1. M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment
Creative sponsorship agency, London
UK employees 65
According to M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, a "people first" policy is at the heart of its modus operandi. So much so that it led the agency to reappraise its positioning last year and to evolve its mission statement "to ensure our people are front and centre" and to create an environment in which they – and the agency – can thrive.
The figures suggest that the policy pays dividends. In 2017 the agency reported revenue increases of around 18%, compared with 12% across the M&C Saatchi group as a whole. Its performance was hailed at the time by David Kershaw, the group chief executive, as "pretty stellar".
In theory, the agency is dedicated to creating a happy, healthy, well-balanced and motivated workforce. In practice, this manifests itself in a wide range of initiatives embracing everything from maintaining physical and mental health to encouraging staff to do things that make them happy.
"We put our people at the heart of the business and introduce cultural initiatives to ensure that they feel supported and that they work in an inclusive environment where they can thrive," the agency declares.
This includes a newly introduced health and wellbeing consultation for every staff member who gets a bespoke nutritional and exercise plan, as well as access to counselling services for personal or financial problems. There are also weekly exercise classes as well as yoga and meditation sessions that all take place within working hours.
As part of its own mental health initiative, called Re:Mind, the agency has introduced so-called Happy Hours that give everybody an extra hour during the week in addition to their lunchbreak in which they are invited to get out of the office and do something that makes them happy.
This complements the agency’s Brilliance Fund under which each staffer gets £200 a year to spend on anything that interests them and helps fuel their curiosity. Meanwhile, there’s the opportunity to do some horizon-broadening via the Maurice Awards, which give employees the chance to work in a global office of their choice for two weeks.
The contribution of loyal staff is recognised too. Anybody with five years’ service gets £750 to spend on a treat of their choice. A 10-year milestone is marked with a £1,500 thank-you gift. Meanwhile, all staff get an extra day off in addition to their holiday allowance to celebrate their birthday. Also, the 4.30pm Friday finishing time is preceded by a 30-minute all-agency gathering to discuss the latest industry goings-on over drinks and snacks.
Regular awaydays, as well as parties to celebrate account wins (big and small), help promote greater esprit de corps.
Digital design and build agency, London
UK employees 68
As a builder of premium digital products and experiences, Somo puts much emphasis on finding new talent and immersing it in what the agency does.
It prides itself on its successful track record of hiring interns and placements. All new arrivals get a free mobile device or tablet and the chance to try the latest kit in its innovation lab.
Staff get to share success with the offer of company shares and a revenue-share bonus scheme.
3. Snap Inc
Ad tech company, London
UK employees 144
Snap Inc prides itself on the personal touch when it comes to employees, flying one home to New Zealand to attend a funeral and providing catered meals to another with dependants in hospital.
Staff are encouraged to lunch together via a £10 daily allowance on a personalised credit card while a rotation programme allows staff to be transferred to an international Snap office for a period.
A two-bedroom flat attached to the agency’s Soho office can be used by staff relocating from other countries or who just need to get away from home.
4. St Luke’s
Ad agency, London
UK employees 51
St Luke’s gives no advice to staff about early to bed and early to rise but likes to think it helps make them healthy, wealthy and wise. In fact, those three words have become the agency’s mantra as it seeks to build a contented and motivated workforce.
As a result, there’s free yoga sessions, no weekend working, a profit-share bonus and a £200 "make yourself more interesting" fund allowing staff to learn about anything that interests them.
Ad agency, London
UK employees 90
Born in a cowshed on a working farm 26 years ago, RPM has always been eager to maintain good husbandry when it comes to caring for its staff. There are coaching sessions to overcome professional barriers and access to mental-health support services while a lively social programme aims to ensure work and play go hand-in-hand. Overtime is kept to a minimum and work stops at 4pm on Fridays.