Artisan Blog

One-Two-One Onboarding

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Best Practices for onboarding new hires and making them feel welcome


How to Make the Most of Brainstorming Sessions

Wednesday, July 13, 2016



Collaboration is key for creative teams. Here ere are a few tips to maximize your productivity in group brainstorming sessions:
  • Define a goal before the meeting. Send out an agenda in advance to let team members mull over the purpose of the session so they have time to come in with a few good ideas.
  • Set ground rules. If all ideas are good or you’re going for a “blue sky” atmosphere, let everyone know that so they feel confident to share. Whatever your ground rules are, state them at the top so everyone understands, and feel free to chime in if the rules are being broken. 
  • Encourage openness. Sometimes, brainstorming sessions fail because team members feel pressured to conform to certain ideas on the spot. Set a tone of non-judgement and invite all ideas to be voiced in a comfortable setting.
  • Don’t discuss or problem solve ideas. Set this as one your ground rules. Problem solving will hamper the creative free flow of ideas and eat away at the timelines. Capture all concepts first and then explore further.
  • Assign a facilitator or scribe. This person can capture all the ideas on the board. They will be facilitating and not part of the brainstorming itself and can ensures all team voices are heard equally. They can helps the group on track, take notes, assign follow up and next steps.
  • Set timetables. Give everyone thirty seconds and go around the table and capture one word ideas or one phrase ideas. Go around the room as often as possible to capture as many ideas as possible within your set time parameters.
  • Get creative. If your group needs help to get started, play improv games, doodle, stand and walk while pitching, or create mood boards to help the team get out of their heads. Encourage everyone to offer their own ways of busting out of a creative rut, and apply it to the group dynamic.
  • Don’t decide on the spot. Plan for reflection time for the team to think and react to the ideas they heard, then ask them to share their top choices. If scheduling a second meeting is not possible, then take a 10 minute-break. Allow the team to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and reflect, and then come back together to discuss decision and executing on the chosen ideas.
What are some of your tips for making the most out of a brainstorming session?

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

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How to Create a Strong Workplace Culture

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

company-culture

Although managing a team might come naturally to some, retaining a team is another story. Building employee retention in a creative environment is key to keeping a strong creative team together. Happy and engaged employees are motivated, productive and have a positive impact on company culture. Below are some best practices to foster a good workplace culture for creatives:

Cultivate shared values and a strong mission. Hire and work with people who demonstrate your shared company values. Doing so helps support your company culture and gives employees a stronger sense of investment in their jobs. This is especially true for the millennial workforce, who want to know their work makes a difference. Have a purpose that’s bigger than the company, and be mindful of seeking to do good when you can.

Allow for employee empowerment. Micromanaging doesn’t help solve problems. Give your team the autonomy to resolve issues and express themselves. Consider an open-door policy so everyone’s ideas feel respected, and each team member can impact the company in a positive way. Besides, you never know when the next big idea could come to someone!

Give -- and ask -- for feedback. Yearly reviews are fine, but weekly, monthly, or quarterly check-ins can help prevent your creative team from feeling disconnected. A regular check-in can help smooth over any miscommunication, improve workflow procedures and create overall engagement. In addition to giving feedback, ask for some of your own. It’s a commitment to honesty and transparency that’ll open up communication between you and your team.

Engage with each other. If you’re quickly growing or offer the opportunity to work remotely, it’s essential that your team interact via Skype, GChat, Slack, or some other form of daily or weekly communication. Not only does this strengthen connections, it also helps everyone contribute to the overall mission. Team collaboration and engagement is key to creating a positive, open work environment.

Embrace your team’s passions. Encourage team-building opportunities. For instance, have an “art sale” for your graphic designers and let them share their work with the rest of the company, or start committees that bolster community and show off skills, like a baking club, community service opportunities, employee-led fitness classes, or a meditation group.

Celebrate successes. If your team wins, celebrate! Everyone wants to feel a sense of accomplishment when they achieve goals. Recognition, and an opportunity to celebrate a colleague is key to building a strong team.

Perks are great, but there is more to creating a happy work environment. Listen to your team, nurture their passions, and support the company culture to keep creatives on board for years to come!

Looking for great creative talent? Talk to us and we can help!


How to Build a Creative Team

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What’s the secret to building a great creative team? It’s a combination of professional skills, creativity, diverse personalities, strong communication skills, collaboration, and a good leader.

