The Building Blocks of Great Culture in an Agency
An Inside Look from Evok’s Managing Director
Your company culture exists whether or not you’ve focused on it. A workplace culture is the sum of many small parts—every personality, every relationship, the attitudes of the team, the normal day-to-day activities and how the team does the work they do. These are all elements that contribute to and make up a company culture.
And why does culture matter? I can tell you why it matters for evok. In order to do great work for our clients, we must have an environment where our team thrives. We have to build a place that people want to come back to day after day. We all want to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
Building a Great Culture
In advertising, we cannot directly dictate what a consumer will think about a product. We can only influence their perception and opinion. We change the tide of emotion through relevant marketing messages and tactics.
One can consider culture in much the same way. You cannot just state that you want a certain type of work culture. You have to sow the seeds to produce it. You have to implement things that will positively influence and perpetuate the culture in the right direction.
Many like to think that it’s the beer tap, the putting green or free car detailing that make evok’s culture special. Those things do count for something, but truthfully, they would matter little if we didn’t have the right foundation of trust, accountability and open communication. So, let’s take a look at things that really matter in building a great agency culture.
For each tip below, I’ve shared something we do at evok as a real-world example. We must do as we say and practice what we preach.
When an organization shields information, it creates an air of mistrust. To avoid negative speculation, evok is in the process of creating a profit sharing plan. To do this, we have to set sales goals that we’re willing to commit to and share with the team.
It’s not only transparency—it’s commitment at a new level. We’re setting our goal, and we’re asking our entire team to keep all of us accountable to reach it. Whether or not we deliver on them, we will share the results, good or bad. If we fail, we’ll be in it together. And if we succeed, we’ll share that success as a team. (I’m counting on the latter by the way.)
Have you ever had a friend who is endlessly planning excursions and then failing to ever follow through on making it happen? Or being reluctant to commit when others start the actual travel plans? It’s always fun to dream. But to plan and put something into action is harder work.
Follow through on your plans that you share with your team. Stick-to-itiveness is valued and what results is that your team will believe you when you say you’re going to do something.
Some time ago we made a promise to our team that anyone who referred a potential client would be compensated. The level of compensation varied on the value of the potential referral and whether it turned into a real opportunity. We cut our first check last month to an employee who shared the contact information and a potential opportunity from someone she knew.
Appreciation and Recognition
This one seems like a no brainer—simple common sense. But how often it’s missed. Managers can be quick to correct wrong behavior, but inversely they should also be quick to praise. A simple thank you or recognition that a difficult task was accomplished can go a long way.
Recently, we had a few individuals work above and beyond to make a client happy. It entailed redoing a lot of work and staying up late several nights to get it right. I’m sure a few family dinners were missed and personal downtime that we all value. Their manager sent each an e-card with a small gift card attached to say that their work was appreciated. Their efforts kept the account intact which ultimately keeps us all employed.
While our agency culture is a work in progress—ever changing and evolving—we have a good thing going here, and I hope to only see that improve as the years roll on.
What stories do you have to share that have improved your agency or work culture? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us a peek inside your agency’s culture. We’d love to hear from you.