PRWeek Asia's Best Places to Work Winners in their own words: Lewis

The global agency was named one of PRWeek Asia's Best Places to Work in the medium agency category.

Answers from Scott Pettet, senior vice president, APAC, pictured below.

Number of APAC employees: 90

Number and location of APAC offices: Eight offices in six markets: India, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia. 

How do you ensure your company is competitive in terms of salary and other financial benefits?

We’re constantly looking at the market to ensure that what we’re offering is competitive and staff feel appropriately rewarded. At the same time, we’re mindful that there are many other reasons why people choose to work for one company over another. If a team member is motivated only by money and nothing else, then chances are they won’t stick around for long no matter how much you pay. Our annual employee engagement survey also helps to provide input and guidance on salary and benefits.

How do you ensure your teams receive the required training?

Training is an integral part of all team members’ evaluations. We discuss one-on-one individual needs and ensure these are covered either as part of our in-house training programme or external training courses.  We have also trialled online training modules from Lynda.com that are accessible on a self-service basis to all team members.

How do you ensure your staff have a clear career path and help them achieve their personal goals?

Again, personal career goals are an integral part of staff evaluations. We run a six-monthly appraisal system, which identifies conventional things like promotions and development of skill sets. We also focus on staff gaining international experience through our secondment programme or even relocation. We have undertaken international relocations for eight APAC staff in the last two years alone.

How does your company maintain a good work/life balance?

There are no prizes for the person who turns out the office lights each day! Of course, there are times when people need to put in extra time, and we acknowledge this with time off in lieu, or in the case of late nights in the office, coming in late the following day, or working from home.  Our offices have an ‘early finish Friday’ policy too, which counts double of the eve of a long weekend. Every staff member also gets their birthday off, which people really seem to appreciate. And if your birthday happens to fall on a weekend, you get to take the nearest adjacent working day off – so no-one misses out!

How do you ensure your physical workplace environment and atmosphere is an attractive place to work?

Offices variously feature breakout rooms, phone booth style work spaces for ‘quiet time’, collaboration areas and casual chill-out spaces.  In terms of atmosphere, we try to ensure the mood is collaborative and that where possible we try to ensure the office has a buzz about it that people can feed off.

How does your company effectively communicate with employees?

We use a variety of different mechanisms to communicate with our team. These include company intranet, a HR specific internal website, weekly office team meetings, quarterly company newsletter, monthly video message from the CEO and APAC-region quarterly all hands business updates, to name just a few.  We also use Yammer and Instagram for internal information sharing and collaboration. Generally, our approach is to over-communicate. There’s nothing worse than your team feeling like they are in the dark, not knowing what is happening in the company.

How do you ensure diversity at all levels of the organisation?

Lewis is a meritocracy, so we wouldn’t say we have diversity by design. But diversity certainly exists.  One of the biggest issues here is how women are supported in the workplace during maternity; ensuring they have continuity as far as their career plans and aspirations go. We have a flexible approach, appreciating that everyone is different. We’ve had some staff out for over 18 months, while others are back in a matter of weeks.  This flexible approach ensures that the strong level of diversity we have today continues tomorrow.

If you had to pick the one most important factor for how your company minimises turnover, what would it be?

Collaboration and teamwork – without a doubt. This transcends geographies too. We have a region that truly works together and is tightly bound, not simply a collection of disparate offices that happen to share the same brand. Creating a team like this makes people feel more like they are a part of something, that is bigger than the single office they work in.

In three words, describe what it is like to work at your company?

Challenging, rewarding & fun. 

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