If you’ve been on the job hunt anytime in the last year, you’ve probably read a million “About Us” sections of company websites, reached out to your network of LinkedIn connections and conducted a handful of virtual interviews, hoping to find the company that’s your professional and personal match. Gauging decisions like where to take the next step in your career can be intimidating when you can’t meet and interact with potential coworkers in person. However, there are steps that companies and colleagues can take to ensure a prospective candidate and new hire feels right at home (from their own homes) and receives the level of hands-on training and mentorship that every employee deserves.
Recruitment and retention are top of mind for every talent acquisition team in PR. The fast-paced and competitive nature of the industry (especially in major cities like San Francisco with lots of competing agencies), has fostered a belief that professionals in PR jump around from agency to agency. I consider myself an exception to this “rule,” having started at PAN as an intern while in college and growing into the PR professional I am today, 4+ years later. I attribute my longevity at PAN to a few key qualities of the company that I never want to compromise or sacrifice elsewhere: interpersonal connectivity, training and development opportunities and mentorship. For new employees starting out at PAN remotely, I can confirm these qualities are not diluted by the virtual workforce and are invaluable to your professional and personal growth.
“I attribute my longevity at PAN to a few key qualities of the company that I never want to compromise or sacrifice elsewhere: interpersonal connectivity, training & development opportunities and mentorship.”
If you’ve read through PAN’s “Life & Culture” section of the website, you’ve probably read about the people at PAN and how so many employees have cited this as an important reason why they’ve stayed at PAN. It’s true, the people at your job can make or break your experience, and PAN’s heightened attention to culture add, inclusion and quality of life for its employees truly makes a difference. PAN’s recognition of different cultures and communities within the company is another quality that makes it a great place to work – no matter how you identify or who you are, you will be embraced, celebrated and represented. Even remotely, having touchpoints with coworkers such as open discussions around current events, virtual “PAN Pub” happy hours, and even (safe) in-person meet-ups, makes work more meaningful and enjoyable.
I’ve always believed that the best experience is gained on the job, and I think training and development opportunities are a critical way to supplement experience and professional growth. PAN has always valued the professional skills development of its employees and offered regular training sessions virtually that the entire company can tune into. When we were in-person, the San Francisco office (also known as PAN West) had frequent trainings where we discussed important PR skills such as phone pitching, pitch writing, client relations and more. While we can’t congregate in the office for these trainings today, they have not skipped a beat. The entire company continues to benefit (virtually) from these incredible resources and the opportunities to pick your coworkers’ brains.
Onboarding is key to the success of new remote employees, and PAN has developed a task force led by my amazing colleague Sydney Mueller that ensures every new employee has the tools, resources and connections they need to be successful in their new role. Starting a new job can be nerve-racking, especially making a first impression and creating bonds remotely, but PAN has built in the onboarding task force to help ease this transition, which I’ve heard from new teammates has made all the difference in their onboarding process.
Mentorship has been a consistent theme throughout my time at PAN, and it’s something I think every professional should prioritize and nurture. Interpersonal connectivity and training and development feed into mentorship, but to take those a step further, mentorship is an opportunity for an individual to make strong 1:1 bonds with colleagues, where some of the most impactful career growth can happen. PAN builds in many opportunities to connect with mentors – there’s a Media Mentors program where you can connect weekly with a media pro and chat through pitch ideas, there are mentorship relationships created between your dedicated team leader where you can discuss your career trajectory, and there are the relationships that you don’t really plan, but make along the way.
“I’ve had the opportunity to become close with a number of my more experienced peers, and from those relationships come some of the best career (and personal) advice I’ve ever received.”
I’ve had the opportunity to become close with a number of my more experienced peers, and from those relationships come some of the best career (and personal) advice I’ve ever received, even after they’ve moved on to new companies and roles. Working in an environment where these types of connections are fostered benefits everyone and is reflected in employee retention and the quality of work for clients.
If you’re looking to take the next steps in your career but are hesitant to do so remotely, know that structured and supportive onboarding, training and development opportunities and strong mentorship connections are out there. PAN’s dedication to these qualities is what make it an extraordinary place to work, and it’s why I’ve stuck around. While the move to a new company can bring a lot of uncertainty, I promise it’s worth the leap!