People are making career choices based on team culture, leadership and values

Behind-the-scenes at FleishmanHillard UK: Part Four

Two women in dicussion on the roof terrace of Bankside 2, London

Team culture and investing in your team

In our final part of the series, we interview FleishmanHillard UK and Middle East CEO Jim Donaldson, for insight into what it is like to lead our award-winning team. He also shares some news about the agency’s plans for the future.  

With winning several Agency of the Year awards in 2021, what do you think is the driving force behind this team’s success?  

Portrait image of FleishmanHillard's Jim DonaldsonWell, our agency has always been about its people. We want to do great work and we want people’s time at FleishmanHillard to be career-defining, and that hopefully includes doing remarkable work that they will remember for the rest of their lives. We’re also looking to drive the industry forward, both in terms of the things we do for our people and by ensuring that we are diverse and inclusive. Diversity & inclusion is at the centre of our vision for the agency and our approach to D&I looks at all the protective characteristics.  

What has changed post-pandemic and how is FleishmanHillard UK approaching some of the challenges?  

The pandemic has been a crucial period for us in restructuring the way we work. We’re responding to new challenges to continue to be in a position where we are leading some of the new things happening in the industry. We know that people are making career choices based on culture, leadership, values and on the things that are important to them. We want to make people proud to work for us and that’s something we have worked really hard to create at FleishmanHillard.   

One thing that we did conclude early on was that we wanted to trust our people to do what they thought would be best and that includes building a flexible working culture that suits the people that work for us and suits our clients. We have been enormously successful for the last two or three years, so that is the proof! Innovation is at the heart of our ethos and although we still have a long way to go, we are determined to keep going.  

We’ve put a real emphasis on wellbeing, both physical and mental, and have invested in support initiatives around that throughout the pandemic. We also have trained mental health support officers that exist inside the business. We are keen to build communities outside of London too and we do think of ourselves as a UK entity to reflect this. Where we are today marks a new and exciting era for us, and we want to make people feel a part of that broader culture whether they live in London or not.  

What does FleishmanHillard do to ensure employee development, growth and wellbeing?  

In terms of career development and growth, I think one of the things that is so great about FleishmanHillard is that you can develop your own career path. If you want to go into a new area there is the ability for us to support this. We want to help people to build their careers with us, to feel engaged and motivated in their development, we have had many individuals move to different teams.  

We also have a great mentorship culture, so there are a lot of opportunities to learn and grow for everyone at FleishmanHillard.  

I am currently working with someone leading a lot of our mental health and wellbeing initiatives and it has been great to have more discussions around it. This is just one example but it’s an ongoing process for us all to have a better understanding. This is so that we are able to provide the best support to our employees on a lot of factors that can affect people’s wellbeing. Things like this are quite central to our strategy and we have made sure that we are being judged on our effectiveness by third parties and not just by ourselves.   

What are you doing to strengthen team culture during this time?  

We have started hosting internal events called ‘FHestivals’ to bring teams together, reconnect and network. In the past year, we have recruited over a hundred people as we are growing, and so a big focus for us is that the onboarding process is thorough. We have our values which we call our ‘Regs’ and they inform how we work together as a team. How we celebrate and support every individual within our community, welcome healthy challenge, and when we disagree we do so with kindness and respect. We are a community of individuals who need to rely on each other, so it is important our people feel part of a community that does care and that it is more than just work.  

That is quite a refreshing approach to hear, is there anything you want to share with anyone considering a career at FleishmanHillard?  

For 2022, we are totally focused on giving our team even more opportunities to do great work. For people interested in expanding their capabilities or if they want to be exposed to a different sector or type of work, we can find them the opportunity to morph their career or client portfolio. Equally, we also have a wide variety of new and existing client briefs if people want to deepen their expertise.   

Due to the pandemic, the walls have come down on geographies and disciplines, so opportunities for our colleagues can arise from across the FleishmanHillard global network and span multiple expertise. So, whether you want to consult in talent transformation, work on crisis communications, healthcare or pivot your career into a new area, the opportunity to do so is here. 

Our colleagues will train, mentor and be a sounding board, so, wherever you are in your career there is always someone to learn from or to partner with to solve client problems and also inspire you to keep learning. 

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