Category Archives: STW Group
“I believe what we bring to a client relationship over time helps them be better at change.” An interview with the new MD (Australia) of Designworks.
Today’s post is a Q&A with Tim Riches, the recently-appointed Managing Director Australia at Designworks.
You have a long history in the branding and communications field. Why choose Designworks?
What attracted me most was the breadth and depth of design capability put together with the ambition to be a partner to clients as they make transformational change. This combination positions Designworks uniquely in Australia, it seems to me – with the ability to define and deliver a whole experience in a user-centric way that builds a business.
Plus the culture is very engaging – both down to earth and demanding – two vital ingredients in doing great work. All together, I think there’s an opportunity to be part of a progressive firm to bring genuine design thinking to life in the Australian market.
Continue reading this article →
If you subscribe to Nextness by email, you’ll notice something different this week. We’re no longer emailing every time we post. Instead, we’re emailing just once a week.
Why the change?
Before, we sent out the emails automatically through Google’s useful Feedburner service. It was an option for people who preferred email to RSS, or feared they’d miss a link to our posts on the @STWnextness Twitter. But now we’ve got nearly 1000 subscribers, we’re treating it less as an optional extra – and more as a serious feature in its own right.
What’s going to be in the email?
- The best original and curated content from Nextness and @STWnextness. And it’s only ever once a week.
To sign up:
If you’ve already been receiving emails from us 2 -3 times a week, you’ll be switched over to the new list without having to do anything.
For southern hemisphere friends, you’ll hear from us on Friday morning. Northerners: Thursday night.
It starts this week! Please let us know what you think.
Ask anyone who’s built a successful career, and they’ll tell you that having the right mentor is the difference between being good, and being great. That’s even more true for women, who can often find it challenging to realise their full potential in a business landscape traditionally dominated by men; there’s huge value in learning from those women who have gone before us.
With this in mind, STW’s Women in Leadership Committee has developed a world-class mentoring program exclusively for the women of STW Group.
So who is this mentoring program for?
The program’s focus is to provide support for emerging female leaders within the STW group as they manage key transitions in their careers. Perhaps it’s going for that big promotion, or delivering on it once you’ve got the gig. Maybe it’s stepping up into a leadership role for the first time, or getting back in the driver’s seat following maternity leave. Whatever the ‘leap’ you’re trying to make, this program will provide the resources, networks and support you need to do it fearlessly and brilliantly!
It doesn’t matter what role you have, how old you are, or what level you are at in your organisation – this program is open to all women across the STW Group.
What will you get out of the program?
In addition to the powerful relationship you’ll build with your mentor, you will get a lot more out of the experience, including:
- Access to world-class personal development training and resources.
- The opportunity to build strong, supportive relationships with your fellow mentees throughout the year – 19 other emerging leaders.
- The chance to raise your profile across the STW Group, by your participation in the program.
Sounds great, what’s involved?
In order to ensure the quality and success of the program, we have limited the group to just 20 places per year. Each successful applicant will be matched with one of the top female leaders in the group, taking care to find the best possible fit in terms of capabilities, values and personality style.
The program will then kick off with a group event in March, followed by two further events (July and December). In between these group events, you’ll meet with your mentor for a one-hour session each month, as well as ad hoc conversations throughout the year.
There is a cost of $1,000 for each mentee to compete the program, which will be covered by the mentee’s company.
So, are you in?
If you’re up for it, please email the committee at WIL@stwgroup.com.au. They’ll send you some more information about what to do next.
We really hope you’ll get involved. We’re truly excited about the potential this group has to create the next generation of fearless women leaders.
Learn more about STW’s Women in Leadership Committee in this post: Having it all is having what you want. The creative powerhouse mentor and mentee illustrating this post are Tavi Gevinson of Rookie Mag and filmmaker, artist and writer Miranda July.
STW Group media agency Ikon has hit on a magic formula when it comes to people and culture.
Their churn rate – that is, rate of staff turnover – is a third of the industry average. And last year they were ranked the 13th Best Place to Work in Australia by BRW.
What’s their secret?
We talked to Ikon’s National People and Culture Director Leonie Kerley about what she and her 6-person team get up to. Here’s what we found.
