Finding employees in the current environment is challenging for nearly every industry, but maybe even more so in marketing, where specialized knowledge means the difference between success and failure. If your agency is a smaller one, you’ll want to keep people and develop relationships with local business owners over time.
A current trend in work such as marketing is for employees to grow frustrated over issues within the company, look at what you do, and decide they’re going to strike out on their own. They may even take some of your clients with them if you don’t have a solid no compete clause. Even if you do, they can always find freelance work.
How Can You Keep Marketing Agency Employees Happy?
Specialized skills will lead marketing into the future at least through 2025. Experts predict artificial intelligence (AI) and neuromarketing will see the highest demand, with an increase from 8% to 52% in neuromarketing alone.
If your agency invests time and money into training a worker in specialized skills, you don’t want to lose them to a competitor or turn them into one. It’s much smarter financially and for company culture to keep your employees happy and retain them.
1. Add Perks
Consider perks you can offer that other agencies don’t. If it comes down to the same salary or something close, a staff member may choose to stay with you rather than leave if they know they have extra little bonuses they won’t get elsewhere.
What perks you add look different. For example, you might offer a space where people can plan family birthday parties or other events and also utilize the space for company events. You could give credit for those carpooling or biking to work. You might even offer free lunches once a week or some other little benefit they won’t get anywhere else.
2. Create Work-Life Balance
During the beginning of the pandemic, many people stayed home and didn’t go anywhere. This made them see how important family time is and changed many priorities. No longer are people willing to work 60 hours a week without breaks. They want a better work-life balance, even if they don’t have children.
The “Great Resignation” seems to be hitting nearly every type of business. Around 4.5 million employees quit in one month in November and more report they’re planning to leave in the next year. One reason may be too many demands on people’s time and a desire to work for themselves and set their own schedules.
Make sure your company strives to offer balance. Encourage employees to take time off to attend the school field trip with their child or take a girls’ trip with their friends. Make PTO easily accessible for last minute plans.
Cap their work hours and let them know if they need help it’s okay to enlist it. Make sure you hire enough people to fill roles and don’t just throw extra work on one employee when someone leaves the company.
3. Embrace Volunteering and Causes
What do you and your employees care about? Offer some paid time off to be used for volunteering for a cause of their choice. As a company, spend time cleaning up a local park or volunteering at a homeless shelter. Find your passion as a brand and throw your efforts toward it.
People care about giving back. If they feel they are part of something bigger and are doing good, they may be less likely to walk away from the many opportunities your company affords them.
4. Allow Job Sharing
Not everyone wants to work 40 hours a week. One reason people sometimes leave a position is that they’ve had a child or they have a sick family member. They’ll walk away to care for someone else for a season. When they are ready to re-enter the workforce, it probably will be a new position with a different agency.
If you want to keep those skilled employees, look for ways to keep them on the payroll without overwhelming their suddenly busy schedules. Your AI expert could perhaps work 10 hours a week on more of a consulting basis, for example, until they’re ready to return full-time.
Let two people work together on the same job, splitting the hours and responsibilities, with each putting in approximately 20 hours a week.
5. Give Generous Raises
Do you want to keep your best workers? Don’t insult them with paltry raises that don’t even match the rate of inflation. In January 2022, the inflation rate soared to 7.9%, the highest it’s been since 1982.
Imagine working to make ends meet, seeing the cost of everything rise and then getting a 2% raise. Consider what is going on in the world, what the cost of things are and if your raise is really a raise or just barely keeping up with the cost of living in your area.
How much you should give depends upon market demands, too. What are other people in that position currently making? Are there jobs listed paying much higher than what you are? If so, you may lose your worker no matter what perks you offer. People have to better themselves, so make sure you pay as much as your company can afford and what the employee is worth.
6. Improve Company Culture
Have you ever worked somewhere you absolutely loved? You go to work most days with a smile on your face. You’re happy to see your boss, your co-workers and clients. The entire atmosphere feels almost like one big happy family. Such is the type of job you never want to leave, but how do you get there?
Start with what you want your company culture to look like and work backwards. If you want happy workers, how can you improve morale? Perhaps you need to add a program where employees get rewards and accolades for their hard work.
Think about the best job you ever had, why it was so great and repeat the elements of that position to make your own agency’s culture excellent.
7. Offer Insurance
Love or hate the current insurance industry, people need access to health insurance to cover them for preventative health and catastrophic situations. Your company needs to either offer insurance or some sort of medical savings plan so your workers don’t have to worry about how they’re getting a booster shot or what happens if they develop a bronchial infection.
Smaller brands sometimes have a hard time getting good coverage because they don’t have the buying power of a large corporation. You may want to check with any professional associations you belong to as a company and see if they have deals with carriers.
Get quotes and information from a number of insurance plan options. Check online reviews and talk to others you know use the company for their employee health insurance.
Make sure you keep costs as low as possible for your workers. A huge deductible to meet isn’t very helpful for most people who never hit it and pay out of pocket every year. You may need the worker to kick in some of their own funds for the insurance, but make sure you also keep those costs as low as possible so their entire paycheck isn’t eaten up with expenses.
8. Give More Vacation Time
According to Zippia, the average PTO in the United States is approximately 10 days a year plus holidays and a few sick days. However, some companies have gone to a model where they pay a salary and workers take whatever time off they need. Some years, they might take 10 days and other years they might take more.
You might not be wholly comfortable with unlimited time off, but there is likely a happy medium where you can give your employees all bank holidays and then two or three weeks of paid vacation time.
It might sound like a lot of down time, but if workers return from a vacation or a few days off refreshed, productivity picks up. You may find giving more time off actually increases output.
9. Offer Remote Work
People got used to working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many don’t have any desire to return to the office where they have to pay for fuel for their vehicles, lunches, work clothes and spend precious time commuting back and forth.
In a recent poll by Morning Consult, 55% of remote employees told researchers they would probably quit their jobs before returning to the cubicle. Many cited fear of catching the virus, and 61% indicated they would return if all their co-workers were vaccinated. Around 77% indicated they feel they are much more productive at home compared to the office.
Your employees may need to meet with clients or you may just want the connection of having them work in the office. One option is to go to a hybrid model, where employees come into the office one of two days a week and work from home the other days.
Since agency work often involves specific marketing professionals working with a handful of clients, it will typically work to have meetings on a specific day and let the person work from home the other days.
One reason employees leave is they feel burned out. They do the same work day in and out without any end in sight. They may grow bored or feel they can’t advance in their current career. While you can’t remove all the obstacles to your staff growing tired of certain tasks, you can do a few things to improve their experience.
Work on team building activities. Let workers swap jobs for the day to get a feel for what their co-workers do, build new skills and just for a change of pace. Offer training in new ideas for the entire company or a department. Let one area throw a workshop for another, such as sales offering some tips on how to speak to clients to keep them engaged.
Your agency will thrive when your employees thrive. Spend a little time thinking through what makes your brand a desirable place to work and then add even more elements to the mix.