5 Ways to Build a Healthy Agency Culture for All

healthy agency culture

As leaders of marketing and technology agencies, we’re the ones who often set the example for what we expect, which informs our cultural dynamic.

Unfortunately, we often unknowingly set the wrong example for our employees. Whether it’s working for long hours, sacrificing time with family, friends or personal passions, our behaviors, as leaders become models for those under our stewardship. It’s easy to forget that our team members look up to us, and it’s even easier to forget that that includes how we show up for ourselves.

An agency has a healthy culture when its employees feel valued, appreciated, safe and comfortable—and that they are a part of the business. Positive actions and attitudes help to create a productive and healthy work environment. Your leadership style should both model and encourage collaborative teamwork, honest communication, curiosity and inclusivity.

Why Does Culture Matter So Much in an Agency?

Employees who don’t like the culture of their organization are 24% likely to quit. Besides, 46% of job seekers cite the business culture as a vital consideration.

Are you still skeptical about investing in a strong culture? Here are few points that help demonstrate the benefits if you need some convincing:

• Customer satisfaction resulting in more loyalty, customer retention and more sales;
• More revenue gains when the employees work in harmony with the clients and leaders;
• Steady business growth because the workers and the clients feel more confident about the business;
• Increased employee motivation reduces the absenteeism rates;
• Better decision making because everyone is aligned to the same missions, goals and practices;
• A more desirable company reputation, which attracts experienced talent.

How to Create a Healthy Culture 

As the leader of an agency, you want your employees to be highly productive and interact seamlessly with one another. Your charge is to ensure that your most valuable asset is well supported. Here’s how:

Determine Your Baseline and Your Ideal

Define where you are right now before you start to move forward. As the leader of your agency, your perspective about what constitutes a healthy culture may differ from that of your employees. As such, it’s vital to have open communication in order to co-create the kind of culture that works for your particular firm.

Once you know what hasn’t been working for everyone, you’ll be in a better placed to dismantle any workplace toxicity and plan the way forward. Communicate transparently with your employees, set clear guidelines and inclusive policies to ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, valued and respected.

Establish Trust

A trustworthy relationship should exist between leaders and their teams. When your employees trust you, they trust your decisions. You can’t (and shouldn’t) create trust quickly though, so here are few things to keep in mind to develop healthy, natural bonds:

• Model and encourage open communication;
• Be honest and transparent with your employees;
• Ask for help when you need it;
• Admit your mistakes.

Recognize Contributions

Over 65% of employees report a lack of recognition at work. Workplace culture in an agency is not always about setting policies. Often, recognizing your employees’ contribution goes a long way. A very long way.

Considering the huge volume of work and demand on agencies, chances are that your employees consistently have strict deadlines to meet—likely even more than you know about. As the agency leader, you should reward employees who have great ideas, perform well, and support their colleagues.

Encourage Continuous Learning

The creative, media and technology world is constantly changing, and so should your agency. Tactics that worked even two years ago are less effective than they are today—or even obsolete in some cases. To keep up with the fast-paced digital world, embrace continuous learning for your team members.

There are plenty of learning materials online, or you can hire experts to support your people in other ways, such as mentorship, coaching, workshops and more.

Emphasize the Wellbeing of Your Employees

Stress affects 83% of workers across the country. Businesses in the United States lose up to $300 billion every year due to the impact of employees who report high levels of stress, anxiety, worry, fatigue and depression.

A healthy culture revolves around the wellness of its employees. Humans need to be emotionally, mentally and physically healthy in order to engage fully in a positive work environment. While you alone as the leader cannot ensure the health and wellness of your employees, there are plenty of experts who can provide services like 1:1 coaching, consulting, workshop facilitation and more for issues related to mental health in the workplace, inclusion and more.

The Key Takeaway

One of a few primary roles of an agency leader is to provide a healthy and positive environment in which team members feel fulfilled, happy and productive. Sometimes we need support in order to assess how our employees experience the culture of our organization. Other times, we’re so focused on running the business, we may not pause long enough to consider what kind of culture we’re inadvertently creating through our own behaviour.

If you feel that improvement to your agency culture is needed, let’s talk.

Author: Kelly Campbell
Kelly Campbell (she/they) is a Trauma-Informed Conscious Leadership Coach, helping creative and technology leaders transform both life and agency. The former owner of a cause marketing firm for 14 years, her coaching and consulting work focuses on personal development, purpose, positioning, people, pipeline and profitability. She is the host of THRIVE: Your Agency Resource, a bi-weekly video podcast for agency leaders, sponsored by E2M and Workamajig. A keynote speaker at leadership conferences across the country, Kelly writes for Entrepreneur, and has been featured in Forbes, Woman Entrepreneur and The Startup on Medium. She is also the founder of Consciousness Leaders, a representation agency pairing trusted and diverse experts with organizations to create positive change and drive lasting results. She is currently authoring her first book on the connective tissue between healing trauma and becoming a conscious leader. Sign up for the book's pre-launch list here.

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