Category Archives: Wagada News

 

Here at Wagada HQ, we’ve been really busy this quarter, attending a number of exciting and high-profile business awards. Some were specific to the local Hertfordshire business community, whilst others attracted companies from across the UK.

In July, we were thrilled to find out that we’d been nominated as a finalist in the mumandworking awards, as Flexible Employer of the Year. We were quite shocked and very chuffed to make it to the final. We attended the awards ceremony on October 11th and were utterly gobsmacked, not to mention completely thrilled, to be named as the winner of the Flexible Employer of the Year award! Fantastic result!

In mid-September, we found out that we’d been named as a finalist in the St Albans Chamber of Commerce Community Business Awards, in the Business Growth category. We got our glad rags on and a group of us went to the awards ceremony at the beautiful Sopwell House, where we met up and networked with hundreds of other Hertfordshire Businesses. The team enjoyed a great night out, knowing they were part of a very special, growing business.

Later in September, we headed to the finals of the Herts Digital Awards where we were thrilled to be nominated as a finalist in the Social Media for Business category. It was great to see our name in lights and to be amongst such inspiring company. Many other marketing agencies from across Hertfordshire were present that evening and it was exciting to be part of the line-up.

In early October, we heard that we’d been shortlisted for the prestigious national Best Business Women Awards, hosted by Debbie Gilbert and her team. So, we booked our tickets and went along to the awards dinner. We were absolutely delighted that our MD, Cheryl Luzet, was named the WINNER of the Best Business Woman in Technology Award.

Finally, at the start of November, we went along to the prestigious Working Mums Top Employers Awards in London, having been nominated as finalists in two categories; SME Award (up to 25 employees) and Working Mums Champion Award. To be honest, we didn’t feel worthy! We felt privileged to have made it there in the first place. We were surrounded by so many large corporate entities, and there we were, St Albans-based Wagada, flying the flag for the SME with flexible working! We felt honoured to be part of the evening and met some amazing people. It was also very inspiring to hear the stories of what other businesses are doing to support working parents.

These days, time and marketing budgets are more precious than ever, so a business owner or a marketing director needs to ensure they utilise their marketing resources as effectively as possible. At Wagada, we firmly believe that entering business awards is a vital element of a successful marketing plan. However, businesses must ensure they select the most appropriate awards to enter.

To help you develop a strong marketing plan, here are Wagada’s 9 reasons why you should incorporate business awards as part of your marketing strategy.

  1. Entering business awards can be an extremely effective way of supporting a business’s SEO strategy. Whether you are a winner, a finalist or a nominee, you will get backlinks from the award organisers and sponsors as well as associated press, and these will likely be very relevant, authoritative websites that Google will like, so it will improve your rankings.
  2. Being nominated or shortlisted for an award means you’re receiving independent, industry-leading recognition for all your hard work and dedication. How motivational is that? Plus, it really can make a business shine brighter than its competitors.
  3. Sometimes, and particularly for small and growing businesses, it can be hard to spare the time to reflect and articulate on your achievements and success. Spending time working on an award submission makes you take a good look at your business, your track record and your processes and allows you to crystallise these achievements on paper.
  4. Award nominations and wins are fantastic for generating free marketing and PR opportunities. The pre- and post-award marketing and media coverage you can receive, as well as the networking that comes from being at the awards ceremony, can support a marketing strategy in a number of ways. You can leverage your nomination or win across social media and marketing campaigns, generate coverage in the local and regional press, show off your award in your advertising, go to town about it on your website, use it in business proposals, on business cards and email footers, even on the wall of your office.
  5. Award wins and nominations can help your recruitment and can attract new talent to your business. Who doesn’t want to work for an award-worthy employer?!
  6. There is nothing quite like being voted as a finalist or a winner to really boost staff motivation. It can create real pride amongst a team and help support staff retention.
  7. When a business spends time preparing for an award entry, it automatically pushes the business to compare itself to its competitors. It’s the perfect opportunity to think more strategically about how to differentiate yourselves.
  8. Often award entries ask you to respond to challenging questions, and the process can help you to identify areas for improvement within the business.
  9. It shows your prospects and customers that you are a serious business, worthy of an award, and this can really drive customer loyalty and retention.

