An outstanding achievement and something we are very proud of.
Back in 2019, ADLIB Recruitment was one of the first recruitment businesses to certify as a B Corp with a score of 82.8. Our belief is that B Corp provides a structure and measurement to improve, certification is the start of the journey. We set out our intentions publicly through annual impact reports and set the bar high. This approach ensured we maintained the focus and accountability needed to make change happen.

Since our initial certification, we’ve held ourselves accountable to improve year on year. We’ve become a 100% employee-owned business, created a Trust Board, Employee Council and gifted each of our existing employees share options with a clear route to realisation.

We’ve donated many thousands of £ to charities and NFPs, including Feeding Bristol, Grassroots Activation Project, St Mungo’s, Julian Trust and Forest of Avon Trust to name a few brilliant organisations.

Internally, we have created MotherBoard, a business charter, community and event series that drives tangible change for mums working in the tech industry. We’ve also vastly improved our maternity leave policy and delivered D,E&I training, lived out through a healthily balanced team. The team have played lead roles in advancing GreenTech South West and Tech Ethics meet up groups. And that’s just for starters.

Today we celebrate the hard work that has gone into achieving our recertification. Focus will soon turn to our next recertification and setting the standards to a whole new level.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast: retaining and attracting talent in difficult times.

In unpredictable times it’s more important than ever to look after your team.

A change in economic climate will inevitably lead to some businesses downsizing to stabilise, some recruiting to take advantage of new opportunities, and others taking stock with their current team.

Wherever you fall, it’s really important to create an environment where your current team and future recruits can thrive.

But when the world is in a state of flux, when individuals are naturally distracted by external factors, how can you keep your team motivated and producing their best work?

Workplace benefits are a great way to keep engagement high but with new ways of working it’s harder to offer the usual perks like remote or flexible working and increased holidays.

Increased salaries and extra holidays are motivating factors, but only to a point as Dan Pink shows us, it’s companies who can keep their culture alive, despite a distant and physically separate workforce that will prosper.

Organisations that invest in ways to get their teams face-to-face safely, to foster a feeling of togetherness, and make employees feel united by a common cause will thrive, rather than just survive.

Finding innovative ways to connect your team to your vision and values will help to nurture a sense of connection and alignment behind your purpose.

Strategies like these can help:

Send vision boxes

Your team aren’t in the office, so why not send them tangible reminders of your organisation and vision? Send vision boxes to each team member and make it personal if you can – tools to help them complete their work, their favourite food or wine and little reminders of past projects and successes. Consider including gifts for family members, like LEGO for kids and vouchers for family days out too. This shows you care about their quality of life beyond the office. Vision boxes help your team stay connected to your brand and what you stand for in a meaningful way.

Have safe in-person gatherings

It might not be the right time to have everyone working in an office but don’t give up on in-person meetings altogether. Instead, when you can, have regular, small, and safe in-person gatherings so people can socialise, catch up, and bond as a team. We’re social creatures and while connecting via video conference is useful zoom-fatigue has definitely kicked in and it doesn’t give us the same boost a face-to-face gathering does. Consider hosting outdoor happy hours where people can move around and talk with plenty of room to be healthy and safe. These can include organised activities and structured team bonding or just provide a safe space for socialising and touching base

Host virtual lunches or study halls

If online is the only option, don’t just gather everyone virtually for company meetings or to discuss upcoming projects. Think about creating a virtual space where people can spend time together in informal social or work gatherings.

Consider hosting a Friday lunch each week, where everyone logs onto a video conferencing platform and enjoys lunch together while catching up on the past week. Or try setting up a weekly or bi-weekly study hall where people can hop in a video conference room and keep the video open for casual chat while they work.

There is no pressure or need to communicate but this can create the feeling of a communal workspace and a sense togetherness. Study halls can also boost productivity and get problems solved more quickly than using email or waiting for set meeting times.

Keep offering your perks

Even when the office is remote, you can still offer ‘workplace’ perks. Consider keeping things in place like childcare support, health and wellness classes, or training and development opportunities. This shows an authentic commitment to the welfare of your team, that your values remain important regardless of outside factors, and that company culture goes beyond the office walls.

In short, working on keeping your culture alive might not seem like top priority in tough times but it’s more important than ever. A strong and distinctive culture is key to helping your current team stay engaged and motivated and attracting the right people to join your team.

Neil Berry – Head of Development at Proctor + Stevenson

What does a back-end developer do?

