Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Belonging Sessions 015: Aaron Reitkopf from Profero

Profero is a digitally-led, global, marketing & advertising agency.

I had the chance to sit down with CEO Aaron Reitkopf to talk about their culture of curiosity, competitiveness and collaboration.
1. You talk about ideas people can belong to. From a culture perspective, why do you think your employees join your company? 

We believe our external mission is the same as our internal mission: Creating ideas people can belong to. It’s the most important metric in the world. The core metric marketing has always been about. Belonging is a fundamental need, so we take the same thing we create for our clients and create it for ourselves.   This idea you can belong to internally is a culture people want to belong to, defined by clear values, and each of our eleven offices around the world have their own distinctive spin on these values. For instance, you have to be globally curious. If you don’t have a passport, that might make us alarmed about you.

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

First, we work very hard on making sure there’s no “me, I or my,” and more “we, our and us.” We’re pushing towards a common goal. You can’t only be about yourself and your point of you. Our brainstorms are about the third idea, which is yours plus mine to make ours. That makes the idea more powerful. Third, bring yourself to work. You. The real you. Not the business you. Not the you that you thought you were supposed to be. Be you. Share your ideas, don’t just play the role you’re assigned. Be present.

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

We have offices all around the world. And at our New York office, almost nobody is from New York. We’re all from somewhere else. Everyone brings a unique point of view, many from countries around the world. We never tried to be diverse, we just have the values about global curiosity, and that’s what creates a diverse culture organically. Diversity isn’t an imperative you just create. We recruit in such a way that, even if get the culture fit wrong, we always get the mindset fit and the value fit right, and that’s what brings in the best people. Great culture isn’t constructed. There are guardrails, but the culture comes together on its own, nobody really controls it. And we love it that way. 

To learn more about Profero's work, click here!