Ad Age Names EMA in the Top Five Best Places to Work

Eric Mower + Associates has been ranked #5 on Advertising Age’s Best Places to Work list for 2012. The annual list features 40 of the country’s best agencies whose benefits and culture create environments for employees to thrive.

Ad Age’s profile on EMA reports, “Collaboration is everything at EMA. It can be seen throughout the agency's infrastructure, employee orientation and strategic approach. EMA has one consolidated bottom line on which annual profit-sharing is based. No ‘silo-thinking’ is allowed, which can be seen in its facilities—from open floor plans to a coffee-shop-like café/kitchen and 40-seat theater. And employees like it. As one employee put it, EMA ‘truly cares about its employees both professionally and personally.’”

“To meet the needs of our clients in today’s fast-changing digital world, we have to attract and keep top-notch talent, so we work hard to make EMA a great place to work,” said Michael Slade, partner and director of HR at EMA. “People have careers at EMA, not just jobs. As a result, they build the kind of trust that perpetuates a culture in which creativity prospers.”

Agencies in the Best Places to Work competition are required to submit a comprehensive application based on compensation, benefits, career development, diversity, work-life balance, and overall corporate culture. Nearly 185 companies applied. All employees completed a confidential workplace survey on topics such as pay, vacation time, relationships with management and coworkers, and career development. Judges consider results from both surveys to determine the companies with the best benefits and most engaged employees. EMA highlighted four unique programs in its submission.

Just for Newbies
New EMA hires from all seven offices participate in New Employee Orientation (NEO), a two-day program held twice annually in EMA’s Syracuse office. The fun-filled, informative gathering is for new employees to get together and learn about EMA from senior staff: its history, philosophy, standards, practices, offices and people. For good measure—and to spoil new employees rotten—NEO includes an IMAX movie, happy hour and dinner.

New employees also receive welcome gifts, including a copy of the book “Strength Finders 2.0” to help them identify and learn to play to their strengths at EMA.

If all this makes new employees feel special, it's because they are.

It’s All about You
Each year, EMA holds a series of anniversary luncheons to celebrate employee milestones of 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years and longer. In addition, any EMA employee with 15 or more years of service is invited to attend and celebrate their colleagues. The events are held in four EMA cities and celebrate about 150 employees annually.

Each employee is recognized individually by Chairman/CEO Eric Mower, who highlights each person’s accomplishments and thanks them for their service. Employees celebrating anniversaries of five years or longer receive a gift from Tiffany’s, packaged in the signature blue box with a white ribbon.

State of the Agency
Every spring, Mr. Mower heads on a seven-city tour to conduct his annual State of the Agency meeting at each EMA office. All employees gather for lunch, and to hear Eric speak on EMA’s business, industry trends and the global economy. Employees are encouraged to ask any question that is on their minds. The State of the Agency is designed to make employees aware where the agency is headed, and how EMA can strive to do more and be better.

Welcome Back, We’ve Missed You!
EMA’s turnover rate is one the lowest in the industry. While EMA does have employees who leave, some decide to return. People come back because EMA treats them well, and they get to work in a creative, fun environment. As Mr. Mower often says, “If we’re sad to see you go, then we’re glad to see you come back.” All returning employees are members of the EMAgain Club.

Other Benefits and Perks
In its application, EMA highlighted its employee benefits such as healthcare, profit-sharing, retirement plans, flex schedules to encourage a healthy work-life balance, staff development and training, and extra time off with Spring Break Day (any day off in the spring) and Summer Hours (16 hours off in the summer).

EMA specializes on being a fun and caring place to work. Some employee perks include a commitment to supporting community involvement (through board involvement, volunteerism and EMA’s annual Day of Caring, in which the agency dedicates a day to helping a local non-profit organization in each of its markets); Bagel Fridays; Muffin Meetings; Social activities; personal recognition of major life events, like sending cards to employees to celebrate a new home, marriage or birth of a child, and sending a personalized baby blanket to new parents; and focusing on employees’ families through events like children’s holiday parties and Bring Your Child to Work Day.

Ad Age specifically sought out agencies that exhibit best practices, innovation, collaboration and creativity,” said Slade. “We’re proud to be recognized because those are values we prize at EMA, and we strive to build a culture that helps them flourish.”

According to Ad Age, “Providing great benefits only gets a company so far if no one likes working there.”

Any agency, media owner or marketer with more than 50 full-time employees was eligible to apply to the Best Places to Work list.
 

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