The foundation of success in any business lies with those that work in it – a business is only as good as its people.
In fact, companies with a high level of engagement and noted as good places to work consistently outperform the FTSE100, showing a clear link between business growth and an engaged workforce.
And it’s no secret that a healthier work-life balance can enable employees to feel more in control of their working life, more engaged with the organisation they work for and, therefore, the work they do.
We recently published a piece looking at why office culture is the key to work life balance and making sure people are engaged and motivated. But a good office culture is also key to a successful business and delivering outstanding results for clients.
From day one Aberfield has focused on creating a flexible, open and supportive environment with some core values at the heart of the business. It centres on offering mutual support, promoting trust, rewarding and encouraging employees’ efforts and ensuring that everyone feels valued and knows that their work is meaningful.
Having replaced the traditional hierarchy of job titles with a flatter structure of consultants, senior consultants and directors, it means the team are empowered with a broader sense of autonomy and can focus on developing skillsets and personal progression, rather than chasing a promotion and a job title.
Our culture focuses on giving people something more meaningful from the eight hours they spend in a workplace. It’s about providing challenging and satisfying work, feeling a sense of progress, being supported and encouraged, giving everyone a degree of autonomy and ensuring we all feel a sense of ‘belonging’.
While it’s had a hugely positive impact on the team here, there are a number of benefits for our clients too.
Because we’ve established a robust and supportive culture our team feel comfortable enough to challenge conventional ideas and be bold as they know that they can explore their creativity. In turn this is inspiring the rest of the team and allows everyone to develop some outstanding ideas that deliver real value for clients.
This sense of autonomy in the team, coupled with a flat structure, means everyone takes on a more entrepreneurial approach to work and the focus is on recognising opportunities for clients, working smarter, thinking of solutions and finding creative ways to achieve a client’s objectives.
We are always ready for a challenge, which means we have a can-do attitude that everyone applies to client work.
And while we have a varied training programme to ensure we can all continually grow and learn new skills, as well as refresh existing ones, we also recruit people with different backgrounds and skills. Ex-journalists and event managers sit alongside the more traditional PR’s in the team.
We also look to harness an individual person’s passions. By asking employees what they are interested in doing and how they would like to see their career develop can find new ways to add value to our clients.
When a member of our team said they were keen to continue to pursue their event experience and develop their skills, we decided to launch an events division. This in turn has allowed us to meet an increase in demand for events from clients and we’ve also been able to deliver standalone events, like the Leeds Mind conference.
Working patterns have changed dramatically over the last five years and they will continue to change even more as technology evolves and opens up new channels of communication and engagement.
And by offering flexible hours and the ability to work remotely, it means we can remain agile and responsive to both a client’s needs and our own.
I really value being able to do the school drop-off twice a week, but I make the time the day before to plan ahead so when I get to the office I’m focused and arrive ready to work, whereas often the first 30 minutes of my working day can be spent planning and catching up on emails.
One of the biggest issues in our industry is staff turnover, where professionals often change jobs every few years or even months. While job-hopping can often be considered necessary in order to gain a promotion or a pay rise, that constant merry-go-round of an account team can be one of the most frustrating things for a client about working with an agency.
By having an open attitude to change and a continuous learning approach, driving our team to embrace new challenges, everyone at Aberfield knows there is opportunity to grow and develop so we automatically develop a sense of loyalty.
In turn it means we have an amazingly talented team that are settled and satisfied, and we attract other talented people because there is a positive perception of us as an employer.
And, because there is a healthy amount of downtime, we have a happier and less stressed team which, in turn, generates commitment and motivation.
And that’s the most important bit. By investing in the team at Aberfield it means we are able to offer clients a highly-skilled, loyal and motivated team who feel supported and give 100% to us and our clients.