For our latest team trip, we headed down to sunny Brighton for a few days. We discussed how the agency was performing, plus upcoming 2019 plans. It was our chance to chat through what we felt we did well and the things we can work on together before we enter 2019 and hit our two year mile stone! Eeek.

Let’s strive in the hive

Every six months, the agency conducts a ‘performance review’ which involves sending out an anonymous survey for the whole team to fill in. Questions included ‘How well do you think we communicate as an agency?’ and ‘How well do we respect each-others differences’.

One area I’m proud of is that we are encouraged to be bold. Make mistakes. Try new angles. There isn’t a ‘blame’ culture at this agency. Using the term ‘we’ collectively means it takes out the ‘I’ in situations where things haven’t ran as smoothly as predicted! It happens. We learn and move on. Bravery and respect are two values that resonate well with me.

On day two of our Brighton planning session, we sat down to the discuss the results of the survey. The agency performed really well overall, especially on questions where we scored the agency collectively on how well we ‘support each other’ and ‘listen to one another’.

Understanding working differences

The survey results also reflected that many of us have different personality types, which was confirmed in our personality insights training session, and preferred communication styles. We each like to receive information differently. Earlier this week, it was confirmed that two new bees will be joining the hive in January. Thus it’s important we all address the best ways of working together as early as possible. It’s normal to experience minor conflict at work based on people’s different working ways. But raising those differences can seem like an elephant in the room.

To break the ice, we all wrote down the ways we work best and how we’d like other people to give us direction and feedback. For instance, I prefer verbal direction. It enables me to write down the actions and I can quickly clarify with the person what is asked of me. We each went round the room and said how we best prefer to received information. Funnily enough, the majority of my colleagues prefer detailed emails. One I will be taking note of!

It felt great to get this off our chests. It wasn’t nerve-wracking or scary in the slightest. We’re an honest lot here at Milk & Honey. Which is probably why we all work so well together.

Getting clients onboard

Whilst it’s important to discuss best working practices internally, it’s also important to discuss them with clients. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of assuming that clients prefer to be contacted by email and hate being chased by a call. Asking clients out right what they prefer goes down well. In fact, most are happy to receive a follow up text to let them know they’re due to receive an important document. We’ve even have a WhatsApp group with some clients!

Harriet is a senior client executive at Milk & Honey PR and can be found on LinkedIn.