In a 2021 survey involving more than 25,000 marketing professionals, 48% admitted that they were planning to leave their job. 75% agreed that they see others or themselves quitting because of various reasons. And there’s even more pressure for creative agencies.
With the rise of digital marketing (because of the increase in online activities to compensate for Covid-19 restrictions), companies have started beefing out their in-house teams. Who are they trying to recruit? Experienced professionals from top agencies.
New career options also rose. Aside from just seeking new employment options, more creatives opt to do freelance work or independent content creation.
Employee happiness is more important than ever if you want to keep and attract the best and the brightest. Happier employees perform better, have lower turnover rates, and are more satisfied.
Let’s talk about how your creative agency can maintain and promote employee happiness.
10 Ways To Keep Employees Happy And Motivated
94% of employees who enjoyed flexibility at work say they’re happy with the arrangement. Consider adopting this for your company as well. Alternately, 47% admitted that they’d likely quit their jobs if asked to return to the office.
After the necessary shift to work-from-home during the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies and employees found it possible to thrive in this setup while employees enjoyed more work-life balance. It also eliminated the need to commute, which decreases job satisfaction.
Location and time freedom are valuable benefits you can give your employees. Depending on the type of work you do and the industry you’re in, consider applying this (to a reasonable degree) to your structure and policies.
Safeguard Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging
Diversity is a massive asset for a creative agency. Managed well, having team members from different backgrounds can help you create unique and impactful campaigns.
But even as the world starts to embrace inclusion and diversity openly, it’s a movement that continues to require an extra push from many other companies.
In a study that surveyed over 14,000 workers across 37 countries, 35% said they feel they can’t be themselves at work. It was also reported that feeling disrespected was the #3 reason people quit their jobs.
If you want to keep your teams happy, celebrate people’s uniqueness. Actively promote inclusion and exert effort in education to instill inclusion in your culture.
Support Mental And Physical Health
One of the most noticeable qualities of professionals in the creative industry is passion. Many connect deeply with their work. It feels almost natural for them to go the extra mile just to get things done and make work they’re proud of.
But in 2021, Client Relationship Consultancy (CRC) surveyed 1,230 agencies in 92 countries and found that employee happiness numbers were low despite high referral ratings. This led them to ask: are agencies sacrificing employee happiness for client satisfaction?
To maintain employee happiness, implement policies that encourage people to take care of their health, and take days off.
For example, video calling platform company, Zoom, actively encourages its employees to take occasional breaks to relax and collect their thoughts. Likewise, encourage leisure. Outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia implemented a policy that employees should surf when the waves are good.
Such policies promote work-life balance and holistic health, resulting in more employee happiness.
Provide Personal And Professional Opportunities For Growth
Lack of growth is the #2 reason why employees leave their jobs. For employees to feel fulfilled, they need to feel that they’re developing in one or more aspects.
You can promote growth in many ways.
Workamajig Director of Training and Support, Mike Wang, shares how they encourage their team members to go out of their comfort zones and learn new things by allowing them to participate in another department’s activities. This allows them to inject variety into their work and participate in something that “challenges their continued growth.”
IBM, on the other hand, gives grants to teams who want to pursue notable projects, encouraging their employees to pursue growth however they want to. Starbucks pays for university and online programs for its employees.
To maintain employee happiness, consider hiring consultants, holding knowledge-sharing sessions, or implementing other activities to provide your employees with opportunities to up-skill or explore new passions.
Cultivate Relationships Within The Company
60% of employees believe that their coworkers are the biggest contributor to their happiness at work. Alternatively, 38% say that difficult colleagues are the cause of their unhappiness in the workplace.
Encourage your staff to bond and build relationships with each other. Mr. Wang of Workamajig shares that their team occasionally watches an Arizona D-backs game outside work and goes on after-work social events at local bars and grills. He credits gatherings for contributing massively to the satisfaction of their staff.
