Project Management Update

Admation Blog

Best Practices Series 7: Retaining your ad agency talent

Posted by Jodie Byass on Apr 11, 2018

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Losing your ad agency talent is a costly exercise. In fact, replacement costs (across Australian industries) are estimated between 50%-100% of the person’s annual salary, with the total cost reaching up to 200% for businesses. Even so, these figures don’t account for the unique set of skills and attributes that great talent delivers, which is difficult to put a price on.  Still, one in four people are likely to leave their agency job this year in search for better work cultures, challenges and opportunities.


With staff turnover eating into your profits, wouldn’t it just be easier to keep your talent around?

Here are our Best Practices for retaining ad agency talent.

1. Create the kind of work culture that makes your talent want to stay not stray.
Here are some universal truths about work cultures: employees thrive in cultures that are transparent and flexible, and where enjoyment is encouraged and hard work is rewarded. It’s really up to you how you build a work culture around these attributes. For one, lead by example and demonstrate the passion, creativity and dedication that you want to see reflected in others. It doesn’t hurt to offer a few perks that incentivise your talent such as free gym memberships, yoga sessions, a regular office masseuse, a games room to unwind and refresh or a kitchen stocked with some goodies.


2. Offer flexible work arrangements that suit the temperament of your talent.
Let’s face it, not everyone’s a morning person, so allowing employees to start and finish later (when projects allow) offers more freedom in their role. It also means they’re likely to be at their most productive which is a win-win for everyone. In addition, more businesses are allowing employees to work remotely from home to provide greater flexibility. Eliminating a two-way commute occasionally could make all the difference to someone’s productivity.


3. Keep your talent fresh by offering them growth opportunities.
You hired your talent because they’re excited about what they do and that’s why they’re great at their jobs. Don’t make the mistake then of letting them grow stale in their role. Check in with your talent from time to time to see how they’re doing. Are they still enjoying their work? Is there something else they’d prefer to be doing? If you understand the needs of your employees, you can steer them in the right direction by offering them new creative projects, training opportunities and mentoring to keep them inspired.


4. Reward your staff so they know you value what they do.
Implement initiatives that reward your most committed and creative employees. It could be a monthly award that recognises (one month) the most brilliant idea or (the next month) the person who remained the sanest during a tough job. The ideas are limitless. Consider personalising the reward itself so that employees who are recognised feel like you’ve gone to some effort.

5. Keep your talent satisfied by offering an agile environment.
Think about assembling teams that are smaller which can be more nimble and responsive to the demands of creative projects. For one, it’s easier to convey ideas when there’s a team of five people rather than fifteen. It’s also easier to stay abreast of what everyone is working on and keep work on track when there are fewer touch points. Small teams don’t tend to get bogged down in as many processes (and opinions), so they can also be more productive. Streamlining your workflow always makes for happier workers.

6. Implement approval workflow software to give your talent more time to be creative.

Free up your talent by implementing approval workflow software, which automates much of the approval workflow and eliminates tedious administration. Even better, choose an approval workflow solution that has an integrated resource management feature. This way, your employees can see exactly what work is allocated to them so that they have more visibility over their workload and dedicated time to be creative.

7. When you do lose great talent, find out why. Listen and learn.

Exit interviews are a great way to find out why employees are leaving your agency. Make sure you listen and take on board what people are saying, especially if you find there’s a common thread in what others have said. Finally, make the changes that you need to in order to keep the talent you do have and to attract more great talent. After all, your bottom line depends on it.


Topics: Resource Management Software, Ad Agencies