 

Well 2016 seems to have flown by and we can’t believe that we’re now into the last quarter of the year. But we’re pleased to report that things are certainly not slowing down for the Wagada team. In fact, we’ve got an exciting month ahead as we’ve been chosen as finalists for the Best Business Women Awards. With a gala awards ceremony to be held at the gorgeous Tewin Bury Farm Hotel in Hertfordshire, we’ve got plenty to look forward to. Especially as we’ve been selected for not one but two of these highly regarded and prestigious awards!

What are the Best Business Women Awards about?

We love the fact that the Best Business Women Awards have the key objective of creating a way to recognise the great women in our business community. As more and more female entrepreneurs are taking centre stage, it’s important to have a forum where their hard work, success and dedication can be acknowledged. Not only that, but these awards are for female business owners who are making a big difference to their local community, as well as to their own lives and those of their employees.

The Best Business Women Awards are the creation of Hertfordshire-based, multi-award winning Mumpreneur Debbie Gilbert. Debbie has been running small businesses since 1999 and so she has a real understanding of what it means for women to own their own businesses. She also knows the impact being nominated for an award can have on small business owners. She feels that it is vital to celebrate the amazing successes that women have had in the business community, and where better to do this than with an awards event specifically tailored for women who run their own companies.

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that Wagada really champion women and working mums in our industry. So we are very proud to be nominated for both the Best Business Award and the Best Business Women in Technology Award. They are both important categories and we know that the judges were very strict with their criteria when choosing the finalists. So read on to find out more about what Wagada have achieved to get through to the final round of the awards.

Best Business Award

The Best Business Award, sponsored by Clydesdale Bank, will be given to the business who can showcase outstanding achievement and success. This can range from profitability, to fabulous customer service, from strong business growth, to innovation within the business industry.

At Wagada we feel that we have been able to combine strong business growth with a clear emphasis on putting our clients at the heart of what we do, and we always offer the highest standards of customer service. We also aim to be at the forefront of the digital marketing industry and are consistently innovating and refining our proposition to enable us to offer the most value to our customers. Wagada are very honoured to be chosen as a finalist for this award.

Best Business Women in Technology Award

It’s been great over the last few years to see more and more women entering the technology industry, which has often been criticised as being dominated by men. We’re passionate supporters of getting girls and women interested in the STEM subjects and into the digital industry.  We know just how much women have to give to the technology industry and it’s fantastic to be chosen for an award that recognises the role of female-led technology businesses.

As well as the excitement of being finalists in this category, we also hope it will enable us to inspire other women to join the technology sector.  It’s a rapidly growing and exciting sector and we love the fact that no two days are ever the same.  We’re keen to celebrate women in the digital sector and are extremely proud of our nomination in this category. This award is sponsored by SCA Group.

Why awards matter!

As you can see we’ve had to really show the judging panel how effective we are as a business. We’ve found that reviewing our work for an awards nomination is a great way of assessing just how far we’ve come. We love what we do, but sometimes it’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of the job, without stopping to pause and review where we are.

As these awards are Hertfordshire-based, it’s also a great way to celebrate what’s been achieved in our local community and to network and meet up with a range of inspirational business women. It’s always good to share, and spreading business knowledge with others is a vital part of what we do. The experienced judging panel for these awards comprises a number of high profile, local business women who have proved just how much women can achieve in the workplace.

We feel really motivated by our inclusion as finalists in these awards and it’s a great feeling to see our hard work being recognised.

Congratulations to all of the finalists and we’ll look forward to seeing you at the awards ceremony on 20th October. Keep an eye on our social media channels to find out how we get on!

