Building a great workplace culture—diverse and inclusive, flexible enough to accommodate a continuum of home-office preferences, respectful of employees’ mental health—has never been more critical than it is today.

In 2022, the aftershocks of the pandemic continued to rumble through the industry as firms wrestled to balance the demand for flexible work schedules with the cultural cohesion that is perhaps easier to realize in a shared office space. While the “great resignation” and “quiet quitting” were perhaps overstated, there was a “great renegotiation” around what employers can reasonably expect from employees.

At the same time, diversity, equity and inclusion remained a critical issue. For the PR industry in particular, this is an existential challenge: to create communications campaigns that reach all citizens, agencies need to look more like all citizens; the same is true whether the audience is a diverse employee population, communities of color, or specific marginalized populations too long neglected.

Mental health compounded these challenges. There is a newfound understanding that mental health issues need to be accorded the same degree of respect and understanding that has long been expected in physical health terms. And there was perhaps the beginning of a new understanding the long hours and demanding clients that have long defined consultancy life might not be compatible with caring for employees’ well being.

If all of this sounds like managing a people-centric business like PR is getting increasingly complicated and challenging (and make no mistake, the value chain of communications consulting is clear: attract, develop and retain good people and they will bring in good clients, who will in turn deliver long-term growth and profitability) it is.

But the good news was there too: a mounting body of evidence that suggests a strong link between employee happiness and job performance. (As a result of this research, we tweaked out Best Consultancies to Work For survey questions to place greater emphasis on employee happiness rather than just satisfaction).

Today, we are announcing the winners of our EMEA region Best Consultancy to Work For awards:
Best EMEA Network Consultancy to Work For: BCW Global
Best Continental Consultancy to Work For: Schwartz PR
Best Midsize UK Consultancy to Work For: Hope & Glory
Best Small UK Consultancy to Work For: Blurred

Full analysis of each winner, including employee feedback and cultural highlights can be found here.

These three Best Consultancies to Work For will be presented with their trophies at the 2023 EMEA SABRE Awards dinner, which takes place in Frankfurt on May 23. Full details of the awards ceremony and our EMEA Summit which accompanies it can be found here.