When bringing together a creative team, start by with expertise and core competency. You’ll want a team that has:

  • A big picture strategic thinker who asks “why” questions and looks beyond the short term

  • A tactical person who can execute the “why” into a “here’s how” plan, complete with deadlines, resources, and budget requirements

  • A person who can communicate the message and connect your big idea to your audience

  • A person to keep everyone else accountable, and keep the project on track

  • A copywriter or content manager, who can distill ideas into their essence and put it into impactful words for your audience

  • Someone who to present your ideas visually through compelling design and imagery

  • A leader who can manage and motivate the team to accomplish the company’s long-term goals

These additional questions are key to building a successfully aligned and productive creative team:

  • Does your team have the technical skills and expertise?

  • Do you have the flexibility to staff up or down?

  • Is your team productive and efficient?

  • Are they passionate and creative?

  • Are targeted deadlines and goals clearly defined?

  • Is team leadership clearly communicating objectives to inspire greatness?

If you’re looking to build to add to your creative team on a short-term or long term basis, Artisan Creative is here.  Let us know how we can help.


Is Your Body Language Affecting Your Presentation?

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

You’ve prepared your presentation, gone over the your meeting notes, and are excited about the idea. You assume you’ve been clear, effective, and informative, yet you walk out of the meeting unsure of how it went. What happened?

Were you possibly paying too much attention to the presentation instead of your audience?

Being aware of how your audience reacts, whether it’s a short meeting or a face-to-face pitch with a client, is important in determining how your material is being received. It also helps you improve your communication skills and make needed adjustments to make the presentation work better. Here are a few tips on how to watch your body language as well as theirs:

  • Make eye contact. It shows you’re actively paying attention to them.

  • If your audience is leaning forward, they’re interested. Keep up what you’re doing.

  • However, if they are leaning their head on their hand it could indicate boredom!Switch up the pace or ask a question to engage them again.

  • Use vocal variety to re-engage your audience.

  • Use humor if appropriate!

  • Don’t slouch--stand strong to project confidence.

  • Use the stage, however be cognizant of erratic movements or other restless behavior.  These gestures can be distracting and come off as unassured.

  • Keep your arms open instead of crossing them, since it could come off as defensive.

  • Above all, be sincere--audiences can easily spot this.

  • And be passionate about your subject--after all you are the expert here!

  • Watch your audience and adjust when needed.

By watching the nonverbal communication happening, you can hone in on what you can do to improve the next time and understand what information to give best.

To  improve your presentation skills further, sign up for a local Toastmaters meeting.

What are your body language tips to watch for in your next meeting?


20 Years in the Making: Why Stay With a Company for 20 Years?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

20 Years in the Making: Why Stay With a Company for 20 Years?

 

Why stay with a company for 20 years?


Last month we celebrated a rare milestone with one of our employees: 20 years!   I asked Margaret Jung (on the far left of the picture) why she's stayed with Artisan Creative for 2 decades, through growth and success, as well as through trying times and cutbacks. We thought it would be interesting to share some of her thoughts, as this one question brought forth so many answers:

Artisan fosters a rewarding environment where I feel appreciated, recognized and supported. The people you work with must have chemistry and each other's backs. Over time, this builds friendships & relationships that last even as people move on.

The versatility of my business development role offers flexibility, autonomy and no bureaucracy. Plus, I have the opportunity to create success, for our clients and talent, our team and my family.

I believe in being consistent  and loving what you do.

I do not watch the clock.

I believe in relationships based on trust, and that honesty and integrity are essential within a company.

I enjoy working with strong personalities that come with being in the creative field. I find the dynamics of the creative mindset engaging as we are always learning and growing from this ever evolving field we work in.

I am driven by the search to find the best solution for my clients and talent.

We share and believe in common values, that set the foundation for a good business model.  Compensation is in alignment with results delivered.

The president has ability to listen and make change for the better. I'm kept in the loop and frequently communicated with. I feel valued and understood, with a lot of trust in my abilities to deliver.

The entrepreneurial environment at Artisan suits my personality. An open door is truly open to share the good and the bad, in a genuine environment that cares.

I hold  myself accountable to my commitments.

I have a passion for selling and a desire to perform.

I enjoy the constant learning from being in a dynamic industry and working with really smart people.

I have mentorship from the president along with a leadership responsibility to create success for the team.

I've learned how to manage growing pains and make tough choices.

In a lifetime you only really find a few leaders that you truly trust and respect, and know that they are there for you.

The tougher periods are handled by not listening  to the negative for too long and by focusing on the positive. Always believing that more good than bad is around the corner, and never, ever, giving up!

