When the pandemic hit, employees started demanding more from employers. Some companies placated staff with free yoga classes and more flexible schedules but rarely offered pay raises and inevitably transitioned back to days in the office. Heartbeat saw the changing work landscape as an opportunity for compassion.
Heartbeat creates a company culture with compassion
“Whatever has come up has really been mainly about reminding people that we will work through whatever comes around the curve, and we will handle it together as we've always handled with humanity and compassion,” said Nadine Leonard, co-president and executive planning director. “We’re trying to listen to what people's individual needs and struggles are and making sure that we answer those things as best as we can.”
Early in the pandemic, Heartbeat stopped requiring in-office working hours and expanded benefits to include mindfulness support, additional childcare support, unlimited PTO and added bonus company holidays such as Juneteenth. But the Publicis Groupe agency didn’t see the ending of COVID restrictions as a signal to roll back these benefits.
Heartbeat remains mostly remote with flexible schedules, a six-month maternity leave policy and even fertility assistance. A dedicated employee experience champion focuses solely on maintaining the agency’s culture, and an in-house performance coach helps employees outline career paths and define goals.
The agency also has three “beats” to better connect its employees: A LoveBeat employee appreciation week; the UpBeat culture club that organizes regular team-based competitions for fun prizes; and the BodyBeat umbrella for its health and wellness offerings including yoga classes, health fairs and telehealth appointments.
Even with continued inflation and a potential recession in 2023, Heartbeat doesn’t see any layoffs in the future, but Leonard vows support of employees if the worst should happen. “We’re part of a nice big network, so it is a nice safety net because our first course of action if someone needs to find another slot someplace, we have a big network where we can help them land somewhere else,” she said.
What will set apart Heartbeat as a Best Place to Work amid the challenges of 2023?
James Talerico, co-president and executive creative director: “We will continue to celebrate people who are iconoclasts that have the ability to do things in a different or better way. We must continue to make sure that we encourage the behavior that helps us in the spirit of getting people to feel good about coming to the table with a new idea and connected to their role in how the agency works.”