5 Reasons Why WE Is a “Best Place to Work”
Since its founding, WE has always worked to put people first and build an inclusive culture where everyone can belong. That means a personal connection to the work, the people and the place — and that’s why being named one of PRWeek’s Best Places to Work means so much to us.
It was especially exciting to win in 2020, when so much was suddenly so difficult. As our global CEO and founder Melissa Waggener Zorkin has written, inside is the new outside. As COVID-19 changes everything, organizations must work to support their employees. We work to build a compelling culture; that doesn’t mean we’re perfect — it means we do some things right, and we work hard to fix the things we don’t.
Here are five things our employees tell us we’re doing right:
1. We’re supporting employees during COVID-19
WE pivoted hard to support its people during COVID-19, and while there’s always more we can do (and do better) what we did accomplish helped many of our employees through a challenging time.
- At the start of the pandemic, we committed to no COVID-19-related job cuts in 2020.
- We established “8 for You,” extra paid time off to help employees take personal time to unplug and take care of themselves, and we made regular wellness check-ins and discussions about the challenges of working during COVID-19 a standard part of our workday.
- In many markets, we extended the terms of our tech reimbursement benefit to help employees upgrade their WFH environment.
- In January 2021, we invested in our people by offering a one-time bonus to all nonleadership employees.
- We overhauled our approach to employee comms so we could deliver important information about safety, office closures and changes to business strategy through multiple channels. We also launched Wacky Wednesday, a weekly roundup of employees’ quarantine comforts, memes, Teams call fails and (most important) pet pics.
Our resiliency and agility paid off — in our yearly employee survey, 98% of our agency team was happy with the level of communications coming from WE and its leadership, and 96% said they approved of how WE was handling COVID-19.
2. We work hard to build an inclusive culture
In October 2020, WE appointed its first head of diversity, equity and inclusion, Elizabeth Herrera Smith, and late last month, the Human Rights Campaign gave us a perfect 100 point score in its Corporate Equality Index, and, for the third year in a row, designated WE a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality. It’s emblematic of WE’s dedication to building a culture that works for everyone, from expanding our benefits to better support transgender employees, to revamping our fertility benefits to fit the needs of both opposite-sex and same-sex couples as well as our single employees.
Our employee resource groups — WE PRIDE, dedicated to supporting LGBTQ employees and allies, and WE PRISM, a group for employees of color and their allies — are thriving, regularly bringing in outside speakers, hosting lunch-and-learns and enjoying thriving Microsoft Teams channels full of resource-sharing and memes. A favorite event from last year: WE PRISM’s conversation with Marlon A. Walker, one of the journalists who successfully lobbied the AP to capitalize the “B” in “Black.”
3. We give our people opportunities to grow
WE has always had a robust volunteering program, and we work hard to give our people the opportunity to use their skills where they’re most needed. Our Global Pro Bono program sends employees abroad to give NGOs the communications and community outreach program support they need. We also provide opportunities for continuing education, so that employees can keep growing, learning and networking.
4. WE’s leadership works to make WE — and the industry — better
WE’s leaders take time to support the issues they care about. Global CEO and Founder Melissa Waggener Zorkin sits on the board of ColorComm, an organization dedicated to connecting and empowering women of color in the communications industry. Kass Sells, chief operating officer and president, International, sits on the board of The LAGRANT Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the lack of diversity in advertising, marketing and PR, and writes often about mentorship and making the industry a more equitable place.
Recently, WE leadership worked with employees to expand our 16 volunteering hours into 24 Community Engagement hours, allowing employees the flexibility to make an impact how they see fit — by volunteering, lawfully protesting, voting, campaigning, participating in activism and more.
5. Our independence makes us strong
WE began with two women and two ideas: Technology would change the world forever, and businesses are better when they put people at the center. We’re proud of our history and proud of our independence. Not being beholden to shareholders lets us focus on our people and make long bets to set us up for success in the coming years rather than maximize profit this quarter. I’ve been at WE for more than 20 years. A lot has changed in that time, but our dedication to our people has not. I’m often asked what keeps me here and my answer is always the same — I get to work with and learn from my talented colleagues every day, and we continually strive to build and strengthen our agency together.
We’re always looking for great people to join WE. Check out our Careers page to learn more.
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