1. Dipping into the talent pool: recruitment.
Ikon rarely use recruitment agencies and prefer to hand pick staff themselves. As well as saving them nearly a million dollars in fees, it’s allowed them to choose exactly who joins the team and who best fits their culture. They use a mix of internal referrals (with a $1000 finder’s fee for staff!), the Ikon Talent Bank, a well-oiled machine tracking the industry’s top talent, and – of course – social media. They post jobs to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to tap into people who have already shown an affinity for the agency and its work by self-selecting to follow them.
2. No awkward loitering in the kitchen: welcoming new staff.
Even hardened extroverts find their first few weeks of a new job difficult to manage. Who do you eat lunch with on the first day? How can you learn so many new people’s names – and when are they going to bother to learn yours? Ikon gets it. They send round profiles of new staff to make their first conversations easier – and they often take new people to lunch on their first day. They get an induction day where they meet MDs and team leaders, and a mentor assigned from their own team to look after them over the next few weeks. Then there’s the weekly “Cuppa,” or team meeting – and Friday night drinks every week. No one stays new for long at Ikon.
3. How to be on fire without burn out: retention.
The industry has a turnover rate of 30.4% – Ikon’s is a third of this. There’s the little things: no one has to work on their birthday, and the Friday before payday (always a personal finance low point) they run a BBQ for lunch; staff “lie in with their lover” on Valentine’s day and don’t have to come in til 10.30; there’s a free ski trip to Thredbo. But above and beyond the stuff that makes you smile, there’s a commitment to fairness and rewarding loyalty. Ikon parents are offered 12 weeks paid parental leave; after four year’s service staff are entitled to five weeks annual leave, not four.
4. Keeping sharp: training and developing.
At many communications companies, training is ad hoc. Ikon, on the other hand, is systematic. Every employee has their own CDP: Career Development Plan. Ikon College is a 14 week program covering trading, planning and digital skills; “Managing People” goes for 8 weeks and provides leaders with the skills they need to mentor effectively. Their Parallel Universe program links up Ikon staff with Google staff to swap roles and strengthen their knowledge of both businesses. And Ikon hosts the AdSchool Media Planning and Buying program, with the content sourced from their internal programs. All of this training resulted in 55 people being promoted nationally last year.
5. Beyond the open door policy: listening.
Ikon prides itself on having an open door policy, and there’s a range of ways staff can make their voices heard both formally and informally. But national CEO Dan Johns has taken that a step further by setting up a confidential email address for those times you want to send him an email and absolutely don’t want anyone, to read it.
And does this approach work?
Ikon were ranked 1st in Mumbrella’s Media Agency Review 2012. For the 5th consecutive year running they were ranked the No.1 worldwide media agency by RECMA. They’ve won lots of awards too: a Silver and 2 Bronze Lions, 3 Festival of Media Global Awards, Best Mobile advertising for AIMIA and IAB Awards, and Best Social Media Marketing Award for IAB in 2012 alone.
It’s clear that Ikon’s staff are something special. Wouldn’t you do anything to keep them happy, engaged and learning?
The company’s goal is now for Ikon to be the best employer in Australasia by 2014.
At the risk of being the most boring person at the Christmas party, we just have to ask: can you believe how fast this year has gone?
To wrap up 2012, we’re sharing with you the year’s top five Nextness posts. The ones that got the most shares, mentions, buzz – in short, the most attention. In reverse order:
We are living out our careers on shifting sands. But from here, in our offices and behind our desks, it’s easy to lose sight of just how big these changes are. ‘Shifting’ doesn’t quite capture it.
Every 2-12 months, I get an email from an acquaintance or friend-of-friend’s sibling, enquiring about the day-to-day of being a copywriter (or, more broadly, an advertising creative). I’m not an industry genius or veteran. But, they don’t know that, so I pretend. Who else are they gonna email? Don Draper?
Every single person in every agency or every organisation must be as creative as they can be… and as farsighted and strategic. There’s no science in the world to support a belief that some people get to do the ‘fun’ jobs and some people don’t. Let’s not use crappy science to keep our agency colleagues in their place.
In this piece, we tackle one of the most persistent and pernicious pieces of pseudoscience in the communications industry.
Photoshopping your party/holiday pics is vain. But applying a filter to or Snapseeding your iPhone pics is creative. Instagram is like Twitter in that you can follow strangers without feeling like a creep. Everyone prefers to be the added not the adder on Facebook.