The core of my work as a Back-End Developer, is of course writing code using the framework or language for the task or project. But there’s more to it than that.

On any given day, I might be building out a feature to an established application or altering how something works to provide better value to our clients. I may be investigating a scenario that is leading to undesired outcomes on the application and then proposing a solution to the team or client.

Or sometimes I’m tasked with thinking about how best to address a business need with an established system – either using a solution Proctors has previously created in a new context or using something entirely new.

Solutions we work with at Proctors are based on DrupalSymfony or AWS and across the lifecycle of a project, a back-end developer will work closely with all parts of Proctors Technology.

There are also times when we’ll work directly with our clients to understand their needs or demo how progress is going.

Watch video here.

What does a typical day look like at P+S?

A typical day is a good mix of collaboration and focus time. That can be in the office or remote, thanks to our hybrid flexible working policy.

Usually, we’ll have a brief check in with the project team we’re working with. Then there’s either a follow up with some team members to discuss a specific aspect of the work, or I’m head down working on a feature until lunch.

If I’m in the office, I’ll join everyone in the canteen – especially if it’s a pop-up lunch day or (even better) one of our monthly pre-paid lunches. If I’m at home, I may take a long lunch and go for a run or catch up with friends.

My afternoons vary depending on the day. Sometimes I dive back into working on a feature, or sometimes there’s an internal workshop or meeting with a client to talk through a piece of work.

It could also be that the day is set aside for planning and estimating forthcoming work, or training. This is in support of the training roadmaps that are set out based on the goals discussed with the leadership team.

Working with clients

We work with marketing departments across various industries. And while most have similar needs, they all face unique challenges. It’s up to the development team to craft bespoke solutions that work for them.

We have some complex systems that require varying skillsets and experience so working as a team and sharing knowledge can be crucial. In some cases, we find a solution we’ve used in one project that might lend itself well to another. This is why it’s important to build simplicity and flexibility into our solutions to help us manage time efficiently, rather than starting from zero each and every time.

Why Proctor + Stevenson?

Proctor + Stevenson is more than a company people work for; it has a real sense of community. There’s a strong support network so if you ever need to talk to someone, there will always be someone to listen. On top of that, P+S have some great initiatives. From our weekly Wednesday quiz nights to our Friday socials and even pop-up lunches, there’s always something fun going on to get involved with.

There are also plenty of charity fundraising events and other community projects we get involved with which is fantastic. And we host the annual South West Design and Digital Student Awards which is a great way for students to kickstart their career in the industry.

And it goes further than doing good for people, we also have a number of initiatives surrounding our sustainability, and we’re currently working towards our B-corp certification.

These are just a few of the ways Proctor + Stevenson works to be a positive environment for employees and clients alike. Everyone is incredibly friendly and always happy to help each other out, it’s genuinely a really welcoming community of people.

If you’re interested in working with us at Proctor + Stevenson, check out our careers page to see if any of our opportunities suit you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2022 was a pretty transformative year for Keep Art It.

Special thanks to:

Director Douglas Karson highlights:

We’re thrilled to bits about what’s coming next!

Working with Ben The Illustrator, Fiasco created an interactive glossary of terms to make the world of theatre more accessible to people from different backgrounds. 

Developed as part of The Hub, The Old Vic Theatre offers free digital learning resources designed to welcome anyone of any age, experience or ability, into the world of theatre. Playing a key role is an “interactive glossary” of theatre-related terms, created by Fiasco Design. 

The educational microsite aims to debunk the jargon often associated with theatre. Setting the experience on a stage, visitors are guided through an animated performance that explores the different roles, responsibilities and inner-workings of the theatre. Exploring the site, visitors learn about the many different people who help to run the theatre on a day-to-day basis. Visitors can watch and explore at their own pace, scrubbing back and forth to discover, revisit and learn.

“We want viewers to feel like they’ve stepped into our world and discovered something new and unexpected on their own terms.” Magid Elbushra, Digital Content Producer, The Old Vic Theatre.

It was a pleasure to collaborate with Ben The Illustrator and The Old Vic on this microsite. Right from the start we were aligned on a more experiential approach, turning the passive action of watching into something active, engaging and fun.” Mike Frost, Digital Lead, Fiasco Design.

The colours are inspired by The Old Vic’s interior: opulent shades of reds and gold contrast a suite of deep and electric blues. The aim was to capture the atmospheric qualities of stage lighting by splitting the colour into ‘light’ and ‘dark’ themes, which mimic theatrical lighting effects. 

