As an extra branch to our ‘Introducing Series’, we sat down with two returning members of NetConstruct: Antony Church and Matthew Cousins.
Antony left for pastures new in 2016, where he continued honing his craft and expanding his knowledge before returning to NetConstruct at the start of 2019 as an Account Director. Fellow colleague, Matt, re-joined us as a UI Engineer after five years away! Maybe they heard about the pod perks and birthday lie ins we have to offer? All we know for sure is there’s no place like home!
Take a read to find out more about our chat with both Antony and Matt, learn about their roles in the business and why they decided to make the move back to NetConstruct.
What’s made you come back to NetConstruct?
A mixture of things made me come back, but particularly the team, the things I want to achieve and Claire! I was mainly wanting to refocus what I was doing with my job. Prior to returning, I was helping lead an agency and as part of this role I was wearing four different hats on a daily basis. As a result, I didn’t feel like I was specialising in anything in particular. I wanted to come back, reset, gain more experience and confidence in my abilities. I knew NetConstruct could help me do this.
Claire (Client Services Director) has also been a bit of a mentor to me since the day I came for my first interview five years ago. The first time I met Claire was in one of these meeting rooms for my interview and it was about 6.30 in the morning because I didn’t want my other employer to know I was interviewing at this point. For my second interview, I actually locked myself out of my car and couldn’t get here! On both occasions, Claire was so understanding and even laughed down the phone about it which was brilliant and a relief. From then on, I really wanted to work for, and with, Claire. I like her approach; we have very similar outlooks and although she’s further on, we’ve had similar career directions. So, in January when she approached me about coming back to NetConstruct, I was really interested. Really, it was about coming back to the support and the team who I already knew well.
My reasons are pretty similar, but it was initially Alix (Head of Client Technology) who approached me to re-join. When I was first a member of NetConstruct they had only recently been acquired by IDHL but when I chatted to Alix, he highlighted the whole concept of the agency becoming more a part of the Group and the opportunities this had created.
For example, I used to be a front-end developer here - when UI was considered more front-end - but the team has recently been split off into two groups centred around UI and UX. After working alone and doing my own thing for five years, it was nice to come back to a team. That was the biggest factor for me and also knowing Rich (UI Architect) was heading up UI helped too.
When I first joined, there was only me and one other person in my team. Now there’s six of us so we’ve got the space and capacity to bounce ideas off one another rather than having to always work alone. It’s much more collaborative. This has created a unified way of working which, in turn, generates the best focus and results. So really, it was the team and also the support from IDHL that brought me back.
What’s your role in the business and does this differ to what you did before?
I’m now an Account Director whereas before I was an Account Manager. For me, this new role is different partly because of my new experiences but also because the processes have massively changed here too. When I came back, one thing I found is that I knew only 30-40 percent of everything. Things have moved on and changed so much in the way they're being delivered so it provided me with an opportunity to reengage and relearn.
The experience I’ve gained in my last two roles has made me feel more confident in what my role is and what I can do. Although being an Account Manager was very similar, I’ve managed to hone my skill set, knowledge and experience to really grow and improve the way things are done.
So, I was first a Front-End Developer and I’ve since come back as a UI Engineer. When I was first here, it was more a case of building a website, going through the motions and then launching it. Whereas now, because of technology advancing, it only seems right that the roles have also evolved.
Today, your aim is to engage the audience through more animations and there are tons of channels and devices out there that will be reaching different audiences. Rather than just putting a website out there, you have to establish how people’s journeys are different and build to suit this. My job role has definitely become more complex now. When I first started, you kind of knew how something was going to work and what the best approach was to make something work, but now it has moved away from just being front-end and progressed into UI which is then divided further between UI and UX. Our teams can now focus on just one aspect rather than trying to know everything. We basically have a team who are striving to do the same thing but focusing on their specific forte to achieve it. It’s become much more unified between the different departments, they each come together to create a much more specialised result.
How has the company changed since you re-joined?
It’s changed a lot. We’ve always had a good culture, but that culture is now being reflected across the whole Group. I’ve started doing group referrals and when I last worked here, doing these referrals, you could really feel the difference between each agency. But now, it doesn’t feel like that. We’re very connected.
Yes, the Group, as a whole also played a key part in bringing me back to the business. The restructuring of my team along with the growth, evolvement and new business opportunities are amazing. You can be really in your own zone at NetConstruct, focusing on what you enjoy doing and the rest is just the fun stuff like charity activities and events with the other agencies across the Group!
What’s your favourite thing about being back at NC?
I’ve enjoyed my last few roles, but I felt like I was alone for the most of it. That was a risk that I took but now, when something unexpected happens, I have a whole room of people who I can rely on to help me and everyone wants to help each other. It’s the support network from bottom to top across the whole Group. Having access to this support is one of my favourite thing about being back. Plus, I genuinely like walking through the door in the morning and coming to work. And when 5 o’clock comes, it’s always a bit of a surprise.
I definitely agree. Going from being by yourself to part of a team is really enjoyable. I feel like I can focus on the things I’m best at, producing results for our clients which I think is really important in a job. Rather than trying to mould someone into something else, if you have the right people doing the right job, you will get the best outcome.