Diaz & Cooper Advertising Staff Have Been #ROWE Since 2012
Last year while a global pandemic ushered in an expansive and unexpected experiment, Diaz & Cooper Advertising easily kept pace with work demands. The organization has employed a remote workforce since 2012, long before the phrase 'work-from-home' was part of anyone's vernacular.
And long-time customers know that Diaz & Cooper has always been focused on meaningful results. But what some may not know is that the company is so committed to this approach that they became the first advertising agency in the U.S. to become certified as a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) more than eight years ago.
The ROWE model, a brainchild of Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, is a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence.
With a ROWE, people focus on results and only results. Forget flex time. In a ROWE, employees get to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. It may sound crazy, but ROWE has a proven track record of success.
Back in 2012, Diaz & Cooper Advertising was drawn to the ROWE approach because the company had pivoted to a digital-only agency. Implementing ROWE allowed them to recruit top talent from anywhere in the world. At the time, the job candidate pool in Miami was somewhat lacking, and Diaz & Cooper searched for a structure that would allow them to attract talent from all over as well as provide staff with a flexible work schedule.
During a recent appearance on The Sage Thought Leadership Podcast, CEO Omi Diaz-Cooper shared her perspective on how this new approach to work has impacted the company she leads.
The transition to a results-focused work environment helped Diaz & Cooper discover high-level directors, developers, and project managers who excelled at what they did. As a result, ROWE has revolutionized the way work is getting done. Staff travels to new cities while still executing large client projects. They attend their children’s school activities and make doctors’ appointments without having to get the approval of multiple managers.
"It really attracts people who are good communicators. People who manage their time well and people who know how to focus on the things that matter," said Omi Diaz-Cooper, CEO of Diaz & Cooper Advertising.
Plus, happy, engaged employees turn out great work that yields real results for the company’s clients.
Hiring and Retention Advantages
At the time that Diaz & Cooper implemented ROWE, they had a team of 23 staff members, and of those 23, only one staff member turned out not to be a good fit for the ROWE model. The overwhelming success of transitioning to a new work model also meant that the values and culture of the agency were clearer than ever, allowing Diaz & Cooper to attract candidates that were not only top performers but an excellent fit to the company culture.
Reflecting on the early years of the ROWE rollout, Omi recalls the surprise and delight she encountered from interviewees during the hiring process. There was even one instance where a candidate took a significant pay cut to join Diaz & Cooper because of the flexibility of ROWE.
Over the years, Omi has encountered other employers for whom the ROWE approach did not jive. Rather their mindset was that the best way to get the most out of an employee was to have them sitting in a seat in an office.
“A lot of people were in situations where they had very inflexible work schedules, and it was very difficult to take any personal time whatsoever regardless of how good a job they were doing,” says Omi.
Focused on meaningful results instead of backsides in chairs has increased job satisfaction and employee morale. But if that’s not enough, the fact is there are compelling business reasons to make a move to remote - including:
- increased productivity
- higher quality work
- a bigger, better, more diversified talent pool
- reduced real estate footprint
- improved ability to conduct business across multiple time zones
Fueled in part by Cuban ‘cafecito’ and eight years of running a remote agency, Omi thinks it's time employers redefine what "results" mean and provide concrete KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for employee evaluation and expected results of client work.
Are you looking to set your business up for success? Set KPIs for each employee position and use SMART goals for internal and client work. Doing so will give you a clear outlook on expectations and set the stage for successful outcomes. Stop forcing employees to punch a clock. The remote work model better aligns with client goals because you focus on your output and the results produced instead of counting hours.