The hardest lessons I’ve learned during my time in business have been about being true to our origins. In terms of mission, vision and values it looks like this: Our mission is non-negotiable because it’s our purpose. Our vision will always be about the impact we want to make. To top it all, we recruit around values which has been our greatest strategy for retention and growth, and it’s also the focus of this blog.
Cre8ion began life in a charity, where the charity invested in us, and us in them. We helped the charity scale their media communications while we steadily brought in funds to support. To this day, our mission (of impacting the community) remains the same. I am very grateful for our beginnings in the charity as we were set on the right course in terms of mission.
Cre8ion has not changed its mission over the years but the vision has grown and now Di9ital has come out of it. Di9ital came into being because the software development work we had been winning was drifting outside of our remit as a brand marketing agency. An opportunity arose to build a company that would excel building amazing, innovative software solutions and we took it. We already had a track record of working on some ground breaking projects, so we knew that there was potential to go bigger and better. A sister company like Di9ital that develops innovative solutions is not only 100% in line with Cre8ion’s values but it’s also an incredible bonus to have that close relationship with like-minded people in such an exciting area.
Cre8ion and Di9ital both came about as a result of people working together and sharing the same set of values. Working with people that share our values has been a key to our success, in fact I would go so far as to say that neither organisation would be around today if we hadn’t shared similar values.
You can have many people with differing personalities working for you, but values always bring you together, enabling you to work through any crisis. An apparently insurmountable challenge is best solved by working it through in the light of your shared values and, I promise you, a resolution will come.
I’ve learned that values are one of the most underplayed tools in the marketplace tool kit. You can remind people regularly of the mission and the vision but values remind us what brought us together in the first place.
I’m a firm believer that we are stewards of people, helping them to learn and develop, and at times we find that the journey together has run its course. People who have been with us for a season may step into a role elsewhere that offers them a better fit for the future. That’s not a bad thing, it’s amazing to be part of someone else’s journey and we feel that we have done our part. That’s why, over the years, we have always had a policy of recruitment that protects us from making the wrong hires. First we have volunteers, then we take people on a freelance basis and then we recruit. It’s this process that has enabled us to not only recruit great people, but also equipped many others for the workplace when we couldn’t take them on at the time. In practice it looks something like this:
Someone who comes to you for an opportunity and you need to be clear on expectations. You might not have a paid role available for them and if that is clearly communicated then you can move forward freely. Understand what they want out of the arrangement and then give them internal projects to work on so that you are not profiting from their ability without paying them! You get a good feel for a person’s motivation when working on a project and the team can also gauge whether they are a right fit. As trust builds you can get them involved on other projects and when that happens it’s always good to discuss freelance opportunities. It’s one of the reasons we have had over 50 work experience people over the years with many absolutely loving it!
The change from free to paid work motivates people (clearly) and presents an opportunity to progress. The freelance arrangement helps you see how they work with your existing clients and the value that they bring. When this works well, we then work with the team to see if there is a fit for us long-term or how we can help them find gainful employment in the industry. I’m pleased to say we have had many people take a risk on us, learn loads and get amazing jobs. It’s been a pleasure to give them a glowing reference although sad that we weren’t ready to hire them quite yet!
Working in the creative world is a great space to be in. You get paid to be creative and you also have the opportunity to work with a great team. We know that we really do accelerate the learning and skills of people that work with us and help them start to write their own narrative.
Along the way we have worked with some amazing people and even when they leave to embrace other opportunities and explore something different we have remained connected, served their new businesses as clients and built great relationships.
Our team are excellent, there is no doubt about it and we are really grateful to have them. As we build long term and see mission and vision fulfilled, we want to see the culture we have created continue because it has made all the difference!