Ogilvy Australia

Ogilvy Australia has been selected as an Employer of Choice in The Australian Business Awards 2022. The Australian Business Award for Employer of Choice [EOC] recognises organisations that develop workplaces that maximise the full potential of their workforce through established policies and practices which demonstrate effective employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

Ogilvy is a company that inspires brands and people to create impact. For over 50 years, Ogilvy operated in Australia as an ‘advertising agency’. Their work shaped culture, changed customer behaviour, grew their clients’ business, and created some of Australia’s most loved brands. As the world has evolved, so too has Ogilvy to better serve the needs of its clients and users. Today, Ogilvy is a full-service communications company that specialises in strategy, technology, data, media, and behavioural science. Whilst much has changed, their fundamental belief in the power of creativity to transform business has remained the same.

Critically, the business of commercial creativity is all about people. This is why Ogilvy has redesigned their entire organisational structure to allow for more intersections and interactions between their talent. With offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, Ogilvy is able to bring together the capabilities of over 550 specialists across over 20 skill sets to deliver solutions to the most challenging business problems. Ogilvy Australia is part of the Ogilvy global network across 55 different countries and has over 16,000 employees.

Ogilvy is a business that helps its clients transform and adapt so that they may succeed in the modern era and therefore have undergone their own transformation in recent times. In 2021, Sally Kissane took the reins as CEO of Ogilvy Australia’s advertising business with a mission to unlock a new chapter of growth for the business. Over the course of the following year, Sally’s core objective was to deliver growth by transforming five disparate business units located across three different Australian states and New Zealand into a single, high-performance, fully integrated company. A company that could genuinely deliver the very best cross-functional capabilities to solve the problems of modern-day marketing.

As a newly minted CEO, she needed to align and enthuse five completely different business cultures and unify them to deliver in a coordinated and complimentary fashion whilst 98% of staff worked from home. To succeed, Sally made three key leadership decisions. One was to Create a new ‘cross-functional’ leadership team, where members were selected based on their ability and track record of collaborative working. Sally’s second decision was to Focus on the network effect. Sally’s vision for Ogilvy was to stop surrounding a client’s budget and start surrounding their business problems. Each client project and every new business opportunity was looked at through the lens of how a ‘cross-functional’ team could deliver better results through the network effect. As a result, the agency’s energy and effort were channelled directly into creating more marquee work that produced effective outcomes in this way. Thirdly, was New creative leadership. Ogilvy’s new model of creativity required a different type of leadership. With collaboration at the heart of the new product, Sally recognised Ogilvy needed a world-class leader who could leverage multiple types of creative potential. After an exhaustive global search, Sally lured Toby Talbot to Ogilvy as ANZ’s Chief Creative Officer.

Sally led the Ogilvy business transformation during the pandemic when 98% of staff worked remotely. Sally and the Ogilvy leadership team recognised that many staff enjoyed the freedom and autonomy that are working from home provided. The team chose to embrace the new working behaviours of the business, adapting the entire agency’s rhythm to enable staff to collaborate and create together, even when they were physically apart. Despite the circumstances, the agency has enjoyed a period of unparalleled growth and prosperity, all due to the power of its leadership, culture and people.

Ogilvy’s aim is to be the most creative and influential agency network in Australia. People and Culture are one of the top priorities and strategic objectives. They believe in celebrating their people and giving them every opportunity to create brilliant work for their clients. Ogilvy has worked hard to create a culture that cultivates, attracts, trains, recognises, and retains the best talent. Ogilvy’s entire business strategy is built on being a great culture that drives great performance, and their role as leaders is to create the very best environment for Ogilvy’s people to perform. To promote employees’ skills, capabilities and experience Ogilvy launched the “University of Creativity”, a place to grow, which provides access to academy classroom-based training.

Communication within the agency is vital, and two-way feedback loops are essential. Individual performance feedback is part of their daily culture. Regular engagement surveys keep Ogilvy accountable while giving everyone at Ogilvy a voice and platform for it to be heard. Their staff are encouraged to give feedback anonymously on various issues, including culture, values, and objectives. The wider management team review and then meet to discuss the results each quarter and determine an action plan to report back to the agency.

Ogilvy aims to empower their employees with a sense of accomplishment and achievement from their work. Additionally, Ogilvy gives all employees regular performance feedback, a chance to upskill and train, and the opportunity to grow through promotions. As part of the rhythm of the agency, the Monday morning meeting serves not only as an info session but an opportunity to recognise teams and individuals who go above and beyond. As a result, Ogilvy’s survey results regarding communication and leadership are positive.

For information about Ogilvy Australia, visit ogilvy.com.au

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