 

When Wagada was set up, one of the key founding principles was that the staff here would be able to have a great work-life balance. We really believe that the key to a successful business is a happy and motivated team. Research has found that workers who are feeling stressed out, tired and overworked are going to be less productive, less loyal and may need more time off work due to ill health.

So we were excited to hear that work life balance issues will be brought to the nation’s attention during National Work Life Week 2016, which will take place from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th October. The week is all about giving employers and their staff a chance to focus on their wellbeing and to encourage them to think about what having a good work-life balance means for them. As part of this initiative they are also running ‘go home on time day’ on Wednesday 5th October. On this date, workers will be asked to leave on time and to upload a picture of their clock/watch onto Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #timetorebalance. We think this is a really innovative way to promote the importance of work life balance and flexible working!

So why is work life balance so important?

We were shocked to learn these facts about working life for parents in the UK today:

  • A third of parents (29 per cent) reported being burned out often or all the time
  • Four out of ten parents say that work intrudes to stop them spending time with children often or all the time
  • More than one in ten UK employees work over 50 hours per week
  • Workload is the main reason that working parents are putting in extra hours at work
  • Four out of ten younger fathers would take a pay cut to improve their work-life balance

We think that these disturbing statistics really bring home the fact that it is time for a change in workplace culture in the UK. That’s why we are so supportive of this campaign which aims to encourage discussion and debate about family-friendly working policies which is long overdue.  We hope that it will have a positive impact on those employees whose current lack of work-life balance still leaves much to be desired, and will help employers to understand the benefit of promoting flexible working.

How can companies promote work life balance?

Creating a great work life balance for employees is now easier than ever. There are so many ways that businesses can help their staff to feel less stressed and more in control of their lifestyle. Here are just some of the things that companies can do in order to support improved work life balance:

Introduce flexible working policies

Offer people a range of hours so that they can choose to work the times that fit in with their lifestyle. We live in a 24 hour culture and many jobs don’t need to be done within the traditional 9-5 working hours. Families with school age children often struggle with before and after school child care, so offering family-friendly school hours shifts or term-time only working can be a great bonus for staff. At Wagada we have many working parents who manage their job and family in this way.

Promote working from home

With email, skype and mobile phones readily available, ask whether it really is necessary for employees to be physically in the office all the time. Working from home has many benefits. Getting rid of commuting time means that staff will actually have more productive time to work and helps to reduce the inevitable stress of tube strikes, traffic jams and the wrong type of leaves on the track!

Many homeworkers also say that having a chance to work away from ringing phones and office gossip means that they can get more done too. Working from home on an ad hoc basis can also help companies become more family-friendly, as it means that if children are at home due to being ill, or employees want to watch their child running a race at sports day, they can do so without having to use up their valuable holiday time.

There is some really great, cost-effective technology available, to suit businesses of every size, so that people can work remotely, be able to access documents, data and systems quickly and easily, and feel part of the team even if they’re working from home.

Encourage regular breaks in the office

We’ve all had days where we find ourselves sat eating our sandwich at our desks and dashing off emails between mouthfuls, but it’s really important to take a break. This is just as important for employees’ physical health as their mental health. Being hunched over a keyboard can take its toll on the spine and exposing eyes to a screen for long periods of time can cause tiredness and eye strain.

Many companies are now looking at ways to help their employees relax at work. It could be that you instigate a regular weekly lunch out on a Friday, or get a great corporate deal at a local gym, so that staff can have a quick workout at lunch time. It might even be as simple as setting up a group of colleagues who go for a 20-minute walk at lunchtime, to recharge their batteries and blow away the cobwebs.

Have fun at work!

Another way to get a great work-life balance is to make sure that being at work is fun for your staff as well. At Wagada we are all passionate about digital marketing, our work and what we can offer our clients – indeed, no two working days are ever the same. We always make sure we take some time out to enjoy ourselves too. Some recent events have seen us running around St Albans in a crazy Pancake Day race, and putting on our pinnies to get baking for National Cupcake Day (and our creations were very tasty too!).

