Ogilvy is one of the biggest advertising companies in the world. We spoke to its Head of...read more
Luke Kyte is Head of Culture at the firm, which is winning awards for the ways they are addressing employee engagement with the workplace.
At Working Dads we always like to trumpet the kinds of companies who are thinking about how they work in a progressive, challenging and inclusive way. Reddico has set out a clear philosophy for the way they run the business and we spoke to Head of Culture Luke Kyte to find out more.
This started back in 2017, following an internal team survey using the Net Promoter Score. Despite trying to create a great place to work – and build an office environment people enjoyed coming to – the score was much lower than expected.
There was a lot of soul-searching. What was going wrong? But essentially, it came down to the fact we were focusing on the wrong things. We had mistaken culture for fun and invested in team events, company retreats, beer fridges, a table tennis table etc. rather than building a culture of trust, freedom and responsibility.
An initial culture manifesto was created – a 5,000-word document highlighting how we wanted Reddico to evolve. A lot of this inspiration came from speaking to (and learning from) other businesses that worked in different and more progressive ways and led to us launching these changes from early 2018.
Over the course of nine months we stripped back a lot of the traditional ways of working and focused on being people-first. It was a huge challenge and we’ve continued to evolve over the years. But we’ve now got to a place where the team can truly own how they work and progress in their career..
The role was created with the launch of our manifesto, to own the project and ensure change was able to take place. The directors of the business understood the importance of having one person accountable for the rollout – someone who could make culture and everything it encapsulates their sole focus.
It’s a different take on HR, which can often be very reactive. Depending on the scope of a traditional HR role, you could become bogged down in recruitment, pulled away to deal with team issues that crop up, or act as a confidant to everyone in the business. There isn’t always the freedom to be proactive, deliberately look at organisational design and have the time to devise new and progressive ways of working.
It’s a luxury ticket item that not every business would consider – but it’s integral to the overall happiness, wellbeing, and future of the team.
Feedback. A huge part of building a great working culture is listening to the team and acting. No business is perfect and we’re well aware there are things we still need to work on – but we make it a priority to listen and respond to feedback and ensure it’s deeply embedded in how we work and develop our policies in the day-to-day.
When we launched our culture manifesto, internal NPS was at an all time low. Following the rollout we achieved a world-class score every quarter for over three years. We subsequently had a dip at the backend of last year, but actively listened to any frustrations from the team – and have since returned to a world-class level.
We have also been listed in the UK’s top five best places to work and a huge part of this is based on anonymised feedback. This demonstrates that even externally, the team are proud and shouting about what we do well.
Everyone works at their best in different ways. Yet many businesses still operate with an archaic structure of rules and control – which worked well in the industrial revolution, but isn’t so great in the digital world.
Some people work best at the crack of dawn. Others need a few cups of coffee to wake up and find productivity. Some people work best in the evening – the so-called night owls. If that’s the case, why condition people to work the same 9-5 patterns, five days a week?
One of our values is: we start with trust. This is echoed with our flexible approach – everyone can choose the hours they work, where they work and how much annual leave they take each year. People know the expectations. Rather than measuring hours worked (input), we focus on output. Then it’s a case of leaving it to the team to work out how they achieve results in their own time.
It’s not right for everyone, and that’s okay. We’re very deliberate with our recruitment to ensure people know what they’re getting themselves into.
And whether you want to measure success based on team happiness, wellbeing, client success or financial uplifts, the results speak for themselves:
Over the last couple of years we’ve moved into self-management/self-organisation, inspired by Frederic Laloux and his book Reinventing Organisations. Our policies were already created with self ownership in mind, and with the removal of managers from our initial manifesto – we had to work out what sort of system would replace clear lines of hierarchy.
Now people have the freedom to progress their career at their own pace, with a career matrix that provides the information you need to advance. The team can work on their matrix and develop their core skills, all the while using the experience of the team around them to get advice and support as needed.
If someone wants a pay rise, they request this through a dedicated salary panel (that operates twice a year) and we even launched a self-promotion process in 2021. Whilst remote work can be debilitating in some environments, we’ve tried to create a system that gives people full control of their career – and a clear progression path that leaves them feeling fulfilled.