At WebSavvy, flexibility is all about creating a happy team

WebSavvy has now hired three part-time professionals through Beam, including Zoe and Ilka. So we thought we’d find out a little bit more about how their company embraces part-time and flexible working — and why they keep coming back to Beam.

Tell us a bit about your company 

WebSavvy is an award-winning independent digital marketing agency, based in sunny (sometimes!) South Yarra in Melbourne. We help businesses with their paid media strategy, specifically across Google and Facebook, and work with a variety of Aussie and international brands including Frank Green, Swimwear Galore and Seed & Sprout.

What does the team look like?

We’ve grown significantly in the last 12 months and now have 18 people in our team.

Our CEO, Mike Rhodes, heads up the team which consists of our Heads of Google and Facebook, Client Relationship Managers, Office Manager, Marketing Manager, plus our Beamers — Zoe, our Head of Operations, and Ilka our Brand & Communications Manager.

Our team is from all walks of life and at different stages in careers and life. Some have owned their own business, some are fresh out of studying and some have kids. But we all share the same values of openness, experimenting with a better way and communicating with empathy and generosity.

Why did you come to Beam the first time?

With a growing client list and new team members, we realised it was time to bring a Head of Operations on board to help steer the ship. With such a crucial role, it was important for us to find a person who was really experienced but also shared our values. But we weren’t quite sure where to start in the hiring process…

How did Beam’s part-time model solve the issue?

Mike was introduced to Steph (Beam Co-Founder) a few years back.

It took him a little while to get his head around what type of role, and person, he needed to guide the business through the next phase of growth. Once he worked that out, including that the role didn’t need to be full-time, he got back in touch with Steph and she weaved her magic to help Mike put together the role of Head of Operations.

Thankfully that helped us find Zoe!

Zoe’s background was in the corporate world. She had experience in marketing, project management, working with sales teams and basic overall ops and management skills. Just what we needed! Zoe’s values aligned with the WebSavvy values, which is essential for all our team members. Zoe was also looking for the next role to grow her career, but importantly wanted part-time to ensure she still had time with her young family. It was a win-win for everyone!

And the second time? 🙂

We needed maternity cover for our Marketing Manager.

Beam helped us find Ilka who was just finishing up her own maternity leave and freelancing at the time. After a marketing career in publishing in London and Melbourne, Ilka was looking for a new challenge that would also give her time with her two little kids. After coming on board, we decided to turn the initial short-term contract into a permanent role and Ilka is now our Brand & Communications Manager 4 days a week.

What kinds of flexible work do you practise at WebSavvy? 

Flexibility is really important to us as a business and we genuinely support work/life balance to maintain a happy team.

As long as our clients are looked after, our team can start their working day whenever works for them and their clients. Some people are morning birds and come in bright and early so they can leave early to beat the traffic or do school pick-ups. And some are more night owls who prefer to come in mid-morning (after a strong coffee has kick-started the day!) and finish up later.

The nature of our business also means that we can embrace days working from home, 4-day/week part-time roles, or 5 days a week school-hours roles.

What is a typical day — if there is one?

It’s true that no day is ever really the same. But a typical day can include chatting with clients about their campaigns and marketing strategy, putting together creative ideas for copy and graphics, receiving the latest training from Google and Facebook or going to industry events.

There are certain times in the year that are particularly busy and exciting for our clients, and we are currently in the middle of Black Friday campaigns and getting things organised for Christmas.

How do you create a cohesive workplace environment and culture if everyone is working a bit differently across the week?

It all comes down to trust and open communication. And that’s why when we hire we ensure that we try and find a person with the right balance of experience who also shares our values. We’re a small and nimble team, so always step up if someone is away to ensure workload is covered.

What are your tech go-tos?

As you can probably guess, we are pretty geeky about tech so we have lots of different go-tos to help keep things organised. We use Podio as our main platform for communication within the team — it’s great for keeping projects on track, and we use ‘chat’ to save loads of email back-and-forths.

HelpScout also gives the whole team access to communication with our clients, so it means we have things covered if someone is away. And our marketing team use Asana to build calendars and project manage campaigns.

What have been the challenges of managing a flexible team?

To be honest we haven’t found it very challenging at all. It’s just rewarding for us to offer the team the flexibility that they need! As we said before, it all comes down to trust and communication. We keep calendars up-to-date so everyone knows where the team are. If anything pops up on our part-timers’ day off, we can usually cover it off amongst the team if it can’t wait.

Though they are a pretty organised bunch so usually no issues there!

How do you monitor performance in a flexible work environment?

We’ve been working hard to create clear KPIs for the team. Everyone has goals to achieve for the quarter, with regular check-ins along the way. If someone isn’t hitting the mark, we can check in to understand what’s impacting performance.

Another great indicator for us is our client results and happiness with our efforts to achieve their marketing goals. We can gauge pretty quickly if we are off the mark, and the team can then diagnose where the breakdown has occurred.

Happily we don’t need to micromanage. Which is great, because we/everyone hates that!

Do you have any tips for employers about making part-time work well in an organisation?

The first step is to open your mind to not having everyone in the office 9-5, 5 days a week. Think about what the requirements of the roles in the business are, and then really think about whether there needs to be someone there for every business hour of the week.

If you do think it’s important, consider a job share option. Why? Because there is so much amazing talent out there looking for rewarding part-time roles! If you think the role can be done part time without job sharing, even better. You’ll be amazed at the talent pool you can tap into by simply dropping a day off your criteria.

Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

We are very excited to be on the hunt for our third Beamer to join the WebSavvy team! The Digital Account Manager role was originally planned to be full-time, but after thinking about our amazing experience with Beam and the awesome digital talent out there, it was a no brainer to offer the role part-time.

Essentially it will mean a different size client book to our full-time team members, but as the team share accounts there is no concern about client communications or results with someone not in the office for those traditional hours.

We also think the flexibility WebSavvy offer around start and finish times, makes this even more appealing!