I’ve gained a lot more than weight…
What makes a company and the workplace great?
Some may say the cool office, the amazing perks and parties, all the awards and prestige and so on. Sure these parts are all nice—but to me what always comes first is the people, without which a lot of former would not be possible. I’m not talking about just having those few rockstar employees who always knock it out of the park (yeah we all love and appreciate them), I mean the entire team as a whole. After all, you’re spending at least 40 hours with all these people every week. They are your extended familia. Enjoying your time solving problems together is what makes a job more than just a “job” and a co-worker much more—a friend.
When you’ve got an entire team of about 50 talented people, across different disciplines all operating within a strong office culture built on respect, just imagine how all that potential is amplified as they work together. The synergy that the three groups Mobext (mobile/digital marketing), Socialyse (social media), and Ecselis (performance marketing and data) have here at Havas WW Buenos Aires is made possible by the help of those close bonds they’ve forged within their teams and across departments.
This dynamic is the recipe for success and betterment at all scales — for the individual, the teams, the agency, the clients. The outcome? A healthy environment of happy team members that collaborate well to create the best possible work and a unified agency that is a stronger partner to its clients, capitalizing on its full range of expertise and capabilities.
Back at my home department, Havas WW NYC, we have the same goal. There are ongoing efforts to raise awareness to both our clients and the rest of the Havas Village of our digital capabilities through the synergy between the experience strategy and design, visual design and technology groups, called the Product Design and Technology group.
Wisdoms and inspirations from my extended familia
1 Find creative ways to engage your clients
Educate them, ideate with them, and inspire and expose them to your full stack of capabilities. Set up work sessions and client award ceremonies— whatever you do just be creative with it. The very same principles of grabbing and holding the attention of the client’s audience apply here too.
Evolve your client relationships to becoming strategic partners to one another — break any client preconceptions of the agency as a vendor.
2 Support and nurture office culture
Clients are not the only ones that need to stay engaged. It’s one thing to have the agency set up the typical office happy hour (no complaints here) but they should also nurture the culture that organically develops within the teams.
A lunchtime running club, a Friday office Jenga challenge, a monthly BBQ? Havas WW Buenos Aires, you’re doing it right! Your agency’s health depends on it — for quality of work, productivity, morale, employee retention and recruiting.
3 Agencies should make investments on high impact projects with their communities and clients
Yes, the agency needs to turn a profit to keep the lights on. But there should be conscious efforts to green-light projects from time to time that have high creative potential, for the local community, charity, or clients that lack big budgets.
Going the extra mile to realise the full potential of creative concepts for a project that would not be ordinarily entertained within the available budgets, can really beef up the agency portfolio with something out of the ordinary. The agency and clients get interesting case studies to submit for awards and recognition (*cough Bob Dylan cough*). It also gives team members a dash of variety to help keep them engaged.
4 Employees with diversified skill sets and capabilities build team resilience
This one is pretty self explanatory, obviously the more one knows the better. From a management and staffing perspective, when there is a lack of staff availability for a specific skill set it’s a lifesaver when the multidisciplinary team member can take on that role too—or in instances where there’s a deliberate need to keep the team lean for budget and scoping reasons.
With this in mind, I urge all of you creatives to take advantage of the learning stipend available to us from Havas. Take some classes and learn UX/UI or coding basics or brush up on your motion design/after effects. Your future self will thank you.
So as the title and lead image of this post clearly indicate…
I head back to NYC with the consequences of indulging in the delicious gastronomy offerings (I’m going to miss all the delicious steaks and other meats — though I did run as I mentioned I would).
On a more serious note I also come back heavier in learnings and insights from how Havas WW Buenos Aires operates between teams, departments and processes. They are living the Havas mantra, “To Better Together”.
Muchas muchas gracias my extended familia — all the teams here and my coaches, Juanjo Perazzo and Pedro Di Risio for letting me pick their brains and treating me as one of their own. And last but not least thank you to the #HavasLofts program, for making this an unforgettable experience.
To all you future Havas Lofters
Be mucho mucho curious and inquisitive. Yes, you’ll have a coach to help guide you but you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t reach out to other people around you on your own, at all levels (muchas gracias chico y chicas in Buenos Aires for being patient with me and my poor Spanglish). You’ll never know what you can learn from them unless you try.
And once you’ve exercised your networking skills in your host agency, do the same back home. Introduce yourself to those people you always pass by in the elevators or hallways on a weekly basis yet have not worked with yet. You’ll never know what opportunities may arise from making that connection.