Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Belonging Sessions 002: AJ Lawrence from The Jar Group

The Jar Group is a data-driven agency of internet enthusiasts who produce integrated marketing strategies and happy clients. They were named on the Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies and Linkshare’s 2010 Agency of the Year.                      

I sat down with President AJ Lawrence, and posed three crucial questions about employee belonging:

1. Good brands are bought, but great brands are joined. Why do you think employees join yours?

For a large company, part of the tradeoff is security. Their culture is secondary to increasing profit. For us, we provide our clients with high quality work, but never at the expense of a great working environment. After all, the work we do is strange. Not everyone can divide their minds into five different areas at the same time, so we have to have a workplace that’s worthwhile and enjoyable.                                                

2. The great workplaces of the world have soul. What do you do to humanize your culture? 

Companies can too easily get caught up in archetype language that nobody understands. For us, we don’t have a simple, pithy answer to that kind question. Our mantra is simply something we live. It’s work. We don’t hire assholes. We make clients money, we don’t just get them press. And it’s more than making clients feel good, it’s making them look like heroes. That’s how we get more work.                                                    

3. Belonging is a basic human craving. How do you remind employees that they've found a home?

It’s not about reminding, it’s about engaging. We have team lunches on Thursdays. Cocktail hours at the end of the workday. We take field trips to Coney Island together. And we’re clear on what we’re trying to achieve and what we expect of people. Too many agencies put efforts on long terms employees or rising stars, but why create a culture where there are tiers of people? We’re hiring the people we want to be here because they can help us do more cool stuff. And cool stuff might mean more work, but that’s part of the fun.

Thanks AJ!

Meet the The Jar Group team here.