If you’d told us back in 2001 that one day we’d be standing on the prestigious stage of the European Agency Awards, we might’ve raised an eyebrow (or two). From our humble beginnings in Co. Tyrone, here we are today: a global family of over 45 talented souls spread across four continents. That journey has been a wild one, brimming with lessons and lots of coffee. More than anything, our story is one of growth, adaptability and care.
It’s an incredible feeling to pause and glance back to our roots in 2001. Northern Ireland was a different place then, and so were we. Nestled in the heart of Omagh, we started our journey as a digital agency with ambition in our hearts and dreams in our eyes. It was a time of uncertainty, of course, filled with both excitement and challenges. But it was also a time of immense passion and commitment.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this journey? Those very first members who believed in the vision of Creative Media, who took a chance with us, are still here, journeying alongside. Our growth hasn’t just been in numbers, but in the depth of our connections too.
Creating a ripple effect
It’s no secret that the challenges here in Northern Ireland – particularly around mental health – have been long-standing and deeply rooted. We’ve seen how mental health challenges can cast a shadow. At Creative Media, we’ve always believed that companies, big or small, play an essential role in impacting wellness. And, that’s what we’re all about—addressing, adapting, and acting upon these challenges to create a ripple effect.
Sure, maintaining a genuine culture with a remote team isn’t a walk in the park. It’s easy to feel disconnected in the virtual world, but we’ve tackled this head-on. We’ve mastered the art with real connections, heartfelt conversations, and that omnipresent sense of being a part of something. Real conversations, spontaneous meet-ups and a family ethos ensure our team feels grounded and connected.
A collective responsibility
Understanding that mental health is not just an individual concern, but also a collective responsibility, we’ve invested in Spill to ensure our team has the support they need, precisely when they need it.
At its core, Spill offers immediate access to therapy sessions and professional counsellors, allowing employees to navigate personal challenges with expert guidance. In today’s fast-paced world, waiting for weeks to get an appointment is not always feasible. The immediacy that Spill offers ensures that our team can address issues head-on.
However, what truly sets Spill apart is its Safety Net feature. Mental health concerns, unfortunately, can often go unnoticed until they escalate. But with Spill’s proactive approach, potential red flags can be spotted early on. The Safety Net is a groundbreaking feature designed to monitor patterns that might indicate declining mental health, ensuring that support is provided even before a team member might realise they need it. This positions mental health as an ongoing conversation rather than a reactive measure.
Our collaboration with Spill Mental Health is not just about offering a benefit; it’s about embedding a culture of proactive care. It serves as a clear signal to our team that their mental well-being is not just their concern, but ours too. And in doing so, we aim to create an environment where everyone feels understood, supported, and empowered to be their best selves.
Recognising the small things
We understand that there’s more to it when it comes to creating a sustaining a happy and healthy workplace. Whilst mental health support is a bare essential, we see immense value in recognising and celebrating even the smallest of victories. That’s where our Nectar virtual tip jar comes in: a unique and innovative initiative that has become a cornerstone of our positive business culture.
The concept is simple yet impactful. The Nectar tip jar provides a platform for team members to show gratitude, give kudos, and send virtual tips as a token of appreciation for their colleagues’ hard work, innovative ideas, or even just for brightening up the day. This continual cycle of recognition and appreciation boosts morale, enhances motivation, and strengthens bonds.
In the larger scheme of things, the Nectar Virtual Tip Jar is not just about the rewards. It’s a testament to the fact that when employees feel seen, acknowledged, and valued, they are more engaged, more productive and more loyal.
We win together, we lose together
Every company speaks of culture, but at Creative Media, we don’t just talk about it – we live it. Whilst we will relish in our shared victories, we will also unite when things don’t always go as planned. We believe this is a key reason behind our impressively low staff retention rate. When team members choose to stay and grow with us, year after year, it speaks volumes. It’s a nod to the nurturing environment we’ve cultivated, where everyone feels valued, heard, and empowered to chart their growth trajectory.
Having two married couples in the team also adds a unique dynamic. It’s a daily reminder of the balance between work and personal life, and how the two can harmoniously coexist in the right environment. Their stories of collaboration, mutual respect, and partnership inspire and remind us that at the core of every successful venture are human connections.
As we gear up for the awards, we’re filled with a mix of jitters and excitement. We asked our team how they felt, and the overwhelming response was a blend of pride, gratitude, and that ‘pinch-me-is-this-real’ feeling. Sally Campbell, Projects Manager, said: “It’s not just an award for the company; it feels like a personal achievement for all of us who’ve put our hearts and souls into making Creative Media the wonderful place it is.”
Niall Donnelly, Graphic Designer had similar sentiments: “I’ve always said that a happy designer is a creative designer, and this place has been a continuous source of inspiration and happiness for me. Knowing that we’ve been selected as a Finalist? It’s just the cherry on top!”
To wrap it up, this nomination means the world to us. Not just as a badge of honour, but as a reminder of our journey, our commitment, and the path ahead. Here’s to more growth, more genuine connections, and making a difference, one step at a time.
Cheers to the journey ahead!