4 Keys to Engaged and Productive Employees

With 18 years of experience working with creative agencies and design firms, we’ve become experts in helping them solve their productivity and profitability challenges. Some of the common issues we see over and over have to do with knowing how to keep the people on your team happy.

Managing clients, staff and profits will present some of the biggest challenges you face in your business. The key to meeting your clients’ needs is to effectively utilize your team, which will ultimately ensure that you’re profitable (see how I did that?)

As more and more millennials enter the workforce, it becomes imperative to focus on how to properly engage with your creative agency employees. The following are 4 tips that can be used to help keep your staff happy and productive, and as a result, improve your profits.

1. Get Your Wages Right

In the creative agency business, your talent is your product, and thus it’s very important to not only attract the best talent, but to retain it. Hiring new talent can cost up to a year’s wages. How can that be, you may ask? Consider all the time put into the hiring process and the loss of productivity from time spent on training and getting up to speed on company culture, processes and clients and projects. It adds up. Therefore, it’s crucial to start everything with a fair wage. This means that your team members won’t be easily poached because of a simple wage increase somewhere else.

The Agency Management Institute (AMI) just released its 2015 Salary and Benefits Survey, which outlines the mean median and mode salary for an extensive list of positions in the creative agency business. The survey breaks down the results based on position, size of the agency and region (West, Midwest, East & South). This is a very useful survey to ensure that you are offering wages that are on par with the market.

2. Offer the Right Benefits

The Agency Management Institute’s survey also raises another important point about managing your team – picking the right array of benefits. The report outlines how agencies offer a variety of benefits including health care, paid personal time off, and working from home options.

The right mixture of benefits is important to be competitive, but it’s also a way to augment or compliment your wage offerings. The option to work at home 1 or 2 days per week might be worth more than a 10% wage increase, which could help increase your profitability. Not to mention that working from home is also good for the environment. The AMI report details different types of benefits that could be included in your job offer package that would make it appealing.

3. Reward Your Staff

Not only is it important to pick the right benefits, but it is also important to distribute the benefits fairly. AMI’s top recommendations are to have a formal rewards program, and to link rewards to metrics or performance. Thus, when you are considering which benefits to include, you’ll also want to consider benefits or rewards for great performance. For example, those who do their timesheets daily can work at home on Fridays, or employees can receive a percentage of the projects that they worked on that were profitable as a bonus at the end of the year.

If you don’t have access to metrics about staff, project and company profitability, you may want to consider a project management software, like Function Point’s agency management software, that provides this type of data. It’s only with this kind of data that will be able to offer fair and motivating rewards that help increase your profitability.

4. Set Your Team Up For Success

One important trend that was mentioned in AMI’s 2015 survey was the trend towards hiring a traffic manager. There are 2 reasons why I can see the need for hiring a traffic manager as a growing one. Firstly, it’s much more efficient to have one person focused on the ‘traffic’ of the organization, than to constantly have your other team members pulled away from their projects so that they can try to figure out what’s going on. This is a poor use of their time, and it also leads to my second reason, which is something called context changing.

Context changing is where your team constantly has to jump from task to task so they don’t have the time to fully immerse themselves in one task. Context changing not only wastes time, but it is extremely frustrating, and it is a major cause of burnout. You want to make sure that people are doing the job they were hired to do, and also that they’re using their best talents and not getting frustrated by administrative duties.

Managing your team is just as important as managing your clients or your bottom line, as your team is the biggest expense and greatest source of revenue that you have. If you would like to know more, or join the conversation, please leave a comment below.

About Agency Management Institute

Over the past twenty years, AMI has worked with several hundred advertising agencies, public relations firms, graphic design companies and new interactive companies through peer group meetings, staff seminars and on-site consulting projects. This survey was conducted among the clients of Agency Management Institute and other agencies throughout the United States.

Chris Wilson

Founder & CEO

Chris started Function Point over 20 years ago in his basement as a way to help professional service agencies run their businesses more efficiently. Since then he’s grown FP into an international success, working with over 600 agencies from around the world and continues to run the company from the head office in Vancouver, Canada.

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