As professionals in the brand, digital and ultimately, the marketing industry, “the work” often seems like the start, beginning and the end of our world. And while there is truth in that, it’s the level of emphasis on “the work” that I would argue is to our own – and our clients’ – detriment. We know as marketing professionals that our world is fast-paced and at its best, exciting, inspiring, innovative and creative, and at it’s less than best, it can be frenzied, arduous and tiring.
So, given the realities of the industry, how do we create great work without solely focusing on “great work”?
The answer is simple, we focus on people. From a client point of view, building strong partnerships and trusted relations with our clients is one of the major factors that lead to great work. But building trust with our clients doesn’t start there, it starts with building trust with – and amongst – our people. Meaningful partnerships start with the company. How is this achieved? The answers are simple yet important, and certainly not siloed:
Don’t forget your roots
Growth is what we all aspire to, whether it be professional growth, account growth or overall business growth. However, agencies should never forget their roots. For us, we have never forgotten that independent, entrepreneurial spirit that led to us opening Omnia in the first place.
We live and breath this spirit, and this “can-do” attitude has been ingrained in our culture – amongst team members at all levels, in our internal dealings and of course, those with clients.
Team members are encouraged to think independently, take ownership and be creative. We work together to find solutions and no feat is too big or small for us to work together to solve.
Empower your team
Part and parcel with an independent “can-do” spirit is giving team members the licence to make decisions. Recruiting the best talent is one part of it but giving them the freedom to actually thrive is key. This doesn’t mean a lack of oversight.
We, for example make it a point that all accounts to have at least one senior management team member meaningfully and actively involved in each account.
In this team led approach, accountability is shared, and management is hands-on enough to know what is happening and that our team is on track, while at the same time, giving them the power to get on with it.
The result is a team that has ownership, one that feels empowered which in our experience, is when solutions are found, and creativity thrives.
Foster and recognise talent
As I mentioned, recruiting great talent or those with great potential is just one part. Another part, giving them the freedom to do their job.
The third, but not final piece of the equation is fostering that talent – giving them a career path and the tools, training and mentorship needed to grow and move forward professionally.
For smaller agencies, this can easily fall by the wayside in the frantic rush to get the work done but it is something that is vital to delivering great work and building a thriving agency.
Members of all teams – be it the client services team, the digital team, our creatives, social media team, or the accounts team – need to have a career plan that is supported at all levels of the business.
Fostering talent attracts talent, keeps talent, builds capacity and skill, which in turn, results in great work.
Given a damn
A strong culture, empowered team, a path forward for our team members. Job done, right? Sit back and watch the award-winning work roll in.
Not quite. We spend most of waking hours at work and its crucial, as leadership, that the people you work with and work for you, know you care about them. In the past 11 years, yes, we have seen our team grow and flourish professionally, but we also have celebrated their personal wins – marriages, children being born – and seen and supported our team members through personal setbacks.
As the CEO, I am acutely aware that it’s not only our team members relying on us as a business, its their families – sometimes extended – their spouses, children.
We have a commitment to our people and it’s important that they know this. On a basic human level, it’s the right thing to do and coincidentally, its also good for business as people feel secure and supported.
Remember to have fun
Lastly, but certainly, not least is remembering to have fun as a team. Working hard and having fun should go hand in hand.
For us, that means celebrating the wins – large and small – with quarterly get-togethers, a fun office environment with music and chocolate on Thursdays.
As small as these gestures seem, they’re meaningful and they play a big role in helping create a culture where people are happy and productive and where creativity flourishes.
By Steve Haysom, CEO of Omnia