A Love Letter to the Agency

Danielle Hannan

If you follow us on social media (@DaviesMoore on all mediums), you’ve likely watched my dog, Henry, grow up. He’s the handsome gray pup that’s been coming in since he was eight weeks old and looked like a fluffy, baby penguin. Everyone at the agency met him the second day I had him. In fact, Henry’s first day at the office was also Nick’s first day. Henry pooped on the conference room floor while we were doing Nick’s orientation. Nick, though slightly taken aback, was very chill about it, and I think they have a special bond because of that very poo.

Just prior to (hashtag) National Dog Day, my sweet angel got sick. Like, seriously sick. I’ll spare you the details because they’re slightly graphic (more graphic than him pooping on a conference room floor, you ask? Yes). Because Henry was so sick, I wanted to be able to monitor him at all times in case he took a turn for the worse. Luckily for me, the agency allowed me to take off and be with Henry when he needed me.  Outside of allowing me to work from home for the two days it took to get Henry out of the woods, several of my coworkers reached out to check on Henry and me (probably mostly me).

DaviesMoore has been intentional in its effort to foster an environment of understanding – as Forrest Gump and that other random guy from Forrest Gump would say – that shit happens. DaviesMoore understands that it’s unfair to tout a “we’re a family” attitude and react with corporate-y consequences. I’m thankful to work at a place that cares about me, and this incident further highlighted exactly how lucky I am because DM clearly cares about our company’s culture (yes, companies can have culture).

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me, or to anyone for that matter. Life gets hectic for everyone. It’s nice to know that in times of crisis that you’re not going to lose your job or, at the very least, you’re not going to return to a PO’ed boss. I’ve worked at companies that utilize a “point system.” You get x amount of points for missing a day or showing up late. If you acquire enough points, you automatically lose your job regardless of the circumstances that resulted in the earning of said points—even if those circumstances are out of your control. It’s nice to not to have to compound the stress of whatever terrible thing is going on with the stress of potentially losing your job.

There is plenty of information readily available on company culture—what it is, how to foster it, why it matters etc. A company’s culture is essentially an amalgamation of several different factors: values, vision, goals, the list goes on. Honestly, the best way to sum up company culture, and to use a somewhat gauche 21st century term, would be to say that #IssaVibe. Yes, it’s what your company stands for, but it’s truly how those values, vision, and goals affect you in your workplace. It’s how you treat your coworkers and vice versa; as our brilliant queen Maya Angelou once stated, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Companies can help cultivate a healthy culture in many ways. One option is to host events wherein employees engage with one another in ways that don’t pertain to work. Some of the things we do at DaviesMoore include team building events, holiday meals, and community service. A group of us recently went golfing after work. Once we finished tearing up the links, we sat around a fire finishing off cocktails and appetizers. We talked about how excited we are for this year’s company Thanksgiving meal. One of my coworkers said they look forward to our group Thanksgiving more than the one they spend with family, which I can only assume is largely because of our CEO Ed Moore’s culinary chops.

Consider jobs you’ve had in which you were unhappy: did you dread going to work every day? did it affect your performance? Problematic workplace culture will not help any business thrive. This is exactly why culture is so important. Unhappy employees will not perform as well as happy employees, and unhappy employees definitely aren’t as productive, either.

Take the “Momazonians” of tech giant Amazon as an example. The Momazonians are a group of 1,800 working mothers who have requested their company provide backup day care—which is not unheard of in the tech industry as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google all have alternate childcare options available to employees. Many of these workers have expressed that they feel that Amazon doesn’t support working mothers and they can’t progress professionally because of it. In addition to outing what they consider to be poor company culture, the Momazonians also created a public shitstorm for their company. If bad enough, people will hear about your company’s culture, it could change the way outsiders perceive your company, and it may even affect their decision to do business with you.

Occasionally, we get a new client that needs help with branding. We typically start by having the client identify their brand pillars, or what the foundation of their company is. Through the branding process, companies can indirectly hone in on what they want their company culture to be. In those instances, we’re lucky enough to have a small part in helping them establish a healthy company culture, and not to mention a dope ass brand.

If you want to learn more about dope branding/fostering a healthy culture at your company, or if you just want the graphic details on what happened to Henry, shoot an email to whatsup@116andwest and we’ll discuss further.