Trying to be everything to everyone does not work anymore and sometimes the service and skill that we would normally deliver in our niche can be affected by the fact that we are trying to provide services that we do not have the expertise for.

 

Could having the right working culture influence the positive growth within businesses and encourage collaboration across the community? Surely that way everyone gets to play to their strengths, and everybody benefits? Most importantly the end users/customers/clients.

We had a chat with Marcus Wincott Marketing Manager at Media Lounge and Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth all about driving collaboration and where e-commerce fits into that concept.

We will delve into the ideas surrounding nurturing a company culture, owning your ‘own space’ in the market and how you then use the power of social media to back this all up.

The future is bright for collaboration and ecommerce, let’s delve into it with Marcus.

 

Culture – Let The Team Do The Talking

 

We see this word A LOT. As Marcus quite rightly says “I think some people think if you get a ping pong table and some funky wall graphics that’s all you need, that’s your culture nailed, you’ve smashed it.” Perceptions are short lived, your beer fridge isn’t going to help you when your staff are all overworked and unhappy and as a result, the work your agency does is suffering. Culture by definition means “a way of life” not a few fun gimmicks that you can throw in to appear to have an understanding of what people / employees nowadays are looking to get from the work they do.

Your Instagram stories may tell the world one thing, but the hours your staff work can paint an entirely different picture. This can be downfall a for your workforce, leaving them feeling exhausted. Marcus stresses that there can be a change, we just need to move away from rigidness and outdated ideals.  “There was this meritocracy [at a previous agency] applied to staying late, but at Media Lounge we actively encourage staff not to work late because ultimately you have to get the work life balance right and we’re probably not managing our workload properly if we feel we have to work late. Also, you just shouldn’t – it’s not healthy.”

This will look different in every company, but making a culture successful and a team work together is about playing to individual strengths  “When meeting with my team about direction and strategy, I’ll have my own ideas for content and advertising budget and stuff, but I won’t have it formulated because everything has to be discussed with my team because they have to deliver it. I don’t force ideas upon them, but instead let them steer the strategy, change the way they work and be flexible in order to achieve our goals.”

 

How Do We Want To Work, Really Though? 

 

More and more of us are now talking about a better work life balance and having a more Holistic approach to this. However is it really achievable to implement flexible working on a large scale and can every business achieve it?

Marcus sees some positives and negatives in this approach. “Some of the best work we do is when we are all in a room together talking about a project and chipping in which you can’t do if you’re all remote. But for some tech businesses, remote staff works better, some of which don’t even have a HQ.”

Or maybe it needs to be an overhaul about how we work and spend our hours working. “I get it, I think it could be more about bits of remote working, side hustles, and people generally working less hours in a normal job so they have time for all the rest.”

 

 

“I think people still want a baseline salary but increasingly, they also want the flexibility to run a side hustle or a meet up group or something else that they’re passionate about.”

 

 

If we’re going to take this collaborative approach to the next level, maybe this is where we turn to next, where our teams work less hours and pursue passions outside of their 9-5. Could this make for a happier more productive workforce despite less hours in the office? Marcus certainly feels the benefit of this mutual trust between him and his employer and is able to watch his side hustle grow. He is the Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth which is a series of events for local Entrepreneurs, “Our commitment to the global Startup Grind brand was that we would hold an event every month and since September 2018 we’ve done that. Our only goal is to educate inspire and connect entrepreneurs in our local area to make the startup journey, a less lonely and scary one.”

 

Collaboration In Our Communities 

 

As our community opens up more, and we nurture and support each other’s ideas and smaller business plans, our guards lower and ‘competition’ suddenly becomes less of a threat.

After a few years in London, Marcus reflected on his return to Bournemouth and his surprise at the change. “The extremely active and open meet up an event scene here, just would never have happened 10 years ago. I think the collaborative nature of the digital community here has grown, and it’s because everyone is less guarded now.”

“When I came back from London there was still some of those big names knocking about like BBD, Adido, RedWeb but they were very different, they looked different. They have got their niche and the thing they do and nobody these days claims to do everything.”

The term ‘jack of all trades’ comes to mind but people are not fooled by this anymore. There is a place for’ say yes and learn how to do it when you get there’ but as a strategy this has been proven to fail and these failures do not go unnoticed.

Marcus went on to say that often Media Lounge liaise with agencies that offer similar services, because they know what they’re good at and when a project comes up, if they know they can’t give their 100% they’ll pass it on to the right person or business that can.

“Now times gone on, there is somewhat of a karmic feel to things where kindness and support come back around.”

“The most important thing should be the outcome for the client. Holistically it creates a much better idea of trust.”

