In its 13th year of being in business, Los Angeles-based agency High Wide & Handsome continues to put employees first, whether that’s through its no-pitch mindset or the many incentives awarded to employees, including its “peer pay” program that allows each employee to give four $500 bonuses to colleagues every year, dividing them among several co-workers or giving them all to one.
High Wide & Handsome celebrates talent and loyalty with peer-to-peer bonuses and (if you stick around) a $5,000 reward
“Loyalty needs to be recognized in as many ways and as often as possible,” said Mike Wolfsohn, chief creative officer at High Wide & Handsome.
That’s why the agency allocates some of its perks based on the number of years employees have been with the company. For a one-year work anniversary, the agency takes everybody to lunch at the restaurant of the employee’s choosing. Two years in, employees are gifted an iPad or Apple Watch.
After five years, employees get a $5,000 expense account for anything they want, with the caveat that it must be “something you wouldn't otherwise do,” Wolfsohn said. Previous recipients have used the money to travel—and one was encouraged to go on a shopping spree.
After 10 years with the agency, employees are given a “Lunch for Life” card, meaning High Wide & Handsome basically covers an employee’s lunch expenses for the rest of their time at the company.
The average “Lunch for Life” recipient is 54—something the agency takes pride in. At the agency, 45% of its employees are more than 40 years old, 23% are over 50 and nearly 10% are over 60.
“I think that is one of the weaknesses of agencies that are really focusing on trends in social media without being able to layer on the historical, traditional strategic perspective that most of us grew up in this business with,” Wolfsohn said.
What will set apart High Wide & Handsome as a Best Place to Work amid the challenges of 2023?
Mike Wolfsohn, chief creative officer: “The focus on employee retention and how that translates into client retention is what has set us up to be as successful as we've been through the pandemic. I think the other thing that has always been a hallmark of our agency—and this is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but it's something that we take really seriously and I think deliver in some unique ways—is just total transparency.”