At the beginning of this year, talent professionals across America were met with some staggering news: 4.5 million people had quit their jobs in November 2021. The “Great Resignation” had claimed three percent of the nation’s workforce in one month, as more and more individuals rethink what their careers can and should look like. The PR industry has certainly felt this impact, as agencies of all sizes experience abnormal turnover rates in the wake of this shift.
That said, despite the ongoing talent redistribution, there’s an important facet that is often left out of the conversation: boomerang employees. These are individuals who choose to leave an organization but ultimately return after a few months, or even years. It may come as a surprise that even as more people explore new opportunities, there is an associated increase of those who rejoin a former employer. That’s because the Great Resignation isn’t a story of employees looking for greener pastures, but rather the resounding importance of things like flexibility and personal growth within the modern workplace experience. In embracing these tenets, employers often find themselves uniquely attractive to those who previously left.
In fact, listening, learning and acting on behalf of employees’ shifting needs has been core to our approach here at PAN Communications. By leading through honesty and transparency, we were able to identify key areas that made a resounding difference in the lives of our employees. We adapted as remote options became the norm, leading to the implementation of our new HyFlex model. We reimagined our traditional employee experience as more staff indicated a desire and passion for specific skill areas like media, digital marketing or content. Today, we now have 25 employees in specialized roles, up from all of zero just a few years ago.
The Great Resignation isn’t a story of employees looking for greener pastures, but rather the resounding importance of things like flexibility and personal growth within the modern workplace experience.
As we moved to meet the moment with new initiatives, we saw further opportunity to reimagine some of our long-standing policies and processes. We outlined a strategic roadmap for our DE&I journey and commitment to meaningful work, using it as a North Star for employees and clients alike. We expanded our dedicated career coach model with an equal emphasis on training and growth, but mental health and wellness as well. It is even more critical now that organizations support the importance of self-care. At PAN we want our employees to be able to “live their best lives”. From unlimited PTO to reduced/flexible schedules for new parents, employee resources are aimed at supporting every facet of our employees’ lives – not what they bring into the office or to a virtual team meeting.
Our commitment to building a dynamic, employee-minded workplace has had a profound impact as we’ve welcomed back four former employees over the last few months. In speaking with them, we found a common thread in their experiences – lives changes, priorities change. By refusing to stay stagnant, we’ve fostered a community that they could call home once again. Here’s what I mean:
“I initially left the PAN Boston office in 2013 because I decided to move back to NYC, and remote work just wasn’t something we were thinking about at that time. Over the years, I had stayed connected with various PAN employees and was aware of how the agency was growing – especially in NY. As I was looking to what’s next for my career, the position at PAN felt like a natural fit as it would let me focus on my passion around D&I, as it was a growing focus at PAN as well. While our paths had diverged, they ended up coming back together.”
Malinda Singh, Director, PAN New York
“After really building my career in the agency world with PAN, I really wanted to move in-house and ‘see the other side.’ It was a great experience, but I found that I deeply missed PAN’s dedicated model and its commitment to mentorship. It is not an understatement to say that having a dedicated career coach at PAN has changed my life and the trajectory of my career, and I felt the absence when it was gone. PAN puts a MAJOR focus on career coaching/mentorship that you don’t see elsewhere, and it was immediately apparent that this was a gap when I left PAN. Knowing that I was moving into more of a leadership role in my career, I thought more and more about how I wanted to help others the way I had been helped, teaching people about PR and integrated marketing tactics and watching them grow in their careers from an intern up through the ranks. I knew that this was the place to do it.”
Dana Trismen, Director, PAN Boston
“I left PAN in 2018 when I moved from Boston to Raleigh, NC. It’s hard to remember but back in the day when you geographically moved away from a job you left it! I loved my time at PAN (nearly four years). If I had been able to stay, I totally would have. I had been with a small agency in NC for three years working with mostly local companies. I needed a change and was ready to move forward in my career and knew PAN could offer me a path for growth. Also, I was looking for a modified schedule and was excited to learn this had become quite common.
Overall, this experience taught me that PAN is still doing what PAN does best: working with its employees. In my early years, people worked with me to help me find a schedule that allowed me to grow my family. When I told them about my move to NC, many offered to make introductions/provide recommendations, if needed. Now, PAN was working with me again. It was clear that PAN’s ‘people first’ mantra had not just remained but strengthened.”
Kelli Fletcher, Senior Account Supervisor, PAN Virtual
“While it was the pandemic-talent war that lured me away, I was drawn back in by PAN’s empathetic leadership style. I believe that healthy work environments stem from how company leadership embodies their mission and values, and it was this that really stood out once I had more experience. I was drawn to PAN Communications because of the work environment the management team cultivated, and I’ve boomeranged back because of it.”
Emily Fang, Media Relations Manager, PAN Boston
We believe firmly that even though PR has undergone massive transformation in just a short period of time – change is far from over. We’ll continue moving forward with an open mind, an open ear and an excitement for experimentation as the world evolves around us. Partnering with our employees, past, present and future, hasn’t led us off course yet, and we’re not stopping now.
Want to learn more about opportunities at PAN Communications, no matter where you are? Check out our careers.