Early 2018 saw the AdNews People & Culture Award, founded by iknowho. With a shortlist of four finalists, agencies across the country demonstrated their innovative initiatives of putting the people first. As one of this year’s four finalists Jasmine Lansdell, People & Culture Director from The Works says ‘people and culture are our number one priority…the people here are what make the agency great’. Over the coming weeks, we will be speaking with this year’s finalists and winner.
As a returning finalist, I caught up with Jasmine to speak about The Works’ consecutive nomination.
What made you decide to enter the People & Culture Award again?
We believe that we have a fantastic culture and some of the best talent in the industry, so we enter awards where this will be recognised. When we’re nominated or if we’re lucky enough to win, it’s great recognition for the people that make this happen; the leaders who drive our business and the people who make our culture what it is. We've been lucky enough to have been ranked 14th in the Great Places to Work survey this year, so we must be doing something right.
How do you ensure a balance of consistency and innovation in the People & Culture initiatives you introduce?
It’s all about listening to your people, keeping what works and improving what doesn’t. You have to know that a new initiative is going to stick, so we really champion feedback and trialing new things, this way we know if it works or not. We focus on experience and use our expertise in CX to help us do that, focusing on how we can improve the employee experience and testing different things with our people to see what resonates.
Is flexible working still as important to your employees as it was when you introduced your flexible initiatives? How have these initiatives changed over the years?
Yes, flexible working is part of the modern way of working and is important to all of our people, whether they’re parents or not. These flexible working options, such as 4 day weeks, flexible hours, working from home, have evolved in line with what our people have been asking for and we continually look at new ways to ensure that flexibility is on offer to all of our people.
What do you think the industry as a whole could do better when it comes to flexible working?
I think the industry should recognise that people want to work differently now. No longer does the world of work run in the 9-5 weekday, we’re always on and our working environments should reflect this change. I would love to see our industry adapt to this and provide more opportunity for flexible working across all people, not just those with children or care commitments. A more flexible way of looking at work helps provide greater support to our people’s wellbeing, which in turn supports creativity and delivers better outcomes for our clients, which after all is the heart of what we do.
How do you maintain a positive culture?
Firstly, our leadership team believe in trust and transparency with our people. We have a team of amazingly talented people and we trust them to deliver, giving them ownership of their work but also supporting them along the way. Another thing to keep positivity is to be transparent. Our people will always know what's happening with the business before a client does or they read it in the press, this ensures a feeling of inclusion and unity across the team. The last thing is just to show that you care. One thing that I believe makes our culture is the fact that our people genuinely care about each other. This drives support across all teams as nobody lets anyone else down. The Works is a community and this sense of togetherness makes for a really positive environment.
Check out some of The Works social events:
The Works famously provides funds for child care to assist returning parents, are there any other initiatives you have that assists in minimising the loss of talent at the senior end?
For our senior team we offer training opportunities that reflects the growth path of their careers, whether that be leadership training or attending conferences such as SxSW. We also do bi-annual succession planning and provide accelerated progression paths into leadership roles for our top talent. In terms of benefits, we offer additional leave in line with tenure and are open to sabbaticals for those who want to take some time out to travel or focus on a passion project.
Thank you to The Works for another excellent award entry, check out what was discussed in last years’ interview.