 For me, this is the difference between a career and a job. And over the past 20 years everything I gave the company, I got back and more.

How long have you been at your career, and what keeps you engaged and coming back for more year over year? 

 Jamie Douraghy - Artisan Founder


Does a Huddle Help?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Does a Huddle Help?


 

Several years ago when we took our company virtual, we were initially concerned with losing that face to face connection. For a small company back in 2009, IM, dial in conference calls, and Skype were the tools we had access to. Knowing the importance of keeping our personal connections dynamic, we tried a lot of different communication tools over the years, and settled on Zoom, and we still use IM for the quick inquiries. So while the distances between our team members was a lot farther than the offices we used to occupy, the concept of daily short huddles and 3x a week more in depth huddles, remained intact.


The above image was taken at a sports event using teenage volunteers. One can easily differentiate between those that are paying attention, vs. those that had other things, (such as lunch) on their minds. Even in face to face huddles, distractions are commonplace.

Earlier this week, while waiting for my turn to go through the airport body scanner at 5:00 am, I looked over to my right and saw a TSA group doing their morning huddle. I’m sure they’ve done hundreds of these on a regular basis, yet you could sense that each one knew this huddle was important. Somehow I didn't think I should photograph this group.

What I took away from observing these two huddles:

    Huddles create connection
    All teams use them in some form
    They allow the leader to set the tone
    Huddles create a quick forum to review the plan for the day/event/competition
    Huddles block out noise and help bring focus inward to what the leader/coach is saying

During your huddles:

    Create a pulse check, are they present or not
    Ask what each person will do next to bring the team closer to goal
    Have an accountability check-in
    Just a few minutes is all that’s needed

Post event huddles

    Allow the team to redirect and recalibrate
    Ask what worked and what didn't for that day
    Set the expectations for the next one

How do you huddle with your teams? What tools do you use? Can you share a success with huddles you’ve participated in?

 

Jamie Douraghy - Founder at Artisan Creative


Holiday Shopping for Designers: 6 Gifts for the Creative in Your Life

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Shopping for Designers: 6 Gifts for the Creative in Your Life

 

Christmas is a little over a week away and we’re betting that most of you have presents wrapped and ready to go. For the small handful of you that have left everything to the last minute, we picked out some of our favorite gifts for your creative team mates or friends. Amazon Prime is a sure way to get your online deliveries before the big day, although many companies are offering last minute shipping. We love giving unique gifts, things that people wouldn’t buy for themselves but will frequently use and appreciate so we picked out gifts we think designers will love.

DIY Print Shop
For those designers who love to create their own shirts or graphics, why not buy them a DIY print kit? They have a range of options including gig posters, table printing and shirts. It’s a nifty way to learn the screen printing trade at a relatively cheap price. They are taking orders for Christmas delivery until December 22nd

Bamboo Keyboard and Mouse
A biodegradable and environmentally friendly keyboard and mouse made entirely out of bamboo. This is an interesting way to make your desk stand out at work or at a home office. If you really want to go all out, you can even buy a matching calculator. The letters are engraved into the wood, offering a really unique way to get your work done.

Tuts Premium Membership
Tuts is an online resource to help people build upon their creative skills by self-directed learning. You can go at your own pace and learn a multitude of topics across code, design and illustration. If you’ve overheard conversations about wanting to create an app or brush up on photography skills, this is your chance to put the wheels in motion. They have over 18,000 tutorials available online by expert instructors. Find out more on their website.

Field Notes
If you watched this week’s viral design video, Lynda’s logo design challenge, you would have spotted the quick mention of Field Notes booklets. Inspired by old school vintage agricultural books, they are made in the USA and include some limited colors and editions. These are a must-have for any creative. 

Doxie One Photo and Document Scanner
We mentioned doc scanners in last week’s blog about managing finances and the need for managing documents. With the Doxie One Scanner you don’t have the hassle of connecting to computers and scanning your work – it sends directly to your favorite apps.

Inside The Sketchbooks of the World’s Greatest Designers
A glimpse into the minds of the world’s greatest designers and illustrators, this wonderful book aims to inspire creativity. Informative and visual, you never quite know what each page will bring. Different techniques and ideas are shown along with visual representations of some of the most creative minds. For designers who are always on a quest for new inspiration and ideas, this would be a cherished book.

