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Engine MD on the keys to Best Places to Work success

Agency teams need the best skills to keep up with rapid change. As Campaign launches 2018's Best Places to Work, we showcase effective industry training in action. Engine's Simon Peck speaks to Eleanor Kahn...

Peck…"A company like ours is nothing without its employees"
Peck…"A company like ours is nothing without its employees"

In the fast-changing world of marketing and creative communications, keeping skills and
training up-to- the-minute is essential for business growth. Agency teams must be future and
forward thinking to help clients maximise creative and commercial opportunities.

Marketing communications agency, Engine Group – which owns agencies including WCRS, PAA
and Deep Focus – worked with The Industry School as part of their staff training programme. The
Industry School brings specialist training to agency teams through workshops.

Simon Peck, Engine’s group managing director, tells Eleanor Kahn their approach to staff training and development.

Why do you think you are one of Campaign’s Best Places to Work?
A company like ours is nothing without its employees, so we strive to create a workplace
where people feel positive, motivated and valued.

We have a strong culture of personal development, and tailor training to people’s individual
development needs. For us, it’s not just about craft or skill gaps, it's also about enhancing
employees’ overall experience in the workplace. For example, we have provided
‘transformational performance coaching’ to help people manage times of stress or anxiety at
home and at work.

We also provide in-depth cross-Engine training programmes, including our investment in The
Industry School’s immersive training workshops.

How have The Industry School been involved in your staff development plans?
They have put together an excellent training package for us over the past few years. We
used them a lot with WCRS specifically for training project managers and directors at the
agency. We value efficiencies such as time, cost and agency management equally to
specialist expertise and creative output.

Juggling efficiency and great production is critical to our business. We discussed this with
them and they put together a tailored package. Team members have learned how to
integrate their skills across channels, focusing on digital delivery and print production.

The Industry School also continues to work with creative agencies Deep Focus and PAA in the Engine Group. They are running Digital Delivery training in April
and we’re also interested in the ‘Selling the Idea – Harnessing Creativity’ workshop.

What’s key to developing a successful training programme?
The Industry School took the time to listen and understand our business model and how it
works. We met with them to discuss the challenges we wanted to address. Over six-months,
they developed a tailored package and approach in terms of cost and structure, helping our
training budget go further.

Not only could they design training to the needs of our individual businesses, but the training
itself was immersive and interactive. Attendees worked directly with industry experts
throughout the day in small class sizes, often using a real case study. There is a good blend
of theory and practical training which meant our people could take their training straight from
the classroom and apply it to their daily work.

What will you do to ensure you make it onto the Best Places to Work list again next
year?
We are doing three things:
1. Thinking about how we appeal to millennials. We know they want fast and regular feedback so feedback training has been a huge focus in the past 12 months. Our aim is to create a culture shift where people receive good quality, useful feedback on a regular basis so that they can continually develop.

2. Doing our bit to fix the gender imbalance in the industry and improve the number of women in our senior roles. We have put in place a robust five-step programme to tackle this called Better With Balance, spanning: 1) Compulsory 50/50 shortlists for all senior roles 2) a robust sponsorship programme 3) an industry leading role model programme 4) more active maternity leave and career planning conversations and 5) compulsory unconscious bias training across the group. We have seen significant shifts in the number of women in leadership roles and are on track to hit a 50-50 balance by 2020. So this remains a key focus.

3. Shared values. To succeed, you must have a workforce that believes in your business and shares in its values – so showing that we care about the stuff our employees care about will continue to drive our agenda. That’s why being one of Campaign’s Best Places to Work is important and underlines the key contribution The Industry School has provided to our staff, helping their development and progression.

Find out more about The Industry School’s workshops.

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