A New Joiner’s Guide to eight&four’s Company Culture

The idea of “company culture” may have been around since the 70s, but it’s millennials that made it matter – according to a study by US company Fidelity, the average much-maligned millennial is willing to take a pay cut of $7,600 in order to find a better work-life balance, more purposeful work or a better company culture [1]. It’s unsurprising, then, that every job advert under the sun now lists ‘family atmosphere’ as a benefit – and also unsurprising that mostly, these much-lauded cultures are nothing more than a list of unimpressive soft benefits intended to distract from a less-than-satisfactory pay package.

Real company culture evolves out of the beliefs and values of a company’s founders and employees – decent benefits are an expression of those values, not a substitution for them. eight&four’s values are love to win, continuous improvement and do the right thing – and they’re woven through every strand of the business, from how we deal with clients and each other to the copious perks we enjoy as employees.

Love to Win means we’re competitive. We love to win new clients, we love being the best and we love putting the most innovative campaigns out there. There’s friendly competition inside the agency too –  although we save it for outside working hours, at the monthly socials. An increasingly enormous budget is handed out to two employees, for them to organise the most impressive knees-up they can – prizes for the best social are given out at the end of the year.

So far in 2018 we’ve had a Crystal Maze experience, mini-golf, a night at The Flight Club, the boardroom transformed into a traditional English pub, an evening of burgers, boozing & bowling, and one hell of a rooftop party, to name but a few. Alcohol flows freely, dinners are always provided and the boardroom’s booked back-to-back by people seeking naps the next day.

Continuous improvement means no matter how well we’re doing, we’re looking to do better. We’re always thinking about future-proofing, and if you join eight&four, you’ll meet continuous improvement in the form of membership to industry bodies like BIMA (and time off to attend their events), quarterly 360-degree progress reviews and regular internal and external training on everything from Sales Negotiation to Client Psychology.

We host regular Drink & Discuss meetings, where the whole company gets together to discuss the month’s most inspiring creative work over an afternoon beverage – whether it’s in the form of an art exhibition someone’s taken in, or a crazy campaign we can’t wait to better. You’ll also get the chance to show off your best work at the monthly Company Catch-up, where we bring each other up to speed on what different teams have been working on, and celebrate client wins.

Do the right thing means being considerate of your colleagues, supporting each other, collaborating and never being too busy to help someone who’s struggling. It means respecting your clients and seeing things from their perspective, and being patient when someone’s having a rough day. It also means Kate and Amy (founders and joint MDs) understanding the commitment you’re making to the company, and rewarding you in a way that makes that feel like a choice, not an obligation. Flexi-time lets you hit the gym at lunch, leave early to meet a mate or see your child to the school gates, no problem – and time off is given as needed, no questions asked.

Doctor’s appointments aren’t cause for suspicion, the company appreciates your human need to visit the dentist occasionally, and if your boiler’s knackered and you need to work from home to let the repair guy in, you don’t need to provide your line manager with photographic evidence the next day. If it’s snowing, or it’s unseasonably sunny, or everyone’s a bit overexcited about football, an impromptu half-day might just be on the cards – it’s happened three times in the last six months.

Last but in no way least, there’s the annual company holiday. Everyone’s spirited away for a long weekend on the company card, with recent destinations including Madrid, Paris and Centre Parks – and we just got back from the newly introduced Spring Break. We were whisked away to the countryside for team-building games, a wheelbarrow of booze and a full-on luxury yurt experience, complete with decorative chamber pots.

So if you’re looking for company culture, ours goes deeper than a fridge full of wine & beer and a cycle-to-work scheme (although obviously, we have both those things too). There’s a sense of being part of something special, which goes deeper than arbitrary backslapping or free holidays and nights out. It comes from working alongside people who share your beliefs, passions and ambitions. It comes from feeling like work enhances your life, rather than dominates it. It comes from working with (and even for) your friends.

Like the cut of our jib? Enough to fancy a full-time job? Check out our careers page and see if we’ve something to suit you. See you on the next social!

[1] http://fortune.com/2016/04/08/fidelity-millennial-study-career/