Redefining our Global Values
In January 2020 we celebrated our first anniversary as ForwardPMX after Forward3D and PMX Agency came together. A month earlier, we welcomed The Search Agency into the fold, bringing three businesses together across 4 regions, all with their own unique histories and cultures. We quickly adapted, sharing old ways of working and adopting new ones, learning from one another and evolving together. As a result, 2020 felt like the right moment to review our employer value proposition
At the time, we could never have predicted the scale of the global health crisis heading our way, nor the worldwide awakening to the human rights crisis that the Black Lives Matter campaign shone a much-needed light on. The task of coming up with a set of values to ground us as an organization felt all the more essential.
As a business, we have a clear mission to:
‘Find the change to fuel growth’
For our clients, this means that we leverage our strategic, data-driven smarts to uncover changes or opportunities within a brand’s business to drive growth.
But what does it mean to our workforce, and better yet, how does this sentiment translate to a 1,000-strong group of global employees and help create connection across different roles, levels, offices and time zones? 1000 entirely separate locations in recent months.
We saw this an opportunity to unite towards a common goal and purpose.
And so, in January this year, Sara Pollack (Global Marketing Director) Carey Chum (Associate Talent Director, APAC) and I set out to reestablish our Global values – a set of actions and behaviors, some already lived, some more aspirational, that would inspire employees from across the globe and help us reach our ambitions whilst overcoming any challenges that may come our way (even 2020!)
It was important to us that “finding” our voice and our values was a human process – a collaborative effort built from the ground up, so we kicked the project off by putting an ear to the ground. We wanted to really listen to and acknowledge the voices of our people. What did they value about the businesses they joined, and the business we are today?
We tailored our approach to uncovering this information to suit each region.
In EMEA, we carried out 6 focus groups in total, including one with the EMEA Executive Management Team and another with entry level staff to gain a broad perspective. We also carried out some detailed interviews with longer-term members of staff, including Bobbi Byrne, who heads up TransformFP, the portion of ForwardPMX that’s responsible for ingraining social good into our everyday as a business, in order to understand the aspirations of our agency and our people through a socially conscious lens.
“In the US, we carried out 5 focus groups across our main offices. We also felt it was important to include the team from The Search Agency (newly a part of ForwardPMX). Across the board, it was so heartening to see the common energy and culture throughout the business while still appreciating the nuances of different people’s experiences. It was an incredibly rewarding process to help raise up employee voices and reflect them in an authentic way in the form our our new Values, and it was an honor to work with my global partners, Siobhain and Carey.” Sara Pollack
“In APAC, we knew employees would feel less comfortable talking openly in a group setting, and so we took a different approach. We utilised an employee engagement tool that allowed staff to feedback on different areas of their experience, including the relationship with their managers, their sense of happiness, personal growth and wellbeing, and their overall satisfaction. This provided us with the depth of insight to ensure this was a well-rounded, inclusive process.” Carey Chum
In February, Carey and I were fortunate enough to travel to New York where we met up with Sara to review the themes and begin brainstorming.
There were some nuances, largely based on the breadth of unique cultures within the business, but we were pleased to find that there was so much more in common.
We were able to group the themes as follows:
- A feeling that people can really develop careers at FP, that it’s not just a quick stop on the CV for them.
- That there’s a lot of visibility and direct lines into leadership, and that’s true across most, if not all levels. That people feel like their ambitions are really supported here.
As previously mentioned, we were aiming for values that not only reflect us as the business we are today, but that would fit our future, driving us towards our goals and helping us overcome any challenges in getting there.
- The focus groups were unanimous in their praise for TransformFP but people indicated that they want more. They want to understand what we’re doing, how they can get involved, and as a business, globally what is our commitment to sustainable social impact?
- People also asked what more could do to allow room to innovate? What aspirational behaviors could we adopt to ensure we’re creating the headspace for creativity?
Next came the hard bit. We toyed for hours (two days, in fact) to find a set of instructions that reflected the work from the focus groups and aligned to our global proposition. Words were thrown out, they began to lose meaning, we got the giggles on more than one occasion! And eventually, we finished up with a set of 5 Values we believed in, that encapsulated the research and reflected the agency’s voice.
Our new values are:
Our commitment to each other, the unspoken ‘contract’ between our talent and the business. It exists to foster connection, inspire ambition, and reinforce a shared sense of purpose.
‘What it really says is that we all rely on each other to be successful. As a business, we’re invested in our people’s growth.’ Sara Pollack
We’re unapologetically ambitious. We’re restless in our quest for continuous improvement. And this applies to everything we do; the ways we work, the tech and tools we use, the services and products we offer our clients.
We’re committed to finding a better way, and then a better one.
We encourage conversation and idea-generation, and we value input across all levels.
No voice is too small.
Brilliant ideas, ambitious thinking, and new ways of working must be heard in order to be put into action. In our environment, we speak up, we grasp opportunities, and we take accountability for the work we do. We’re not afraid to push boundaries, ask the hard questions, and have the challenging conversations – we see our challenges as opportunities.
Leave the world better than we found it.
We aspire to be more than just commercially successful.
As an agency we prioritize meaningful and sustainable social impact, and as individuals, we seek out opportunities to use our skills and abilities to improve the world around us. This forms the backbone of who we are: it applies to how we interact with one another, to the ways we treat the environment, to the methods we elect to carry out business more responsibly, to the ways we impact the world outside our walls.
Keep it real.
Underpinning our behaviors is a simple idea: “keep it real”.
As a growing agency, we retain our open and collaborative culture by respecting each other’s part to play. As we evolve and tackle change head-on together, we maintain sincerity and openness.
All ego is left at the door.
As a people-first business, we show respect for each other as human beings – both for the work we do inside FP and for the lives we lead outside. We are who we are in all situations, and we’re damn proud of it.
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