Flexible and family-friendly working at Wagada

We are really proud to have a number of flexible and family-friendly working policies in place at Wagada. Many of our staff are working parents who want to combine the needs of young children with their desire to have a satisfying, fulfilling professional life. It’s great to have such a dedicated team and the fact that their work-life balance works for them means that they are happy and motivated too.

But don’t just take our word for it – take a look at what flexible working means to our team in their own words:

“Thanks to Wagada’s commitment to flexible working, I’ve finally been able to achieve the balance I’d been looking for since my children were born” – Helen Mariner, Copywriter

 

When you become part of the Wagada team you’ll find a great working environment, dedicated colleagues and the opportunity to keep developing professionally. What you’ll also realise is that Wagada are really supportive of flexible working, have a range of family friendly policies and aim to help women get back into the workplace after taking time out to have their children.

We know that it’s progressive thinking like this that really helps to empower women in our industry and we are very proud that Wagada has been recognised by this year’s Working Mums Top Employer Awards. In fact, we’re finalists in not just one but two categories! As you can imagine we are thrilled to be part of such an exciting initiative, and whilst we’ve got our fingers crossed for a win, we’re also looking at the bigger picture, because awards such as these really do spread the word about the importance of helping mums back into the workplace.

The awards ceremony will be held at London’s Soho Hotel on 1st November and is going to involve a keynote address by MPs Jess Philips and Flick Drummond who are joint chairs of the all-party parliamentary group on women and work. We’re really looking forward to hearing these inspiring women talk about the importance of flexibility in the workplace and learning about new government initiatives to help women with young families back into work.

So, let’s take a look at the award categories we have been selected for and we’ll explain why we think Wagada are winners when it comes to supporting women in the workplace.

SME Award – for companies with up to 25 employees

This award category recognises small companies who demonstrate a real commitment to work life balance practices which specifically help working parents. The majority of the Wagada team have young children and so a flexible approach to work is a given! We understand the frustrations of combining motherhood with a successful career and we’re always looking at ways to help team members get the best of both worlds.

This commitment to flexibility in the workplace ranges from team members working school hours so that they can do the all-important school run, to working from home when they have a poorly child or even choosing their working hours to fit around their childcare commitments.

We also know that just because you became a mum it doesn’t mean your brain stops working.  We support all our team in their career development, whether that’s attending industry conferences, getting a new qualification or even learning a new skill or specialism in digital marketing.

Cheryl Luzet, Wagada’s MD comments “I have found that the flexibility I offer my staff, and have championed from the beginning, leads to a much more motivated, productive and happier team who have that much sought after balance between their home and working life.”

Working Mums Champion Award

This is a very special award for stand-out individuals whose efforts have made a big difference to working mums in the workplace, and we are so proud of our very own Cheryl Luzet for making it to the final shortlist!

Cheryl is a woman with a vision and when she started Wagada in 2011 she wanted to provide top quality SEO services for a range of businesses. But she also had another objective. Cheryl could see how much marketing talent there was out there that wasn’t being utilised. She understood that women so often found themselves unable to return to the workplace after having children due to the high costs of childcare, a lack of flexible working and the prospect of hours and employers that weren’t family-friendly.

As a parent of two young children herself, Cheryl knows how important it is for working mums to be able to take time out to watch their child in their first school play or to be there to cheer them on at sports day. She felt there needed to be a solution for women who wanted to spend time with their children and who also wanted a challenging and dynamic role in the workplace – and thus, Wagada was born!

Today, Wagada is thriving and we have a pool of talented local mums who are able to work in the way that suits them best. Being a trailblazer in the digital world, Cheryl understands that technology means that her team can work from both the office and from home, and that the best working practices are about working smarter…not harder.

