Our company is in the middle of a growth spurt. Over the last three years, we have consistently increased revenue by about 25% a year, grown from a handful of people to 12 (and still hiring) and significantly increased our geographic reach. All of that – combined with our great team and awesome new digs we moved into recently – make this an exciting place to be.
And the energy of it is palpable. We all realize that we’re on the ground floor of something that is still taking shape. That means we each get to do our part in helping move our company forward – every person within the company gets to be responsible for different areas so we collectively ensure continued growth and prosperity.
One significant change that I’ve been working on is to have a fully outlined organizational structure. While we were small, we would promote as seemed fit, but without a specific list of targets we wanted employees to hit or traits they should display. When there were just four of us, we each knew what the other was doing because we were in such close proximity; we could overhear conversations and holler through walls. Thankfully, we have matured past that (mostly).
Our new structure outlines steps someone can take to get from being an entry-level Account Coordinator to becoming Vice President and running an office. It allows for both collaboration and independence, and it helps ensure there is knowledge transfer as someone moves to a different position. This kind of organization was needed, and as part of the steps, we outlined specific things a team member must accomplish to be considered successful in her position.
Every person within the company gets to be responsible for different areas so we collectively ensure continued growth and prosperity.
As a public relations agency, it’s somewhat obvious that we must pay attention to results. So, yes, we are looking at performance, such as media hits, pitching skills, writing ability, client interaction and similar things – all of which are extremely important in this field. But we’re also looking at other things like networking, civic work and hiring acumen – because we think that in the long run, these additional focuses are vital to both personal and corporate excellence. And I believe they help to set our company apart.
The intensity of the requirements varies depending on experience and level, but here are a few things that we think are must-haves:
- Networking – I know that networking is an extrovert’s dream and an introvert’s nightmare. It’s not naturally easy for everyone to network. In fact, I am one for which it is a hardship. That said, it’s amazing what can happen when you meet new people. The end game of networking doesn’t have to be selling something. The benefits are really about forming new relationships, hearing new ideas, learning new concepts – it’s personal development that can’t be done in a classroom or webinar.
- Sourcing new hire candidates – We hire A players. And we believe that A players know other A players. We suggest to our people that when they find themselves in a conversation about what they do and where they work, to end the conversation with this question as recommended in Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street: “Now that you know a little about me, who are the most talented people you know who might be a good fit for my company?” It’s a simple thing to ask, but can generate powerful results.
- Community service – Public relations is a busy world. We work on fast deadlines and oversee a variety of marketing tactics, events, meetings, interviews and more. At times it can be very stressful and it’s hard to see anything other than the projects that are on our desk at a given moment. By including civic engagement in our company advancement structure, we are demonstrating that we want to improve our community as a whole – not just via dollars or being economically friendly, but through volunteering and pro bono support. This helps builds better employees, and, more importantly, changes lives.
We hope that the things we’ve included in our organizational structure will continue to grow both our company as a whole and our people individually. Our people are what make us great, and we value them. We encourage continued improvement because we believe that our success is a result of our employees’ success.