Category: Culture

Today in PRWeek we’ve been quoted responding to questions about pay differentials in companies, following Government consultation about large companies publishing their gender pay gap in 2016.

It’s actually something that we’ve been looking at for a while here in Dynamo. When we launched the company in 2011, we wanted to create an amazing workplace where staff are valued, and paid, for their contribution to the company and its clients, according to their skills and expertise. Their sex, colour, gender, orientation or beliefs have no place in any salary negotiation, nor discussion and assessing promotion.

As owners of a rapidly growing business, we appreciate the strains and pressures that come with fast employee hires, but it’s good to check from time to time that despite this one continues to follow key principles – and in this place ensuring there’s no gender pay gap within a company.

So earlier this year, reading about the measures the Government wants to introduce, Dynamo decided to check our gender pay differentials, to make sure that we’re following best practice. Our leadership team (comprised 50% men / 50% women) were pleased with the two key results, that we publish here:

“Comparing like for like, in any particular job title role, on average men salaries are 0.5% higher than women’s salaries at Dynamo PR”

This doesn’t necessarily indicate bias as within any particular job title role as each role has a salary band, and within each band staff are at different levels. As long as male staff are slightly more experienced than female staff in each job title this is an acceptable figure.

“Overall, women’s salaries are 17% higher than male salaries”

This would normally indicate a significant bias towards pay for women, however we do currently have overall more women in senior roles than men, and given the near parity of salaries within job titles this is acceptable.

Why do these figures matter? We believe it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s what you do that counts. And this is just one measure of our having a great workplace environment where staff are rewarded for the right things, and making sure that bias and discrimination has no place in our company. Sure, we’ve won awards for being the best small PR company, and the best PR company to work for, but as we grow we’ll always regularly check key measures to ensure we’re growing appropriately.

And as we grow, there’s always more to learn, and develop, and achieve. As a male owned company, we’ve also been following with interest the UN #HeForShe gender equality campaign. This of course has a much wider remit than pay within small companies like ours, but none-the-less Peter Bowles and I, as the male owners and co-founders of Dynamo, fully support, and will continue to take positive action against gender discrimination.

Let us know your thoughts below, alternatively you can chat to us on Twitter or Facebook.

Paul Cockerton
By Paul Cockerton
Categories: Comment, Culture, Knowledge

We’ve done well over the years with award-winning campaigns and team recognition here at Dynamo. But winning PRWeek’s accolade of being the best PR company to work for is a very special award, as it recognises the efforts that we’ve made to shape the company as we’ve grown up.

Whilst Dynamo is nearly four years old, it still feels like yesterday that we set the consultancy up – working in a hot desking environment and discussing what sort of company we wanted to build.

One thing for us was clear from the start. Bringing in great people would turn into amazing campaigns for clients, take Dynamo in exciting new directions and, most importantly, make the many hours we spend at work really fun. However we’d seen at many agencies that keeping great people can be incredibly difficult, and often can work out very expensive for the resource and time you spend replacing them if they leave. So one of our goals from the start has been not only to attract the right staff, but to build an agency where people can grow, develop, and stay.

Back in the early days, it was just the two founders setting direction and culture, but now with more than 20 staff we involve everyone in shaping the business and culture at Dynamo.

We had a weekend away in Copenhagen late last year, during which some staff came up with an analysis which said we should launch a new team. So we did, and have attracted great new clients as a result.

One of our staff joined us as she said we were very ‘Silicon Valley’, negotiating chocolate into her contract, which has evolved to us providing personalised contracts, something even Forbes has written about.

Another of our staff jokingly suggested we should follow Netflix’s policy of unlimited holidays. We looked at it, it made sense, we implemented it a few weeks later, and its working to benefit both staff and Dynamo for over 2 years.

Put all these together with schemes that balance incentives for doing your work well, and bonuses for going above and beyond, and you’ll begin to get an idea of the culture within Dynamo. And we firmly believe that you can have both a great culture, and be a profitable business.

So where does this leave us now? We’re twenty-odd staff strong, and in the past year have won awards for being the best small agency, and the best small agency to work for. How can we make our culture even more exciting? That is the question we’ll be posing staff and new hires in the coming weeks.

P.S. You can read our awesome full profile over at PRWeek here (subscription)

The finalists of PRWeek UK’s Best Places to Work Awards have just been announced, with the second stage of judging taking place this week to find the industry’s top employers.

We know that we have a podium place within the small agency category, and will find out next month whether we’ve won bronze, silver or gold.

The finalists in each category are:

Large agency (100+ employees): Golin, Instinctif, Lansons.

Medium agency (30 to 99 employees): Citypress, Forster, W.

Small agency (two to 29 employees): Dynamo, Man Bites Dog, Manifest.

In-house (corporate teams): Nationwide, Swiftkey.

We’re really delighted by this news. Dynamo works hard to create an progressive, supportive, and innovative work place environment, with schemes like our ‘Don Draper Clause’ even being covered by Forbes. If you’re interested in working for Dynamo, we currently have some vacancies for JAE or AEs. Apply here.

The categories have been judged by PRWeek, the PRCA and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). As part of the scheme, Dynamo contributed to the total of £2,200 donations to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) as part of the application process.

Paul Cockerton
By Paul Cockerton
Categories: Awards, Culture

Last week Sir Richard Branson announced that he would be allowing his Virgin HQ staff to take as much annual leave as they liked in a bid to boost morale and productivity. But he’s not the first to do this; in fact Dynamo PR have been proudly doing this, for all our staff, for over a year.

