Havas Culture


Communications Officer
Havas Turkey has recently been certified a Great Place To Work® by the Global Authority on Workplace Culture. The Great Place to Work Trust Model™ represents one of the industry’s most rigorous, data-based models for quantifying employee experience. Find out more from Özlem Milor İslam, Director of People & Culture, Havas Istanbul.

Can you explain the process for receiving a Great Place To Work (GPTW) certification? 

GPTW is more than just a milestone to celebrate, it represents an arduous journey for us. The certification isn’t self-designated, it has to be verified based on both qualitative and quantitative research. The process is very detailed and includes an audit in which you must define elements of your company’s culture. Along with this audit, an independent survey is completed by your employees, and you’re not allowed to influence your employees’ opinion during the process. Basically, your teams get to decide if it’s a great place to work or not! 

What does this mean for Havas Turkey?

The tough part of being a truly integrated Village is creating a culture where different disciplines are focused on client needs – understanding where they stand in the big picture rather than a silo-oriented view of the particular projects they need to deliver. This level of understanding needs a strong culture. Having the best talent is only one part of our success. We can only be effective if we combine talent with an inclusive culture where people feel they belong and can thrive together.

GPTW is a culmination of our efforts since 2017, when each HAVAS Turkey agency came together under one roof. Our Creative CEO, Serhat Akkılıç, calls our teams “Poets and engineers working together,” and it was not easy to achieve. We are still focused on improving ourselves, but obtaining the GPTW certification, a globally recognized certification, is proof that we’ve come a long way since 2017. Everybody has worked for many years to become a transdisciplinary team in a country where doing business isn’t easy, and this global certification further demonstrates our dedication to the well being of our people.

Can you talk about some of the results from this year’s survey? 

Having the GPTW certification with the 73% of ‘Great Place to Work’ statement is meaningful because it reflects Havas’ culture, our employees’ engagement with the culture and with their teams. The results also reflect our leaders’ honesty and fairness. Most focus area metrics are above 80% and the top 5 statements are all above 94% which indicates Fairness, Diversity, and Collaboration areas.

Our best scores we are proud of are:

  • Justice 92%
  • Camaraderie 85%
  • Leadership Behaviour 83%
  • Team 84%
  • Hospitality 85%

In your opinion, what were the key success factors of the survey? Any company-wide programs or initiatives that you believe contributed?

Owning an initiative is an important indicator of a strong culture. We outlined all the key elements of our culture-defining initiatives that different teams participated in and set-up from scratch. Most of them become business-defining and clients started using or participating in them. Although many of them are best practices across our global Villages, here are a few projects that are totally unique to Turkey:

  • Havas Strategy Cooperative: A structure that brings the best strategy expertise in the industry by working with independent and best-of-their-vertical professionals and consultants. 
  • Star Project: The team that designs the collaborations we make with influencers and celebrities for brands in our projects by following the most up-to-date content in different channels. (This team is behind many projects which created nation-wide PR)
  • Young Coders Club: Our developer scouting and nurturing platform. We select best tech talent in top universities, train them on the job and hire them for global/local HAVAS CX projects. (we received 700+ applications this year, breaking a record!)
  • Müştemilat: Another talent platform for finding, selecting and training future advertising professionals mostly in Account / Brand Management vertical.
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