We shared observations of behaviour and norms on leading social networks in a post that was later republished on Daily Life.
So what was our top blog post? It was this one that struck that biggest chord with readers:
Unlike extroverts, introverts are most stimulated and do their best thinking when they’re alone. But how often does that happen in an agency environment? Given our industry thrives on creative and original ideas, it pays to let introverts do their thing.
Introverts everywhere were pleased to have a light shone onto their untapped powers – and – to their credit – in embracing and sharing this post, extraverts proved themselves keen to understand their quieter colleagues.
We’ll be going a bit quiet on the blog over the holidays to give you all a well-deserved rest. (Though we’ll continue to curate Linkness and the @STWnextness Twitter; the internet never sleeps so why would we?)
But in the meantime: have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for reading.
Are you up to date on all the STW Group blogs out there? Here are some to bookmark or add to your RSS reader of choice.
Even more importantly, are we up to date on all the STW blogs?! If you are an STW Group staff member, share your blog in the comments along with your company.
Or tweet us @STWnextness. We’d love to read what you have to say.
When women feel secure, confident and strong they discover a fearlessness that allows them to do extraordinary things.
This is the belief held by the STW Women in Leadership Group, formed by the group’s senior leaders who firmly believe in supporting women in business to be the best they can.
But the question is – what are those extraordinary things? And just what does “having it all” mean?
“To me this whole notion of having it all is an external measure. It’s societies judgment of what you should aim for and I have come to know that, when you let others define your success, you always lose.”
That was the key message that Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus of Ogilvy Worldwide, shared with the audience at the recent STW Women in Leadership Lunch. The event saw female senior leaders and clients from across STW come together for an afternoon of inspiration and networking.
Shelly went on to say: “Having it all is having what you want. Today there is nothing that a woman can’t consider for herself; in business, in the arts, in public service, in education – in life!”
But what exactly is “having all you want”? What defines success?
“Work, stay at home, have a smashing career, follow your artist heart, raise your kids full time or do all of the above. A combination or in sequence, just demand what you want. But you must also demand it of yourself,” Shelly continued.
We’re lucky. We work in advertising; an environment in which it’s ideas and ambition that turn heads, get you noticed and help you achieve what you want to.
As Shelly put it: “David Ogilvy created a culture where ideas are welcomed from anywhere and anyone. He was gender blind, the only thing that mattered to him was contribution and achievement – he created a true meritocracy.
“This is what in my view women need. We don’t need remedial help; we simply need an even playing field and a chance to show what we can do.”
Sitting at my desk at Lawrence, with two female senior leaders and a male CEO, both of who feel strongly about supporting women in business, it feels strange to imagine a working environment where women aren’t valued and encouraged.
And I very much hope that this post isn’t misconstrued as ‘man-bashing’ as that certainly isn’t the point of me writing this, or the mission of the STW Women in Leadership Group.
Saying that however, Suzanne Acteson, Managing Director Oceania Buchanan Group, shared some fascinating facts with us during her welcome to the lunch that really made me think.
According to research by Catalyst, women in America have just 16% of board seats in large corporations – but firms that have women on their boards have operating profit margins that are 84% better than their counterparts without women!
It’s hard to believe that in this day and age, women still struggle to play on that ‘even’ playing field that Shelly mentioned or even to get their voice heard – literally, in the case of our inspiring second guest speaker, Shanti Hughes, a hearing-impaired woman who overcame incredible obstacles to teach herself to speak.
A lot of the business world still has a long way to go to make things even.
There’s no doubt that the working world is still male-dominated, but for those women who want it there’s a space at the table waiting to be taken. They may have to fight a little harder but if that’s what you want then go for it. Just as long as it’s what you want and not what you think others think you want.
The most important thing (an in my experience one of the the hardest) is to work out what exactly what you want and then work out a way to get it. Be it in, or out of work, anything and everything is possible.
As Shelly said: “ I can’t think of a more exciting time to be a women. You are free, make your choices, live your choices and in the end you will have it all.”
Sarah Pearce is an account director at Lawrence Creative Strategy. If you work at STW Group and would like more information on STW Women in Leadership, please email Buchanan Group’s Suzanne Acteson: email@example.com. STW Women in Leadership supports Dress for Success, a charity that assists disadvantaged women achieve their goals of getting back to work.