The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Lowe Principals …
December 8, 2006, 10:08 am
Filed under: Comment

Elbow

So a friend of mine works at an agency in London [can you tell who it is by the title of this entry? Ha] and yesterday she went to an all office meeting where management were updating staff on the many things they’ve been upto over the last couple of months.

In-between comments about how hard everyone has been working and the pitches they’ve been involved with … they casually dropped in that 12-15 people were going to be made redundant from the Account Service department.

Now obviously people were shaken up by this as …

1 They weren’t expecting it.

2 The Management treated it so casually.

3 They were worried as to who was staying and who was going.

4 It’s a few weeks from Christmas and it couldn’t come at a worse time.

… however by the time my mate got back to her desks, she knew exactly where she stood because her pathetic, wimpy, spineless boss [who sits 20 feet from her] had sent her an EMAIL telling her that she was to be one of the people made redundant. [Given the ol’ Spanish Archer – better known as ‘El Bow’ – hence the piccie above!]

Good on my friend for storming up to her boss and telling her she was a cowardly and inconsiderate person … but yet again, we have an example of a company behaving badly – a company who doesn’t know how to communicate despite being a so called communication ‘expert’.

This sort of thing makes me sick to the stomach. 

Sure I understand redundancies happen – and sure the agency in question are having a particularly hard time [which is sad, given the London office has been behind some of the truly great global brand ideas of modern times] but you just can’t treat people this way, it’s immoral.  

I appreciate no one likes to deliver bad news and that technology can make it easier because we can ‘hide’ behind it … but these sort of issues need to be handled with care, consideration and empathy – not a 2 line fucking email! 

The thing is, of all the industries out there, communication is one of the most reliant on the people who work within it.

Sure there are processes, philosophies and structures that can help shape the ‘output’ of the agency but ultimately, it’s the people within the organisation that have a disproportionate influence on how a company moves forward – and everyone in the industry knows this. So with this in mind, you could almost be fooled into believing they mean it when they say in their bollock mission statements that “Our staff are our number 1 asset” – except too often, their actions prove these are nothing but corporate ego words.

Look, my friend will be fine … she’s very good and will be picked up by countless other agencies … but whether her boss or the agency she represents stand as much chance of moving forward is in question – especially if this is how they think people like to be treated.

We are in the people industry … we are about motivation … we are about understanding … maybe some senior management should be reminded of that – because it seems a higher and higher proportion of them are subscribing to the Donald Trump school of management – where “It’s Just Business” is regarded as a legitimate excuse for any act of wrong-doing.


21 Comments

Not sure if we have the same friend in common – same thing happened to a friend of mine. Outrageous behavior from a once great agency

Comment by Gareth

In adland, once that spirit of ‘We’re In This Together’ goes, it all falls apart.

Too many agencies say too many of the same things and then they wonder why clients think they’re all interchangable.

That’s why your lot, my lot and a bunch of other smaller but tighter agencies are [hopefully] more enjoyable places to work because we do value the role everyone plays in the companies success and it’s not simply a production line mentality.

Sure we’re in business, but that’s no excuse to treat people like crap – especially when the expectations placed upon so many are so big.

Amnesty once did a study for us to see whether the hours junior ad account execs worked [when evaluated against their average salary] would qualify them as ‘slave labour’ and guess what … it did in a hell of a lot of cases – and then they get chucked out of companies with all the care and consideration of a chip packet. ARGH!

Comment by Rob

is that who i think it is?

Comment by andy @ cynic

Sure is …

She’ll be fine, but she’s quite rightly pissed.

Comment by Rob

Give her our love mate. Can we help her out?

Comment by George

Will do.

She’ll be fine but I did say we’d sort her out if she does decide to follow her NYC or Asia dream.

Comment by Rob

I think I know who you are talking about. Please pass on my best wishes, the industry needs more like her; though they don’t always realise it.

Comment by GL

Will do … and know that as far as I am concerned, the industry could do with a few more like you as well. Minus the ‘quirks’, ha!

Comment by Rob

The agency I used to work at before I left to go traveling recently lost a major bit of business – though they failed to “communicate” that with their staff. Instead, you found out about the loss by a simple tap on the shoulder and summons to the board room. This meant, you no longer had a job.

No warning, no redundancy. Just your average Thursday and then come to work on Friday and 1/3 of the agency is gone.

Spineless.

Comment by Age

Sure is …

I can appreciate that sometimes companies have to let people go, but I’ll never accept or understand why they do it by letting humanity and compassion go with it.

Comment by Rob

I once worked in an agency where redundancies were made due to loss of business but the MD would still happily lunch with his secretary at all the top restaurants then book into hotels for the afternoon – all paid for by the agency.

I really thought we were leaving that kind of behaviour behind.

No wonder people don’t have a high opinion of advertisers

Comment by simon

Unfortunately that attitude still exists in some places … you know, where senior management boast of how much their lunch was while next to them is a PA working herself into the ground for a salary that wouldn’t even cover the MD’s car parking for the week.

Moving up the corporate ladder shouldn’t [and doesn’t] mean you become a tosser, I believe it’s about your fundamental attitude to life, people and money … which is why the best people I’ve worked with are humans first, ad people second.

I just hope the team we work with feel we are continuing in that tradition.

Comment by Rob

Rob, one day I hope to meet you so I can look you in the eye and shake your hand. Well said. I felt sorry for them when they lost that big supermarket account, but now I think they deserve everything they get. Problem is it’s always the minions that suffer, the ones that behave well haven’t got the nest egg or the year’s notice built into their contract. Send her my best – it’s happened to me.

Comment by Northern Planner

Thanks mate … I appreciate your comments.

This sort of thing makes me so angry – like you said, the ones who get hurt the most are the ones who don’t have the comfort of ‘amassed assets’ and we end up with an industry full of self obsessed arrogant twats rather than human beings who believe in team work, support, care, passion and growth.

Comment by Rob

Ive never ever (as far as I can possibly remember) met a single person in HR, who works in HR, or who teaches HR, who actually appears to be a nice person or give a toss about the human they are supposed to be relationship’ping’ with.

It seems the same here, so many communications agencies really dont communicate.

I dont know who it is, but if they are friends with you guys she must be good. Shame on Lowe for getting rid of people in that fashion, right before christmas as well.

I dont like criticising agencies because im looking for a job, but im sorry, that is downright unacceptable behaviour.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

In most cases, I totally agree with you Rob but they’re a few exceptions [the Virgin mob are generally great for example – and not just because they also look after cynics HR issues!] but in the main, HR does seem to be more about Management Protection than Employee Rights.

I wrote about my feelings about this a while back at http://www.robcampbell.wordpress.com/2006/07/24/does-hr-human-remains/

Comment by Rob

Im open to hear the exceptions, thats just my experience in doing HR modules at uni and speaking with HR people from time to time!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Unfortunately, good HR people are as rare as ethical bankers.

Comment by Rob

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Reading these posts has really warmed my soul, Rob, Gareth and all of you. I also received the email last week from (as you rightly put it) our wimpy, spineless boss. I’ve been there for six years, and given them everything except blood, pretty much. There was a time when that was the best agency in London to work at … it’s truly sad to witness its demise. Oh well … onwards, upwards etc….

Comment by Joanne

I am assuming you are the ‘Jo’ who works with my dear friend. If that’s the case – you have nothing to worry about because from all I’ve heard, you’re fucking magic.

I have asked ‘you-know-who’ to pass your CV to me … because even though there’s bound to be some mad hunt to get you to signature, I would love to see if I can get it infront of some people I respect very, very highly.

Onward and upward indeed … except for the agency in question!

Comment by Rob




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