2nd March 2018

Our new website: more than just a lick of paint

Simon Wakeman
Managing Director

If you’re a returning visitor, you may have noticed we’ve relaunched our website to tell the Deeson story better.

We applied design thinking to build a minimum viable product (MVP) that we can iterate on in the future, and we’re really happy with how it turned out. Not least because the most challenging project for any agency is notoriously their own website!

The project was about making sure our website reflected the many changes we’ve made as an agency over the last few years, and how our processes and culture have evolved as we learn more about what makes us effective.

Self managing and flexible working.

We’re big believers in hiring talented, motivated people and then getting out of the way to let them do their job. In 2016, we made the move fully towards self-managing teams. It fits well with the collaborative and democratic way we like to work.

While we have a leadership team who oversees the running of the business, our structure remains fairly flat, and each team member has autonomy over when, where and how they carry out their responsibilities in the way that helps them be most effective.

Every member of a project team also communicates directly with our clients, within dedicated, transparent Slack channels. Not only is it a much more empowering way to work, it means our clients benefit from the full range of experience and expertise we have within the agency.

Embracing flexible working has allowed us to recruit talented people from around the UK and Europe. Around half of our team is distributed, and we make use of apps like Slack and Zoom to keep us all on the same page. And for those working remotely, we ensure there are plenty of opportunities to get together in person – including our quarterly chapter days.

Building an inclusive agency.

Back when our founder Tim first started writing about how Deeson planned to do better in building an inclusive and diverse team, our leadership team was made up of 10% women. Two years later, that figure stands at 33%. This is better, but we know we still have work to do, and not just with regards to gender equality.

As part of the induction process, all new starters at Deeson carry out unconscious bias training. Every member of the team has an influence on our culture and practices, so it’s not enough to raise awareness at policy level alone. We’re continuing to take other actions to help us improve:

  • We’ve introduced a transparent pay and reward model that includes a job scorecard. Applicants know the salary range upfront, and expectations for each role are set clearly. And pay increases are now in line with performance, rather than how effective someone is at negotiating.

  • Following feedback from team members, we’ve improved our our maternity, paternity, adoption and shared leave provision to give new parents a better deal. We’re also members of Tommy’s Pregnancy at Work programme, which provides free, independent advice for expectant parents.

  • We continue to focus on helping team members achieve a healthy work life balance. Our annual personal wellness fund and paid sabbaticals have been well received since their introduction. We also have a Health and Happiness chapter – a group of people within the agency who have volunteered to lead on initiatives that bring the team closer and support individual mental health and happiness.

As with events and online communities, we think digital agencies have a key role to play in driving progress in the tech industry. We’d welcome your thoughts on this, and would love to hear what other initiatives you’ve found successful. Tweet us at @DeesonAgency.

Open sourcing our knowledge.

In the spirit of sharing what we’ve learnt to help drive progress within the industry, we decided to publish our company handbook under a Creative Commons license. This means it can be viewed by anyone, and copied, adapted and shared. The handbook outlines our company policies and explains how we do things at Deeson. 

It’s a useful resource for team members and prospective recruits, but we’ve also had positive feedback from clients and even other agencies, who tell us that they’ve been inspired to introduce similar processes and initiatives in their own organisations. This is great to hear, and a big motivator for us to continue sharing our knowledge openly.

We also run regular knowledge-sharing events for digital leaders. They’re a great opportunity to engage in conversation and debate, share what we’ve learnt, and hear insights from others working in the industry.

As for the new look website, we’ve received lovely feedback from clients and friends so far, and we hope you’ll find it even easier to navigate and more enjoyable to browse.

To find out more about the way we work at Deeson, read our company handbook.