As the most prolific user of the unlimited holiday policy, I’ve been tasked with telling you exactly what you might want to do with it. The point is you can do whatever you want, so long as you manage your time properly and talk it through with the team.

So what did I do? I took a month out from Dynamo to do something really silly; two friends and I picked up a £200 Skoda (we named her Lexi) and drove her to Mongolia. The whole trip was for charity and at this point we’ve raised more than £4000 for Chance UK, you can still donate if you like. It’s a very worthy cause.

Leaving at the end of July we made our way through 16 European countries and then headed into Iran. If I can tell you just one thing about Iran, it is that it is nothing like the Iran you see in the media. Everywhere we went we were welcomed by the friendliest of people, everyone took a genuine interest in what we were doing. If London were as friendly as Iran it would be a much nicer place to live. I’ve even suggested my parents go on holiday there! They said no, but still.

Next on our trip we tackled the ‘Stans’. Turkmenistan is about 90% desert from what I saw, but the capital city of Ashgabat is full of white marble gold roofed monoliths built from the countries oil wealth. It’s a strangely quiet place and you can just tell that you’re being watched by the secret police at every turn.

Uzbekistan, which I have dubbed the worst ‘Stan’, has no petrol… anywhere. The government produces gas so that’s what they sell. We bought petrol from a cowshed, next to a melon stand and from a shady looking Uzbek who was hiding behind a wall. 1* review on Yelp.

My third ‘Stan’ was Kyrgyzstan, and I think my favourite of the lot. It’s an incredibly varied country. We stopped at a crystal blue lake for lunch and had a swim in the midday sun. Getting back in the car I drifted off for thirty minutes and found that we were at the top of a mountain surrounded by rolling plains and wild horses.

Made famous by the film Borat, Kazakhstan is probably the best known of all the ‘Stans’. It is truly massive – we drove for around 1000km and 2 days without seeing anything. I have never seen anywhere with so much nothing but it did have the most incredible stars.

And finally we had made it to Mongolia, thousands of kilometres of dirt roads, river crossings and camels. Mongolia was the death of our little car, the lack of roads simply shook it to bits and we learnt an awful lot about suspension and oil sumps. We also learnt a nifty way to start our car using a hammer after I drowned the starter motor (and the whole car) in a river. I would honestly consider myself a competent mechanic now… so long as I have duct tape. Lexi did make it to the finish line in Ulaanbaatar though.

So there you go, we managed to travel through 24 countries, drive more than 10,000 miles and have countless incredible experiences. All because Dynamo takes the time to listen to what its staff want to achieve; both inside and outside of the office.

We’re wondering what Sir Richard will want to do next.

By Dynamo Team
Categories: Comment, Culture

The Dynamo Escape is unlike any company away weekend I’ve ever been on, largely because no one knows where they’re going until the morning of the trip. We were told to pack a passport and clothes for weather similar to the UK, that’s all.

Following a series of drip-fed clues on Pinterest, at 9am on Friday, it was announced that this year’s Dynamo Escape destination was Copenhagen! The largest Dynamo away weekend to date, all 16 of us were handed a mini itinerary (still very ambiguous) and made our way to Stansted Airport.

We were also briefed as to the theme of the weekend, and set tasks and training to complete – over the next few days we were going to explore the Danish creative scene, hear from local experts, and expected to draw from architecture, design and cuisine inspiration for our work with our clients and building Dynamo throughout the rest of the year.

Before we knew it we’d landed, checked in, and were bonding over Denmark’s finest, Carlsberg. Our first night in the Danish capital ended with an early nightcap in a pop up cocktail bar on Kompagnistræde Street, ahead of a mystery morning ‘biking activity’.

As we walked towards a row of what looked like tricycle-come-scooter-come-Segways, our first activity of the day was about to be revealed. We were going on an architectural tour of Copenhagen on Me-Movers. The three-hour long tour took us from the outskirts of the city into the centre, via new and historical landmarks including the harbour, quirky new-build flats and ‘Mountain Dwellings’ an award-winning designed multi-storey car park and home combination.

After sampling an open-sandwich by the canal in the Nyhavn district, our next stop was the theme park Tivoli Gardens. Armed with a multi-ride ticket we were ready to scream our heads off and get our adrenaline pumping. From ‘The Demon’ to the dodgems, to the oldest running wooden rollercoaster in the world, we made the most of our time in the theme park. There’s always those who aren’t coaster junkies, but the full Dynamo team stuck together and took a group ride on the famous wooden rollercoaster.

Before flying out we had been split into teams to work on a number of tasks for Dynamo, so between showering and getting ready to go out for dinner we met up in our respective groups to start brainstorming ideas and work up our presentation slides. The Kickstarter, mobile, digital and design teams were all mixed up giving us an opportunity to work together and share our different perspectives on the task.

Dinner was incredible; we ate at a Danish restaurant called Höst which served us over seven courses, each and every plate exquisitely presented and delicious. An awards ceremony (a Dynamo tradition) also took place; winning categories including ‘The best room-mate’, ‘The most hipster Me-Mover trick’ and ‘The World Record for the most hair flicks’, amongst others. We then all explored the Copenhagen nightlife…

There may have been a few weary heads in the room, but everyone made it down to breakfast in time and presentations kicked off at 11am sharp. It was refreshing to see so many creative and different ideas, and everyone presenting across the agency. There was a prize for the best pitch so the heat was on, and each team stepped up to the challenge.

Post the final pitches, our last day in Copenhagen was free for us to do as we wished. Many took advantage of the hotel spa, whilst others went sightseeing, shopped and checked out the local flea market.

The #DynamoEscape lives on and I can’t wait to see where we go in 2015!

By Dynamo Team