There are around 175 people based at Stickyeyes’ headquarters in Leeds and at our partner agency, Zazzle Media, in Peterborough. Every one of them hails from a different background, has their own unique personality and their own unique ambitions.
As a people-orientated business, those backgrounds, personalities and ambitions that make Stickyeyes what it is. Our clients buy into the creativity, the ideas and the drive of our team and when our people are happy and enjoy coming to work, they produce some remarkable stuff.
At Stickyeyes, we live by four key values; passion, innovation, results and most recently, together. In order to deliver on these, we need to create an environment in which our teams can live and breathe those values. That also means that we have to challenge anything that may prevent our people, the agency, and our clients from achieving what they want to achieve.
A changing workforce
Stickyeyes has always strived to provide an environment in which our people can perform to the best of their abilities. We have always had an exciting, open, friendly culture, and we celebrate our successes.
But our workplace is evolving. Whilst we continue to actively support and employ young people, the average age of our team is increasing, we employ more parents than at any other time in the agency’s history and despite operating in a male-dominated profession, women now make up a much greater proportion of our workforce.
These are all positives that we embrace, but it also means that we need to continually review how our approach to employee wellbeing reflects these changing dynamics. We need to ensure that the way in which we work helps our people to achieve what they want to achieve in their careers, but also that are able to feel happy outside of the office.
All of these factors led to our #sticktogether campaign being born
What is #sticktogether?
The #sticktogether approach is about ensuring that everyone within Stickyeyes feels that they have somewhere or someone to turn to when they need support, as well as great benefits to ensure that their physical and emotional wellbeing is catered for. It is about ensuring that whatever challenges an individual may face, we all work to help them to overcome those challenges.
It is a culture that encourages senior management, team leaders and employees to work together to discuss and identify the key issues within our workplace and the industry as a whole, and debate how we can all contribute to the solution to those issues.
And whilst every employee will have their own unique challenges, we felt that there were three key focus areas in which we could begin to introduce support networks here at Stickyeyes, to encourage wellbeing and togetherness.
We #sticktogether with parents
Parents are an increasingly important part of our business and it was important that our benefits, culture and support systems reflected this.
Stickyeyes has for some time offered assistance with childcare expenses through childcare voucher schemes, but it is also important that our parents also feel that they are being supported practically and emotionally.
So as well as introducing policies such as flexible working to allow parents and caregivers to adapt their working patterns around childcare commitments (although flexible working policies apply to all employees), we established a working support network that was open to all parents, and prospective parents, within the business.
This group meets to share experiences, ideas and initiatives to support parents both in and out of the workplace.
We #sticktogether for gender equality
In a male-dominated industry, it is important that we recognise and encourage the talents and contribution of women within Stickyeyes, and help them to achieve their career ambitions.
We also want to encourage more young women into digital careers. The proportion of female applicants that we receive for career opportunities is lower than we would like it to be, and we wanted to address that. To do that, we needed to openly discuss see what we can do to make Stickyeyes a more attractive employer to women and to show that digital can offer an exciting and fulfilling career.
Both our male and female employees meet as part of this group to discuss how we achieve those ambitions. This group, discusses new ideas and initiatives that we can all collectively implement to ensure that gender is no barrier to ensuring that we find the best possible talent, and to ensure that our women internally feel empowered to achieve.
We #sticktogether on mental health
One in every four people in the UK suffer with a mental illness at some stage, and depression is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. Mental health is simply something that, we believe, no business can afford to ignore.
Part of addressing that challenge is understanding the role in which work can play in a person’s mental wellbeing. Agencies can be high-pressure environments – deadlines are often tight, we need to be agile, and we need to travel to and from our clients. Those demands and various other factors can lead to long and stressful days and it is important that we, as an employer, do what we can address that.
But perhaps the biggest issue that we needed to tackle was the stigma that surrounds mental health in society at large. Mental health is difficult to talk about, it is difficult to confront, and that stigma makes it a very lonely illness. This stigma can often be elevated in professional environments, and we needed to break that.
Two members of our team volunteered to open up to their colleagues about their individual struggles with mental health, about the challenges they faced, and about how they were supported by the business both during these challenges and on their return to work. That was a huge step in breaking down the barriers that prevent people from coming forward and talking about their own challenges.
Champions for change
All employees are invited to take part in the debate across these three key challenges, which are each led by nominated ‘champions’ within the agency. These champions are there to run the events around these three focus areas, to collate discussions and ideas, and to ensure that they are taken into consideration by the agency.
Every new starter is offered the chance to join our Buddy Scheme, which provides them with a colleague outside of their department or reporting line who helps them to settle into the agency. They are there to act as a person to turn to with any issues that they may not feel comfortable approaching their line manager with, and those ‘buddies’ are there to provide advice and support, and to guide them through their opening weeks and months with the agency.
We also take inspiration from influential figures outside of the business. Mental health author and speaker Hope Virgo provided a powerful talk about her experiences and recovery, whilst we have also heard inspirational talks from our nominated charities, and other influential speakers.
Creating an even better agency
Above all else, #sticktogether is about creating an even better agency. We have always tried to make Stickyeyes an enjoyable place to work, but #sticktogether is about ensuring that our people feel valued, supported and encouraged both inside and outside of the workplace. It is about ensuring that our way of working adapts as the needs of our people evolve.
We want to create an agency where parents don’t feel that they have to make a choice between career and family. We want them to feel that they can achieve whatever they want to on a professional level without it impacting on their home life.
It is important to ensure that gender is no barrier to recruiting, retaining and nurturing the best talent that we possibly can. We want to make Stickyeyes an even more inclusive agency that encourages women to pursue a career in digital.
And we want to be confident that we are doing what we can to ensure that our people are happy and healthy, both physically and mentally. That means that we work hard to minimise stresses in their professional lives, as well as supporting our people with their challenges outside of it.
That is why we #sticktogether.