Best Places To Work – Overall Commitment

By The Drum | Administrator

May 14, 2002 | 4 min read

The scene at KLP Euro RSCG on a Friday afternoon. However, we are assured by MD Mark Fowlestone that the scene is the same on a Monday morning when excited staff sprint into the office for another weeks work.

6. Commitment and Satisfaction

Fact: The vast majority of staff in Scotland are satisfied and committed to their agency.

Fiction: You can overwork, neglect and fail to meet the needs of your staff and maintain a successful business.

It may not quite be the stuff of James Bond, Michael Knight or, indeed, Inspector Gadget, but agency work, by its very nature, is exciting – some may even say fun.

But still, from the foundations of every agency there is a constant groaning. You may not be able to keep all of the people happy all of the time, but what every agency chief can do is see to the needs of its staff.

Regular, well-structured appraisals, good, open and honest communication, adequate training, recognition and rewards can go a long way to creating the right culture at work, but many of these are being neglected in the fast-paced, day-to-day running of our agencies.

If you have satisfied staff, they are more productive, proactive and happier in the workplace. If you have a positive work environment, you produce better results and that in turn attracts better staff to the company, who in turn attract better clients. It may be a vicious circle, but you have to start somewhere.

But the things that really seem to matter to employees relate not just to individual perceptions, but also to their perceptions of the organisation. People like the feeling that their company is successful and going places.

The smug smile of satisfaction has stuck with the majority of agencies throughout this survey, some more than others, but who has the staying power to make the grin a permanent fixture?

Flora Martin of CitigateSMARTS is pleased by the environment she and her fellow directors have created at work, but she refuses to take all the credit: “I think that people in Scotland are generally happier because the quality of life is so good. But the company’s culture comes from the top down.

“The guys that head up our world-wide group are great, and for that they get great respect.”

Some, though, do not see work-life through glasses quite as rose-tinted as Flora’s. Alan Frame recognises the stresses put upon staff and while not enough may have been done in the past every effort will go into ensuring that it will in the future.

He says: “Yes, we overwork people. Yes, there is stress and there are tantrums, but that is the nature of the industry we work in. This, combined with being victims of our own success, has undoubtedly led to growing pains. However, our people are our future and we are desperately trying to evolve Frame Cunningham into the ideal place to work.

“Because I’m honest, everyone else is honest too. It can be quite scary. We’re not perfect, we’ve just started the journey, but at least we are investing in the journey.”

Steve Leach, MD of Bigmouthmedia, also notices a hardworking culture spread throughout Scottish agencies. And hard work comes only through satisfaction and commitment.

He says: “There is an incredible amount of talent in Scotland. The people are here because they want to be. They like the place. They like the culture. In London, everyone is just in it for the money.”

Overall, it seems that throughout Scotland’s agencies there are happy workforces. But, as demands rise and purse strings tighten, let’s hope that we can keep it that way ... Until next year anyway.


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