Havas New York was named “Network Agency of the Year” (500-999 employees) at The Drum Awards for Agency Business 2021 and Laura Maness was also acknowledged for her leadership as a finalist for CEO of the Year.
Following on the heels of an impressive series of agency awards over the past few years, Dan Lucey, CCO of Havas New York, shares his thoughts about this latest win and the agency’s secrets to success.
Congratulations on the win! What does winning this award mean to you?
Havas NY is on a mission to become the best company in the world and the best company for the world, so being recognised as Agency of the Year by The Drum means that we’re on the right track. We’ve won countless agency awards over the years– Digiday WorkLife Award for Most Innovative Culture in 2018, the AdAge Award for Best Places To Work in both 2019 and 2021, and the Adexchanger Award for Best Collaborative Agency Team in 2020. To win an agency award during arguably the most difficult time in recent history is something we should all be very proud of.
We’ve put a lot of effort into enhancing both the employee experience and our work over the past year -not a small feat considering the pandemic- and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. This is just the motivation we need to keep driving forward in our success.
Agency culture is a huge part of your success. How do you motivate the team to keep driving client business forward?
Making sure the great people that work at our agency are cared for is paramount. When our staff feels supported and valued, they are more creative, motivated, and agile. We do this by offering unique benefits like our “Curious Fund,” which grants employees $500 yearly to pursue a passion and a subsidised day care and free back-up childcare programme for parents. We’ve also implemented a weekly “Zoom Out” calendar block, where employees are encouraged to deny requests for video meetings and calls to reset, recharge, and focus.
When the pandemic forced us to work from home, we saw it as an opportunity to reimagine the future of work. Not only did we transition to all employee programming virtually, but we established a new way of working that aligns people, planet, and profit in equal balance. This strategy allows our staff and our clients to find greater meaning in the work that we do.
Havas New York has a very strong diversity record. How does this improve your work and are others in our industry doing enough to push for change?
We are always working towards becoming more diverse and inclusive and while we’ve made several steps in the right direction, there’s always more work to be done. With that said, DEI is good for everyone. It’s good for Havas NY’s culture and it’s good for the work. Amplifying diverse voices and perspectives when we make creative decisions ensures that the work that we do is for everyone.
As for what others are doing in the industry– it’s hard to say. I think overall, the industry is slowly working towards a more equitable employee experience. But we’re seeing a lot of diverse hires in the same sort of roles: “Head of DEI,” “Chief Culture Officer,” etc. and while those roles are important, we need to see more creative leadership roles filled by diverse candidates as well. This year Havas NY welcomed numerous diverse hires at every level in the department. The addition of these amazing talents not only reinforces our commitment to creativity but brings much-needed diverse perspectives and skill sets to our creative department.
The New York Village is a huge champion of our global “Commit to Change” plan, which in just one year has seen great results. I’m excited to see how we can continue the momentum and spark real change throughout our network and the industry.
How is the agency’s commitment to sustainability helping to win new business and retain talent?
As you know, our 2021 Meaningful Brands Study uncovered that consumers are desperately seeking brands that will make a meaningful difference – with 73% saying brands must act now for the good of society and the planet. That’s a significant number, and if consumers want brands to do better, it’s safe to say that employees and clients want their agencies to do better as well.
So many brands are looking for agency partners that have similar societal, cultural, and environmental philosophies. With that said, our commitment to sustainability has already attracted companies such as global real estate services firm, JLL, which has been named one of Ethisphere’s “World’s Most Ethical Companies” for 14 consecutive years.
As far as employees go, people want to know they work for a company that values more than just profit. They want to know a company has a soul.
If there’s one piece of advice you’d give to agencies looking to be recognised as best-in-class in their local markets, what would it be?
Set an intention and build it into your brand ethos from the ground up. It’s not enough to just declare that you’re committing to DEI or sustainability– you have to live it. You have to continue to hold yourself accountable and lead with purpose.
What does 2022 look like for the agency?
Our aim is to produce world class work and offer a world class work environment. With the onboarding of Lindsay Stein, our newly appointed Chief of Social Impact, we can take our mission to the next level– continuing to make a meaningful difference for our clients and our community.
And personally, I am looking forward to getting back into the office and feeling the energy of IRL interactions. Zoom life is getting old.