In addition to learning from employers what they do to attract people to join their company, PM360 wanted to hear from the employees themselves. We asked our readers to describe their ideal workplace and the turn-ons that attract them to a company as well as the turn-offs that drive them away.

At my ideal workplace…

Everyone Is A Part Of Something: The ideal workplace for me is when the environment is fostered through grace, respect and shared awareness for the creative process. For example, knowing it’s a collaborative space. Knowing you are a part of something. At closerlook we do something called Show and Tell at the creative department meetings every Monday morning. We all go around the table and volunteer the latest in creative developments or initiatives going on in our lives. Someone shares a website that helped her understand an interactive design element in a new and exciting way. Another person tells the group about a music show they will be performing in some night later that week—and how we are all invited after work. By sharing our unique and creative selves with the group, the idea that we are all a part of something together grows stronger in everyone’s mind.  Scott S., Senior Copywriter at closerlook

All the Intrinsic Factors Line Up: Do I spend proportionately most of my time doing productive work? Do I like what I do? Does the work I do have a positive impact somewhere? Are the values of my workplace consistent with my values? Am I making a difference? Do I like the people I work with? And, most importantly, am I doing work that matters? Here’s a practical question to ask every once in a while: Am I working somewhere and for someone and with others where I am growing personally and professionally and where, most days, I feel personally fulfilled? David Davidovic, President of pathForward and former VP and Global Head, Commercial Services at Genentech and Roche

Employees Are Considerate:  Pharmaceutical advertising can be stressful, but because we are so professional in our approach with one another at AbelsonTaylor, the environment is “gentler” than in many other places. I hear the words “please,” “thanks” and “I’m sorry” (when appropriate) every day and that makes our environment the most considerate I’ve worked in during my entire career. Linda Phillips, VP of Human Resources at AbelsonTaylor

The Environment Is Multi-cultural: I look for a company whose environment is multi-cultural in terms of both individuals’ origins and their skills. A multi-cultural environment provides various perspectives and cross-team exposure to art, science and technology. I prefer to work with people who are adaptable, collaborative and friendly. Teams like that energize a workplace. Jim Haupt, Medical Director at Intouch Solutions

There is a “Me” Space and a Place for War: I like the ebb and flow of a busy office. It gives the workplace life. At the same time, I appreciate being able to put on headphones if I need to shut out the world. A visually calming space and a place to call “mine” are important too, as is a war room where we can be loud, whiteboard ideas, tack visuals on the wall, slouch on the couch, leave empty Coke cans on the coffee table and come back to it all in the morning. Kathy Field, Creative Director at HCB Health

Collaboration Is Considered Essential: While the raison d’être of AXON is the satisfaction of our clients, we rely on our ideal workplace through commitment and collaboration to ensure this quality. We seek to hire motivated and committed people who love what they do in healthcare and we believe that a workplace that embraces and expects collaboration, team spirit and teamwork is part of the essentials to success. Mario R. Nacinovich Jr., MSc, Managing Partner at AXON

Everyone Plays Their Role:  In theater, they tell you that there is no small role, just small actors. In my opinion, this mindset also defines an ideal workplace in a business environment—a place where everyone has an important role to play that directly impacts the success of a company. Being at a smaller company means that every person’s hard work is recognized in our end products. What I value the most about being at a company like Evoke Health is the open-door policy that our executive managers have with employees that creates a positive management culture and ensures that every voice is heard. —Hilary Bergman, Account Coordinator at Evoke Health

Biggest Company “Turn-Ons”

The aspect that most attracts me to a company is…

Passion: “When I’m speaking to people who may be my future co-workers, I want to feel their excitement about their work. When I ask about their day or their latest project, I want to see their eyes light up when they tell me,” says Christine Sokoloski, MS, Associate Director of Health Education at Artcraft Health Education. “If someone is at a company for five or 10 years and still has the spark, then I’m interested. To me, that’s a company that nurtures the creativity of its people and encourages growth.”

A Care for its Employees Wellbeing: “Things like health and wellness programs, excellent benefits and social activities to foster engagement demonstrate a company’s level of concern and care for its employees,” says Joey Barnes, Sr. Director, Business Development at Intouch Solutions. “I like to know the company I work for has my best interest in mind.”

A Good Boss: “I have worked for bosses who are brilliant and supportive and I have worked for bosses who are not supportive and belittling,” says an employee at a pharma company who wishes to remain anonymous. “Working for a boss who pushes me to be better is extremely motivating to me.”

The Physical Space: “Physically, a company needs to show color, mixture of mediums and high-tech/high-touch elements in its physical space. Also, a wide-open floor plan that reinforces the company’s value of collaboration, community, creativity and customer is key,” says Katie O’Neill, Vice President – Strategic Accounts at Artcraft Health Education. “Streamlined furniture, comfort in form. Tangible commitment to decrease our carbon footprint, with motion sensor lights, locally adjustable thermostats, and use of HD screens and whiteboards for meetings.”

Biggest Company “Turn-Offs”

The aspect that makes me want to run away from a company as fast as possible is…

Unconstructive Criticism: “There are great agencies out there that strive for healthy and happy productivity and I feel so fortunate to work for one of them. However, many ad agencies take the opposite approach and rely on fear, unconstructive criticism, needless long hours and lack of work/life balance to force their employees into submission,” says Sam Dolin, Creative Director at Evoke Health. “It almost becomes a Stockholm Syndrome situation in which you are so beat up by your job that you are afraid to leave for fear that it could be even worse somewhere else.”

Cutthroat Employees: “If I visit a company and there’s a sense that everyone there is either predator or prey, that’s a huge turn-off,” says Drew Hansen, Marketing Director at Roska Healthcare Advertising. “I consider myself fortunate to work in a place that genuinely promotes sharing ideas and a spirit that says, ‘It’s ok to fall, so long as you fall forward.’ ”

Bad Culture: “It’s easy when the misalignment is obvious, but sometimes you need to be prepared to do some creative research on the company and its people. Increase your emphasis on culture when you are being recruited,” says John Lopos, EVP, Client Services & Commercial Strategy at Triple Threat Communications. “Strong companies demonstrate their beliefs through public behavior. When they show commitment to their beliefs, they attract and keep like-minded talent.”

Micro-management: “Too much oversight and burdensome policies inhibit growth and communication,” says Michelle Nezamabadi, Human Resources Director at HCB Health.  “When senior management chooses to create an open and positive environment, it trickles down through all managers and leads to employees having greater job satisfaction and a stronger voice, which begets greater productivity and better business results.”


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