Agency News


January 27, 2023

How to Build a Workplace Worthy of Ad Age’s Best Places to Work



Katie Flynn shares the choices that have made an impact on our agency culture

This week, Flynn celebrated a first: being named to Ad Age’s 2023 Best Places to Work.

I’m so very proud to share this news. Knowing this award is a direct reflection of our staff’s feedback and the positive culture we’ve built at Flynn, it’s far and away the most meaningful accolade we’ve received. I’m honored to work alongside the people who embody our company beliefs each day, who make this agency so special.

Flynn is a third-generation, family-owned and run agency. So, it should come as no surprise that our people are our number one priority. We’ve made a conscious effort to build a healthy environment that people want to be a part of, making strategic choices (big and small) each day that further this goal.

In recent years, we have seen a marked increase in staff’s day-to-day happiness at work. We’ve received high marks from our clients on our team’s high engagement, collaboration, and communication. We’ve even seen increased financial success, which is a proven byproduct of more supported, more fulfilled teams—as just about any study will tell you.

In honor of Ad Age’s Best Places to Work, I wanted to share just a few choices and changes that I believe have made the biggest positive impact on Flynn’s culture over the years:

Brought the Human Back: We started checking in more. In my opinion, this is the most important shift we made. We talk to our people about how they’re feeling emotionally and dig deeper to understand where they need support. This has created an environment where people have the psychological safety to ask for help and share their concerns and desires.

Started a Profit-Sharing Program: When Flynn has a strong year, everyone on the team benefits. We believe any success the agency enjoys is a direct result of the diligent efforts of our team, so when the company does well, so should they. We want our people to know they have ample skin in the game beyond a biweekly paycheck and a benefits package.

Added Flexible PTO: Though over 70 percent of employees would like an unlimited PTO policy, only 10 percent of U.S. companies have adopted one. Numerous studies have shown the employer benefits of adopting a flexible or unlimited PTO policy, including higher staff productivity, more effective retention and recruitment, and ultimately, cost savings. We trust our folks to strike the balance that works best for them, and they don’t abuse the flexibility. In 2022, Flynners took an average of 20 days paid vacation. (Plus, 10+ paid holidays.)

Paid Parental Leave: The Wall Street Journal reports only 35 percent of U.S. companies offer paid maternity leave, and just 27 percent offer paid paternity leave—beyond what is required by law. These are significant decreases from just two years ago. We believe all parents are entitled to sufficient paid leave to bond with their child, whether after birth or adoption. As a family business, giving people the means to prioritize their own families was a no- brainer.

Set Realistic Expectations: Sometimes we have to work more and sometimes we don’t. We encourage people to take advantage of the natural lulls, whether by exploring new ideas for clients, learning something new, or even just ducking out a little early for some R&R. We trust our staff to deliver for our clients and I’ve found that when we do need to work the occasional weekend to hit a deadline, there’s no shortage of volunteers.

Added Holiday Break: We close the agency for the last full week of December, in between Christmas and New Year’s. Why? It’s one thing to take some time off, but it’s another to be given protected time off when your teammates aren’t working and there’s no guilt or pressure to catch up on emails. Come January 1st, our clients get a refreshed Flynn team that’s ready to go. This has been a transformative addition to our PTO calendar, and I highly recommend it.

We have high expectations here at Flynn, but we’re unwavering in our belief that supporting each other with empathy, mentoring, and kindness is central to our success. I’m immensely proud of this agency, and equally proud that our team notices and values our efforts, too. Thank you to all the Flynners who have helped build this place that is so very special to me.

“Companies Are Cutting Back on Maternity and Paternity Leave,” The Wall Street Journal, August 2022
“How Employers Benefit from Offering Unlimited Paid Time Off,” Bloomberg Businessweek, August 2022

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