By Samantha Tan, Account Executive
Every company has its values, but for many organizations their importance and relevancy don’t go beyond a blurb on the website. As Executive Vice President Steve Jursa puts it: “It’s one thing to say it, it’s another to live it.”
At The Hoffman Agency we want our values to go beyond lip service and become the backbone of our organizational culture, which means ensuring they’re practiced by everyone — from our CEO Lou Hoffman, our newest interns and everyone in between.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, you may be wondering, “How did Hoffman’s values come to be?”
Just like any good story, to truly understand something, it’s best to start at the beginning. Quite frankly, Hoffman’s values were the core values of Lou Hoffman and his wife Heather, who brought them into the company at its inception. Since then, they’ve shaped our company culture and captured the way we operate — ultimately driving us to do award-winning work and take storytelling to the next level.
So, what makes this a unique strategy? According to Steve, Hoffman’s values are interconnected and have a circular relationship, not linear or stand-alone. This means that we cannot have one value without the others.
Here’s what that means:
Everyone is Valuable
There is nothing we do at Hoffman that isn’t strategic. Everyday tasks such as briefing sheets, editorial calendars, award submissions, media lists, etc., are extremely important to clients. For entry-level employees at most agencies, these types of tasks are the brunt of their workload. “Everyone is Valuable” means communicating just how crucial this work is to the success of the team — our interns, account coordinators and executives are truly the bread and butter of each account, and it’s their hard work that keeps our teams operating as a well-oiled machine.
Furthermore, as a global agency, we have a deep appreciation for the uniqueness of our team — coming from different places in the world brings unique perspectives and skillsets. This means that everyone has something valuable to contribute — no matter how big or small, they are all important.
Trust & Accountability
To come from a place where everyone is valuable, you must have truth. Steve quotes CNN, “The only way you can have a society that succeeds is if it’s based on truth. If people are honest and follow the rules, then society can operate effectively.”
If a company ends up with a leadership team that lies, then the trust breaks down almost immediately. Such a structure is set up to fail. You have to trust that management is doing the right thing, but management must hold that same trust in their employees as well. If trust remains well-established in an organization, greatness is within reach.
In many ways, trust is built on accountability. Every member of an organization is bestowed a level of trust when they join the company. To maintain and grow that trust, you must show that you are accountable and take responsibility for your actions. If you are accountable, we can trust you. With trust, we’re successful.
Employees aren’t just members of an organization — they’re genuine people who have lives, interests and commitments of their own. When you care about the whole person, you enable employees to care about their work. Ultimately, the bottom line shouldn’t be the end-all be-all of a company. It’s through a caring work environment that we foster positive experiences that enable companies to retain a strong workforce and drive new talent.
When we’re able to share our views and differing opinions in an open, respectful manner, then people begin to care for each other. It is important for us to foster an open environment where people hear what others have to say — even if it may be unpleasant. To do that, it’s crucial for people to be direct and kind.
Fostering an open environment for people to speak up requires a culture that prioritizes listening. Everyone has unique ideas to contribute, and you never know when one might spark something genius, whether an individual has been in the industry for years or is brand new, their unique perspective could be the difference between landing and losing a new business prospect.
The idea is simple: We are in this together; we are here to help each other succeed. If people go rogue, we’ll rope them in. Everyone’s a team player at Hoffman — we succeed together and we fail together. This means we try to offer praise to people as much as we can, and we assume responsibility when we fail. Ultimately, this circles back to the first value — to be truly a team, everyone must be valuable.