“I’m very proud of what we collaborated on, it was a pleasure to work with the Fiasco team and will always state that setting the whole experience on-stage with the lit/unlit approach was a stroke of Fiasco genius!” Ben O’Brien – Ben the Illustrator.

You can view the project case study on Fiasco’s site here. 

As 2022 draws to a close we’re delighted to be ending the year with top-line growth of +40%. We’ve welcomed major new clients and projects including, Bristol Innovations, Loughborough School of Business & Economics, premium plant-based nutrition brand Vivo Life, Made Smarter Innovation, Medi-Tech innovator Radii Devices and law firm TLT. 

We moved to a new home in Engine Shed in March, the natural location for our focus on scaling innovative organisations. From here we continue to support leadership teams in this enterprising region which recorded an investment flow of £1.1bn in 2021 – putting it into the top 20 in Europe. 

Moving into 2023, we’ll continue to work alongside The University of Bristol, developing its commercial quantum offering, The Enterprise Sessions and other projects. 

And our ongoing relationship with Vittoria, the world’s most advanced bicycle tyre company, has also flourished and we’ll continue to support the leadership team on global brand development. Notable achievements this year include supporting the launch of the 5-hectare Vittoria Park next to the brand’s HQ in Brembate Italy and advertising projects including the benchmark-busting OWN THE UNKNOWN campaign which brought about a collaboration with the Velosolutions team and percussionist Ian Chang.

We also captured the spirit of the brand for internal and external audiences with their Manifesto film.

“It’s been a fantastic year for Firehaus. We’ve worked with some inspirational people throughout 2022 who have maintained a visionary approach to the role of their organisation – even in these difficult times. Each of them is changing the world for the better and it’s great supporting them in that endeavour. We’re super-excited about what’s to come!”
Ian Bates – Founder and Creative Partner

There is an image of an advertising campaign poster making the rounds on social media that has been marked with comments that question the motives and manipulative methods behind the design (see below). It is a good example of social and cultural commentary being added onto a commercial poster, but it is far from a new idea.

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Adbusters

The first time I became aware of this type of movement was in the 1990s, by a group called Adbusters. As a graphic design student, and taking great interest in designers such as Jonathan Barnbrook who were very social and counter-cultural in the work they did (and it turns out he was a part of Adbusters too), I was very interested in this movement. Although I didn’t join in with their activities, I followed them with some interest.

Adbusters have spent the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and the 2020s railing against capitalism and in particular advertising’s role in capitalism. Their magazine’s international circulation peaked at 120,000 in the late 2000s, but it has been their campaigns which have had more impact. Buy Nothing Day, TV Turnoff Week and Occupy Wall Street have all left their mark, but they are probably best known for their “subvertisements” — adverts which subvert the original message of the advert.

Blaming advertising for playing a central role in creating and maintaining consumer culture, they have used the creative skills and talents against advertising itself. They claim to be combating the negative effects of advertising and empowering its readers to regain control of culture. The big question they ask with all of their work is “Are we consumers and citizens?”

Citizen or consumer?

This is something I believe is an important discussion that those of us who work with brands need to have — are we creating enough space for people to be citizens as well as consumers? This is a big question, and one that brings other factors into play such as ‘brand purpose’ — is a corporate brand the best vehicle to promote a social or environmental purpose — but that is for another article.

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Adbusters might have blazed the trail, but now groups such as Brandalism are picking up the ball and sprinting with it. Emerging in the UK during the 2012 Olympics, Brandalism has been using ‘culture jamming’ to rail against corporations with anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist and environmental concerns. Brandalism has also done a lot to expand the people who are able to take part in these activities, by among other things publishing ‘how to’ guides for things like opening poster sites.

Cultural landscape

Now, there are some who are against all of these ‘subvertising’ activities, but that isn’t my view. For me, they are an important addition to the cultural landscape, and can be a valid challenge to corporate power. On top of that, I think that some of the Adbusters and Brandalism work is some of the most creative work out there. Not only are advertising companies getting their work busted, it’s being improved upon at the same time.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this subculture, take a look at the books and websites below.

Advertising Shits in Your Head‘ by Vyvian Raoul & Matt Bonner

Culture Jam’ by Kalle Lasn

Adbusters

Brandalism

PAUL BAILEY – Brand Strategy Director Halo

20+ years professional experience in brand diagnosis, strategy, realisation – improve experience, empower culture, achieve business objectives. MA Brand. Mini-MBA Marketing. Author, speaker, lecturer.

