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.
Havas Media Group UK’s Patrick Affleck recently founded an employee engagement programme called Side Hustle, which helps employees come up with and develop their business ideas outside work to foster an entrepreneurial culture within Havas Group at large. Hear more about the programme below!

Can you talk about how you came up with the idea for this course?

Being meaningfully daring is our mindset and guides all our behaviour at Havas Media Group. We’re all about taking more informed risks in the pursuit of better outcomes for ourselves and our clients. To achieve this, we’re trying to create a culture which promotes entrepreneurial thinking and innovation, not to mention a can-do mindset to make it happen. Programmes like Side Hustle will allow people to explore ideas (and themselves as individuals) making them more confident in what they do and bring to Havas Media Group.

At a time when we’re experiencing significant churn and disengagement with the industry it might seem counter-intuitive that we should encourage side hustles, but we believe it is an excellent way to attract and retain talent as it demonstrates that as an employer we will support every aspect of our employees’ career development. It is my belief that this programme will boost productivity amongst these individuals, and it is a philosophy that the big tech companies like Google have been encouraging for some time with their 20% rule that lets employees work on something of their choice. As Larry Page said: “This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.” And if someone leaves to pursue their own start-up, then I’d be proud that we were able to create such an entrepreneurial culture.

“If someone leaves to pursue their own start-up, then I’d be proud that we were able to create such an entrepreneurial culture.”

Did you work with any third parties to develop this programme?

Yes, we’re working with a personal and professional growth company called UnlockYourBlock – which was founded by Tia Castagno – who worked alongside us to develop the tailored programme. Tia and I worked together at Dentsu a few years back, and she is an extremely empowering and inspiring leader. This is the first edition of the programme and we’re hoping that there will be many more in the future.

How do you select people to participate in this course? Is there an application process?

Candidates had to submit their application answering 3 questions:

WHY would you like to be part of this programme?

WHAT, if anything, do you have in mind for your side hustle?

HOW do you think your participation and/or side hustle will contribute to reinforce our Meaningfully Daring positioning?

18 people were selected for the 8-week programme which kicked off in April. The course has three aims: to develop a business plan; to develop a marketing and content plan; and finally, to create a sales pitch and approach potential customers. Over those 8 weeks, participants will receive 2 hours of live training and coaching each week with various home assignments to complete. Once the 8-week intensive period is complete they will then enter a sustain phase, where they will join monthly SideHustle club meetings to discuss the ongoing progress of their ideas to keep engagement high.

How does this programme align with Havas Group’s meaningful positioning? Why is this programme important for the Group?

I believe that this is a clear demonstration of our promise to make a meaningful difference to the people we work with. Time will tell, but I’m hoping that this programme will increase loyalty as it offers the best of both worlds (well, a taste of this at least!), whilst hopefully inspiring action in others to take part in future editions of the programme. I do believe that this programme is both visionary and unique and I’m proud that we’re pursuing something that others typically shy away from. 

“I believe that this is a clear demonstration of our promise to make a meaningful difference to the people we work with.”

Outside of the course, does Havas Group provide any other resources for people launching start-ups or side hustles?

Although the Meaningfully Daring Side Hustle is our first official programme of this kind, Havas Media Group has a long history for working and supporting start-ups, from active mentoring programmes to working alongside emerging tech start-ups to implement their cutting-edge technology and product on live client briefs.

We have also recently launched Havas Boost, the brainchild of Gerald Appau-Bonsu from our finance team, which seeks to address the lack of funding and support available to start-ups founded by underrepresented groups. If the Side Hustle programme gives rise to ventures such as Havas Boost that will truly make a meaningful difference to people, businesses, and communities, then we will consider it a huge success.

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