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Judge the top shops by staff satisfaction, too

The Agencies of the Year have been chosen [Adweek, Jan. 10], and the debate goes on: Were these the best choices? Supporting each selection are a host of statistics: new business won, awards won, campaign effectiveness. But I would add another category worth measuring: employee satisfaction.

Much of an agency’s success can be attributed to how much people like working there. Internal surveys or testimonials could reflect that. After all, without great people, or an environment that allows good people to become great, there would be no award-winning creative; no new business arriving; no success to celebrate.

I’m not talking about a place where everyone loves one another. A certain amount of “coopetition” can be productive. The champion Yankees from 1977 and 1978 were often called “The Bronx Zoo.” I’m talking about an environment of respect, where people can disagree without fear of reprisal; where they feel empowered to build upon one another’s ideas; where they happily give of their time to issues outside the office. I’m talking about an environment of recognition, where people’s hard work is acknowledged and appreciated … even if they don’t land that new client or sell that new campaign.

Not surprisingly, many of this year’s celebrated agencies are well-known for internal programs that demonstrate and support the value of their people. For example, employees of TBWA\Chiat\Day’s New York office get together once a month to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays. DDB has DDB University, an educational platform for continued training at all levels.

In our industry, people are our most valuable asset. In choosing an Agency of the Year, I hope we do not lose sight of that fact.

John Osborn
President and CEO
New York

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