Employee turnover is a natural part of doing business, but the hectic and demanding nature of agency work can cause higher levels of churn than in other industries. While that may seem like it’s just part of the game, the financial toll associated with turnover is sobering. As detailed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the cost to replace an employee is between six to nine months of that position’s salary.
High turnover rates affect the morale of your employees, your ability to consistently and efficiently execute projects but the biggest hit is on your bottom line. Following these four steps will help you retain your top talent and strengthen the team at your agency:
1. Be Intentional With Positive Feedback and Praise
It can be easy to forget to acknowledge your team for a job well done in the hectic world of agency life, but stopping and praising team members for their efforts will go a long way in retaining them. It’s easy to make time to provide constructive or even negative feedback when necessary, if it is from a client.
Make thanking and praising team members just as important and that positive feedback is consistent and regular. Set aside time at monthly company meetings or at the end of a project. If positives outweigh the negatives in both frequency and degree of intensity healthier and happier work environments will emerge.
2. Show the Career Path and Stick to It
Your agency is part of every team member's career path, whether they are in the early stages of their career or have been in the agency field for years. If they don’t see a clear path within the organization, it is likely that it will only be a small footnote in their larger career.
Each job within the agency should have a realistic career path associated. Not all of these positions may necessarily lead to leadership roles, but they should all grow over time. This can include training for new skills, managing roles underneath them, potential promotions within the company, and salary increases depending on performance. No one wants to think of themselves as simply a cog in a larger wheel, but without realistic future advancements in their careers at your agency, team members can feel stuck and will likely start looking for a new position elsewhere.
3. Hire People for the Right Skills and Attitude
Fit matters. Having the right people on your team helps retain your new hires and increases the average length of tenure of other employees. Always have a clearly defined position description for the role you are filling so that you can help attract candidates with the right skills and stay focused on the right person for the role during the interview process.
It isn’t just skills that you should be hiring for, it should also be attitude. Team members who do not fit into your agency’s overall culture create what Work Human refers to as a “culture debt,” which can worsen attitudes and employee morale. With the right blend of skills and attitude, your overall organization turnover rates can decrease.
4. Enable Flexible But Healthy Work Schedules
Every team member has an ideal work schedule. Sometimes, this conforms to very typical, 9 to 5, in-office work, and sometimes it means more remote work and hours that somewhat shift from day to day. Offering a flexible schedule, with guidelines in place, you can provide your team members with the flexibility they need to feel like their work / life balance is important to the agency and can be maintained.
Remember to encourage and support team members’ efforts to have a healthy work / life balance that lets them decompress from work and re-energize. The fast-paced nature of agency work can be draining and, in the event of looming deadlines and a sudden influx of projects, your resources may need to work harder, longer hours than normal. Having these times to be the exception rather than the norm will help them put in those extra hours when necessary without creating burnout. If a team member feels like they can never disconnect from work at your agency, then it’s more likely that they will simply try to disconnect from your agency altogether.
Keep Your Employees Productive in the Right Ways
Retaining your team members is only part of the battle to become a successful agency. Read “The Top 4 Productivity Obstacles Every Agency Must Overcome” and learn how to make the most of your workforce while keeping them happy and healthy.