While Greville is positive about the way in which pitches motivate the team to work their socks off, overtime has become a norm in the industry and it’s a by-product she disagrees with.
“It’s not how things should be.”
The pace in which agencies are answering questions and briefs for clients has become so rapid, at some point there’s going to have to be a look at what works and doesn’t and again, it’s a change that needs to come from the industry as a whole.
Her fear is that fewer people will be entering the industry because younger generations are less forgiving about staying after hours. While five years ago working late was a given, a greater awareness about wellbeing and balancing life and work is emerging and agencies have to go into the universities and be actively reassuring their future staff that long hours don't have to be the norm.
But when the pressure is on and time is slim, Greville sees a great culture as one solution to getting the team through. Using Y&R as an example, she says the culture has helped to knit everyone together and as a result, everyone has the attitude that ‘we’ll all jump in and get this done’.
That great culture is aided by Greville’s leadership and when she refers to her 41 Engage team members across Auckland and Wellington, a number that’s grown from 10 since she joined the agency, as her babies, it’s easy to see why.
There’s no instruction manual to being a great leader and Greville says it’s an ongoing journey and one that’s proven to be one of the challenges of her career.
“You can be ambitious and you can strive and push yourself in terms of your work but no one ever really prepares you that well for management of lots of people and how rewarding that is at the same time as challenging.”
Y&R’s staff culture to be in it together is reflected in the client mix and the fact there are no conflicts of interest. Under the agency’s roof, there are fully integrated clients served by all aspects, while others are only unique to Y&R Engage, Y&R Creative, Y&R Design or Y&R Digital, and none of which clash.
While she acknowledges some agencies are able to manage conflict, she says Y&R is happy with its client mix and when asked to pitch will always consider potential conflicts of interest. As a result, there have been cases they’ve turned down on occasion.
It no doubt makes it easier for Y&R’s senior team when involving each other in discussions for a point of view outside of their own practices. Greville says there’s plenty of times that she’ll be involved in creatively-led discussions, not to do Y&R Creative’s work for them, but to simply generate a better creative thought.
That inclusiveness also helps Y&R Engage build strong relationships with the agencies its clients work with outside of Y&R because it’s very open, transparent and appreciative of the whole creative process.
With both Y&R Engage and Y&R as a whole already achieving so much in the year, the momentum is set to continue into the future as Greville promises there's a lot more to come from it. However, she makes no predictions of what that will look like.
“The amount of change in two years alone has been crazy, I can’t even tell you what five years is going to look like, but it’s super exciting.”