In the May issue, Campaign magazine has published its annual review of the best and worst places to work. The employment landscape for participating agencies and marketing departments has rarely been so dramatic.

Desirable employers continue to put people first but COVID has accelerated a reassessment of employee priorities. Work must now be meaningful, the workplace diverse and safe, with wellbeing as a focus. Fairness, understanding, and support are cultural essentials.

The survey’s horror stories emerge from organisations that err in resourcing, leadership, and balance. These failures lead to poor working practices, destructively long hours, and a desire for individuals to leave (at worst both the job and the industry).

A key factor seems to be how well the persistent client expectation of more bang for buck is managed by all parties.

In my experience as a business relationship consultant, it is vital to establish mutual commitment founded on transparency and respect. And taking the time to evaluate, appreciate and improve the value that client and agency teams bring to the shared enterprise.

When business relationships are flying high, employers can truly be at their best.