Graduate WorkSmarts programme

Blog

In the last three years we have hired over 75 graduates and back in April we delivered a training workshop for our Class of 2014: WorkSmarts. After this experience we asked each team to write a blog, here are the musings of ‘Team Pizzazz’ and ‘Team Millennials’

Sam Swindells on behalf of Team Pizzazz

An idiots guide to… creating a CBI presentation in the back of a minibus along the windy roads of the Peak District!

We can’t say they didn’t warn us. When Aimee and Lisa briefed us about WorkSmarts and our trip away to the Mermaid Inn in Leek, they told us it would be pretty full-on. Items on the agenda included, but were not limited to, presenting to clients (yes, real ones), a speed networking session, Go-karting, a CBI and strategy workshop with Rob Fuller, a pub quiz, developing a creative brief, more presentations and… Breathe. It’s safe to say we were all well and truly spent by home time on Friday. It’s also safe to say we all learnt an incredible amount over the three days.

As a copywriter, I haven’t had a huge amount of experience presenting, so the prospect of trying to win over three very well-respected and long-standing clients was pretty daunting. However, with the support of my team – the brilliantly named Pizzazz (not my suggestion), I felt a bit more at ease. Between us, we managed to do a decent job; presenting both Lynx’s creds as well the strategic plan for an account all but one of us had never worked on before! Coming a close second to the aptly named ‘Millenials’, we then packed our bags into the awaiting mini buses and began our journey to the Peak District.

Over the next 24 hours, our driving abilities, team working skills, acting talent (or lack thereof) and strategic thinking were all thoroughly put to the test! Just take a look at the Havas Lynx Instagram page for some photographic evidence of our exploits (that’s me playing the part of ‘the landlord/ strategy whizz’ in our much acclaimed play). The three days culminated in a final presentation of our CBI and strategic plan back at the office. With only Friday morning to prepare, it meant laptops and flipcharts at the ready in the back of our minibus back to HQ in Manchester – cue a heady mixture of sick bags and panic! We weren’t fazed though and delivered another sterling performance, helping us draw level with millennials to tie for first place. The whole experience, whilst a little tiring, was fantastic and a real education for us all, distilling the true essence of Lynx life into just a few days.

 

Team Millennials

When we were initially briefed on WorkSmarts, the 3-day off-site graduate training, the idea of escaping the office and spending time with 17 other graduates sounded like a walk in the park. In reality, it turned out to be some of the busiest, most demanding days since starting at Lynx.

Once we received our brief, we got together as Team Millennial to start preparing for the many tasks ahead. First up, a company credentials presentation showcasing our heritage, beliefs and experience here at Lynx, as well as a case study of some great work that we have produced. In the two weeks running up to presentation day, we worked through lunches and stayed after work to formulate a story that we believed would capture our clients’ attention.

In the blink of an eye, the first day of WorkSmarts arrived, and from there it was a whirlwind of workshops and presentations. From digital strategy to client services and creative briefings, we enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of useful skills that would help us excel, both when preparing for pitches and in our day-to-day roles. Skills which all came together as we took a stroll with our Chief Creative Officer. As a fitting summary of some of the things we had learned, he told us the story of department X, and took us on a journey through the planning, preparation and presentation of great creative work.

As well as learning about LYNX, we also learned a lot from each other. We all took part in a ‘speed networking’ evening; one minute to talk to every other graduate about the work they do and why they’re proud of it, and sharing our own projects with the rest of the team. As a result, we not only achieved a greater understanding of the LYNX way of working, but also of our peers and the projects on which they work.

The hardest task of all was the morning of day 3. After a late night of singing (or shouting?) our hearts out to the worst pop hits of the 80’s, playing pool and some great games of table football with the Directors, we had to prepare for our final presentation, feeling slightly worse for wear. We were tasked with presenting our CBI for the fictional drug NZT, which we’d been working on the day before with the help of our Strategy Director. It was a haphazard scrabble on the coach ride back to the office, as we raced to prepare what we wanted to say, and create slides to support our story. Staying true to the Havas Lynx mantra of work hard, play hard, albeit in the opposite order, we manged to pull together a coherent presentation, including some brilliant acting to bring our target audience persona into the room with us.

Over the course of the three days, the rolling hills of the Peak District provided a calm and relaxed backdrop to our own packed schedule. We were lucky enough to spend time learning the tricks of trade from some of the most experienced people in the company, and have learned lessons that are sure to help us deliver work that is truly creative and compelling.

Looking back over our WorkSmarts experience, it was certainly in-keeping with the Lynx philosophy. Ultimately, it has changed our way of thinking and our approach to the work that we do. It defined the processes that we should employ in pursuit of innovation. But perhaps most pertinently, it inspired us all with a renewed passion and vigour to produce truly exceptional work for our clients.