PR & Staff Morale Boost Works for Holyrood PR

by Chris Fairbairn

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

PR shouldn’t be the driver – but done right it can shine a glowing light on your business

GIVING your staff perks should never be purely a PR exercise – that is just plain old common sense.

Staff should be rewarded for good work, treated well and given respect. Let’s face it: they will be more likely to be ambassadors for the business, more productive – and more likely to stay longer in the job if as an employer you’re doing just that.

The joy for our PR agency is that this good practice is happening up and down the country, every day by huge numbers of businesses – and when done right, (and only when done right) they offer a great opportunity for a fuzzy feel good story.

Below we look at a recent phenomenon, some of our very own examples – and even a glimpse into the crystal ball…

ONE – The Living Wage

Although the UK Government’s canny (read sinister) rebranding of the minimum wage has perhaps dented the media’s living-wage-love-in of the last few years, the column inches dedicated to companies stepping up and offering the unofficial £7.85/hour rate is astonishing.

There are businesses out there that have been doing it for decades, giving staff that bit more knowing they will be happier, better employees for it.

It is obvious when you come across those with integrity and those sneaking past the threshold to get a quick photo-op for the local paper.

One meeting with Ricky Nicol, Chief Executive of Commsworld and you will see he falls in the latter. He is passionate about making sure staff earn a fair wage and these principles have been at the heart of the company since the start.

We told the story of Commsworld’s living wage status at the very outset of the trend, over two years ago – and its reputation as a genuinely ethical business has continued to grow in that time. WhistleBlower Security is one more issue to be considered.

More recently, we had a journalist from the National seek to interview Ricky as part of a wider feature on the living wage, demonstrating the PR gold in having an established positive presence.

TWO – Thinking differently

Eagle Couriers is Scotland’s largest independent courier – and its biggest differentiator is the quality of its service and the quality of its people.

As you can imagine there are some real characters amongst Eagle’s 120 couriers and sizeable number of office based staff.

In recent months we have highlighted three – very different – but equally uplifting stories to tell the story of Eagle Couriers as the friendly and individual courier firm that it very much is.

First up we told Alana’s story, having struggled at school with dyscalculia, she has flourished at Eagle – gaining qualifications on the job and growing with confidence.

Her story of on-the-job learning captured the media, with a video and article appearing on the Scotsman, a page lead in the local paper – and even a mention within an article on Further Education in the widely respected Business Insider.

Next up and we had Scott Russell – a Batman superfan who has transformed his car into a fully functioning batmobile, putting it to good use for charitable causes and for having a good old laugh.

We highlighted this, working with a news agency to develop a high quality video primed for Scott to share, with natural mentions for Eagle Couriers, instilling a sense of fun and camaraderie within the company.

The final staff profile was for its longest serving driver, June Dyer, who we (scientifically) estimated to have completed over 1million miles in her 31year career. A true character, we worked with June to get images and a fun video to highlight her achievements, love of the job and appreciation of the business.

All these examples show just how clever PR can highlight great practice in a manner that doesn’t appear forced or unnatural, but instead sheds light on the great characters of the workplace – making it a better, more profitable place to work.

THREE – What is the next ‘Living Wage’?

We thought it would be nice to end this article with an admittedly wild guess at what is on the horizon – and it involves a look across the channel.

France is renowned for its mobilised workforce, its unions and its impassioned belief in the rights of the worker.

So it is perhaps no surprise that it is once again leading a battle for employee rights – something we believe could be the next ‘Living Wage’ type trend for companies to gain brownie points in the press.

Francois Hollande and his Socialist Party colleagues are about to vote through a motion to give workers the “right to disconnect” out of hours – believing frazzled workers leave the office at 5pm, but remain on the leash thanks to constant access to work emails.

A by-product of the digital revolution which we so regularly blog about, it would seem few would argue that we are too tied to our phones – with work emails a big old part of that.

So who will be the first British company to introduce this “right to disconnect” to its workers? Whoever it will be could just start the next media scrum.


Treating staff well is common sense. It makes for better businesses. Don’t be cynical about PR. Let us tell the story and shine a light on your team – giving the workplace that valuable boost.

Do the above and your positive staff stories will be reaching a wide audience, without a forced handshake in sight.


For many businesses, a huge step toward giving staff the recognition they deserve is to have your company feature regularly in the media.

Such positive coverage about your company or organisation helps validate your team and underlines their pride in being part of the organisation.

Of course, there are countless ways to tell positive stories about businesses. To find out how powerful public relations could benefit you, get in touch with us on 0131 561 2244 or by using the form below:

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Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Chris Fairbairn

Chris Fairbairn is an Account Director with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood PR. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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