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Want to Create a Great Culture for Your Agency? Invoke the “Ownership” Clause

May 08, 2014, 6:30pm posted by Ralph Katz  |  0 comments

Posted in: CK Authors, Ralph Katz, The Industry,

Want to Create a Great Culture for Your Agency? Invoke the “Ownership” Clause

Over the course of our 18-year history, the shaping and evolution of our culture has played a big role in the success of CooperKatz. From the start, Andy Cooper and I formulated culture based on what we liked and what we wish could have been different during our almost 20 years together at Burson-Marsteller.

From that experience, we held the belief that the difference between a nice culture and a deeply embedded culture would depend on how much our employees took ownership of it. After all, the world around us keeps changing, the value hierarchy for individuals keeps shifting and honestly, there is no way that 30- to 40-year-veterans heading an agency can be totally in sync with today’s much younger employees without asking.

Our culture has always included open communication, across the board cooperation and the inclusion  of significant others and family members at our events. But we really could not have created – or even imagined – some of the strongest aspects of our culture today without empowering our employees to contribute. Here are some out of the ordinary facets of our workplace fully conceived, implemented and supported by our team members:

Treadmill in our creative space – As one of the many embodiments of our Wellness program, it is available at lunch, after work and during creative sessions.

White boards and glass “flip charts” for brainstorms – Part of the many sustainable efforts we’ve implemented include idea paint walls and glass panels to replace paper flip charts in brainstorms, a full recycling program and a water purification system to cut down on use of plastic bottles.

Walk It Outs – Randomly scheduled 5-minute breaks during which almost the entire company power walks several circuits around the office perimeter to get everyone’s blood pumping.

Volunteer days – An opportunity for each employee, including me, to set aside two half-days per year to join together in small groups and participate in a meaningful charitable activity. Based on input from our staff, this volunteer time was added to our Employee Handbook as an official benefit.

Eat Ups – Sporadically scheduled Monday lunch hours that bring employees together to discuss current trends and cultural / business developments, and to brainstorm how they might benefit our clients.

CKCares employee survey – As part of a broader quality assurance initiative, we conducted an internal employee survey to find out what they like about CooperKatz, where we can improve and the questions they have. We work to answer those questions at each of our regularly scheduled all-company meetings.

These are just some of the aspects of the CK culture we might never have conceived on our own. At CooperKatz, the solution to keeping our culture relevant and fresh is to let everyone on staff take hold of it. They have it now and there is no letting go!

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