What are your favorite gifts for creatives? What do you think of the gifts we’ve chosen? Share your ideas with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative


Goal Setting: 10 Best Practices for Setting Goals

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Goal Setting: 10 Best Practices for Setting Goals

 

Around this time of year, people start reflecting on the previous months and begin setting goals (and resolutions) for the coming year.

I’ve also always done this until a recent event changed my perspective completely.  It happened by chance on my birthday at the 180th Meridian, the international date line.  In a split second I was simultaneously standing in today and yesterday.  Quite amazing, however, it made me realize that a date is just an arbitrary number -- a line literally drawn on a map.

As I reflected on a new “birth year”, it made me realize that “start dates” can be counter-productive when it comes to setting goals and resolutions. Why wait until an arbitrary date in the future like Jan 1, or next week, or even tomorrow to make a change that will be impactful in your life or in your career?

Why wait to plan that once-in a-lifetime trip, why wait to plan your financial future, why wait to get healthy and fit?  All goals will require time and action steps to accomplish, so why delay the start until sometime in the future?

As human beings, we fall into a second trap of mistaking our daily to-do lists with our goals.  We often set too many goals and try to change too many things at once—and then we get busy with life and only accomplish a few of them.   Once we get busy, it’s easy to lose focus, and have the day-to-day to-dos of work, kids, school etc. take over the goals we want to accomplish.  How many times have we all said, “ I don’t have time to go to the gym”, or “I don’t have time to go on vacation!”

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly and unapologetically— to say “no” to other things.” -Stephen Covey

Here are 10 Best Practices for setting goals that I have learned:

1)     Set only one or two (maximum) Key Goals you want to accomplish in a certain period of time
2)     Write down your goal and WHY is it important for you to accomplish this goal
3)     What do you need to STOP doing in order to accomplish this goal?
4)     Set a specific timeframe & metrics needed to accomplish the goal
5)     Work backwards from the date above and calendar the steps below
6)     Set the specific, actionable and controllable steps needed to reach that goal
7)     Ask yourself, am I in control of these action steps, or are they dependent on someone else? If so, change your action steps because you can’t let someone else control your goal, or plan an accountability metric and share it with that person
8)     Set check points along the way to track your progress
9)     Share your goals and action items with someone else and engage them as your accountability partner
10) 
Don’t wait…Start today!

Without specific mini steps along the way, the goal has the danger of becoming just a wish.

 Katty Douraghy - President at Artisan Creative

 


Gratitude

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gratitude

 

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold rather a large amount of gratitude.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

With the hustle and bustle of the Holidays right around the corner, we’d like to take a moment and express our gratitude to those around us.
We spoke with some of our talent and the Artisan team to see what they are grateful for in 2014.

Katty
To me gratitude means to be appreciative of things on a daily basis. I write down three gratitudes every day. In the rush of daily to-dos, this allows me to focus on the important things in life. Today I’m grateful that my family, friends and Artisan team are healthy, of Artisan’s virtual office setting that allows me to work yet be close to loved ones, and grateful for the beautiful weather in LA.

Margaret
I’m grateful for a job that allows a lot of flexibility, for a husband who I love very much and so lucky to have and a supportive Family who is there for me no matter what.

Jamie
I thank God every day for my family and friends.  I am thankful that my children are growing up surrounded by a loving community and I am thankful to share my life with some really kind and wonderful people.  For me gratitude is recognizing even the smallest blessing or gesture and not taking anything for granted, especially my health and well-being.

Jen
I'm thankful for good health, strong friendships, and a happy family. Grateful to work in the creative space where I get to connect with and be inspired by brilliant, passionate, and talented individuals and so lucky that it's through an agency that values people, trust, and respect.

Laura
I’m grateful to have such a supportive, kind family with a devoted husband. I’m grateful to be in a position to have saved two rescue dogs and work for a company who has integrity and respect.

Jamie
Gratitude is that deeper feeling one is left with after having been a part of contributing to, or being the recipient of, someone’s contribution to a greater good.

Vicky
I am thankful my family is healthy this year. Both my husband and I have some advancement in our career. And I met a great agent, Jen at Artisan around Thanksgiving time!

Deborah
I'm thankful for my dog, Pepper! In March, my boyfriend and I adopted an abandoned mini pincher mix from the rescue organization Dogs Without Borders. She's the most delightful, playful little bundle of joy and adopting her was the best decision we've ever made. Not only is it wonderful to have a dog, but by virtue of having a dog, we've ended up getting out and meeting many of our neighbors, making our neighborhood really feel like home

Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude states, “Gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.”

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Share your responses with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative



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