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September 14, 2010
Happy Employees Matter Greatly
 
From Miami comes word of a PR company that has a policy that should be a no-brainer, but, sadly, isn't universally practiced: Happy employees make for success. Apparently, rbb Public Relations has been on an acquisition binge, advises the McClatchy Newspapers, and the single most important factor in its growth has been nurturing its employees.

Yet a recent study by Hewitt Associates in late June "saw employee engagement drop to the lowest levels Hewitt has seen in 15 years," McClatchey reports. It doesn't figure. 

Back in Miami, these precepts are practiced at rbb: 

"Public relations is a 24/7 business, and rbb's employees must respond to client needs at all hours. That's not exactly the best recipe for work life balance. But even while the firm has high expectations of its staff, it has spent the past few years creating an employee-driven workplace. Elements include an open, cheery workspace to promote creativity and teamwork, and flexible work schedules and the tools - including laptops and cell phones - that allow employees to work from anywhere.

"'The strategy works,' said Susan Gilden, a seven-year employee at rbb. 'We work hard, not because we're in fear for our jobs but because we feel as if we have ownership. Clients sense that, and that's what got the firm through in a difficult economy.' It also has helped rbb become recognized by several publications as one of the area's best companies to work for."

Why should this sort of thing be news? We all know how "up" we feel when we're treated well at work and our capacities are respected and well-used. Yet so many workplaces, under real or fancied pressures, or simply mistaken management modes, don't have employee engagement as a high priority.

When will they ever learn?

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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