We are proud to share the first annual impact report from MotherBoard – the non-profiting initiative that is powered by ADLIB and sponsored by Not On The High Street. MotherBoard is a Business Charter, Event Series and Community that is creating real long-term change for mums working in the tech industry.

Over the past 12 months the MotherBoard Community and Charter have offered a platform for people to connect and discuss taboo subjects, whilst our growing signatories have committed to, and achieved change. Topics include:

• Mentorship • Promotion & leadership • Coding courses & funding • Infertility • Pregnancy • Sexism • Racism • Parental bias • Miscarriage • Menopause • Toxic cultures • Still birth • Redundancy in pregnancy • NDAs

Within the report you will see the positive impact MotherBoard have achieved since launching in 2021, we are excited to see what the next year holds!

We hope you enjoy having a read, if you would like to hear more about MotherBoard please email the team at [email protected]

View the MotherBoard impact report.

MotherBoard is a Business Charter, Community, Event Series, and Podcast driving tangible change for mums working in the tech & data industry. We are on a mission to transform the industry to be more inclusive of mothers by tackling stigmas and supporting employers who want to create real change.

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Richard Roberts explains how to create an effective hybrid working culture for your organisation.

This article follows my recent presentation to Bristol Creative Industries, looking at the impact of the new ways of working and how to create an engaging hybrid working culture. It’s a very hot topic because organisations are finding hybrid working challenging as it’s still early days. There’s no ready-made guidebook, no magic formula to get hybrid right – or make your people love working for you. But there are many approaches you can take to make things work better.

And why does this matter so much? As I covered in my presentation, research has shown that 54% of employees say they are more productive working from home, and 66% are not comfortable going back to the office or the old 9 to 5 routine. Perhaps the most striking stat comes from Glassdoor who found that employees without flexibility are twice as likely to move jobs. As hybrid is here to stay, you have to get this right.

Tips for successful hybrid working

In this article I’ve chosen some of the main challenges around managing hybrid working, followed by some approaches you could try that may work in your organisation to create better employee engagement and help retain talent. Of course, no two organisations will be the same so solutions covered here are broad and will need to be bespoke for each company

1) Train your managers to be great people managers

In a recent survey, 72% of employee said they would prefer a new manager to a pay rise. This clearly demonstrates how important the day-to-day relationship is with your manager. It has such an influence on your motivation levels and desire to contribute.  Managing a hybrid team is very different from managing a team that you would see face to face every day in the office.

Here’s a few ideas to support better people management:

2) Give people a voice

Many of us still spend a lot of time communicating via screens, especially hybrid workers. But not everyone is comfortable doing so. Over time, this creates a group of people whose ideas and contributions aren’t as represented as those who are more confident. This creates shifts in power and status purely down to the communication channel being used, which risks disengaging those who could contribute in a more conventional ‘in the room’ setting. While screens allow conversation, it’s easy to miss the subtle nuances of communication you’d pick up talking face to face in person.

Having a voice is an important engagement driver. We need to feel we are contributing and to be able to do this in a safe space without fear of ridicule. Listening is how organisations build trust. It’s important to think through how you can replicate this from an office setting to virtual.

Here’s a few ideas to help people be heard:

3) Bring your team together

Some people are working in the office, others are not. We tend to talk to those who we see in a building, not those in the wider circles we don’t. Over time working relationships ‘thin’ and silos emerge, not helped by missing the conversations that are happening in the building, and outside. People get frustrated by being left out of those informal exchanges and decisions made that they weren’t involved in as they weren’t there. Over time this can grow into being excluded from bigger and more important decisions.

Here’s a few ideas to bring your teams together:

3) Leaders need to remain visible

It’s really important that leaders remain visible in the office and virtually. During lockdown leaders were present and often highly visible via virtual comms. Now, as offices have opened up, many have returned and the emphasis on virtual comms has declined – which leaves those people working remotely not seeing as much of their leaders as those in the building. Key messages aren’t being received equally, which also adds to the silo problem.

Here’s a few ideas to help leaders be more visible:

4) Keeping people connected

At the heart of organisations are the networks and relationships that form over time. These provide social contact but also enable the professional networks that help people get promoted etc. Research, from organisational thinkers like Simon Sinek, shows that people need social contact. The difference from being present in the building and working remotely creates the ‘them and us’ of those central to the organisation and those who feel disconnected and isolated from the opportunities and social life that come with office life.

