Fool Me Once…

Mark Gascoigne, CEO

The hardest day of my career was on March 16th, 2020, when I stood in front of our 50 staff with a list of names that we were forced to lay off. The room was filled with fear, disbelief, and tears. And at that moment, I made a promise that once this pandemic was over, we would never do that again. Ever!

We had no idea about the possibilities of wage subsidies, CERB, rent relief, payroll tax credits or the like. All we knew was that our clients were telling us that they were unsure about their future and that they expected that their marketing activities would slow, or even stop, for some time to come. So after 16 years of running a successful little agency, we were scared for its future.

We made our projections and expected revenues to drop by as much as 50% in the coming weeks. So we had to cut costs immediately. Since the majority of an agency's costs are payroll, we were forced to lay off a quarter of the staff, the rest took at least a 25% pay cut, and some of us suspended our salaries entirely. Luckily this only lasted a few weeks, and as a testament to the resilience of our staff, the loyalty of our clients, and some good fortune, we have managed to bring our business back to pre-pandemic levels.

Getting back to “business-as-usual” has not been easy. And we know it is not over yet. Work from home, endless zoom calls, on-and-off-again restrictions, homeschooling, and not seeing clients or even staff for weeks on end has made life/work challenging for all of us. The constant has been our amazing staff. Whether they have been with us for 10 years, 10 months, or 10 days—they’ve all shown a dedication to their co-workers, clients, and the company. That is nothing less than remarkable.

So, I take affront when other companies continually try to poach our people. Of course, we’ve approached specific folks in the past and hired from other companies. All of our staff can’t come through our ‘farm system’. And any agency is stronger for its varied experiences. But there is a difference between recruiting in good faith and the predatory behaviour that some companies have convinced themselves is just “good business.”

Trampoline branded office supplies

This is Setib’s last morning of work at Trampoline. We have had a lot of fun with him and he will be missed. In his short time, he made a great deal of impact. Predictably, within a week of his arrival, Setib was being approached by companies from across the country and as close as down the street. Setib was flattered by their persistence but not tempted by their offers. Even though he was virtual he still had integrity!

Happy April Fools ;-)