Jun 22, 2022 / Team
What makes a DNA'er?
Being a DNA’er is about more than just great marketing, design or development skills. It is about doing what it takes to help our clients…
We are very lucky to be in a period of rapid growth at webdna, and with that inevitably comes hiring and onboarding new people. Bringing the right people on board is about more than just making sure that they have the skills to do the job that we need them to do, it is also about being a good fit for the business and helping to strengthen, not erode our culture. Over the years we have developed a view of what makes a DNA’er, but for the first time in 2022, we thought it would be good to write it down. So here goes.
Along with iteration, pragmatism is one of my favourite words. We are a team of people who can quickly understand a problem and use their skills to find a solution. Our clients treat us as a ‘trusted digital partner’ which means that some of the requests we get may be a little left-field. The beauty of our team is that we can normally find an answer quickly and help our clients by applying a pragmatic approach.
Part of our approach includes never walking past a problem - no matter how uncomfortable. If we think something is wrong, broken or just could be better, we speak up. Sometimes this means a difficult conversation. Perhaps we think that our client’s brief does not solve the problem they are trying to solve. Or maybe it’s simply a matter of correcting poor grammar in content for a newsletter or web page. No matter what it is, we don’t walk past it, we raise it and make sure it is right before it goes out. We also do things all the way to the end. We don’t leave our dirty dishes on the dishwasher, we put them in it! In short, we behave like grown-ups.
Interested and Interesting
We work with clients from lots of different sectors, and apply our expertise for each of them in a way that gets them results. In order to do this, each one of us needs to be interested in our clients’ businesses, the problems they are trying to solve, their customers and products or services. It takes a certain type of person who wants to find out about each business and get under its skin so that we can do great work for them.
I have written before about T, Pi and comb-shaped people. To have that level of expertise requires more than just time, it requires interest and an ability to learn quickly, respond well to feedback and be inquisitive. We look out for those characteristics, find out people’s strengths and play to them. We’ll also work with them to identify any areas where they wish to grow or improve and help with them.
Each of our team has their own areas of expertise and we work hard to ensure that each one of us can apply that expertise to help our clients develop their businesses. We look for grown-ups with life experiences; we encourage them to have dreams and to fulfil them. That is the second time I have mentioned being grown-up and I should make it clear, being grown-up for me is not about age, it is about experience and approach. Some of the most grown-up people I know are quite young, but they have great life experiences.
It also helps to be a self-starter and managing your time and workload are key, particularly in an agency or consultancy environment such as ours. That’s not to say you’re completely on your own and of course, we will help when needed, after all, everyone needs a bit of encouragement to get them back on the right track from time to time.
Above all, no matter what your level of expertise, or your role within webdna, we expect you to help where you can. No one is too important to get their hands dirty, no one is too junior to have a great idea. We try to cultivate the sense that everyone is valued through smart questioning and trying to stop the most senior person from speaking first.
Last, and most importantly, we look for personality traits that mean you will fit in to the culture and carry it forward. Our people are honest, friendly, helpful, enthusiastic, thoughtful and have a good sense of humour. We understand that each one of us has slightly different priorities and needs to be treated in a slightly different way to get the most out of them. For this reason, we work with Mel Pyke at MindFish. Mel works with each of our people to help them to understand what drives them, their personality traits and helps us to understand how to get the very best out of each member of the team. We identify our weaknesses asking for help where needed and if we have a strength we offer it to anyone who needs it.