Barker Helps Employees Combat Inflation

By Kyle O'Brien 

New York independent advertising agency Barker is helping its employees offset rising expenses due to inflation through a “year-forward” bonus of 4.3% of their compensation. The bonus is in addition to other benefits and year-end performance rewards.

Agency founder and CEO John Barker said in a statement that it’s within the tradition and purposeful trajectory of the Barker agency culture to offer the inflation bonus.

“Our executive team is very focused on the reality that we need to remain diligent, creative and thoughtful to retain and attract the best talent. It’s been our mission to be there for them, to understand the everyday realities they are dealing with and help secure their passion for working here.”

Barker evp and managing director Mary Beth Weil added that it is important to the agency to be proactive on talent retention efforts.

“No one asked for this, but we knew it was an unexpected challenge for our team members. Despite rising salaries, higher expenses are a real burden for all of us, particularly in the New York City metro area. Everyday staples and expenses like milk, produce, gas, utilities, rent—all of these things are suddenly far more expensive and it’s a shock to any household budget. This year-forward bonus will help.”

The additional 4.3% bonus seeks to close the gap to the current inflation rate, which remains a moving target as the economy continues to struggle with fuel and supply chain issues, along with the ongoing pandemic. The agency said it will re-evaluate the bonus quarterly and respond with more funding if the rate climbs higher.

“After two years of mostly remote work, we need to assure our team that we’re always thinking about them and have their back,” Sandi Harari, partner and executive creative director at Barker, added in a statement.

Other economic employee relations efforts by Barker have included a paid day of service where employees can volunteer wherever they choose. In addition, Barker offers employees company-paid training in their specific career track.

Barker has added three new clients—Randolph Engineering, Stride and Biogen—and 11 new employees in the past six months and Barker said the agency is working hard to keep the team in place.

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