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Frank by name, Frank by nature

Media Employer of the Year 2017: definitely the most prestigious awards ceremony taking place in London on Wednesday 22nd February. Safe to say, even if we didn’t quite make as much noise on twitter as that other show across town…

At the end of the working day 120 individuals from the crème of London’s media industry descended on the Soho Hotel for an evening of fun culminating in the serious business of crowning the Media Employer of the Year for 2017.

The Media Employer process starts six months in advance of the ceremony itself with the Pathfinders team collecting nominations from media companies across the capital. This year the standard was so high that the shortlist couldn’t be shortened any further than seven. An interesting number for a shortlist. We know.

A judging day took place on 7th February as the finalists were invited to present concisely within five minutes to our independent judging panel their final bids to win the coveted Media Employer of the Year award. The panel were blown away by the creativity of the presentations and as a result decided to create Special Recognition Awards for two outstanding initiatives.

Fast forward to the 22nd and after a drink and a mini burger or two our attendees were ushered into a bursting cinema for the main event. Pathfinders’ Ellie Chalk and Vilde Lien introduced proceedings before inviting Head Judge Patrick Mills to the stage for a round up of this year’s finalists.

Patrick began with previous winners PHA Media whom he praised for their remarkable line up of initiatives, paying particular attention to their winter wellness programme. Aspectus were next up, having been represented by CEO Ali Turner on judging day. The judges were especially taken by the generosity of Aspectus’ maternity package, suspecting it was almost too good to be true.

Frank PR, back for a fourth time provided an interactive presentation involving a series of props transported to Wardour Street in a Poundland bag. This certainly got across the vibrant and energetic feel of working for Frank. That coupled with an exceptional work experience programme saw them impress yet again. Hotwire PR wowed the judges promising to be ‘the best agency you’ll ever work with’. Patrick paid particular homage to their fabulous professional development booklet they produce for all their staff, urging anyone and everyone to pinch a copy if the opportunity presented itself.

Way to Blue also presented a collection of outstanding initiatives. Patrick noting that despite having 14 branches around the world, Way to Blue still very much felt like a family. No mean feat and a testament to their culture! TopLine Comms were represented by founder and CEO Heather Baker on her 2nd day back from maternity leave. As well as that being a particularly impressive level of dedication to the process the judges picked up on their kaizen principle of continuous development and improvement. The lure of a Cape Town office didn’t go unnoticed either.

Last but certainly not least were Clarion Communications who proudly announced they were looking to hire the sort of person you’d want in your pub quiz team. Someone who is equally as social and entertaining as they are intelligent, as everyone wants to win but it’s nice to have fun whilst doing so. They closed their pitch with reference to ‘Rebecca’s Blip’ which referred to Rebecca Wainwright who left Clarion in December but promptly decided to return in January. ‘If you let them go they will come back’.

Once Patrick was done with synopsising the finalists he moved on the first of the Special Recognition Awards which went to PHA Media for their winter wellness programme which is aimed at combatting the January blues.

'The first award is for the best staff wellbeing programme, which is beautifully illustrated by the winter wellness initiative to help keep staff fighting fit during the long and dark winter months.'

The second Special Recognition Award went to Hotwire for their exceptionally ‘knickable’ staff development booklet.

'I talked earlier about the staff development booklet which is handed out to agency staff for them to record their development activities and to annotate how they have used the learning and to what effect. It is so stealable!'

And finally the Media Employer of the Year award for 2017 went to fourth time lucky Frank PR!

'This year the judges have chosen an agency noted for their outstanding creativity, their infectious enthusiasm and vibrant company culture. They are a winner that shows it is worth entering year in and year out. This year’s winner’s has really demonstrated a long term commitment to their staff.'

As we bring this years process to a close a big thank you must go to the judges, Patrick Mills (IPA), Bruce Macrae (Media Network), Dee Gibbs (Liberty Communications) and Aliya Vigor-Robertson (JourneyHR). Also massive congratulations to our finalists: Clarion Communications, TopLine Comms, Aspectus PR, and our Special Recognition Award winners: PHA Media and Hotwire. Finally to Frank PR who proved that persistence does really pay off, especially when you have fun with it.

Ben Ryder-Smith

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