It’s no easy feat to distill the culture of an agency that has over 12 offices, nearly 300 employees, 30 years of operation, and over 15 languages spoken languages spoken into a few words and pixels.
However, if we only had one word to describe The Hoffman Agency’s culture, it would be “care.”
Care for each other and the work we do.
That shows up in everything we do, and it especially came into play as COVID-19 forced us (and the world) to reevaluate our workforce and how we could retool the employee experience.
This meant not only figuring out how to collaborate virtually in an effective way (and learning to master the mute and share screen buttons on Zoom), but to make the way we worked flexible and realistic for employees as we all navigated how to live in a world shaped forever by COVID-19.
Our culture of care looked like regular, informal check-ins with employees to understand how they are feeling and what they need in order to be successful and feel safe.
It also took shape in an annual year-end survey to get hard data on how employees are feeling, what they might like to see change, and what we are already doing well.
Geeks at Heart
Intertwined with this concept of care is a term that we think gets a bad rap: geek.
Be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject, typically one of specialist or minority interest.
At The Hoffman Agency, we are all self-described geeks. But not in the way that you might assume. Yes, we specialize in tech, but our geekiness is not confined to it. We come from diverse backgrounds and are each passionate about different things.
Passion and in-depth knowledge about a particular area is how we define “geekiness.”
Whether it’s sports, cars, film, food or music, we can go deep on our topic and discuss it intelligently with fellow geeks and newcomers alike. This passion extends to the stories and work we produce for our clients as well as the desire we have to create a welcoming and dynamic culture where everyone belongs and adds value.
At the end of the day, we geek out about our own work – passionately probing to innovate, improve, dissect and lead others to the discovery of possibilities. Some might say we are geeks with heart.
Flexibility is Key: Hybrid Work
We know that our overall employee experience and workplace, be it virtual, in-person, or hybrid, is the key to our success (and our clients’), as it allows us to both attract and retain A+ talent.
We also know from formal surveys and informal input from our staff that they want flexibility.
We get it.
We deliver this.
The bottom line is that we don’t want coming into the office to feel like a chore. We feel like it’s up to the leadership team to create an environment where folks want to come into the office.
We trust you to choose how many days you come into the office based on what will allow you to do the best work. While most employees choose to come in around 2 days a week if they live near an office, there are no mandates or permissions from your manager needed, just clear communication with your teams.
Hoffman also has a healthy number of fully remote workers. This means that most teams have at least one remote worker and all meetings have dial-in information to accommodate workers who aren’t physically present in the office.
We’re making a conscious effort to make sure remote workers (and workers who chose to work from home on any given day) feel totally included and engaged by hosting monthly remote happy hours and team-building events, carving out budget to fly remote workers to Hoffman offices regularly, holding in-person holiday parties, and more.
Our Spirit Committee ensures that we all have a healthy dose of connection and fun with everyone you work with, whether it be on screen or in-person. That means team-building events every quarter that get us out of the office and our inboxes (think sporting events, escape rooms, picnics, and more).
Our Values Haven’t Changed
Despite the way we do work and where we do work changing over the past several years, our values have remained steady throughout the more than 30 years Hoffman has been operating.
We’ve opened by stating the importance of “care” to Hoffman, which we believe underpins all of the other values.
- Everyone Is Valuable: From interns to the executive team, our wider team has talent and life experience of all kinds, from seasoned former journalists to radio hosts and theater majors with major social media prowess. We recognize that the creativity and storytelling chops it takes to do our job takes many forms to be successful.
- Trust & Accountability: We believe that trust must be established at every level. Our employees have to trust that the management team is doing the right thing and telling the truth. Likewise, our leaders have to trust that the teams they manage are doing their best work and delivering results on time. With every interaction you can build or destroy trust and individual accountability.
- Openness: Hoffman fosters a work environment that values hearing differing opinions, constructive feedback, and ways we can improve. Each employee needs to be open to hear from their colleagues with respect and kindness, no matter what the topic.
- We Listen: Speaking up can be difficult, even in the best of environments, but we want to hire people who can do just that. We value your opinions and thoughts and want to hear them. Case in point, the annual survey. The same applies to out-of-the-box client ideas.
- Team-oriented: We are in this together; we are here to help each other succeed. We offer praise to people as much as we can, and we assume responsibility when we fail.
One final word on care — 58% of our staff have been with Hoffman for over three years. We take care of our employees, and they’re deeply invested in and accountable for the work we do.
We know that clients play an active role in our ability to retain employees. In fact, client interactions rank as the second most important factor contributing to Hoffman employees’ happiness. That’s why we carefully consider the partners we work with and whether they’re the right fit for us.
Our people are what set us apart and allow us to continue innovating and growing. Making sure that we hire people who value the same principles and want to contribute their own unique offerings to make our culture even better, along with nurturing, listening, and being willing to make actual changes is our culture’s secret sauce.