In a week when one of my children was sick and home from school it made me realise how lucky myself and my wife both are we work for companies that employ flexible working mantras.
Creating a flexible working environment is something that nine months ago – when I took over as CEO – I was keen to employ in a bid to help create a better working culture and treating my team as adults.
It still surprises me in industries where this can easily be adapted so many companies refuse to do it and employees are forced to book a holiday to have a doctors appointment, or to look after a sick child. In today’s evolving world everyone can be connected at any time across any part of the world. Yes you need to have a level of trust in your employees, but without that how can a company expect to grow or thrive?
In 2018 companies need to be more flexible than ever and allow a decent life/work balance, which resonates with employees and allows them the opportunity to grow, develop and believe in the vision and direction of the business.
In a small company trust can be earned as quickly as it can be lost, but leaders have to take a leap of faith and place their trust in their teams first to make this work. The key I have always found is to explain how flexible working only works if everyone has respect for their fellow colleagues, are adaptable to change and believe in what they are doing.
Most importantly a flexible working environment also encourages employees to feel safe and secure and able to be themselves in the workplace creating a greater freedom. This week at AdWeek Europe some of the best attended and most talked about sessions focused on employees being brave in the workplace and not being afraid to reveal their true state of mind to colleagues, clients and the wider world. In media and advertising we are beginning to make bigger strides, but there is still a long way to go.
It’s obvious to say it, but if you treat your employees like adults – and show real trust – they react in a similar way producing better results, help purvey a good working culture and tend to give more back than they necessarily have to.
On the subject of trust it would be remiss of me not to talk about Facebook and Cambridge Analytics. In a time when holding groups are being challenged on the issue of trust and what this means for the future of the industry, to learn that one of the globes leading platforms faces a similar challenge is certainly very interesting and raises more questions than it answers.
Sadly – and this is not right – there is an air of inevitably from many that data entered into social platforms is fair game for marketers to harvest and use responsibly, particularly when it comes to targeted ads which I have personally found to be very relevant, but when it comes to the issue of fake news and using data to deliver results that could have a catastrophic effect on the world and peace in general – Trump and Brexit – then action needs to be taken.
If not then the 9% drop in stock value could well be the tip of the iceberg for the platform as the public and advertisers begin to take matters into their own hands by boycotting the site and stopping ad spend, which for a platform of this nature is not good. It is certainly going to be a story that has lots of twists and turns still to take.
Interestingly we have just confirmed Time Warner’s CMO, Kristen O’Hara to speak with Snap at Festival of Media Global around how brands are now connecting directly with these platforms from a media buying and data perspective, so this session suddenly takes on new meaning when it comes to who advertisers trust.
It’s going to be an interesting couple of months.