we are able to recruit from a highly talented pool of ex London agency staff, tired of the City, but not of communications.” But Bradley and her team don’t rely on location alone, the firm has won Investor In People honours, welcomes new employees with a “buddy” system and makes an impressive investment in professional development through its Pegasus Training Programme. The payoff is comments like this one: “Although the company is expanding quickly… management makes an effort to ensure the teams are supported and happy in their role. We are recognised and rewarded for our hard work, which ensures the moral in the company is high. I feel I have progressed fairly quickly in my career at the company and I feel staff have a good opportunity to move up the development ladder.”

Honorable mentions: Kaizo, Virgo Health, Brands2Life, Focus PR

Best Continental Consultancy to Work For: Hering Schuppener

The Germans and the Dutch have dominated our Best Continental Consultancy to Work For category since the survey began six years ago, and this is the fourth time the award has gone to Germany’s leading corporate and financial communications consultancy. The firm attracts ambitious, hard-working consultants but is remarkably free of politics and ego. It focuses on hard work and client service but provides a good work-life balance. But the thing that comes through most clearly is that its people really value being part of a respected counseling firm, and the consistently interesting and important work: “The continuous flow of challenging mandates is what makes this firm the best in the business and me proud to work here,” says one respondent. “We are mentioned in one breath with bankers and lawyers; we get respect. That is unique in our business.”

Honorable mentions: Lammers Van Toorenburg PR, Inforpress, All Channels Communications, Grupo Albion

Our Best Consultancy to Work For awards will be presented at the annual SABRE Awards dinner, which will be held in Brussels on May 31. Ticket and tables are available from [email protected].