Toby Harrison talking to Julia Newbould at the Advice Practitioner Summit.

Ogilvy is one of the world’s leading advertising agencies. It is a talent-driven business that values its people.

According to Ogilvy AUNZ chief strategy officer Toby Harrison, yearning for growth is the single most important currency for young people.

“For a communications industry, we communicate a lot externally, but we also do a lot internally,” he said at the Professional Planner Advice Practitioner Summit last Wednesday.

“To be a really good communicator, you have to be a bloody good listener, and we listen a lot to our business.”

Harrison said Ogilvy does numerous surveys, holds discussions with its staff, and has one-on-ones with others.

“You’ve got to have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening and what people want; we thought we were doing a good job on personal and development growth,” Harrison said.

“When we heard this, we went, wow, we’ve got to double down on this. This is the most critical component of what we can do to drive and excite our staff and make them feel amazing about the place that they work in.”

Ogilvy’s commitment to that has paid dividends over the past couple of years because staff satisfaction, capability, and skill set have grown significantly.

“What’s weird about that is, when you raise the bar, it’s hard for a lot of people to reach it,” Harrison said.

“But when you raise the floor, suddenly everyone’s capability grows. In their community, where everyone’s developing and getting better, suddenly, you get this sort of turbo charge effect.”

A journey for growth

Harrison studied theology in the hope of joining the church as a minister, but he ultimately a career pursued premiership football.

An apprenticeship at Sky Sports led him to watch sports for a living. He quickly rose through the ranks of Sky Sports, and in 2004, he decided to give it a go down under.

After a brief stint in film production and visual effects, Harrison went into advertising. He worked on a number of projects with National Australia bank’s direct division, Fox Sports, Cancer Council Australia, and several other companies.