Inside: Havas India

A bustling city center serves as the vibrant backdrop for teammates in Gurgaon in northern India. About 35 minutes southwest of New Delhi, Havas staffers are working hard for clients, and they’re also creating successful internal campaigns that have ignited Twitter and have galvanized workers across the country. In this Q&A, staffers reveal who inspires them every day and why late nights are a good thing.

How would you describe your culture?

We are a team of some 400 professionals spread across eight cities in India. Gurgaon (HO) and Ludhiana in the north, Mumbai and Pune in the west, Kolkata in the east, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Cochin offices in the south.

Each of these locations is a Village in itself comprised of Havas Media Group (Havas Media & Arena Media), Havas (creative), and other specialist brands (Artemis, Mobext, Socialyse, Ecselis, Affiperf, and Havas Media Active). And each location is unique and reflects the culture of a vibrant and colourful India that differs from place to place, yet stands together as one nation and family.

What makes each these places in India a great place to work?

Our Gurgaon head office is the largest, coolest, and the newest space that we’ve settled into, located in the heart of the city’s nerve center, Cyber Hub—a popular spot with plethora of modern architecture and lots of delectable fare at premium restaurants. With a location infused with so much energy, the offices are visually appealing, making it a great environment to work.

The team spirit within our office—leadership and associates—is amazing.  We’re also self-described health freaks around here, with fresh fruit platters served as evening snacks. Gurgaon also has a yoga center next door. Together, it makes our work-life balance more of a reality.
And our boss lady, CEO Anita Nayyar, who inspires us every day.  Plus a multi-talented MD, Mohit Joshi. The two make a fantastic management duo who have taken the agency to greater heights, promoted the culture of togetherness, and zero-politics for more than a decade now.

How does your workspace encourage collaboration?

Well previously, we were all on separate floors in Gurgaon. Now, with a bigger and open space, people work across the same floor, and that’s brought all of teams closer to each other. The recent re-shuffling of individual spaces—the interaction between traditional, digital, social, and creative teams—has increased the exchange of ideas, collaboration, and, of course, diverse views, which has become a source of learning for us.

How does the city where you work affect the culture of your workplace?

We are strategically located on the main travel artery, National Highway 8, that connects Gurgaon to Delhi. Cyber City is known as the corporate hub. Networking and socializing is part of the daily happenings around here. It also inevitably makes us latecomers and late-goers from work. In most countries this wouldn’t be an ideal situation, but in India—though we are known to be casual and easygoing—we are dedicated and willing to offer assistance around the clock, because meaningful work is worship.

So, where does everyone like to gather?

Since we are located in the center of a food and entertainment hub, we pretty much like to get together right outside. Otherwise, we swing by and connect in our cafeteria. Food brings people together, especially when there is a birthday or a celebration.

We also have designated collab zones for our teams to brainstorm and conduct daily job sheet reviews (JSRs). Plus, we huddle up during monthly town-hall sessions where our CEO, Anita Nayyar addresses all teams across locations via the internet, which transforms us into one large digitally-connected, integrated family.

On Friday evenings, we play Bollywood songs on the floor and shake a leg or two. We’ve recently started jamming after hours at work, where a few singers, instrument players, and all music lovers get together and sing their hearts out. We call it Havas Happy Hours, and that’s how we welcome the weekend.

What’s some of the most recent work that makes your team proud?

Our recent internal campaign, #HavasTenOnTen, was launched to celebrate the success of completing 10 exciting years in the Indian media industry. Teams from all locations in India came together in Agra, which is home to the Taj Mahal. The campaign theme was to reflect on our past, present, and future: Rewind, Relive, Reveal. We do that by engaging our people with each other and clients through 10 commandments: inspiration, creativity, belief, passion, commitment, motivation, fun, celebration, teamwork, and happiness. We recognize their contributions that has, together, made Havas a TenOnTen.

The campaign was an internal success and was widely covered by the press. The highlight was the launch of an internal Tweet-a-thon using #HavasTenOnTen that recorded more than 13,000 tweets and peaked at No. 2 on Twitter’s top trends. We also won Outstanding Office Initiative of the Year for the campaign at the Havas Media APAC Awards 2016.