Best Employers Eastern Region: Archant
PUBLISHED: 09:44 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:49 10 April 2019
Dee Willmott Chief HR and Development Officer, explains why people are so important to Archant.
I read a while back that tech giant Google believes just 10% of its success is due to technology. The rest — the 90% — is down to its people. In today’s white-hot digital world, some may be surprised by this.
The reality, however, is whatever the business, whichever the sector, it’s always about the talent. I’m proud to lead the People function at Archant — a media business itself in the midst of massive transformation brought about by the digital revolution.
You only have to walk the floors to get a sense of change here. In sales, members of the “Local Impact” team (Archant’s digital services brand) come together to discuss a customer’s requirements for an advanced e-commerce website build...
In the news centre, videographers race out to a story. A podcast debate goes
to air. Social media experts tap away in lively conversation with loyal audiences while checking the giant screens that flash second by second insights on trending stories, driven by our in-house data team.
And a cheer goes up in the digital hub, as the next milestone in Archant’s pioneering “voice” service is reached — a world first that will connect communities to over 150 years of local news, straight to their Alexa device.
In my 30-plus years of work, I’ve never been so excited by the passion, dedication and go-getter attitude of our people. But I remember a time when the world wasn’t like this. Back in the day, many businesses operated a hierarchical culture. You got your head down, did what you were told and the boss’s word was law. That simply can’t happen at Archant. Media moves too quickly. Inverting the triangle — so our people lead the way and feel empowered to bring their own unique skills to the table — it’s business critical in a company as diverse as ours.
Big thinking is celebrated and where we see the opportunity, we get straight on it. It’s how Archant broke all records with The New European after the referendum — launching a fiery new national tabloid in just over a week. Collaborative working, pulling on individual strengths saw the paper hit newsagents just nine days after the first spark of an idea. Two years on, it’s still going strong. It could have failed, but that’s the point — it’s OK. Just try. Otherwise you’ll never know.
The launch of our own internal training app “Archant Learn” is another good example. Every single piece of learning —from basic presentation skills to advanced SE0 — was created in house by engaged individuals from all functions. Sharing their knowledge and expertise for the good of everyone. In an “I’m in charge— I know best” environment, it simply wouldn’t have happened. Of course, it’s a journey not a destination. We’re far from perfect and there’s still plenty to do here.
But behind all the smart systems, the smartest businesses never forget — it’s always about the people.