We asked the industry: If you had to choose ONE reason to stay in your company, what would it be – culture, growth opportunities, or money – and why?
CEO of GroupM MENA
Trust is everything.
GroupM’s vision is “to be responsible for shaping the next era of media where advertising works better for the people.” Shaping the next era of media is no small task. Fortunately, we are a company made of talent that brings together businesses, products, and media owners to support media strategy and campaign planning that take place at our agencies. These agencies all bring unique processes, cultures, styles, and thinking to the table. It is our job at GroupM to build a foundation through our people, our portfolio, and our partnerships.
But what makes the GroupM work ethic a little different? We are a place where we want people to balance both sides of what makes the media and advertising industry tick. We are data-minded and people-loving, measured and experimental, analytical and abstract, left- and right-brained, smart and creative, blending science and art. We do it every day!
We see it through our people, our portfolio, and our partnerships.
For me, it’s our daily interaction with no boundaries of titles and positions and openness coupled with curiosity that make GroupM a better place, and one that made me enjoy everything I do, even after 13 years in the group. My management, my colleagues, and everyone I interact with in the industry is what keeps me coming back to work every day and looking forward to the next!
Account Manager at Edelman
Culture is not something that can be taught, forced, or embraced overnight. If I were asked this question before the pandemic, my answer would not be any different. Here is why: working in an agency that communicates with compassion, offers support like an extended family, and has a nurturing work culture, trumps all the other benefits that come with the job.
Even though company culture can be linked to amazing benefits like flexible working hours and dress codes, birthdays off (yep, you heard that right), and Krispy Kremes/kunefe on request, these perks are merely by-products of a company’s culture. While the elements of a strong corporate culture vary, the fact remains: a strong company culture is the bedrock of success.
Even though last year was difficult for all of us, we triumphed through it. This was not by fluke but by cultivating a strong company culture over the past few decades, wherein not only our leadership but all of my colleagues were “walking the talk” and living out Edelman’s core values – the pursuit of excellence, the freedom to be curious, the courage to do the right thing, and a commitment to improving society. It was so powerful that it made all of us turn into Edelman’s loudest cheerleaders and advocates.
Very early on in my career, I realized the importance and long-term impact of being around people who practiced positive culture. Starting out as an intern and moving my way up to an account manager, good company culture has indeed resulted in my performance and overall wellbeing, where I have a sense of purpose and feel like I am part of one team.
While growth opportunities and money are equally important and sometimes drivers for some people, it is not the only motivating factor for me as positive culture goes far beyond that – it is an intangible asset that cannot be monetized, just like a company’s reputation.
Media Manager at Mindshare
Having spent over six years at Mindshare, where I also began my career, trying to reflect on the sole reason for my stay can be challenging. Growth opportunities and money remain key motivators for most; however, it is the great intangible that is culture that always provides you with the right ingredients to succeed.
I have been fortunate enough to benefit across all three factors over time, but culture is undeniably what makes Mindshare special and has ultimately driven my long stay at the company. The core values of “speed, teamwork, and provocation” are not just fancy buzzwords on a purple background, but tenets that are followed in everything we do as a company. The “purple family” is not just a term coined at social gatherings, but a culture of responsibility and care driven from the top for every newcomer, as they embark on an exciting career path.
HR Director at General Motors Africa & Middle East (AMEO)
Without a doubt, culture is my main motivator and why I have worked at GM for over two decades. I am incredibly proud of how GM has always shown a genuine interest in the employee as a person, providing us with the means to reach our full potential.
Our working culture is summarized as “Work Appropriately,” affording the needed flexibility and the trust we’ve earned to work wherever and however we best achieve our objectives. We are regularly consulted to evolve our culture, which results in policies like cross-border remote working, enabling employees to work from any country while ensuring business continuity and prioritizing psychological and physical wellbeing.
Our workforce is naturally diverse and that is one of our strengths. Working on specific EDI strategies will lead us to achieve our global goal of being the most inclusive company in the world, attracting and retaining superstars across our regional operations.
Sabrina De Palma
Executive Director at MEPRA
Considering I work for a not-for-profit and I am in the most senior position at MEPRA, I will have to go with culture! However, this would have been my answer working in any organization. Your workplace is where you spend most of your time; your team members are who you spend most of your time with.
Without a great company culture, you dread going into work every day (or logging in from home), you question your purpose, and you are unmotivated and unengaged. An organization that focuses on culture has guiding principles and a clear purpose that everyone works towards. Culture is the glue that binds an organization and that’s why culture matters most.
Senior Public Relations Account Manager at Sherpa Communications
For me, the reason to stay at a company is multi-faceted. Culture is a huge part of it; being part of something special that gives me a sense of pride, belonging, and, most importantly, exclusiveness cannot be compared to a truckload of money.
At Sherpa Communications, the work that we do has purpose and meaning. Each individual in the team helps the other to achieve their full potential and stretch beyond the horizon. This simply helps all of us, with the persistent encouragement to get better.
Another factor is freedom – the ability to be heard, to be innovative, and to make a difference. A culture of fear hinders innovation and takes me to a traditional mindset. I stick to an organization if it helps me to evolve both personally and professionally. The stronger this connection, the more I am in the productive rhythm of the company and the less likely it is for me to leave.
