The Talent Era

Phil Nardone

As we celebrate our 20th PANniversary this year, I have really enjoyed both looking back and ahead via these monthly blog posts. Over the next three months, I decided it would be fun to focus each post on one of the three pillars of a PR firm: talent, clients and new business.

Seeing that these posts offer an opportunity to look back and reflect on the changes at PAN over the past 20 years, talent is an obvious area to explore. When we talk about talent at PAN, it turns out two decades have brought quite a bit of change. There are a number of reasons for that. As those of you who have been reading along know, when I first launched PAN, we were working out of my house with a staff of six people (plus my two very young sons running in and out of the “office”). Fast-forward to 2015 and we now have a staff of over 60 and occupy nearly an entire floor right on the Boston Harbor. Talk about a change.16068846966_83c4b4cede_z

Image by Stefano Montagner used under CC license.

As our staff has grown, I myself have made some adjustments to my leadership and managerial tactics. Here are just two examples:

Managing Multiple Generations: When I first set out on the adventure that is PAN Communications, I was mainly managing Gen Xers but as PAN has continued to grow, so has the diversity of its staff. Today, my staff is primarily composed of both Gen Xers and Millennials. Now, as I’ve talked about in previous posts, Millennials share many qualities with their Gen Xers counterparts, but there are also some key differentiators. As such, when Millennials started flooding the doorways here at PAN, I realized I needed to switch some things up to accommodate some of their unique needs. To do this, I implemented programs such as the Dedicated Vice President Program, in which each employee is paired with one of our five Vice Presidents who serves as their mentor, providing the guidance and feedback that Millennials value so highly. Gaining a better understanding of what makes Millennials tick also gave us the opportunity to reflect on some of our broader programs. As a result, our recognition programs are more robust, our training programs more comprehensive and our benefits offerings as strong as ever.

Flexible Work Schedules: As the Millennials started filling up desks in the office and we started implementing new programs to meet their needs, I realized that our Generation Xers were also changing and we needed to make some adjustments for them as well. One of the biggest shifts we made was the incorporation of flexible schedules. Now, flexible schedules are not all that uncommon today, with many companies across a variety of industries offering them to accommodate diverse and busy lifestyles. The first time we implemented a change was when we moved the offices from Andover to Boston. At the time, as our headquarters were out in the suburbs, the majority of our employees lived in the surrounding neighborhoods. While the move to downtown Boston was necessary for PAN, the commute into Boston was much longer for some of the staff, which meant more time away from home. To accommodate this, we introduced a more generous work from home policy to ease the stress of a long commute. In addition, as more of our staff transition into new phases of their lives, and expand their own family, we offer 4/5ths and part-time schedules, enabling our employees to spend more time with their little ones at home. Our most endeared time off benefit is our Summer Fridays, which has been a part of PAN for as long as most of our staff can remember.

As we have continued to grow our workforce, we most recently rolled out PAN’s first ever employee handbook, which current staff members can leverage for a reminder about our policies and procedures and new staff members can use to get to know PAN.  I can assure you this was something we didn’t need or even think about 20 years ago.

The talent pool sure has changed over the past 20 years but PAN has evolved in many ways to ensure we keep our employees engaged and happy.  I look forward to continuing to work with our staff and executive team to implement new strategies and benefits that continue to meet the expanding needs of our growing staff.


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