At Mr. Youth, employees are treated to organic snacks, free parking for motorcycles and scooters and memberships in the Advertising Club. But the real perks are the company-paid benefits package and unlimited paid time off. The move to abolish set vacation, personal- and sick-day limits happened about a year and a half ago, said Dan LaFontaine, the agency's chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
"It's about recognizing that people don't need to be policed. In theory, a salary is meant to cover a job, not a set number of hours," Mr. LaFontaine said. "We want to let loose our employees creatively, so why not let them loose, time-wise?"
That move has been hugely popular and was lauded by numerous employees in an Ad Age survey. But employees were also quick to comment on the agency's "youthful spirit and energy" and "team environment." Said one: "The company has a way of making it seem like you are just hanging out and throwing ideas around with friends."
Founded in 2002 by Matt Britton, Mr. Youth is at its core a word-of -mouth agency, with specialties in social media and experiential marketing. The agency works with clients as varied as Procter & Gamble, Microsoft and Old Navy. But despite working with some of the world's biggest brands, agency management maintains an open-door policy. Leadership is "fair, strategic and inspiring," said one employee.
Mr. Youth also builds intellectual property , including crowdsourcing platform RepNation and influencer network Crowdtap, which was recently spun off as a stand-alone company. Mr. LaFontaine says product development not only is a benefit to clients but helps to foster a sense of innovation throughout the company.
The shop has grown rapidly, especially as of late, doubling its size in the past two years to more than 100 employees. Recently, it relocated from Manhattan's Chelsea Market to Union Square, in a bid for more space. Mr. LaFontaine said the agency's management is focused on preserving the entrepreneurial and youthful spirit Mr. Youth was founded on and is careful to balance growth with culture.
"We acknowledge that culture is key to our success," Mr. LaFontaine said. "So culture fit is a key criteria for us when we're recruiting. We dig into what excites an individual and how they imagine their role in the agency."