Talent is critical to the success of any agency – without their passion, commitment, creativity and know how we wouldn’t be able to service clients in the way that we do. But, attracting great talent is one thing, retaining them is a whole other one.
Here are five practices we can adopt to create environments where our people thrive, grow and gain satisfaction from their work.
Create a high-performance culture
The most successful agencies are fueled by high performers, and in order to both attract and retain these types of people, you need to create environments where they can grow and thrive.
Create incentives that reward and recognize a job well done – for example, we offer ‘chill days’ for employees who work overtime, and allow our employees to use the points they accrue on their corporate Amex cards for personal use, create compensation plans where employees have skin in the game, and adopt a flexible approach to working – this will build a form of mutual trust and respect.
Our experiential art director, Swedish-born Jessi Blom epitomizes our flexible approach – Jessi joined INVNT’s New York office initially, and then re-located to our London office. Eager to head back to her home country, last year she moved to Stockholm and now works out of our SWDSH Design Studio.
Do away with the corner office
Inspiration for new projects, briefs and proposals comes from our surroundings, so opt for vibrant, open plan offices that spark the imagination and promote collaboration – sometimes a conversation with a colleague in a different department can be the beginning of a new idea for a client project. Avoid the stale cubicle style layout, or the one where the c-level execs have their own offices.
Instead, go for modern spaces where all employees are equal, and pepper them with things that allow your team to take some time out and hit the reset button – think ping pong tables, pac-man machines and an abundance of healthy snacks and drinks to keep people's energy levels high and creative juices flowing.
Practice what you preach
Getting everyone together in one room can be incredibly powerful – we see how effectively the brands we work with engage their audiences in live spaces – so it’s important to plan these types of events for employees. It will foster collaboration across cross-functional and global teams, meaning greater employee satisfaction and overall productivity.
At INVNT, for example, we host a face-to-face company-wide annual meeting in New York for our employees across all eight offices, five countries and four continents, and there’s a quarterly “Tribe Live” event where everyone tunes in globally to hear from their colleagues as they talk through recent projects.
Don’t get too comfortable
Set your teams up for success by providing them with the tools and resources they need to get out of their comfort zone – assign them a task they haven’t completed before, or get them to lead a WIP call or meeting with a new client. Share your on the job learnings with your team, and encourage them to get a mentor – they could have multiple or go for one outside of their industry. Reverse mentorship is another effective tactic – this could see a mid-level team member sit down with a grad to get their thoughts on a brief that is aimed at Gen Zs, for example.
When employees are happy they produce their best work, and this makes clients happy. If we’re able to create environments and introduce policies where teams thrive in this way, our agencies are set up to flourish and grow long into the future.
Kristina McCoobery is co-founder and chief operating officer at Invnt