The importance of people for agency growth

August 25, 2023

People are the most important asset for the vast majority of businesses. Those in the creative industry are no different. Agencies need people with a whole host of skills, both creative and managerial, in order to run efficiently and ultimately grow.

This blog post is the fourth in a series of five, talking about the key pillars for agency growth. You can read an overview of the pillars here. Alongside people, they encompass leadership, financial management, and processes. 

Effective people management is tricky at the best of times, but can be especially complicated in a creative agency. That’s because agencies are usually made up of lots of different creative people, all with different preferred ways of working and viewpoints which can be hard to manage. Despite this, it’s important to cultivate a positive culture of people management if you want your agency to reach its full potential. Improving your people management can often start with just a few small changes that make a big difference. This post discusses a few of my top tips on this very topic. 

Why is good people management important?

You likely already know that people management is important for any agency. But have you ever really thought about why that is? There are countless reasons, but here are the top three to help you realise just how crucial a good culture of people management is:

People are your bread and butter 

A creative agency is only as good as the work it produces. And, this work can’t happen without people. Having the best people in the right place allows your agency to produce consistently brilliant work, gaining you an excellent reputation amongst clients and your industry peers. 

Talent attraction and retention

However, it also goes beyond the work. With effective people management in place, the word will spread, and you will find it easier to both attract and retain the best talent. It’s no secret that talent retention is a big challenge in the creative industry, so doing what you can to improve it will have a knock-on effect for your agency’s success in general. 

Employee motivation

Moreover, when employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to go above and beyond to produce high-quality work, ultimately benefiting both the agency and its clients. This links back to the first point about needing the right people in the right place. With the extra support that a positive people management culture can bring, even the best employees can go further for you and your clients.

Top tips to develop and manage your people

On paper, people management seems straightforward. However, you’re dealing with real life people, each one of them with unique needs and wants when it comes to work. So, even the best laid strategies don’t always work out the way you planned. That being said, there are some universal things you can put in place that should help you to improve your people management processes and culture. Here are five of my top tips: 

Create a culture of learning

Boredom at work can be a real creativity killer. As creative people, your team is probably more than happy to learn new skills. So, it’s important to encourage ongoing education and training opportunities for employees to develop these new skills and stay up to date with industry trends. This will not only keep them more satisfied in their roles, it should also improve your agency’s output and keep your clients happy too.

Provide opportunities for career growth 

Nobody wants to stay in one place for too long when it comes to their career. Because of this, it’s vital to offer clear paths for career progression wherever possible, create opportunities for leadership and management positions, and support employees in achieving their professional goals. Doing so will greatly aid your employee retention, as one of the biggest reasons for people leaving jobs is a lack of clear career progression. 

Foster a collaborative environment 

Most creative people suffer when they’re isolated. Encouraging teamwork and open communication to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing among team members helps to combat this. It will again improve the quality of work, and help team members discover new ideas and skills that they may not have explored before. Plus, if some or all of your team is remote working, it encourages them to connect with each other and reduce isolation in general.

Offer meaningful feedback and recognition

It may seem simple, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to forget to offer genuinely useful feedback and, perhaps more importantly, tell your team when they’re doing things right. Provide constructive feedback to help employees grow and improve, and recognising their achievements boosts morale and motivation. It’ll help with employee retention and job satisfaction, as well as ensuring that fewer mistakes are made and work quality consistently improves. 

Support work-life balance

Let’s face it, very few people live to work. As such, a healthy work-life balance is crucial, especially in the age of remote working. Recognise the importance of work-life balance by offering flexible schedules, remote work options, and wellness programs to support employees’ physical and mental health. It’ll help you stand out from your competitors in the job market, and show your current employees that you actually care about them beyond the work they do for you. 

Overall, the importance of effective people management for creative agencies is clear. It truly does help to keep everyone happy, in that it boosts employee retention and produces work that your clients love. Of course, if growth is your goal, it’s crucial to look at your people management strategies in conjunction with the other three pillars. By taking a rounded approach, agency growth becomes a less daunting prospect and simpler for you and your team to understand. 

If you’re looking for ways to help your agency grow, my free Scorecard can help. It takes less than five minutes to fill out, but will provide you with expert insight into how your agency is doing compared to the competition, as well as personalised recommendations for how to improve. Click here to take a look today.

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People are the most important asset for the vast majority of businesses. Those in the creative industry are no different. Find out more about why people management is so important, and how to manage your people effectively.

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