All posts tagged Culture

Don’t Compromise Culture

As you may already know, the culture of an advertising or digital agency is usually far from your typical corporate experience – pizza Fridays, summer hours and office trips to a nearby wine bar for happy hour are common for shops of all sizes. But in stressed economic times, the smaller agencies are left with a decision to make: Do we compromise these morale-boosting activities in order to save a couple bucks? (Hint: No way!)

For us, our agency culture isn’t something that we’re willing to compromise. We recognize that our culture is what enhances the quality of life for all of our employees (read: team members). Let’s face it, happy people are creative people and creativity is the life force of agencies like ours.

So if you’re a small shop looking for ways to raise morale and grow your company culture (without breaking the bank), here are a few simple ideas to experiment with:

Promote Health

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Healthy people are happy people and exercise not only benefits your body physically but mentally as well—improving memory and overall brain function.  Who says you need to have an in-office gym to exercise during the day? At Squeaky, many people spend their lunch breaks going for a run, bike-ride or stroll along the Hudson River (thankfully we have a shower). We also offer free in-house yoga classes twice a month.

Leverage Your Resources

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When discussing payment with a client, (depending on the client) think about how your employees could benefit and consider asking for a partial amount of barter to share with them. It helps everyone in the agency feel connected to all of the clients and ongoing projects, even if they were not directly involved.

We like to reward our hardworking staff with fun things like bowling trips to Bowlmor, client products like the finest Tequila compliments of Tequila Avión, tasty beverages from National Beverage and healthy pet food items for our furry friends from WellPet. We keep them styling with cool shades from NYS Collection and on occasion we even send them off to MetLife Stadium for Giants and Jets games (ok, so they might not be our clients but it’s still an awesome perk compliments of our CEO).

Give Back to Your Community

Giving back to the community

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a heavy workload and with today’s technology it’s often very hard to disconnect from these stresses. Give your employees the opportunity to make a difference and feel good about themselves in a non-work related context.

It isn’t very difficult to find easy, inexpensive ways to give back to your city and your community. Not only will you enhance the way people view your agency and better your community, but you will also strengthen the leadership and interpersonal skills of your employees, all while helping them put their work-related stresses into perspective.

At Squeaky, we’ve collected donations and helped those in need during Sandy; sponsored a well in Africa through Charity Water and worked with St. Francis workshop in Jersey City to help feed the homeless. We also believe in the positive power sports can have on youth, which is why we sponsor the Roberto Clemente Little League every year and even pioneered and partnered with Jersey City Kickboxing to create the After School Anti-bullying campaign—helping kids build self-confidence through hard work, discipline and teamwork.

Keep Employees in the Loop

Squeaky's Annual Offsite

From executives to interns, having your employees educated and well-informed is a key component in making sure the wheels are always spinning (pun intended). Keeping your employees up-to-date on projects and company news can make everyone feel connected and more like part of a team. We host a company-wide offsite every year to look back and plan for the future as well as weekly staff meetings to make everyone feel more involved.

Your employees likely come from different cultural and educational backgrounds, therefore offering unique perspectives and insight. Try to organize staff brainstorming sessions for their input. The more ideas offered, the better it is for the process. There are no wrong answers and great ideas can come from anyone. Also, don’t be afraid to take team members outside to discuss business in a new environment to spark fresh ideas.

Team Bonding

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Some larger companies offer team bonding activities such as a smartphone scavenger hunt or outrageous games, where everyone participates and has a great time with some friendly competition. Don’t worry, if you’re a small agency, activities like taking a trip with co-workers to happy hour, a holiday party, or even a bowling trip will easily help bring you and your team together.

These are just a few tactics that we utilize here at Squeaky. Knowing that there are so many more options that can be employed, what are some ways your company approaches team building and boosting morale?

Art in the Workplace

In today’s hectic, information-overloaded age, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer bombardment of stimuli. Fortunately, there are different ways to cope—to slow down and to take a collective breath. Whether it’s relaxing at home with a favorite book, listening to your favorite album or visiting a museum, we all tend to find comfort in art and its various forms.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

The workplace can be especially stressful—but it shouldn’t have to be. At Squeaky, we put a lot of effort into creating a space for our team that not only welcomes reflection and innovation but also contributes positively to our company culture. We’re always on the lookout for new and interesting additions and very recently we added this awesome piece of ‘Ride-able Art’ you see below, custom-built by the Chappell brothers (Rob and Chris) at Chappell Customs.

Stout 33

At Chappell Customs, their goal isn’t to re-invent the wheel but rather, to create unique ride-able bikes with custom flair and extreme attention to detail. This particular bike is referred to as the Stout 33 and is a 1982 XS650 Heritage Special (with a few custom tweaks). It’s an incredible piece of machinery and we feel it complements our space quite nicely.

Items like this bike add a dash of flavor to our culture, creating a lasting impression for visitors and a fun, comfortable work environment for the Squeaky staff. But don’t take our word for it, check out some of our excited staff members test driving it below. That is, until Spring when the Stout will be setting off car alarms in NYC and North Jersey :)

Stout 33

Stout 33