The word “family” can encompass a lot of different things. Sometimes it refers to the people you’re related to. Sometimes it means the people you care about. Overarchingly, those whom you count as your “family” tend to be the people you spend a lot of time with. That’s why, when you work for a business that cares about you, your colleagues may start to feel less like coworkers and more like siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.
Growing and maintaining a family-by-choice is something local public relations and public affairs firm Randle Communications knows — and does — well. Jeff Randle, who started the company in Sacramento in August 2001, is a proud patriarch, watching his family of employees and workers reach a milestone anniversary with the firm turning 15 years old a few weeks ago. He knows well that you don’t have to be related to people to feel like they’re part of your family.
Randle, who had worked at other communications firms (and who served as deputy chief of staff to former Gov. Pete Wilson) before beginning his own company, says it was important to him to keep decisions in-house at his own firm and involve the people who work there as much as possible. “Everything is team, team, team and family,” he stresses.
Randle Communications has worked with such companies as the University of Phoenix, Golden State Water Company, California Association of Realtors, California Building Industry Association and Chief Probation Officers of California. But Randle says one of his biggest accomplishments is the family atmosphere that, in an often-tumultuous industry, has kept many employees with the company for years — most of the senior team, he says, has been there for at least seven.
“People bring their kids in all the time, and I feel I’m really well-connected to their families, as much as I am to my employees,” Randle says. “We share things together.” Pictures of accomplishments and employee functions and events line the walls behind (and on top of) desks. With just 20 employees at Randle Communications, the Sacramento Business Journal has honored the company with the Best Places To Work award (previously known as the A+ Employers award) for six years running. “It’s a validation to me,” Randle says, “and I’m very proud we keep getting that.”
Part of keeping the team happy and motivated is only working with “clients we want to represent,” he says. He adds that Randle Communications also does “a ton of local stuff,” which recently included helping to coordinate the PR for the “Ethan Cleans Up.” The event helped a young boy live out his dream of being a garbage truck driver for a day through the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The company is also committed to being involved in the “growth of Sacramento,” says Randle, and he and his team continue to seek out “important public policy issues that make an impact on the future of California.”
Ana Helman, director of strategic alliances and partnerships at Randle Communications, has been with the company for eight years. “It’s such a great team and I feel like it’s a family,” she says. “It’s such a supportive environment; I’m not sure that’s something you get everywhere.” One of her first jobs was working for Randle partner and co-founder Mitch Zak on a political campaign, and it’s there she began to be welcomed into the Randle family. “I’ve always known their commitment to families and I know that their families come first.”
The commitment to family and a flexible work schedule is something she experienced firsthand, soon after starting work at the firm, with a young son still at home and a daughter on the way. “It’s a great thing to come to work every day and know they’re just as committed as you are,” Helman says. “They understand when a baby is sick and you need to be home.”
For Randle, a family business means so much more than just employing people who are related to you. “When you run a family business and it’s your name on the door, [employees are] so important,” he says. “It’s almost like ‘Randle’ is their last name too.”
To read more about family business in the Capital Region, pick up the October issue of Comstock’s magazine.