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From a three-person start-up housed in an attic, to a full-service advertising and creative agency employing over 30 members of staff that win national clients, S3’s growth has been exponential – and driven by ambition.
‘Be Bold’ was the proposition set by the founder, with staff encouraged to take bold steps no matter their background – something which is evident in S3’s record of finding and nurturing young talent.
Now, with a new management team at the helm (which naturally is made up of four former staff!) the agency has begun doubling down on this ability to champion the little – both in its staff and its external outlook, which favours clients who aren’t quite yet market leaders but carry ambition.
“You can’t be an ‘employer’ without employees – and whilst S3 is owned by four managing partners, the agency is very much run by 38 extremely talented team members. We’ve gone through tremendous change over the last year and every single one of our staff is on that journey with us. Every one of their opinions counts in assisting us to drive the business forward and champion the creative industry around us. From a three-person start-up, staying true to our humble beginnings has been key, with employees remaining the bedrock. Our culture has always been our lifeblood – and when taking over the business in 2019, this certainly wasn’t the first year we envisaged. But, while working from home has posed its own issues to staff socials, our creative office environment and group fun days, we’ve continued to work alongside rules and regulations in order to keep our team motivated.
“The last year has seen our teams collaborate with some exciting clients whilst also working tirelessly on S3’s own vision and branding – and this accreditation as ‘One to Watch’ is the icing on the cake. As an advertising and creative agency, we are now prepared to show nationally how we can bite big!” – Mel Matthews, Managing Partner and HR & Operations Director
S3’s management involve the wider team in everything they do, inviting input at every level of decision-making, encouraging everybody to continuously think big, and holding quarterly business updates to take time away from client work to communicate progress.
The company have taken their open plan ‘the door’s always open’ thinking from the office into the virtual environment, with staff aware they can reach out to anybody in the agency for help and support should they need it. This message is reinforced by management and leadership during weekly agency meetings, newsletters and team catch-ups.
At the height of the national lockdown, the organisation established wellbeing afternoons to reduce screen time, allowing more time with family. They extended the Christmas shut down for two weeks to ensure all staff spent extra time with those who are important when it is wanted most.
Throughout the pandemic, managers have organised regular check-ins with all staff, and employees benefit from mental health cover and access to a counselling service.
The company has a ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos that it lives and breathes through regular team events and activities. Their office, for example, is an adult’s playground - complete with giant ball-pit, 18-hole golf course, cinema room and plenty of break out areas to encourage collaboration.
The pandemic has seen the introduction of several new measures that are being adopted as a future ways of working so that staff can feel comfortable and look forward to their future careers with S3. These include strengthening their HR team to ensure the support of employees, as well as an increase in flexible working hours and an improved sick pay policy that proves absolute trust with everybody paid in full if they are unable to work.
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