Today, I’m delighted to write that InkHouse has been named a Best Place to Work three times this year. We were named by Inc., San Francisco Business Times and last night by The Boston Globe. These awards, while they aren’t the ones prospective clients ask about, are the most important ones we could win.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m always excited to receive awards for our business growth, because growth can feel like an implicit sign that we’re doing something right. However, it’s only a marker that we’re doing the marketing and the money-making part right. For me, awards for our growth arrive as relief more than excitement, because like most entrepreneurs, I have a healthy dose of anxiety that can keep me up at night making sure the numbers are working in our favor.
Being recognized as a best workplace hits a different place in my body: my heart. It means that we’re an organization that cares about people and is making a difference in their lives. It’s also good for our growth. If we hire the right people, and take care of those people, everything else will flow from that center. It’s never the other way around in the services business. We’re a referral business when it comes to attracting employees and clients, and our people are the reason for both.
What’s more? PR is stressful. In 2016, PR Week ranked PR as the sixth most stressful occupation, just below firefighters, airline pilots and police officers. It is a career that’s beholden to the fast pace of the media, and the high expectations of our clients. This pace and uncertainty are the main reasons PR agency people can burn out. We can become attached to our phones 24 hours a day.
At InkHouse, we don’t think it should be that way. In fact, we believe that we do better work when we can find more balance between our personal and professional lives. I learned this the hard way when I had an eighteen-month-old and was a fairly new entrepreneur who thought my success resided in my ability to work twelve to sixteen hour days. When I had my daughter and had to cut back, I worried that InkHouse would suffer.
The opposite happened: I got better at my job. When I stepped away from my phone and my work, I gained the kind of perspective that doesn’t arrive when I’m entrenched all day and night. I got better ideas, became more efficient, and then we started implementing these kinds of policies for our employees. We called it breaking the agency mold, and we’re going to keep doing it. In fact, we just announced six-week sabbaticals for those who stay with us for 10 years.
By the way, we’re hiring!
Since the early days working around her kitchen table, Beth has grown Inkhouse into one of the top independent PR agencies in the country. She’s been named a Top Woman in PR by PR News, a Top 25 Innovator by PRovoke, and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Beth designed Inkhouse’s signature Storytelling Workshop to mirror the literary hero’s journey and to unearth the emotional connections that bind an audience to a brand or idea. She also uses narratives to build Inkhouse’s culture, most recently through two books of employee essays, “Hindsight 2020” and “Aren’t We Lucky?”