 

Online Community And Buying From Those You Trust

 

When we’re pitching to our clients, trust is a key factor in conversion. As we’ve seen the rise in Social Media, Instagram particularly, the term ‘influencers’ is now part of our everyday lingo.

A new feature is on the horizon which we believe could change the face of communities online, making them more authentic. It also opens up the spectrum for the side hustle that is micro influencing.

Individuals within these smaller online communities are now going to be able to purchase directly from their favoured micro influencers posts on Instagram “They are now taking it a step further, so you can now purchase in app. That’s powerful. I think it will make the whole influencer trend more accountable and so-called influencers will have the opportunity to prove the ‘influence’ they have over their communities. Or not.” It’s no surprise that one person having millions of followers and getting paid to post a picture of themselves with a dietary supplement milkshake was going to be short lived. Just like that of a business with a transparent culture, we can see straight through it.

We are hoping this will lead to the rise of powerful and influential micro influencers who are passionate about what they do and have niche, but loyal following. This in turn can be an individual’s side hustle and will help to grow collaboration within our online and offline communities.

A Look at the 2019 Rock Star Awards

Looking at the new and rising talent around all of us, provides a glimpse into the future.

Let us take a reflective look at how the 2019 Rock Star Awards have been progressing and what we have seen this year.

Individuals in a workforce and people in society are driving themselves to the limit to produce results day in day out, or just to live a happier life. No matter how long you have worked in a company, people deserve recognition. Even if no one has noticed yet.

 

 

Finding The Diamonds

“Every year the calibre and the diversity for Rock Star Award candidates is amazing,” believes our MD, Angela Piromalli. Talent is peaking its eager head up in many different places. A shift is appearing, with more people from different backgrounds than before are standing up and wanting to be counted.

The underlying principles of the Rock Star Awards has never changed, since it started in 2012. Not only do they bring attention to certain individuals, but they show companies the features that make a successful individual.

“Deserving people are now being recognised outside of the status quo. There’s no underlying agenda there. It’s exciting for the future.”

By looking at skills and talents that were previously glazed over in industry, more adaptable candidates are sought out. With this new way of seeing people, we’re finding diamonds under rough rocks.

 

More Than Just A Company Initiative

 

A major factor in the Rock Star Awards is not only giving someone the recognition, but supporting their trajectory towards success. It is not just a shindig at the end of March, the Rock Star Awards present genuine opportunities to grasp for the future.

Fleur Cook, our Marketing Manager explains, “This platform showcases the right talent and projects it both locally and nationally.

“It puts the spotlight on young people, which extends beyond the one night.”

All of those involved in the awards, both past and present, interact on a regular basis, keeping the network pulse thriving. It has created a web of interaction that expands far beyond the awards themselves, focusing on growth and development for the future.

“Not only are new candidates offered the chance to see the success of previous award winners, but they can build on their own and reach out to people in this new database of marketing gold. The awards have a longevity way beyond the ceremony itself.”

“They are way more than just a trophy.”

 

The Rising Talent

 

Helping both company and candidates, there are two sides to these awards. Stars tap into our mentality at Rise, and help with initiatives from a fresh set of eyes.

A new perspective and a pool of people to lean on is something both sides of the process benefit from, with each award winner bringing something new to the table. There’s no set formula for the “Rock Star Award Winners” either; some may have tougher backgrounds than others, but all know how to work hard and work together.

Angela says, “Everyone who is involved in the awards are overcoming obstacles. We want to give as many young people as we can the chance to tackle these.

“We believe in support, and that’s what these awards are offering people. It’s ongoing and it’s permanent, the Rock Star Awards are the starting point of it. Every person we have come into contact with has had something magic about them. That’s who we want to support and that’s who we want to grow alongside.”

 

Why It’s All Worth It

 

Having such an event represents a lot of organisation and time, but what you get back from it is in abundance.

“When people come up to you and thank you for the event, it makes it all worth it. Whether they’ve won or not, we have endless amounts of grateful people approach us.” Angela says proudly.

Some nominees have not been given this kind of opportunity before, and being able to give them that platform to be appreciated means more than words.

Angela knows that planning, preparing and partnering with everyone involved is no easy feat, and it is a rewarding, but challenging process, to co-ordinate the entirety of the project. Seeing the smiles at the event and knowing we have made a difference to people’s lives on that night makes it worth it.

Angela concludes, “Grouping together talent, recruitment and sponsors we have a unique chance to do something different. By getting more involved in future partnerships and discussions we are able to create this mega-hub of resources in different industries, forming the Rise super-team. This will become a contender not just in the South of England, but on wider level.”

 

20/20 Vision For The Future

 

2019 for us is about growth, but it doesn’t stop there.

