Why people stick around

Tony Hunn, who masterminds all things technological at Chelgate, has just completed his 10th year at Chelgate. Amazingly, more than half the Chelgate team have now been with the firm for a decade or more. In an industry notorious for its flea-like job hopping, it’s truly extraordinary to find such a high level of “stickability”
So, what’s happening? Why on earth do they stay? It’s certainly nothing to do with the Chairman, who’s notably curmudgeonly, demanding and difficult.
In fact, I think I know why. It’s because of the jobs they are actually asked to do at Chelgate. When someone goes into PR, they usually do so because they want to do good work; to be an outstanding public relations professional. But the depressing truth is that in all too many PR firms – perhaps even most – the priority has shifted. It’s no longer about doing outstanding work for the client. It’s about maximising profit margins for the firm. So, the “product” becomes the chargeable hour, not the delivery of client service. The time sheet culture takes over, and people begin to forget why they are there in the first place.
Of course any half decent PR executive wants to work for a successful and prosperous employer. And they celebrate their firm’s successes and rue its setbacks. But the reason they went into PR in the first place was not to make their employers rich. It was to be the best PR professionals they could be. The success of their firm may be the welcome result and measure of their first class work. But it was never the primary objective.
When PR firms forget this; when they put profits ahead of professionalism; when they suffocate and dishearten their team by switching focus from client service to business profits, then it’s little surprise that their frustrated and disillusioned staff members develop itchy feet.
At Chelgate, every member of the team knows that their first priority, always, must be the quality of our professional service to clients. We believe that if we get that right, the rest (including the profits!) will follow. And because this is what they went into PR to do, I think that just might be why Chelgate people stick around. Here in this firm, whatever the other privations and hardships, they are at least able to be the professionals they want to be.

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