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“My First 3 Months at AWA”

In the next series of the inside scoop, we chat with Ash Briscoe, our newest member of the team, aka the Cacti King.  Ash talks all about his first 3 months at AWA, his visit to London and how a good work life balance means he can keep growing his impressive Cactus collection!

How did you find the recruitment process? 

The recruitment process was super smooth and I knew I was in the right place from the first chat with our Head of People, Cath. She ensured that I was well informed throughout the experience. The unique part for me, was that I was treated as an individual, not a number!  Each stage of the process wasn’t drawn out longer than it needed to be. I received feedback very quickly, which helped with the inevitable anxiety of interviewing.

Signposting on what to expect was a really important part of the experience for me. I was given enough notice and briefed for each stage to prepare in good time.

What’s your working from home set up like? Why does it work for you?

My ideal setup!

Working at home is perfect for me, as it allows me to manage my time throughout the day with complete autonomy.  I’ve been home-working since the pandemic and there’s an endless list of benefits we’ve all realised, but personally, I’ve found the following:

  • My log cabin serves as an office and a gym, which means I can stay active throughout the day. When facing a mental block I can re-energise with a kettlebell or mace workout, on challenging days the heavy punch bag makes an appearance!  It can get a little hot though during heatwaves! #logcabinproblems
  • Once key meetings are complete, I can manage the rest of my day so that I’m at my best when doing more analytical or intense work.
  • Being able to do certain tasks outside in my garden, amongst the plants has been really beneficial, especially with the summer weather. I have a greenhouse full of rare cacti, which I’ve been collecting and growing over the years.
  • I can walk my dogs flexibly – getting outdoors in the fresh air really helps with my wellbeing. The team have also done a few virtual walking meetings together.
  • No commute means I have a lot more time to spend with family!

What did your first week look like?

I had a thorough induction, which the whole team was involved in planning. I had a senior member of the team take me under their wing, along with lots of one-on-ones and catch ups over Google Meets to put some faces to names. Most of the team are based in the UK, but I chatted with some in South Africa and another in the Netherlands.  I also met a couple of the clients I’d be working closely with, as well as shadowing some meetings.

Getting stuck straight into the tech was key for me – I’ve been brought up using tech thanks to my Dad and his love of computers.  I’m always exploring new tech or platforms I could apply to my role in my own time.  My first week saw me get stuck into the entire G-suite (I’m loving its simplicity), including Optimizely and G4.  I’ve also used a bit of Content Square. 

Internally, we’re using Notion as an open-source data centre – I love how the navigation is so simple.  The idea is that it allows the team to self-serve and use initiative to find the answers to our internal processes and policies. One thing that stood out is the team manual – a great way to understand how my teammates work and their superpowers (did you know we have a sourdough expert in the team?!) We also get a sneak peak into their personal goals and personality profiles to help us collaborate in a way that suits and adapts our styles, such as the DISC or Myers Briggs personalities.

How did you find meeting your team for the first time, remotely? 

Meeting your colleagues for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but I was made to feel super-welcome. The cadence of the meetings was perfect and not overwhelming like it can be on your first week in a new organisation.

You could really see from meeting your colleagues that this is a people-first organisation.  Everyone is really supportive, no one is too guarded and the team embrace a knowledge sharing culture to help you learn, regardless of role. You are encouraged to put aside some ‘soak’ time, to allow you to gather your thoughts and learnings over the first few weeks.

What about client work & introductions?

I was lucky enough to coincide the quarterly team meetup with a client site visit in London – who I’ll be working with really closely.  Everyone was welcoming, within an hour of being there I was able to contribute to discussions – I really enjoyed working with our director Johann, who came over from South Africa for a workshop visit. Seeing him in action and being a part of that was really positive. We did an ideation session there which was done in our way – the scientific approach.  The idea was to wear different hats, taking on different perspectives.  It challenged everybody to think differently and go bold with ideas!  I can’t wait for the next one!

How was the Team social?

This first opportunity to meet the team was a really nice way to end the London trip, heading to Greenwich Peninsula Driving Range. I’ve never played Golf, but eventually I was able to hit the ball… watch out Tiger Woods!

It was a great team building activity and an opportunity to have a few laughs and not be taken too seriously.  During the short time we were in London, we were able to explore the area and with the fantastic weather, eat our weight in ice cream.  We also went for a meal nearby to hear more about each other – I loved how there were no forced intros or egos, people were able to be themselves, regardless of role. 

Watch out Tiger Woods!

What’s been happening since your first month?

I’ve been filling in for a member of the team who’s lucky enough to get away somewhere on annual leave.  I’ve been responsible for leading calls, ideation, pre/post test analysis, test briefing and reporting with clients – it shows how much I’ve picked up during my short time here and the responsibility I’ve been trusted with.

More recently I’ve been using Optimizely – I like its simplicity vs some of the other tools out there. I’m also working on a large personalisation piece which I’ve been drawing on from my previous experience, but I have been giving plenty of time in the problem space which helps immensely with uncovering areas of opportunity.

We recently had a company update that runs every quarter.  From an agency perspective, it was a very different format to what I’ve experienced with previous employers – being way more engaging & interactive than I’d anticipated. The session was broken up into topics around learning, wellbeing and of course company news. We had honesty and transparency on company KPIs, our goals and challenges. Nothing was sugar coated.  The direction of the company is clear and they really embrace the remote-first culture throughout all engagements.

The blend of company and people news was really nice to celebrate – we’ve recently had some members of the team get engaged and learn new skills. It just shows that the people focus at AWA Digital is never lost. 

To get us through the recent heatwave and celebrate International Ice Cream Day, we had some Gelato treats sent in the post – luckily they didn’t melt!

One way to keep cool…

Overall outlook – what’s coming up in the next 6 months? 

I’ve already become even stronger and faster at analysis – I’ve found myself able to pull results quickly during pre and post test analysis. I’m super comfortable in that space and have a really supportive team to help me along the way, they have helped me understand the custom aspects you get with any implementation.

For my personal development, I’ve been doing some studying in the background around Value Proposition and  ‘Jobs to be done’.  I’m holding myself accountable for applying the techniques that these methodologies teach you.

Finally, outside of work, my partner and I are looking to buy our first house together in our home town – no doubt I’ll need to free up space for the endless rows of cacti!

The famous cactus collection!

Fancy a career at AWA digital? Check out our job postings on LinkedIn!

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