Cheryl has found that her commitment to supporting mums in the workplace has enabled her to build a successful business with a dedicated and loyal team who love what they do! The proof that flexible working really does work is in the number of very happy clients that Wagada has.

An increasing role for women in the technology industry

Working within the digital industry, it was also particularly rewarding for us to hear that Gillian Nisam, the founder of Workingmums.co.uk, picked up on the fact that in this year’s awards there are an increasing number of women playing vital roles in what have traditionally been male-dominated sectors such as technology. It’s great to know that we are leading the way within our industry and that we can hopefully inspire more women to get involved in our diverse, exciting and challenging business!

Ambassadors for working women

We’re so pleased that working mums are finally getting more support at work and that businesses in a number of high profile industries are reviewing their policies to help make them more family friendly. Wagada have definitely seen the benefits of flexible working and we are proud to be ambassadors for mums in the digital industry.

However we know that there is still work to be done to help change the working culture in the UK and so we’ll always support new initiatives to help with work life balance. We’ve recently been inspired by the #WorkThatWorks campaign run by Digital Mums and we’ll be taking part in National Work Life Week 2016. We’ll keep you updated on how we do in the awards so watch this space to find out if we win!

Wagada have been confirmed as a finalist in the St Albans District Chamber of Commerce Business Awards!

It’s been a scorching summer in more ways than one for the team at Wagada. Not only have we been enjoying all the lovely sunshine, but things have also been hotting up in the office too as we’ve just had the fantastic news that we have been confirmed as finalists for our 3rd award nomination of 2016 – wow!

As you may know we’ve already been named as finalists in the Flexible Business of the Year category in the Mumandworking awards, and we’ve been shortlisted in the Social Media category for the Herts Digital Awards too. So we were super excited to make it a hat-trick when we found out that we are finalists in the St Albans District Chamber of Commerce Business Awards which will take place this Autumn.

More about the St Albans District Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2016

Wagada are a St Albans based business and we love working in this wonderful, thriving Hertfordshire city. There’s a fantastic business community here who support each other and we have really enjoyed becoming part of this.  The St Albans Chamber is a local hub for networking activity and business advice for companies based in the area. Each year the Chamber look to celebrate and recognise the outstanding contribution of businesses to the community of St Albans District with these awards.

The St Albans Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2016 are totally unique in that they’re open to all businesses whose strategy is shown to have a positive impact on the St Albans district. This could be projects which bring specific economic benefits, or it could be socially progressive projects that will help the local community.

The Awards will be judged by an impressive panel from the St Albans Chamber and will include a Chamber Director, specialist judge and sponsor. There will be a host of people with a wealth of business knowledge who are well regarded in the local business community and the wider St Albans area.

The Business Growth Award

The category we’re finalists in is the Business Growth Award category, sponsored by the prestigious University of Hertfordshire. There are only 5 finalists in each category and we’re hugely proud to have made it to this stage, despite some stiff competition!

The Business Growth Award recognises businesses who have experienced a prolonged period of sustained and tangible growth and nominees need to be established local businesses which have been trading for at least five years. Wagada needed to demonstrate how our growth has manifested itself, through traditional financial metrics like profit, turnover or balance sheet increases. We also demonstrated our growth story with our increase in employees. We’ve also shown how we are tackling new markets and diversifying our products and services by becoming a full digital marketing agency.

The key things that judges will look for are a tangible demonstration of the growth experienced and how this has been achieved. They will also want to see how the growth cycle is managed and they will want to understand the way that the growth of the winning company has had a positive impact on the business itself. Finally, judges will investigate the beneficial effect that this growth has had on the local St Albans economy.

Wagada goes from strength to strength!

It’s been amazing to look back at how Wagada has grown since 2011. We’ve gone from strength to strength over the last five years and are incredibly proud of the brilliant business we have created and the fabulous team that we’ve built up. It’s also been great integrating our business into the local community and we are constantly amazed by the innovation, experience and support that we have found in St Albans. Being nominated as finalists for this high profile award really is an honour and shows us how far we have come!

