Red Deer & Workio

January 27, 2020

Red Deer

Workio helped identify culture issues as Red Deer grew, suggested actions to make improvement, and measured positive results created by management changes

Ciarán O’Brien, Lionel Real de Azúa and Lucas Che Tizard founded their architecture and design practice Red Deer in 2013 as three friends who had learned their trade working together at another fast-growing London firm.

For their own practice, they wanted to take a more personal approach to design, and create an environment within the company that focused on working in a flexible and adaptable way so that they could take on commercial work as well as making art installations, teaching, and travelling.

Since April 2017, Red Deer have been using Workio to measure and understand their company culture every six months, as their team has fluctuated between six and twelve people. The current team is nine. 

Initially, the driver was to avoid diluting the culture they had created in their small team as they started to grow.

“We also wanted to avoid ingraining bad habits at an early stage of the business,” says Lionel. “We’ve always wanted Red Deer to be a place where people want to work.”

However, as they grew their team, Red Deer’s Workio results dipped significantly in early 2018 in two key areas - Management and Relationships. Workio outlined the specific issues in these areas where employees were not getting what they wanted at Red Deer.

“We were learning how to run a larger team, and we ran into some issues,” says Lionel. “Workio helped us see exactly what those issues were and how seriously they were affecting our team.”

Workio engaged closely with the Red Deer management team to come up with ways to address issues such as perceived lack of transparency, employees being treated as resources rather than people, and the amount of guidance provided to new team members on how to do their work.

“The next time we got Workio results, we saw the scores had rebounded to better than they had been before," Lucas says. "Without Workio, I think our employees would have left. Instead, they saw we wanted to make changes and they stuck around while we improved things.”

Lionel says “Throughout our time using Workio, we’ve seen scores fluctuate over time. We use Workio as a guide in our management approach with our team, as we get a clear view of where we’re not giving our team what they need and suggestions to make work better for our people. Without Workio, we’d feel like we were managing in the dark.”

Picture above is the pavilion Red Deer created at Burning Man 2019

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