POV

Why we’re the best… place to work

December 4, 2018

by Michelle Edwards
Director, Operations & Human Resources

During this time of intense scrutiny over how some corporations have been treating their employees, I thought it was a great idea to share some of the reasons why I believe Heartbeat made the MM&M 2018 Best Places to Work list.

When I first decided to write this, I was overwhelmed by trying to include the laundry list of more than 50 perks and programs we provide for our employees. Seriously, who really has the headspace to remember every single gift, game, or special activity that pops up throughout the year? I certainly didn’t. So when I thought about why I truly believe Heartbeat made this list, it wasn’t necessarily the perks and it certainly wasn’t some complex, heavily guarded secret. In fact, it was only 5 simple things:

1. “It’s the people”

Heartbeat made the MM&M Best Places to Work list because of our rock star, challenge-hungry, wildly talented people. Period. But getting hired here means your excellence goes beyond your talent, and Matt Dolce, Heartbeat’s Recruiting Manager, gets that. It’s often not about what your resume says you did, or what school you went to, that will land you a job here. It’s more about what makes you different (or maybe even weird) that gets you one of our unconventional, and quite amusing, offer letters.

If you ask a Heartbeater why they’re so engaged, and what motivates them to do great work every day, they’ll tell you: “It’s the people.” If I had a dollar for each time I heard those words, I would be rich.

2. We give a damn

And giving a damn starts from the top. Let’s just say I’ve been around the block at a few different companies and was immediately impressed when I started at Heartbeat 9 years ago. I was amazed at the genuine concern senior leadership had for Heartbeaters’ personal well-being. I thought it beautifully strange that the CEO knew everyone’s name, what they did, if they had families, etc. I was also taken aback at how often the senior leaders thanked and publicly recognized employees. Needless to say, I knew I was at a great place to work all those years ago. From breakfast with the CEO, which is now cocktails with the Managing Directors, James Talerico and Nadine Leonard, to the many recognition awards like the “Heart of It”, the “Challenger” award, and “Peer Props,” all the way down to the smallest things like interest in your family and personal hobbies, Heartbeaters feel they are appreciated and cared for personally by their leaders.

We don’t just leave it to senior leadership; we train all of our managers on how to give a damn. James Talerico personally walks each manager through his “Manager’s Manifesto,” which serves as a recipe of sorts on how to be a great leader. The focus on managers continues with monthly trainings, check-ins, checklists, tool kits, and more. And get this: We actually hold our managers accountable for how well they give a damn.

3. Our employees are our clients

Have you ever received customer service that was so good, it shocked you? You were so excited about how that customer service representative treated you that you wanted to write a letter to his/her manager? We want Heartbeaters to feel serviced in just the same way! In fact, there is a whole department dedicated to servicing Heartbeaters. In HR/Operations, it is our job to identify what employees need (or anticipate what we think they will need), and then we execute it! Heartbeaters work damned hard and we want them to know we appreciate it, so we do thoughtful things like plan free massages, or we bring in meditation specialists to host reoccurring meditation sessions, or Amir Diwane, Employee Experience Champion, scoots by on his scooter asking Heartbeaters if they are happy or need anything. Everything we do comes from a place of genuine love, and Heartbeaters feel that—even when they miss the deadline to sign up for the massage or can’t attend the meditation session.

Would you respond to one of your biggest clients if they had a problem or a suggestion? Of course you would! And so do we! We take employee questionnaires and engagement survey results very seriously around here. We are obsessed with wanting to know what employees think with our many surveys and check-ins, but that’s only because we are obsessed with keeping Heartbeaters happy!

4. We’re crushing culture

From rolling out the red carpet on a Heartbeater’s first day until the day of the exit interview on an employee’s last day, no detail in the employee experience is overlooked. Not only is the atmosphere inviting and collaborative, and full of laughter, it is also fun! Pharma advertising isn’t easy; that’s why we make it a priority to play even harder than we work, whenever possible.

“Upbeat” is our take on color wars, where Heartbeaters band together to compete in numerous challenges (e.g., cocktail-making contest, water balloon toss) and win points for their team. The team with the most points can choose from sweet prizes like Apple iPads, GoPros, or just cold, hard cash. Every summer Heartbeaters shut down their computers and take a vacation day together. Past adventures have included a clambake on the North Fork and a scavenger hunt at the Met. Each year, employees are showered with gratitude for all that they do during “LoveBeat”, Heartbeat’s employee appreciation week. Treats include spa services (massages, facials, nail treatments), a breakfast omelet bar, craft cocktail lessons, comedy shows, and surprise gifts. “BodyBeat” is an employee-led effort that encourages Heartbeaters to live healthy lifestyles by organizing health-focused initiatives throughout the year, such as pedometer challenges, nutritious snacks at the office, and monthly health-inspired events. When a Heartbeater adds another yearly notch to their belt, they are given a cash bonus to use towards a theme that aligns with our “Challenger” mindset. For example, at Year 5, employees get $1,000 towards an activity that requires courage. At Year 10, Heartbeaters get $5,000 to do something off their bucket list. “Worldbeat,” Heartbeat’s team of mini-crusaders, organizes 12-14 philanthropic events per year. An employee favorite is Career Day, where each department walks teens from an NYC organization through a day in the life of an advertising professional.

5. We always strive to do better

Despite making the MM&M Best Places to Work list, we will never be convinced we have all the answers to keeping employees engaged. We acknowledge when we fall short or miss the mark. We are constantly trying to figure out how to improve our responsiveness to the needs of Heartbeaters. We are constantly searching for new ways to keep them happy. What new perk can we offer? What new program can we design? What’s not working? What are we missing?

Heartbeaters are the most hard-working, loyal, thoughtful, and kindest people you’ll meet. We want to make this place feel like their second home, so our pantry is always stocked and senior leadership’s door is always open. Heartbeaters always say, “It’s the people that make this the best place to work.” Damn Straight. It’s the people.