To help your teams mingle among themselves, allow for structured and unstructured interactions. Organize weekly huddles, viewing parties, team-building activities, and game days or nights. You can also opt to provide budgets for smaller teams to go and do their own thing to ensure that it aligns with their preferences.
Provide Benefits That Matter
While some benefits are staples, incorporate others that align with your work culture and employee preferences.
For example, outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia provides on-site childcare after observing that this is a relevant concern for their employees. As mentioned earlier, they also implemented a policy that employees should surf when the waves are good, aligning with their company’s passion for outdoor activities.
Another example: Instead of continuing to offer a monthly gym membership allowance, the video calling platform company, Zoom, turned it into a monthly stipend that employees can use for food and groceries.
Is it pet insurance? Mental health benefits? Gym subscriptions? Scholarships?
If you’re not sure about your team’s common interests, consider conducting a survey. Think about what matters to them and to your company, and upgrade your benefits as you see fit.
Give Competitive Compensation
A salary increase isn’t everything, but it’s still important. Low compensation is the top reason why workers left their job in 2021. And as your younger employees start building their own families or don new responsibilities, expect them to start shifting their goals and priorities.
Computing for salaries is a tricky thing. Aside from ROI, other factors to consider are industry standards, employee living costs, level of expertise, indispensability, and more.
Compensation can also equate to how much your company values an employee. So it comes as no surprise that it’s also a major factor considered for employees to deem their jobs satisfying.
Constantly inspect your payroll and ensure that top performers are acknowledged accordingly. At the same time, be mindful of inflation and your employees’ evolving needs.
Empower With Autonomy
Empowering your workforce motivates them. However, 60% of employees don’t feel like their ideas and opinions matter to the organization.
Trust and autonomy make employees happy and allow teams to perform optimally. When employees are empowered to make their own decisions, management is offloaded with so much work. Instead of being overwhelmed by day-to-day operations, they’re free to pursue projects that can help move the company forward (instead of being overwhelmed by day-to-day operations).
Nordstrom is a clothing company that embraces this philosophy. They tell their staff: “Use the best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.”
With trust, they also provide support. This inspires employees to fearlessly take the initiative and find more fulfillment in their work.
Give Meaningful, Challenging Work
While it’s tempting to accept any project that promises a high price tag, consider adding projects that “promote the expansive advancement of the team” to the mix.
According to CRC, “The ability to do ‘innovative work’ is one of the most important factors in agency employee happiness, with ‘opportunity to learn’ alongside this.”
Find the balance between revenue-generating familiar retainer projects and novel campaigns that push your teams out of their comfort zones –even though they may not always equate to massive revenue.
Another way to put meaning in your team’s work is by constantly connecting the company’s mission to its tasks and undertakings. Connect your company’s values to their values, and help people understand how their contributions help the company.
Let Leaders Show Empathy
Studies have shown that empathy contributes to innovation, engagement, retention, and inclusivity. And to inject this into your culture, it has to start from the top-down.
Your CEO’s behavior and how she relates to your staff affect employee happiness. When non-management employees don’t even receive emails from the CEO, they interpret this as apathy and a lack of concern for their daily progress.
Focus on communication and business skills in training managers. Encourage them to do frequent check-ins, be visible, and initiate engagement.
Aside from these, empathy is respecting people’s time and boundaries –especially in times of crisis. Avoid contacting people when they’re on break or outside office hours as much as possible. Extend well-wishes in good times and condolences when necessary.
Finally, acknowledge and act on employee feedback. As IBM said, “when we listen and co-create, we create solutions that are much more impactful for our people.”
Over To You
Employee needs might have changed during the pandemic. But the value of their happiness remains the same. Consider policies and activities that promote your team’s well-being and sense of community, such as flexible work hours, additional benefits, team-building activities, etc.
Employee happiness promotes productivity, motivation, and retention. Grow as your employees grow and allow yourself to evolve as they do.
If you want your agency to stay competitive, be receptive to these shifts. Constantly assess your offerings, and be ready to welcome change.