We want to give young people the biggest platform possible to express and debut their well-deserving work, something we’ll work towards and make a reality.

It’s about being inspired, and giving young people a chance on every level.

You can go on and achieve great things, and the Rock Star Awards can and will give others that leg up. This is our promise to the communities we work within.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

raina summerson CEO
Raina Summerson, Agincare Group CEO

 

 

We spoke with Raina Summerson the Group CEO at Agincare UK about the care industry, the highs, the lows and moving through the ranks.

 

 

 

 

RISE: What is your title and could you give us a short summary of what your day to day looks like at Agincare?

Raina: Group Chief Executive – covering all businesses within the group of Agincare companies. Due to the number of and diversity of services we provide, no two days are the same really but essentially my days will cover: looking at current business, considering where we are against budgeted and planned performance and looking to future business development. This activity is all set in the context of our vision, mission and values that underpin the business plan and core objectives. All of it involves a lot of liaison with people inside the business and external partners, such as local authorities, the NHS, our teams and other partners. Also, due to our national presence and scope of business, linking in with regional and national policy work in the sector, for example with professional associations, other large providers and organisations such as the Department of Health and Social Care, Skills for Care, Association of Directors of Social Services and the Local Government Association.

RISE: What do you love most about your job?

Raina: The purpose, the people and the variety. Above all the fact that what Agincare and our teams do makes a real difference to peoples’ lives at critical times and the fact that I get to support and influence that and the wider sector in some way. Also, the feeling of satisfaction of being part of a fantastic team building an increasingly successful and sustainable business that gives employment, development, networks and a sense of place and friendship to around 4,000 people. Small moments of interaction with people who use our services or on talking with our teams are often the highlights of my week.

RISE: How did you get to where you are today?

Raina: I started as a frontline care worker when I was 19, working in a variety of roles covering hospitals, care homes and community. This led me to work for Social services where I was seconded to do my social work training, which I completed in 1997; following further development in this role and achievement of my MA in the evenings, I became a social care regulator for what is now the Care Quality Commission. In 2004, I had the opportunity to join a small but growing family business – Agincare – and the rest is history!

RISE: What is it like working within care? Are there highs and lows?

Raina: I have always been passionate about social care and supporting people, challenging injustice and it’s all I know as a career. There are certainly challenges and resilience is needed both in a personal and business capacity. There is a lot of frustration over the lack of understanding, funding and support of the workforce from government and therefore wider society. Fundamental issues that are causing critical shortfalls in care are simply not addressed and there are consequences that everyone in the sector – workforce and people receiving support services and their families alike – are feeling. That can be hard for people and off-putting. As a care provider or an individual within the sector (in any role), there is a great sense of responsibility. Feeling that you have let anyone down on a personal or professional level, even if not your ‘fault’ is the most difficult part of working in this sector. Offset though by those moments of interaction with people where you can see ‘I/we made a difference’ and the fun, camaraderie and commitment shared in daily work. You can always do something right, do what you do well and always make a difference even within such a difficult system. Overall, I feel amazingly lucky to love what I do and still have such an interest in it after all these years.

RISE: If you were going to give advice to someone that was thinking of starting a career in care, what would you say?

Raina: Go for it and don’t let people put you off! The world is your oyster. There are so many wonderful jobs in the sector, so many different paths for development and something for everyone – values, kindness, compassion and personality are key, the rest might be complex at times but can be learned. Some excel at frontline care work and want to remind providing an essential role there but others develop into team leader, manager roles, head office support roles, nurses, OTs, Social workers or into policy or Directorships. As the current Department of Health and Social Care campaign says ‘every day is different’. People don’t tend to come into it for the glamour or recognition or the money and working conditions, though despite what people believe there are actually many well paid career options in the sector.

So many people hate their jobs, it’s a chore and a way to earn a living. Most people in social care don’t feel that, even though their jobs are tough and they may be tired and want to work different hours or earn more money. If they are still there after a few weeks, they usually love what they do and feel rewarded by it. That’s a great charm of the sector!

RISE: When you made the decision to be a sponsor of the Rock Star Awards (our awards show that celebrates young people across Dorset and Hampshire) this year what was your main reason for this?

Raina: Having attended the last awards, I was blown away by the whole event and stories told. It was a brilliant concept, well organised and a great platform to showcase young people and celebrate what they do – sometimes despite very adverse conditions. This aligned with my own personal and professional experience and awareness of many young people in caring roles doing amazing work or personal caring, who simply get no recognition for this. So, Agincare sponsoring this new ‘Young Carer’ category felt right for us, for the Rock Star Awards and to help raise awareness of care and the stories of caring that are around us all every day.