Best Tips for Hiring and Retaining Amazing Agency Employees
Have you ever wondered what steps you should take to keep your finger on the pulse of your agency? Are you concerned with finding employees who can help fill open roles and keep your agency running smoothly, all while adapting? Finding, hiring, and retaining agency employees doesn't have to be as hard it as it may seem.
In this episode, we'll cover:
- Characteristics to look for when growing your agency team.
- How to motivate your agency employees with more than money.
- How to measure the pulse of the agency.
Melissa Shaw is one of the three partners at ARC Media, which has a very niche market in communications and legislative relations for electric utilities, specifically in rural America. A military spouse herself, she has been through multiple military moves, added three children, and even adopted another dog while helping to grow and scale the ARC Media organization.
Characteristics to Look For When Growing Your Agency Team
The ARC Media headquarters is located in a small town in rural America: a less-than-ideal location for recruiting team members who have the skills and talent needed to help grow and scale the organization. The three partners found themselves wondering how they could find the top talent they needed to fill those vital roles in the business. They wanted employees who were content to relocate to small-town America and who were willing to go the extra mile with the team.
The answer? Military spouses.
Melissa herself is an active duty military spouse. She had just moved back to the United States after being stationed in Germany, and noticed it was difficult to find clients. As a result, she was very aware of that need, and she knew military spouses would help fill those roles.
Employing military spouses offers a number of advantages to the organization.
When you're trying to grow an agency, you need people who are able to adapt to change. They need to be self-starters, to be able to juggle all those tasks. They can handle the challenges at home and get work done at the same time. Military spouses are the ideal solution.
They know change. They're used to functioning in a range of conditions. Their spouse may deploy or have to go on training, but they have to keep going, even when it's not ideal. In a growing agency, you're constantly changing and restructuring. It may look like changing the way teams work or developing new and more competitive products. You're always sharpening your sword. That means you may need to modify positions over time and find ways to use their skillsets differently.
Military spouses are ideally positioned to adapt and grow. For ARC Media, this is one of the keys to success: hiring employees who already have those vital adaptive skills.
How to Motivate Your Agency Employees with More than Money
Retaining employees is a challenge for any organization. One big question many employers have: If we can't offer them more money, what can we offer them? Whether it's a new experience or advancing their skill set, these priceless opportunities often mean more than a raise or a bonus.
You have to identify what your employees are looking for and what's important to them. One key strategy for identifying those needs? Keeping your finger on the pulse of the agency.
How Do You Measure the Pulse of the Agency?
Communication is critical. Agency life is often very fast-paced. It's easy, Melissa says, to decide it's not worth the time to jump on the phone and have a conversation. Those little things, however, can make a big difference.
She also uses Google Hangouts to routinely connect with her employees. They have weekly meetings set up, broken down by the two key subgroups at ARC Media. One key? Team members don't have to dress up. Baseball cap and a hoodie? Cool. Got you sick kid at home? It's fine, as long as you're getting your work done. The hour a week taken to meet with each team, however, can make a big difference.
She also encourages employees to work together and communicate through their regular platforms to address any problems they might have.
Finally, she has a digital open-door policy. "I always invite employees to connect with me one-on-one and schedule those meetings whenever they need to. I keep my calendar open and visible to them," Melissa shares.
A combination of these strategies--hiring the right employees, listening to them, and offering solutions that work for them are the best way to grow your digital agency.
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