Business Director at Netizency
Culture, growth, or money? The answer is simple: culture. Why? Because with the right company culture, the other two follow suit – or at least they do at Netizency.
Building the right organizational culture is not easy. It’s taken us years, and a lot of trial and error, to get to where we are. The last thing we want is to have a bad apple ruin it for the rest of the agency. So, we make it a point to look for the right things when we hire people. Sure, having a basic knowledge of how social and digital marketing works is important, but what I really want to know is: Are they curious? Are they well-read? Do they follow the news? Are they into pop culture? What do they like to do for fun? Are they resourceful, ambitious? Do they have a sense of humor? The answers to these questions make the difference between someone who will thrive and someone who will struggle.
When I say that with culture come growth and money, it’s because our values mean we reward success, promote people without them having to ask (beg), and recognize and appreciate when the team works hard – all while having a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.
What more can one ask for?
Media Executive at Initiative
They say that life is an accumulation of your own decisions, where it all comes to the choices you make along the way. Even your career progression is highly impacted by the company you desire to contribute to, so I chose Initiative. But why? Why would you favor one company over another? And why would you stay?
Some people might consider the salary, others their professional growth. We all have various drives and incentives, but from what I have come across at Initiative, the answer endures within its people.
It’s within the true leaders who are humble enough to mentor you and ensure your advancement and acknowledgment of the media. The people who have given you no limits to unleash your creativity and intellect. Not only does your team’s unified vision and passion enable you to provide value to your clients, but it encourages you to pour your heart into each account. The pool of talents, which encompasses several thinking hats, along with the right learning mindset, will shape you into a better version.
People shape the culture, ensure the company’s growth, and best serve its partners. The power endures in the people. It is within our Initiative family!
Managing Partner at Brazen MENA
For me, it’s culture. We spend most of our waking lives at work, so the culture and environment we’re in every day are directly linked to our overall happiness as human beings. You could be earning a huge amount of money in a toxic work environment, but would that make you happy?
Personally, I thrive in a supportive, dynamic, and fun environment that makes me excited to wake up every day. The comms industry is people-orientated, so make sure you’re in a place that meets with your values and that you have like-minded people to connect with.
Partner Consultant at The Loop
Culture is the most important reason for me, though I do think it depends on the stage you’re at in your career. My main motivation now is job satisfaction, and a positive workplace culture is a huge part of that. Our capacity to be connected 24/7 and the shift to home-working have blurred the lines between work and family life. The reality is that work now dominates our mindshare and because of that, I think people are looking for more than the traditional transactional relationship of ‘a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.’
We want our work to have meaning and be part of a shared purpose, and that comes from the right organizational culture. I’ve also found that when businesses actively foster a positive corporate culture, their people are empowered to create their own opportunities, which in turn bring their own rewards.
Business Director at UM MENAT
The one reason for me to stay at a company, in all honesty, is the people. While yes, people come and go, ultimately, they are what defines a business for me. Because it is who we learn from, who we can coach, who we can grow with, who we can create great work with – not to underestimate the importance of who we have coffee with.
It is crucial that, when forming teams, we really consider the people over and above capabilities. Because with the right blend of talent and personalities, it transforms “roles and responsibilities” into successful collaborations. Moreover, it may sound basic but it just makes for a happier day if we appreciate and value those we work with.
I heard a quote once which I couldn’t agree more with: “A good team needs three things: the right people, the right spirit, and a couple inside jokes.”
Biju Mathew Varughese
Addressable Content Lead MENA at Reprise
Work culture is everything.
Think about this question for a moment: What is the one thing that would make you stay with the same company?
Most people would answer: “Higher pay.” But does a higher pay guarantee a great work culture or growth opportunities? Unfortunately, it does not.
A great work culture is what leads to growth opportunities and higher pay. If you can find an organization with a positive and inclusive work culture, then all your other wants and desires will come true. Your supervisors and managers will value your ideas and hard work. They’ll listen to your suggestions on improving the organization’s culture and productivity to create more growth opportunities and profits for the company.
As a result, you’ll have more opportunities to learn and train for higher-level positions that pay more money. The best part is that a great work culture gives you time to balance your work and life responsibilities. Then, you can still focus on taking care of your family too. I feel Reprise (MCN family) really fits well with this concept. The company’s work culture provides a high degree of inclusiveness across the entire organization.
Associate Director – Strategy at Magna MENA
When I began my career at 20 as a summer resident at Mediabrands in New York, I was immediately drawn to the company’s striking vision and dynamic culture. Now, a few years later, as I have moved to our office in Dubai to work on the Unilever account, it is the company’s energetic culture that keeps me here. Culture, in my opinion, has a ripple effect on growth, opportunities, and money. But do not take my word for it; research shows that environment has a direct correlation with development – and that is not just for plants!
At Mediabrands, I feel simultaneously challenged and guided, to problem-solve efficiently. As the people and the environment push me further out of my comfort zone, I grow as an individual and as a professional. Such individual successes, when aggregated, contribute to the collective success of the organization. They enable the company to provide greater opportunities for its employees, therefore contributing to greater monetary growth and propagating this beneficial cycle.
This article was published in Communicate's latest issue.