Here’s a few to help keep people connected:

5) Meeting your candidate’s expectations

Any organisation serious about attracting and retaining the best talent must have a hybrid strategy that works. Recruitment will be more challenging for those organisations that don’t communicate how hybrid working works for their people. Over time people leave and potential candidates won’t know the organisation and will it hard to feel like they belong somewhere that they’ve never been. If you’ve previously recruited based on your office and location this culture will mean a lot less when hybrid workers will rarely visit or spend time together.

Here’s a few ideas to recruit hybrid workers:

In conclusion

Hybrid working is a huge engagement opportunity that can re-shape how we lead, manage and inspire our organisations. But no two organisations – or set of challenges will be the same. The one constant thread running through the issues are your people. The more they are consulted and involved in designing what is after all, their organisation, the more likely you are to create a culture that better communicates, engages and retains. So, the key for successful hybrid working is to work with your people to get it right for both sides.

Richard Roberts is a freelance HR consultant and culture and employee engagement specialist. He runs en:Rich HR.

Listening to podcasts is a great way to inspire and inform your creativity. We asked members of the Bristol Creative Industries LinkedIn group, which has over 7,400 members, to share their recommendations. Happy listening!


Creative Boom

Created by the magazine dedicated to the creative industry, the Creative Boom Podcast features candid conversations with artists and designers about their creative journeys. Listen here.

Recommended by Ellen Carroll.


Machine Unlearning

This is a podcast that “questions assumptions in the tech world and celebrates those working with technology in unconventional ways.” Listen here.

Recommended by Jessica Morgan (see Jessica’s BCI profile for Carnsight Communications here). 


The PR Hub Podcast

Hosted by Adam Tuckwell and Jon Wilcox, the PR Hub Podcast is a conversational PR and marcoms podcast with special guests discussing the world of communications. Listen here

Recommended by Gina Jones.


The GYDA Initiative Talks Podcast

This podcast includes interviews and discussions between Robert Craven and digital agency experts providing insights to help you grow your digital agency. Listen here.

Recommended by Robert Craven.


Wales Documentary Support Network

This podcast focuses on documentary film making and the people who do it. Listen here.

Recommended by Stuart Fox.


On Strategy Showcase

This podcast features marketers telling the stories behind the strategies that led to amazing work. Listen here.

Recommended by Kevin Mason (see Kevin’s BCI profile for Proctor + Stevenson here).


Uncensored CMO

Hosted by Jon Evans, this podcast “uncovers the bulls**t and carefully managed PR messages to explore the good, the bad and quite frankly downright ugly truth about marketing”. Listen here.

Recommended by Matt Ramsay (see Matt’s BCI profile for Activation here).


The Changemakers

This podcast features B2B marketers and creatives from the tech world discussing the role that creativity plays in helping them market their business. Listen here.

Recommended by Dave Corlett.


The Diary of a CEO

Hosted by entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den investor Steven Bartlett, this podcast is described as “an unfiltered journey into the remarkable stories of the people that have defined culture, achieved greatness and created stories worth studying”. Listen here.

Recommended by Alli Nicholas, membership manager at Bristol Creative Industries.


2Bobs

This podcast features conversations on the art of creative entrepreneurship. It is hosted by leading creative business experts David C. Baker and Blair Enns. Listen here.

Recommended by Alli Nicholas.

David C. Baker joined BCI for an event in February 2021 to share brilliant tips on how creative businesses can write the perfect positioning statement. Read a summary of his advice here.


Brave New Work

“Aaron Dignan and Rodney Evans help teams all over the world discover a more adaptive and human way of working. Now it’s your turn. Each week, they’ll bring you a counterintuitive take on a common challenge at work—and you’ll hear from guests who have been there and found their way to something better.” Listen here.

Recommended by Kim Slater.


Nudge

This podcast focuses on the smallest changes that can have the biggest impact. It shares simple evidence-backed tips to help you kick bad habits, get a raise, and grow a business. Listen here.

Recommended by Dr Thomas Bowden-Green.


Work Life

“Organisational psychologist Adam Grant takes you inside some truly unusual places, where they’ve figured out how to make work not suck.” Listen here.

Recommended by Chris Thurling, chair of Bristol Creative Industries following a recommendation by Ann Hiatt.


Creativity Sucks!

This podcast from Creative Review looks at what is wrong with the creative industries and how to fix it. Listen here.


Never Not Creative

This podcast, from the community for creatives to make our industry a better place, interviews creatives, mental health experts and consultants to share advice, stories and conversations. Listen here.