Best Places to Work 2012

Slingshot Is No. 16 on Ad Age's Best Places to Work List

Freedom to Explore Different Career Paths Makes for a More Well-Rounded, Dedicated Staff -- Paid Sabbatical Isn't Bad, Either

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Talk to the executives at the 75-person shop Slingshot and it's clear how much they value their employees. In fact, it was after listening to employees that the agency resolved to completely reorganize in early 2011 and move away from departments, thereby allowing individuals to wear many hats.

"We had a typical departmental-agency model where people just kind of stick to one thing," said Owen Hannay, founder-CEO. "The problem was there was a single career path in each department. But we blew up the entire model and allowed people to play with multiple roles." The agency now encourages employees to move around frequently to learn as many disciplines as they're interested in.

Though Mr. Hannay said he was at first concerned that breaking down silos would result in a lack of employee expertise, he said it's never been an issue and that the agency "is doing a better job because of it."

It's clear that employees appreciate everything, from the open space and lack of cubicles to the freedom to explore their own career paths. Said one staffer: "From accounts, research, emerging media and beyond ... if an employee has an interest, the company does all it can to ensure they get to try."

It also has the Slingshot Charitable Foundation, a philanthropic organization that allows staff to raise money for Dallas community schools.

And the agency is serious about giving employees time off. One person noted that a favorite aspect of the agency was that during the summer, employees leave at 2 p.m. on Friday. Also, those who have been there for several years get a paid monthlong sabbatical.

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