At Agent99, I have the privilege of holding the title of, ‘Captain Culture’. In this role, I ensure our agency has a number of cultural initiatives in place, and that every agent feels supported and encouraged in their role. It’s important to remember that cultural change does not happen overnight, and it requires a lot of intentional and authentic planning and thought. So, here are some ways to start taking culture more seriously:  

Evaluate your current culture

Before you introduce “change”, you need to understand what you are changing. Complete a 360 analysis of your organisation, by evaluating cultural processes and asking employees about how they feel, preferably by an anonymous route (if more comfortable). Are there behaviour or cultural weaknesses that are holding employees and the organisation back from achieving its full potential? Do they feel supported? Do they feel connected with each other and their managers? If there are common patterns, make sure you pinpoint the root cause of these, before trying to address them.

Align your culture with your values

At Agent99, we have a specific agency values that shape how we work and interact with each other, our clients and any other stakeholders. These are – Honesty, Respect, Results, Persistence and Passion. As these values guide us, it is imperative that they are reflected in our cultural initiatives and behaviours.

To ensure we incorporated our values into our culture, we introduced two initiatives this year. The first one is Agent99 of the Month, where we nominate someone who has embodied our values the most this month with tangible examples. They are then rewarded with a little treat e.g. a sleep in, free coffee, etc. The second one is the Happiness Jar; every time an employee sees someone embodying our values, they write this example down and put it in a jar. Once we have a certain number of slips in the jar, the team decides on a rewarding activity to do together. This reward and recognition program benefits both individuals and the team, and it allows for values to be organically weaved into day to day functions.

Don’t go ‘culture happy’!  

It’s important to be authentic in your approach! If you introduce several initiatives at once, it’s unlikely that it will stick with employees. Through the evaluation process, identify at least 2-3 key common issues that need addressing. From there, you can introduce an initiative for each issue and slowly integrate them into everyday life. It’s important to find initiatives that don’t polarise the team! For example, if open discussion around feelings or mental health is foreign and uncomfortable for your team, don’t introduce an initiative where open discussion is required straight away. Slow and steady wins the race!

By Amelia – Agent99 Captain Culture

Agent99 is an award-winning Sydney-based agency, specialising in PR and communications. For more information about our services, including recommendations for SEO partnerships, contact us at