How to build a values-based agency that drives results
One of the best things about starting your own business is that you can set it up to reflect your values.
As a manager, you create the conditions for:
- How the company will operate.
- The kind of people you will hire.
- The customers you choose.
- How to work with clients.
Our mission focuses on a strong commitment to our values and a passion to inspire others. We strive to earn the trust of our colleagues, communities and customers by serving them authentically, kindly and humbly. Generosity is so central to us that we recently founded a non-profit organization.
It’s quite unlike many agencies that focus on creativity and “the work” in their purpose or mission – we want to be known more for who we are than what we do.
Would you like to build your own values-based agency?
In this way you ensure that the values you have defined are anchored in your company.
Behavioral interviewing paired with insights
A solid, values-based agency starts with hiring the right people and asking them the right questions.
My team asks questions about the candidate’s suitability, skills and client management skills.
As a cultural leader, I like to ask questions that give me a sense of who the person is.
These include, “Have you ever been asked to do something that goes against your ethical understanding?” and “What’s a common misconception about you?”
- We also use tools like StrengthsFinder to understand what makes the person tick and how they fit in with the rest of our team.
Protecting our values and our shared culture means thinking broader than just who the prospective employee is.
New hires need to share the team’s values, complement our existing skills and enhance the overall team and customer experience.
In other words, we want people who can improve the culture while adding new skills to the team.
Have an infinite mindset
Short-term—or finite—thinking can lead people to compromise values they might otherwise hold strongly.
As an agency manager, you sometimes need to focus on short-term needs, e.g. B. Make sure you have enough money for payroll. But if you’re the limited executive type, hiring and firing based on short-term needs, you’re building a different culture than you might intend.
Ethical fading, or the loss of ethical connotations of decisions, can creep in when people only focus on the near future. Use an infinite mindset whenever possible to build a strong, high-performing, values-based agency.
An infinite mindset means focusing on a larger purpose and acknowledging that the goal of a business is to keep playing the game. The priority is to build trustworthy teams, understand that you often need to be flexible and adapt to stay in business, and respect your worthy rivals.
Agencies can think narrowly when they quickly lay off employees after losing a client, or focus solely on selling the agency.
Investing in leadership training and development
Most agencies make sure their people are great marketers and up to date with the latest tactics. It goes without saying and should definitely be part of the marketing training curriculum.
However, investing in leadership training and development at all levels will help ensure your team knows what you truly value. As agency leader, I see my role as developing the next generation of great leaders, not just the next generation of great marketers.
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Now that you know how to ensure values are ingrained in your organization, how do you ensure you are driving forward and driving results for your agency by leading with values?
It comes from gaining benefits in three key areas.
1. Employee Retention
Digital marketers have many choices of where they want to work. While the old perks like pool tables or happy hour used to matter, remote working has transformed what drives employee satisfaction and retention.
Ability to leave home to pick up children and do some work outside of working hours. Believe in company values and have systems that allow employees to feel connected to their peers. These are all important.
Employee turnover is disruptive to both the company and its customers.
Our turnover is less than half the norm. I attribute this to the fact that we lead our employees with clear values and put them in the best possible position to engage with them.
are we perfect No. But with values and purpose at the core, it helps retain employees longer than the norm.
Value alignment is key to building mutual trust between employees and an agency. It also helps to facilitate bonding between employees.
2. Customer Satisfaction
Customers value values such as transparency, modesty and gratitude.
Building trusting relationships and having their accounts managed by a strong, values-based group leads to greater customer satisfaction and retention.
Of course, marketers need to manage the accounts well – that’s the table.
Building deep relationships builds a shared commitment and vision. It helps create a “we” mentality with the client and agency as a team, as opposed to the usual “you” or “supplier” relationship.
Another benefit of building deep relationships? If your client partners move to other companies, there’s a good chance they’ll bring you with them.
3. Increased innovation
Value-based organizations tend to create psychological security. This means there is a safe environment for individuals to share their thoughts and ideas with leaders.
Innovation must not be limited to new strategies and tactics – it can be new processes or feedback on what types of services the agency should include or discontinue.
Innovation can also be team-based. This can make employees feel heard and valued, which also contributes to retention
I hope these views on building a strong, values-based culture will help you empower your agency to achieve the results you want.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily those of Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.