Thurs 13 July 2023 2:00pm UK time

Agencies strive to have an open and fair culture – but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

This is something that Katy Howell not only champions, but has successfully achieved over the last year at immediate future.

The turning point for the agency was when Katy started going through the menopause, and decided to be upfront about it with her team.

“The big challenge we face as founders, is that our teams don’t want to tell us when they’re not feeling at their best. It’s not so much that we don’t know how to handle it, or don’t have a more open attitude towards it. They’ll just never tell you because you’re the boss,” says Katy.

“I have hot flushes, and suffer a bit from insomnia each month. Eventually I just ‘fessed up to my leadership team and then the whole team.”

“That was revelatory for the agency. It wasn’t just a one-off, and what’s happened as a consequence is it’s become part of the agency’s vernacular – everybody started talking about it.”

Now in meetings and at get-togethers, Katy’s team are far more open about how they’re feeling about work.

“The beauty of it is now we’re all listening to each other,” says Katy. “It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But it’s come about from me being openly, and consistently, vulnerable.”

In this month’s HR and people mastermind, we’re talking about how to foster this kind of open culture within an agency.

  • Does your agency have a culture that makes your team feel comfortable talking about their stresses and concerns with the rest of the team?
  • What impact does this have on the wider team?
  • What do you, or could you, implement to create a more comfortable environment for your team?

Join us as we chat with Katy about creating a more open culture, simply by being upfront as founders – and be sure to bring your own experiences too.