Q’s with A: Shannon Maggiani on Engaging Your Workforce
Q’s with A is an interview series about work. I’ll sit down with colleagues, partners, and industry experts – within ThirtyThree and beyond – to discuss employer branding, workforce trends, creativity, and more.
Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Shannon Maggiani, recently appointed Managing Director of ThirtyThree’s North American operation. We talked about everything from engaging the workforce to creativity. Check out our full interview, below:
Thank you so much for doing this with me and for being my very first guest! This is an exciting time for our business, as you enter into this new role. Are there any words of wisdom you live by as a leader?
Thank you for having me! A quote that has always stuck with me throughout my career is that “people’s perceptions are their reality.” My first boss said this to me, and in the moment I’m not sure I fully appreciated everything that it meant, but I find myself repeating it back to our team often. It makes sense in so many different capacities – whether it’s about collaborating within our business or working with external partners and clients. It’s important to level set in a situation, consider and respect the way others might perceive things, and be open minded about challenging our own perceptions. That’s the first step to effective communication.
I love that quote, and it’s so important given that communication is essential to the success of all organizations. Are there other ways that leaders can ensure they are communicating with the wider workforce in the best possible way?
Transparency is so important. People are naturally curious and want to put the pieces together. But when you leave people to fill in gaps on their own, you lose control of the story. Assumptions are made and the narrative can often become something completely different than what was originally intended.
When you lead in a way that’s open and genuine, it removes the guesswork and minimizes the risk of speculation. Transparency builds trust, and trust builds an engaged workforce. I think there’s a tremendous amount of trust here.
I agree. You’ve mentioned that trust is a key ingredient in motivating people at work. Do you have any additional advice for leaders or managers who may be reading this about how they can increase engagement among the workforce?
Trust is absolutely a part of it. When we place trust in each other and trust in the business itself, we approach our work with care instead of going through a box ticking exercise. Within the walls of our business this is especially important because we need to become a true extension of the organizations we work with. It requires great thoughtfulness to get to know our clients on a deeper level, anticipate their needs, and consider the big picture while being attentive to the small details, too.
I also believe in leading with empathy – that’s something people really feel. It’s one thing to encourage your team to share feedback, but it has to come across in a genuine way to drive results. People need to understand that their thoughts are valued and that they’ll be heard.
As a creative consultancy, we need to think beyond the brief and challenge conventional thinking to truly move the needle for the organizations we partner with. Doing this well certainly calls for that sense of trust between our people and the business. What are some other ways that you inspire creative thinking? Where do the great ideas come from within ThirtyThree?
I always encourage collaboration among our team. Whether it’s an exciting new piece of work we’ve completed or a great consumer campaign we’ve seen, sharing often sparks conversations and fresh ideas. Group creative outings, from art exhibits to experiential pop-ups, also generate inspiration from outside of the office.
People don’t fit perfectly into boxes. We have a brilliant creative team at ThirtyThree, but great ideas can come from anywhere. Some of our best thinking has come from brainstorming sessions that include people from various roles and teams within the business.
Speaking of new ideas, the world of employer branding is relatively new in itself and growing in prominence in the North American market. What’s your favorite part about working in this industry? Have you seen any shifts since you first joined the business seven years ago?
Employer branding is a thriving industry. When I first joined ThirtyThree, the market was very different in the United States. Today, it’s no longer about knocking on doors and convincing organizations of the need. We’re past the education point – our clients understand the importance of this work.
What we do makes an impact in many ways. We help shape career decisions, something that has an enormous influence on people’s lives. And we have a seat at the table as a holistic partner to our clients as their businesses grow and change. It’s exciting to be a part of that!
That’s definitely exciting! Let’s end on a fun one. What makes you enjoy coming to work? Can you share a favorite story or memory throughout your time at ThirtyThree?
I enjoy coming to work because our business is constantly evolving. The world is changing so quickly; it’s important that companies keep up. For us, this means challenging each other with strategic and thoughtful discussion. We’re always searching for ways to do things better: to provide better service to our clients and to be a better place to build a career. Because, at the end of the day, our success comes from the success we create for our people and the brands who choose to partner with us.
Laughs. I have so many great stories and memories, from traveling to incredible places to building new traditions like Workgiving (our annual Thanksgiving potluck), to celebrating our successes. You spend a third of your life at work, so it’s important to enjoy the people you work with – and I truly do. Some of my favorite moments involve nailing a pitch. The all-in mentality, prep collaboration with the team, the adrenaline rush of presenting, and then ultimately winning the account. There’s no greater feeling than that.
We enjoy working with you, too! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Shannon. We’re looking forward to what’s in store for ThirtyThree North America!
To learn more about life at ThirtyThree, visit thirtythreeus.com/us/careers. Stay tuned for the next post in this series!