Best Places to Work 2010

PR Behemoth Edelman Keeps Culture Consistent

With Offices Around the Globe, Company Employs Thousands but Manages to Keep All United in Goal of Exemplary Client Service

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YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- With well more than 3,000 employees in more than 50 countries around the globe, maintaining a consistent culture and innovative workplace would seem difficult, if not impossible, for Edelman, a large, independent public-relations agency. But Edelman employees don't seem to know that.

"It doesn't matter what level of the organization you're in, if you have the best idea, the best idea wins," said Conroy Boxhill, VP in the corporate and public-affairs practice. "We're also always being encouraged to take risks. That comes from Richard [Edelman, CEO], but it trickles down to every level."

Each Edelman office handles its own community-service initiatives and provides pro-bono work to local and national groups.
Each Edelman office handles its own community-service initiatives and provides pro-bono work to local and national groups.

EDELMAN
LOCATION: Co-headquartered in New York and Chicago; 52 offices worldwide

EMPLOYEES: 3,300

GIVING BACK: Contributed about $300,000 to specific organizations, as well as significant staff time to a variety of causes. Community-service initiatives are handled on an office-by-office basis, and each U.S. Edelman office provides pro-bono support to local and national institutions. For example, the San Francisco office works with the Bay Area Council to provide research, brand strategy and visual identity.

Mr. Edelman, in fact, is another plus, employees said. Recently named one of the 10 most popular bosses in America by online career community Glassdoor, respect and admiration for him and his founding family, and the family atmosphere that it fosters, permeate the organization.

Lisa Levandowski, senior account supervisor, noted that last year at the Leadership Academy, an annual confab of selected employees, she not only networked with global colleagues, but also went to the home of founder Daniel Edelman (Richard's father) for cocktails and conversation.

She listed mentors, the emphasis on education, technology innovation and tools, and transparency from top to bottom as some of the reasons she enjoys working at Edelman. She is also about to take part in her current favorite perk and one of Edelman's newest programs, called the Edelman Fellows, in which a handful of executives will go to work in various global offices for about 18 months.

Employees are also recognized and rewarded formally for creativity and innovation. The Edelman Quality Awards are given to seven individuals each year for "exemplary client service, an innovative initiative and for setting the standard for quality at the firm." The Eddy Awards recognize six employees for consistent effort in advancing the caliber of Edelman's work.

Kristine Boyden, exec VP-global client relations manager, has a unique perspective on Edelman, as she joined through an acquisition of tech-specialty agency A&R Partners four years ago. "You can see a future here. There is a challenging environment for everyone, a strong belief in and by the management team, and you feel supported every day in the way you serve the client. We're all in it together," she said.

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