I’ve called this video between myself and Lyndsey Best of Altair Media ‘Culture and Furlough’ though in truth the ‘lessons’ from our chat can and should be considered regardless of a global pandemic.
Lyndsey, as you’ll glean from our conversation, is a contrarian. She freely admits that she likes to push back when things don’t sit well with her. Having noticed the (at times) rather strained relationships between employees and clients at previous agencies, she decided to put her money where her mouth was and start one of her own.
It’s worth noting that Lyndsey’s agency has a rather incredible culture – even before Covid and the furlough scheme came into play. Staff have unlimited holidays (once their probationary period is over) everyone is kitted out so they can ‘work from anywhere’ and the agency closes for two hours every Wednesday for time well spent catching up on everything from the budget, to block chain and all that’s in between.
Altair’s saying is ‘we make amazing’ – which Lyndsey mentions a branding expert absolutely hated (and which only made her ‘love it more’ – spoken like a true contrarian!). But her reasoning is strong, her agency is about making every experience amazing – not just for her clients, but her team too.
From grad to senior management the team are actively pushed to work from whatever space works for them and the agency gives them full autonomy to do the job they are paid to do.
Cue Covid and Lyndsey and her co-founder sent the team home even before lockdown was announced, and whilst restrictions are now easing and phased returns to the office are in full swing, Lyndsey is actively pushing back against a return to ‘what once was’.
Altair spent the extra time furlough gave them to bolster culture and rethink how individuals and teams would work going forward. The result is an entirely new organisational set up. I think there’s so much to be learnt from Altair’s approach to building a great team and culture, and then bettering it at a time when many agencies struggled to keep employees motivated and furloughed staff feeling valued.
If you can get past the momentary ‘blending’ sound as someone’s midday power smoothie is being made in the background, then this is worth a watch. Lots of things changed over the last year and now is the perfect time to consider whether you’ll be happily slipping back into the previously well-worn way of doing things, or if this is a perfect opportunity to change things culturally in your agency or business. If it’s the latter, this conversation might just give you the confidence to change things up.
A big thanks to Lyndsey for giving up some time to chat to me about her agency culture – there’s something to learn here.
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