Speak to anyone who has worked in advertising agencies and they’ll likely tell you that it’s a work hard, play hard kind of culture. “Typically in ad agencies, there are long hours and a lot of stress, which comes through juggling multiple clients all with high expectations”, Charlotte tells us.
While Born Social's team of 65 people undoubtedly faces the same pressures, it's not a problem that can be solved in individual instances after the fact. “We can’t just pay attention to wellbeing when the going gets tough, because it’s just not that simple. There isn't one quick, band-aid fix when it breaks.”
Born Social's approach
Born Social describes itself as having an 'always-on' approach to wellbeing. Charlotte expands: "we're constantly investing in maintaining the wellbeing of our people. A focus on nurturing good mental health builds resilience, and this is a powerful combination when it comes to team performance. Optimising for wellbeing means optimising for great work."
As well as offering flexible hours, regularly surveying employees on how they're feeling, and treating mental health the same as physical health when it comes to sick days, one of the core aspects of Born Social's approach is to empower managers to help employees with their wellbeing.
Optimising for wellbeing means optimising for great work
As Charlotte explains, "we've created regular time to talk with team leads, meaning that talking about wellbeing is part of everyday life at Born". By having an infrastructure for wellbeing issues to be raised and discussed openly, problems don't risk going unacknowledged.
Some of the Born Social team working in their London office.
Where Spill comes in
Charlotte says the team loves having access to free therapy sessions and uses the wellbeing tips regularly, sharing with friends and family outside of work too. “The thing about being able to offer therapy at work is that it doesn’t need to be about work, and very often people tell me they use Spill’s therapy feature when they are going through difficult times in their relationships or personal lives."
However, one of the most transformative impacts of Spill at Born Social has been in supercharging managers' ability to support their teams. Having Spill has meant that managers are able to point their reports towards the service when people need it.
In Charlotte's words, “often when you have strong personal relationships with your teams, it can be hard to navigate difficult situations when things get more serious. The managers love Spill because they can offer it to their team members who are having a difficult time. It removes the pressure on managers to feel they have to step into the role of therapist and so works out better for both the manager and the team member."
And, going forward, it helps all managers — but especially newly promoted managers — feel like the company is augmenting their emotional skill set, freeing up their time and energy to focus on enabling their reports to do great work. Even for those managers who haven't pointed their reports towards Spill, Charlotte points out, "it’s just great to know it’s there if it’s needed.”