When what's important in life is important at work: Building a business based on your principles
In an ideal world, what you do for a living should reflect who you are, i.e. what you’re interested in, what you’re good at, what you want to do on a day-to-day basis. “Choose a job you love”, the old saying goes, “and you never have to work a day in your life”.
But your work life shouldn’t just be about the fact that you’re “good with numbers”, “love to write” or that you’re a “people person”. It should also be about supporting your belief system and what’s important to you. Who you are shouldn’t stop existing once you step out of your front door. What’s important in life should be important at work, right? The Executive Creative Director of branding/activations agency 31ST:SECOND, Rachael Egan, talks about how she built a business based on her principles.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
We worked together at a previous agency where we were not only integral members of the senior management team but also the three of us were good mates that forged a great working relationship. Like all great adventures, the idea for our business was conceived one night over drinks. Ultimately, we wanted to have an awesome agency that we would be proud of by doing it our way, working with great people, creating standout work and enjoying ourselves along the way.
What are some company values that are important to you?
We believe that as an agency we are “Better Together”. Our values are to be Real, Curious and Effective, underpinned by being “Better Together”.
How have you created your company culture?
Our culture is a very important part of who we are. We encourage all our staff to live our company culture and philosophy: to embrace and create new ideas, challenge convention, be noticed (in a good way), enjoy ourselves, be respectful and respected, open, have fair, courteous relationships with clients, staff and suppliers, be grounded, encouraging, hands on and caring.
We attract and retain the best talent with these staff engagement strategies:
- We have a “family comes first” policy (flexible hours for parents to pick up their kids or for non-parents to get to doctors appointments)
- We give our staff bonus days off (no-one works on their birthday / Xmas to New Year days off)
- We have an Employee of the Year award (which promotes personal growth within the team)
- We invest a substantial amount into staff training including an annual off-site conference
- We share and celebrate at the end of each big campaign
We wanted to have an awesome agency that we would be proud of by doing it our way, working with great people, creating standout work and enjoying ourselves along the way
What do you look for in employees? Do you have a particular hiring process in place?
We look for employees who are a great cultural fit, can add value to us and our team and people who are better than us!
Is there a philosophy that the business is based on?
To embrace and create new ideas, challenge convention, be noticed (in a good way), enjoy ourselves, be respectful and respected, open, have fair, courteous relationships with clients, staff and suppliers, be grounded, encouraging, hands on and caring.
Why do you think it’s important for a business owner to run their business based on their own unique principles?
It’s important for a business owner to lead with the same values as what they expect their staff to which in our case is working “better together”.
Featured photo credit: Rachael Egan
Erica is a Sydney-based writer and digital marketer, and can often be found pounding away on a keyboard, writing about everything from travel, lifestyle, well-being and anything in between. When she is not writing, she is STILL writing, developing copy and content for websites and marketing collateral. Erica is passionate about film, literature and culture (high brow and low brow), as well as pro-social causes supporting cultural engagement (counting travelling as one of them). In her spare time, she loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book, go for a nice dinner with friends or spend time with her partner.