PR and Communications

Does the billability culture ever stop? I thought Weber Shandwick was bad but BCW takes the cake.

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Nope. Not if you work for a firm owned by one of the holding companies, or even some big boutiques.

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@Senior VP 1: I agree. We’re experiencing the same with our new biz. People are burnt out billing time they can’t sustain themselves in the room during pitches.

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“Billability Culture” will never stop for any agency that wants to be fiscally responsible and be able to pay/promote/hire employees. I’m sure there are roles for non-billable employees if that’s the path you want to take at BCW or anywhere, but those tend to be more operations, new biz focused.

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Of course, that’s how firms and agencies make money. But when being billable is the sole focus of an agency instead of recruiting and retaining talent, it becomes toxic. Those who have been in PR for years, have accepted this culture as the norm. Those who are new to the industry see how troubling billability culture actually is. There are more important things then being billable. How about sustaining talent? How about creating a culture where employees aren’t working 9-9 just to hit their projection target? Beyond promoting talent, preventing burnout shout be a priority.

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Hmmm smells like a Burson person to me where no one ever projected or billed their time and then wonder why they got acquired?

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lmao i LOVE this shade!! please go on!

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I work for an agency that has grown in revenue for the past 15 years and has a lot of ERG’s and culture groups. Billability is a must for any company making money, but people eating lunch in the kitchen without their laptops don’t need to get snobby looks

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People eating lunch in general shouldn’t get snobby looks. People leaving at 5pm instead of being in the office until 8pm shouldn’t get snobby looks. Yet, agency culture has carried on for decades in this toxic format.

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IMO, pre-merger folks (on both sides) seem to be way more obsessed with these numbers than ones that came on board post merger. They view it as a job security thing for themselves personally and then push that down to their teams. If you're being continually hounded about it, talk to someone senior outside of your team about what's going on. An objective third party can usually help you find a way forward. I work in a non-NYC office and we don't see this issue nearly as often as the folks up there do.

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I’m 100% non-billable, investment in agency comms and PR. We just hired a second 100% non-billable resource for support. I’m within IPG umbrella.

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I’ve had successful stunts within brand and agency environments, with experience developing content strategies for B2B and B2C entities. My experience on the brand side was always a fight to fully prioritize and invest in comms/PR against everything else going on within the business—when most don’t really take the time to tell deeper stories. I love the agency environment I’m in now—the energy, the backing of top leadership and the runway to experiment. Happy to chat more about it, if that’s helpful.

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upliftinghelpful
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What was your experience at Weber like? I haven’t found the billability culture here too bad - I’ve heard horror stories from agencies elsewhere, but I guess it can be office-dependent?

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Minor compared to what I’m dealing with now. Emails four to five times a day on submitting time, projection meetings throughout the week, constant goal sitting on hitting projections. Yes, that’s all part of business growth but employee wellbeing takes a back burner at BCW.

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