The awards ceremony will be held at the stunning Sopwell Hotel on 13th October and we can’t wait! We’re already looking forward to catching up with old friends from the business community and meeting new ones.

So watch this space as we’ll be updating you on all of our award nomination results, and of course we’ll be sharing further information and photos on our social media channels too!

At Wagada we are passionate about supporting others and we feel that it is important to give our help and guidance to the not for profit sector within our local community. We find it really rewarding to work with charities and to utilise our marketing skills to help drive brand awareness and fundraising initiatives. Therefore we are delighted to announce that we are now working with The OLLIE Foundation a new local St Albans based charity.

The OLLIE Foundation was set up by one of our suppliers and networking connections Stuart Falconer whose son tragically took his own life in 2015. We are delighted to help support him and the other founders in working hard to ensure others don’t suffer the same life-changing loss. The name of the charity stands for One Life Lost Is Enough. The aim is to raise vital funds to deliver safeTALK Training to adults working with teenagers. This half day programme will help Teachers, Club managers and Health workers for example, identify warning signs that the young people in their care are struggling with mental health issues. The objective being they will have the skills and resources to open up a conversation, offer valuable support and sign post that child to the care they need.

The Ollie Foundation will also deliver a two day in-depth ASIST training programme. This stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills and will give a more in-depth understanding of how to help vulnerable young people.

Whilst organising training will be the primary aim The Ollie Foundation it will also be working hard to remove the stigma of suicide and increase general awareness of the channels available to support families within our Hertfordshire community. This is where Wagada will be able to help by working on the Marketing Committee to promote events, share information and drive positive social media engagement.

If you’d like to find out more about OLLIE you can visit http://www.theolliefoundation.org/. The fund raising events calendar is filling up fast so it would be great if you could join us at an event. If you are able to help by donating raffle prizes or experiences or products to auction then please email contactUs@TheOLLIEFoundation.org

BBwomensawards

The Wagada team was thrilled this week to discover that we had reached the final for 2 categories in the Best Business Women Awards 2015. It was a really amazing feeling to know that our hard work and dedication had paid off, and we had been chosen as finalists for the Business Services and the Technology & Science categories. It’s hard to believe how much we have grown, learnt and achieved since Wagada was started in 2011 and it’s a great honour for us to be recognised by such a prestigious awards event. So we thought we would share a bit more information about the awards with you and explain why we have been nominated.

The Best Business Women Awards 2015

It’s fantastic to see how many women are succeeding in the world of business, and the Best Business Women Awards were set up by Debbie Gilbert to recognise these intrepid female entrepreneurs who were often balancing successful businesses with meeting the needs of their children and families too. Debbie is a multi-award winning Mumpreneur herself and wanted to create awards that recognised women who are making a difference both in their own businesses and within their local community. The awards are judged by a range of inspirational business owners with a wealth of experience.

Our Award Categories

It’s a great honour to have reached the finals for not just one but two awards!

The Business Services Award is for the best female in the professional services field and goes to businesses who provide services to other companies, and who can demonstrate that they have made an outstanding contribution to the business needs of their clients. At Wagada we always put our clients first and are passionate about providing a first class service. Whether you are a larger business or a sole trader we will always work pro-actively to help your business and give you the support that you need.

The second category is the Technology and Science Award. This award is for the best female working within the technology or science field. We are really proud of being nominated for this award as we think it is vitally important for more women to enter this field and we’d love to see more female role models for young women looking to enter these industries. It’s great to show the world that women can succeed in the technology industry!

We are really looking forward to attending the awards ceremony on the 15th October. We would like to say a big congratulations to all the nominees in the Best Business Women Awards and wish everyone good luck as we know how hard you have all worked to get here. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for a win on the 15th and we’ll be back to update you then with some news and pictures from the ceremony!