The PR industry is in trouble: senior talent, especially women with children, are resigning. Many of these valued practitioners are walking away from their careers (and in many cases high salaries) because their employers are unwilling or unable to provide them with the flexibility they need to balance their work and family lives.
Published in the September/October issue of the Ivey Business Journal, Lifestyle-driven virtual teams: A new paradigm for professional services firms, is an article in which Broad Reach Communications president Andrea Lekushoff describes how this emerging new business model is a win-win approach for PR agencies, their clients and employees.
A PR agency leader with two decades of experience, Andrea left traditional agency life behind to create a new model and approach to doing business. In 2008, she founded Broad Reach Communications, a lifestyle-driven PR firm comprised of a network of senior freelancers across the country, all of whom have held senior positions in large established traditional agencies, but found the work culture to be at odds with the demands of their family lives.
Successful PR firms know that their “people” are their most important asset – and attracting and retaining top talent is vital to the success of any professional services firm. Firms that suffer from a “revolving door” are often those that have not been able to implement and/or adhere to policies that provide employees with the flexibility they need to balance their work and family lives.
Broad Reach is that exception. It offers an alternative to the traditional PR agency business model by embracing and facilitating an innovative and family-friendly way to work. Instead of hiring full-time practitioners, freelance associates form virtual teams. All work is sold and delivered by experienced senior talent who are experts in their industries. Instead of focusing on billable hours, Broad Reach focuses on the number of hours each associate wants to work − and their projects and compensation are planned accordingly. Project teams are based on associates’ expertise, skills, interests, and the number of hours they are prepared to work weekly − ensuring the right fit for the client and for the team members. This differs from the traditional agency model in which each practitioner has to reach a billable quota.