PHD Australia

PHD Australia has been selected as an ABA100 Winner for HR Management in The Australian Business Awards 2019. The Australian Business Award for HR Management [HRM] recognises organisations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that demonstrate excellence in human resource management.

PHD is a leading communications planning and media buying agency. Created in the UK in 1990 as the first planning-led media agency, PHD was established in Australia in 2009 and quickly grew to over 200 staff across offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

As the media partner for high-profile clients including Google, PepsiCo, Volkswagen Group, Unilever and ANZ Bank amongst many more, PHD’s role is to advise clients on the best strategy to invest their marketing budget across all media channels – television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, online platforms, etc. and how to execute it. As such, PHD works closely with advertising agencies, public relations agencies and media vendors to promote clients’ products and services to their target audience in the most impactful and cost-efficient manner.

The media agency landscape in Australia is fragmented, with dozens of agencies competing with little differentiation. Additionally, the industry faces several complex challenges including the speed of change of digital media (as online platforms evolve, so do advertising opportunities). This climate of complexity and competition has significant impact on talent retention. Although the sector is experiencing double-digit growth (the overall media workforce increased by 65% over the last 5 years), staff turnover is also increasing with the latest Media Federation of Australia (MFA) census reporting a record 36% turnover rate industry-wide and a vacancy rate of 9.2%. 

PHD’s vision is to be recognised as one of Australia’s Smartest Companies and they believe that attracting, growing and retaining top talent is critical to business success. As such, People is one of the five core focus areas of their business strategy. To make PHD’s vision come to life through human resources practices, the People & Development Team has over the past few years, developed talent initiatives designed to engage employees on their growth journey and positively reward staff who live out the company’s values.

PHD’s program ‘Unlocking Smarts through Self-Leadership’ demonstrated a positive shift in retention, engagement and satisfaction of staff which was measured both internally and at industry level. The learnings of the program provide a starting point for the rest of the industry to re-think millennial engagement.

By arming junior staff with tools that help navigate their career in an increasingly complex environment, PHD projected increased ownership and confidence would lead to greater talent retention and engagement. Key performance indicators to monitor progress and measure success would be based on annual turnover, employee satisfaction & engagement and industry benchmarks, paired with the results from its engagement survey, industry Media I survey and internal stay interviews. Through research PHD was able to clearly define its goals and objectives, crafting a program that would combat this departure of junior talent.

The program ‘Unlocking Smarts through self-leadership’ was executed with the implementation of 4 key initiatives over a 6 month period, ultimately changing the way millennials are engaged by delivering greater empowerment, ownership and flexibility for junior staff and resulting in increased retention, engagement and satisfaction.

Amidst the backdrop of a fast paced and rapidly transforming industry it’s imperative that PHD’s business adapts and evolves. The company is aware of their need for agile, motivated and smart problem solvers to achieve its vision.

PHD operates in an environment where disruption is the norm and talent retention and satisfaction are plummeting across the industry. Through the crafting of a strong vision, PHD has been successful in building a recognisable employer brand which is known across the industry. The implementation of a human resources strategy aligned to the business strategy and underpinned by tailored programs that allow staff to grow with PHD has resulted in strong talent retention and employee engagement. This positive momentum allows PHD to service clients and innovate in an age of change.

The Australian Business Awards are an annual comprehensive awards program which recognises organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement via a set of established business and product award categories.

The Australian Business Awards are the national chapter of an integrated, hierarchical leadership initiative conducted on a national and international level. Eligible organisations are invited to participate in the international chapter of the program at The World Business Awards whereby participants are provided with the unique opportunity to benchmark themselves against the top performers globally.

The process culminates in the selection of organisations which implement world-class business initiatives, projects, products and services. The award recipients are recognised as the elite of their industry earning a place amongst a distinguished group by having their achievements acknowledged and celebrated.

Organisational eligibility includes private companies, publicly listed companies, multinational subsidiaries, not-for-profit organisations, non-government organisations, educational institutions, franchise systems, partnerships, government departments, government agencies, local government and statutory bodies operating in Australia.

Organisations are required to complete a submission for a specific business initiative, product or service.

Business initiatives can include but are not limited to projects, programs, processes, systems, technologies, developments, ventures and undertakings.

Products can include but are not limited to services, devices, equipment, programs, processes, activities, applications, information, knowledge, software, cloud-based services, platforms, systems and manufactured goods. Products must be commercially available on the Australian market and comply with all applicable Australian standards and regulatory requirements. Product eligibility includes domestic and international products available to the Australian marketplace.

The World Business Awards Framework (WBA Framework) is utilised as a structured model of assessment that enables the participating organisations to be benchmarked against world class performance standards.

The Framework consists of specialised assessment modules pertaining to the evaluation criteria for each of the award categories. The criteria and sub-criteria provide a robust set of requirements that are used as the methodology for benchmarking and learning among the participating organisations.

Organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement are recognised via a set of established business and product award categories.

The program provides a notable opportunity for high-performing organisations which implement world-class business initiatives and develop innovative products and services to be acknowledged and celebrated for their achievements both nationally and internationally.

Conducted annually, the program engages with organisations worldwide to benchmark the full spectrum of their products, services and initiatives and to review their business performance through a global recognition and knowledge building initiative that is underpinned by the program’s established framework.

The program provides the ultimate platform for building knowledge, increasing brand awareness, equity, loyalty and retention through increased exposure, recognition and prestige.

We are incredibly proud to be an ABA100 Winner of the 2019 HR Management Australian Business Award’s. Our People & Culture program is one of the key pillars of PHD’s strategy and its success has enabled PHD to reinforce our position as one of the industry’s smartest companies and better empower the next generation of media professionals.

Manon Pietra, People & Development Director, PHD Australia