Havas Culture


Senior Writer and Editor
Hannah Lindley joined Havas Group in October 2021 as a Senior Writer and Editor. She has a background in corporate reputation management, journalism, and creative writing.
In some exciting news for the network, Havas Group India Companies Are Now Great Place To Work® Certified™ by Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture. Hear more about what the certification means and how the network secured their certification from Vandana Tilwani, CHRO, Havas Group India.

Can you talk about the process of being named a GPTW? What work goes into receiving that certification?

The Great Place to Work® certification process in India is a rigorous and thorough process with a systematic step-by-step plan. It typically involves the following steps:

  1. Application: Organizations interested in being certified must complete an application form and provide information about their company and workplace culture.
  2. Assessment: The Great Place to Work® institute conducts an assessment of the organization’s culture and practices, which includes an anonymous survey of employees and an evaluation of the organization’s policies and procedures.
  3. Feedback and improvement: Based on the assessment results, the institute provides feedback to the organization and works with them to identify areas for improvement.
  4. Certification: If the organization meets the required standards, it is certified as a Great Place to Work®.
  5. Recertification: The certification is valid for a year after which the organization needs to go through the recertification process.

We, at Havas Group India, are thrilled to have passed this extensive process with flying colours and hope to keep up our endeavours that have led to such favourable outcomes.

Why is it so important / meaningful to receive this certification?

The Great Place To Work® certification is an industry-agnostic recognition of an organization’s commitment to creating a truly positive and inclusive workplace culture. As an advertising network on the rise, and competing against industry stalwarts, this certification goes beyond being a feather in our cap at Havas Group India. Over the last 3 to 4 years, we have worked towards building a name and positive reputation for our network in India from the ground up. As of 2023, we have been successful in being perceived as a worthy contender for new business and creative firepower by other advertising networks who have been in the Indian market for far longer. And now is the time we also start showcasing what has been in the works in tandem with our business prowess – our dedicated efforts to put our people at the core of all our practices.

This recognition will help us further instill our people-first approach into all our communications, both within the network and to the world outside, thereby, elevating our credibility and reputation as a great employer. Consequently, we can gain greater access to networking and learning opportunities, as well as best practices and resources to support ongoing efforts to improve the workplace. The certification process includes an assessment of the organization’s culture and practices, and organizations can use this information for benchmarking by identifying areas for improvement and tracking progress over time. Furthermore, as a network that helps build our clients’ profile in the minds of consumers, it can also have a positive impact on customer loyalty and brand awareness. Thus, being Great Place To Work® Certified™ is an asset for any organization, and an achievement for all of us at Havas Group India to have earned as we continue striving towards a better, more positive future.

“Being Great Place To Work® Certified™ is a huge achievement and to earn it as a network, not just as individual agencies, takes it to another level.”

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

Being Great Place To Work® Certified™ is a huge achievement and to earn it as a network, not just as individual agencies, takes it to another level. It is concrete proof that the efforts we have undertaken to build a culture that we can all be proud of have been successful to a noticeable degree. However, if we delve deeper into the nitty-gritty of what makes us a great workplace, our responses quantitatively show how our people truly feel about Havas Group India.

While around 70-75% is widely regarded as standard to qualify, our people responded with heart and recorded upwards of 80% on most parameters. A few standout statistics that we are thrilled about are:

  • We scored 94% on Havas Group India being a physically safe space to work
  • We scored highly on 3 prominent culture markers – pride (82%), camaraderie (81%), and credibility (80%)
  • We perceived our management to be competent at running the business (88%)
  • We also believed that our customers would rate the service we deliver as excellent (88%)

Was there anything that particularly excited or surprised you?

Although we have worked tirelessly to ensure that culture we are building at Havas Group India is not just a routine exercise to cover our DE&I bases but an ecosystem, a community of colleagues who can bring their full selves to the workplace and, in turn, produce work that is meaningful and transcends the limitations of what one can achieve on their own. Thus, we were amazed by the strength of the numbers.  To have scored this highly on parameters that we hold so close to our hearts – people perceiving that they are treated fairly regardless of their race/caste (93%), sexual orientation (90%), and gender (89%) – is tangible, numerical evidence of how we have collectively created an environment where fundamental elements of our personal identities are not the basis for differential treatment. Our unified endeavours and commitment towards creating a positive workplace environment has been recognized and only provides greater impetus for us to maintain and build on what we have achieved so far.

What do you think were some of the key drivers of the survey’s success? Any particular company-wide programmes or initiatives that you think contributed?

Based on the favourable and relatively high scores we have received, it is evident that all our initiatives have had a positive impact on building an inclusive and transparent in some capacity or the other. We work towards instilling a continuous learning mindset in all our people have robust programs in place to ensure that we support our talent to shine their best, regardless of where they are in their career journey. Some of our talent development programs are also designed to cater to specific needs/requirements. For example, Havas SPARK, our flagship internship program, was meant to address the shortage of fresh talent resulting from high attrition rates and movement to the client’s side. Similarly, Havas BOLT, a rigorous 12-month development program is aimed at fostering leadership among high-potential mid-career professionals who can promise a brighter future as the leaders of tomorrow.

Having programs like BOLT and SPARK serves a functional purpose by elevating the quality of our talent pool but it is our commitment to initiatives that transcend the call of business that has truly made an impression on our people, as seen by the overwhelmingly positive responses on the anonymous employee survey.

Our individual agencies and the network as a whole have made a dedicated effort to ensure that we tackle the stereotyping and bias issue head on. The key objectives were to increase visibility of strong female leadership, provide encouragement and mentorship to potential women leaders, help enhance the growth of our women staffers and create the right environment that allows them growth and development opportunities. Driving the ethos of equality and diversity within the network, we created a Gender Diversity Charter to strengthen our commitment towards building a more gender diverse workplace with opportunities for all. Women Who Inspire was another program established to recognise and celebrate the great work that women employees are doing across the group. Some other initiatives include ‘Flex Your Lexi’ workshops, the ‘Bounce Back’ program for women returning to work after maternity leave, ‘A Day in Life Of’ video series aimed at capturing the stories of female managers and leaders across the network, among others. These sustained efforts have resulted in improving the gender ratio from 19% to 35%, with a strong roster of female leaders in the C-suite.

We have also made waves in the industry by associating with the United Nations, as one of the founding members of the Unstereotype Alliance, a thought and action platform that seeks to eradicate harmful stereotypes in all media and advertising content, as well as a signatory of the national chapter of the UN Women Empowerment Principles; we have recently been awarded 1st runner-up in the Transparency & Reporting category of the UN WEPs Awards 2022.

We believe that bringing your authentic self to anything you do is the only way you can thrive. For us at Havas Group India, to create meaningful and purpose-driven work, we must immerse ourselves into our global ‘Better Together’ philosophy which is built on the bedrock of the power of the united collective. We encourage and empower each other, celebrating our diversity and bring the same energy to drive positive change through our work.

What does this mean for Havas Group India?

As a lighthouse market that has steadily demonstrated its capabilities from a business perspective, this certification adds more gravitas to our people-first approach, presenting us in a new light. We have carved out a space for us within the global Havas Group network in terms of business and revenue, and with the pandemic recontextualising our priorities, we buckled down on our most prized resources – our people, the results of which are clear for all to see. Going forward, as we expand our operations in India, we will continue to invest in our people so that at our core we remain a people-first, transparent and inclusive network. It may be ambitious for us to say so but it is a hope that we can be a definitive example of what a truly positive workplace can be and more.

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