How to Motivate Creative People at your Creative Agency

In considering this topic, and performing a bit of research, the concept of motivation appears to polarize us – some argue that it’s not possible to motivate creative people at all, others say that it’s all about money, and yet others that it is nothing to do with money. I want to give fair warning that there’s no firm solution here, but still offer up ideas that we can (hopefully) all agree on!

  1. Pay your creative team fairly, if not well. Doing so eliminates the potential bones of contention over finances.
  2. Remove distractions from your agency studio. Keep phone ringers low, move the foosball table to a back room or out, and have your Friday beers off-site.
  3. Don’t constrain the team with a micro-manager, or an environment where each felt tip pen needs to be justified and pre-ordered a month in advance.
  4. Endeavor to not be just another creative agency – acknowledge and encourage learning, freedom and the deeper meaning of things. 
  5. Minimize (as much as you can) the focus on time constraints and deadlines, in an effort to let ideas be explored fully. 
  6. Hire people who truly love what they do. Let them have a say in new hires, and let them set the standards for the creative team culture.
  7. Should your agency need to stick to client wishes, and churning out less than vividly imaginative deliverables, provide opportunities outside of the billable hours for creative sparks to fly. From more structured events via Raw Canvas, to just a good ol’ pile of Lego in the break room! 

Keeping your creative team motivated, may be as much about what you don’t do, as what you actually do! Seeking out team feedback, and being open to trying things will go a long way. You know you’ve worked hard to get the right people, and keep the right people, now keep them coming back in each day raring to go!

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