Now, we’re not going to waste words convincing you how important and beneficial it is to keep your agency’s morale high. It should be a given for any team leader that morale plays an essential part in helping your team achieve (and exceed) the expected level of performance. Morale is also important for that age-old problem of staff turnover. In today’s market, top talent will always be able to find a higher paying job somewhere else. But it’s often a mistake to compete on salary alone. You’ll need to create an environment that offers staff members with more reasons to stick around and give their best efforts than simply a paycheck.
But how can you boost your agency’s morale and, more importantly, sustain it?
Creating a high morale team environment
Togetherness, the art of creating a genuine team instead of simply a group of individuals, is a cliché. Still, it is a vital part of getting the most from your employees. Agencies are built on relationships. It’s important that you realize that internal relationships are just as important as the relationships you build with your clients.
By ‘togetherness’ we’re not talking about cheesy team building exercises. We’re referring to creating an internal vibe that every individual and every piece of work belongs to a collective endeavor. To create this atmosphere between coworkers, it’s extremely important that successes within the agency are celebrated as an “agency” victory and not just a team or individual win.
Now, it’s natural and correct to praise individual efforts when they’re earned, but it’s also important to ensure that any and all successes are aired to the entire agency. Remind your employees that their hard work contributes to overall agency success and progression. This also serves to illustrate why they do what they do and provides a sense of overall accomplishment. It also reminds everyone that they’re part of a winning team.
Be generous with rewards…
What’s the old saying? The carrot is better than the stick? Now we’re not suggesting you take a stick to your staff (or a carrot for that matter), but let’s face it, good old fashioned praise for work well done is always going to go down well and will help cultivate a warm and fuzzy feeling about the work your team does from 9 to 5.
In line with our ‘togetherness’ theme, while some internal successes may be the result of an individual or the efforts of a select few, it is still possible to turn this reward process into a reward for the entire team. Instead of giving out individual kudos, consider rewarding the wider team equally. Now, you should give credit where credit is due. To do this you can caveat this by communicating why and who is more directly responsible for the win. That way the entire team gets to enjoy the spoils but you’re also creating an inter-team recognition dynamic. This also serves to provide the wider team with a genuine reason to celebrate someone else’s success — with less issues of potential jealousy. This will also help build a camaraderie within your entire agency. It also introduces the dynamic of colleagues working hard for each other as well as for themselves. You’ll have team members rooting for each other to succeed.
And with recognition…
We’ve touched on this a little with the wider team reward system, but not all recognition means you need to hand out grand prizes. (The rewards budget will only stretch so far after all!)
Call us old fashioned but we still like the idea of the ‘employee of the month’ style recognition. However, the title of employee of the month can be a little limiting, so it could be employee of the week – where that employee gets to park in the President’s parking stall (the one closest to the office door) for a week. With the pace of agency life being as it is, be proactive with your rewards and praise. Provide regular recognition awards and shout outs on an ongoing basis. Big pitch wins, positive client feedback and over-performing campaigns need to be acknowledged in real time and not saved for a specific time of the month. These spontaneous acknowledgements also shows your team that you’re paying attention to what happens on a day-to-day basis and you’re not just doing a cursory monthly round up.
Leadership Tip: In larger agencies with dedicated teams for different areas of the business, it can be a great idea to set team-based targets which are very specific to the main goals and challenges of each particular team. Running team based rewards or recognition for performance can keep a healthy sense of competitiveness while also highlighting top staff members.