How to spot an agency with a bad culture.

Today I learned that sometimes it’s best to know less…

Let’s talk about creative agency culture and how you know that an agency has very serious culture problems. What are the signs of a bad agency? How can you spot an agency with a bad culture? Knowing some of these signs and clues can help you dodge a bullet. I’m going to share a few thoughts now and I think I’ll probably come back to this topic some time in the future…

Let’s first start with the leadership. Caring is important. It’s never a good sign when the leadership does not care and does not care to listen to the people. They do not care to listen to the employees, do not care about the work, do not care about the culture, and do not care much about the client.. Or their business for that matter. Let’s be real. When your one-year review date comes and goes and comes and goes for over 5 months straight then you might start to wonder when it will happen so you ask and you get an answer, “It’s not really important and that’s not a priority here.” There you go. That’s your answer. When your leader tells you to your face they don’t care and the people that work at the agency and make up the agency is not a priority, then he/she probably means it. How to make them care? Resign. Just say the magic word and they’ll probably start saying many things that they think you want to hear.

Orange bean bag? Popcorn cart? Mellow yellow loveseat? Ping pong table? So cool!
It’s important to have a good working environment that’s stimulating and get your creative juices flowing. It definitely feels nice to work in an office that also looks nice. Who wants to work in a dull, uninspiring, tiny cubicle space with stained carpets? Right? Am I right?! But if the agency is more concerned about the office interior decoration, that’s a problem. They make a big deal out of a popcorn maker? A ping pong table? A bar made out of pennies? Or giving an empty lobby wall a beauty makeover? If they somehow think that having these things equate to a cool, hip, “creative” agency with a fun culture, they’re terribly mistaken.

Do you see 😀😁😃😄😆😊😋😍😏😛😜😝? OR 😒😓😔😕😖😞😤😠😡😫😵😴?
In a happy healthy agency, you’ll see people laughing, joking around, enjoying work, and interacting with others. They’ll get up, walk around and talk to people and smile. Take a walk. Take a look around. If the majority of the people are bored, stressed, angry, and frustrated, that’s not normal..

Our values!!!
Having an inspirational attitude around the office is motivating and encouraging. However, having a big wall of Cannes categories in the office doesn’t mean anything. They’re not awards nor are they award-winning work on display. It’s simply wall of categories in Cannes Lion Int’l Festival of Creativity. You can download the categories online, which by the way, changes each year. So this year’s categories will no longer be relevant next year anyway. But my point is, an office that has their “mission statements” or their “goals” or “values” plastered all over the wall is not a good sign. Don’t bother. None of that’s important to the agency and they’re simply putting on a show. Don’t be naive.




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