Paper+Spark are honoured to have been recognised today as one of Australasia’s Best Places to Work, ranking #7 in Media and Marketing in the Australian Financial Review’s 2022 AFR Boss Best Place to Work List. We are thrilled to receive this accolade, being assessed against more than 750 nominated organisations across Australasia by Inventium, Australia’s leading behavioural science and innovation consultancy (in conjunction with AFR). 

P+S team shot


You can view our announcement on LinkedIn and Instagram and see the awards on the AFR site here. What follows (in the 3rd paragraph below) after a brief history is a more personal insight into the culture and why I think P+S is such a great place to work.

A productive, healthy and satisfying work environment has been a core focus for Paper+Spark since the company’s inception around 3.5 years ago. Staff well-being is important in its own right, but aside from the human perspective, we have found happy staff also deliver better outcomes for clients. It may be a clichéd concept, but it works, and it is a real win-win for everyone and is done in a way where the well-being of individuals is really valued on a personal level, not in a cynical “this will make the business more profitable” way (we wouldn’t have the same outcome if that was the case). 

P+S has achieved this by baking-in staff well-being as part of the way we operate. It is explicitly addressed, monitored and actively pursued. This is not just about providing a flexible working environment and work from home opportunities – trends which Covid have accelerated but which P+S adopted well before Covid. Our SparkFlex policy allows 100% flex regarding ways of working and where you work. We get to design our own working week around client commitments.

As an employee, I do appreciate that I have flexibility on how and when I work (subject of course to client needs) but perhaps more importantly for me is the ethos and support I receive from management and colleagues. I am regularly afforded professional opportunities in line with my interests, abilities and aspirations. Whether it be a particular project, or some training that would benefit me and the company, I have options and a path for growth and I am listened to. This is because managers and the CEO regularly talk to staff, not just to see how projects are tracking but to offer practical support and to cater to individual circumstances.

One example of this is weekly team check-ins that include social (75%) and business elements. Not only a traditional WIP but a chance to hear what people have been up to in their personal lives over the last week. Getting to know others shouldn’t be left solely to periodic company social activities. These weekly meetings foster an environment where cross-team support and collaboration becomes natural and help the team move beyond manager supported interventions and to become agents of support and change themselves. Self-empowered even. Colleagues regularly offer support to others to take a load off someone who may be struggling with workload for whatever reasons. Social outings are likewise then more meaningful because we are spending time with people we actually know, even if we may not be working currently on projects with them.

Agility and preparedness to take feedback into account is key. People, workloads and situations change. Nobody at P+S is left in a corner and forgotten about. In my experience, this means that personal and project concerns can be addressed before they balloon out of control.  Whatever support is needed is arranged and provided quickly. 

It is testament to the culture that the very day the awards were announced, the CEO at our scheduled weekly team meeting, not satisfied to rest on laurels, was inviting staff to suggest how to make the work environment even better. 

To some extent these details change over time (I for one will be campaigning for chocolate and gelato to be provided on site). The important thing is that management are proactive in asking, listening, and delivering tangible outcomes that make P+S a great place to work. And it’s not just me who thinks it’s a good place to work; the stats don’t lie. We have less than a 5% staff turnover.

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