The performance of your team will make or break your agency, so it’s important to know how you can build and maintain a productive and successful team from the ground up.
At Trio Media, we’re an integrated digital marketing and creative agency helping businesses generate more conversions through a results-driven strategy. Since taking over leadership of Trio in 2019, we’ve been able to maintain a 100% customer satisfaction rate and see the agency grow 44% year on year. How do we do this? Through a winning team that is built from success from the start.
We have implemented a strong workplace culture that places trust and respect in the team. Find out how to build your agency’s future of agile, productive workers here.
1. Create Strong Values
Every agency needs core values to live by. How else will you know if your new or current employees are dedicated to their job? At Trio, we have three simple values. We are dynamic, spirited and united. In interviews and one-on-ones, we always refer to our core values. Do they show passion and motivation? Do they support others in the team?
Although the values at any given agency may be different, the process of establishing and reinforcing those values should remain consistent.
Image: Trio Media
Asking these questions helps us measure the success of the team. Maybe not in monetary value, but whether they embody who Trio is to our clients.
First, build your team’s foundation–your values. Then, it will be easier to build a team that reflects your agency’s values and succeeds. Our social media motto is “You either want to work with us or for us.” I’d like to say that it's our strong values and welcoming work culture that brings in a team of great workers.
2. Put in Place a Two-way Recruitment Process
Before you can have a successful team, you first need to build one. To do this, you need to tailor the recruitment process to both the candidate’s and your needs as a business. It needs two-way communication. Recruiting can’t rely on your judgment alone if you want to find a good member of your team.
At Trio, we rely on organic reach through our social media to attract the right people rather than recruitment platforms. I’d encourage any agency to do this first. Right from the start, you know that the candidates applying likely follow you, are interested in your agency, and want to learn more. This cuts out the mass of poor applicants who apply for jobs without even looking at the job spec or business.
A way to find the right candidate is by including your employees in the recruitment decision-making process. We follow a three-stage process which follows like this:
Phone Call - We first get to know the candidate, who they are, and why they’re interested in applying to try to grasp if they fit our values.
In-person Interview - Two senior members of the team will conduct a formal interview to learn more about them, ask questions and give an introduction to who Trio is.
Cultural Mixer - Three different team members will have an informal chat with the candidate to see if they’d be a good fit and also let the candidate assess whether they’d see themselves in our team.
A mistake many marketing agencies make is that they hire too quickly without knowing if they’d be a good cultural fit for their team. Implementing a cultural mixer will let your entire team decide if the candidate would fit into the team and vice versa for the candidate. Neither you nor the candidate wants to waste their time, so you both need to make the right decision. And if you find someone who reflects your values, is liked by the team, and is interested in your agency, then you’re in luck.
We have found Trio’s recruitment process a well-tried and tested model. Not only is the team happy to work here, but also because no one has ever resigned from Trio under the current management! Now is the time to put more trust in your employee’s opinions and make sure everyone works well together from the start.
3. Create a Workplace Culture That Benefits Your Staff in the Long Run
A positive workplace culture is important. Prioritizing the well-being of your team and encouraging respect, trust, support, and empathy at all levels will ensure you retain staff better and improve job satisfaction.
I like to see culture as a sum of people and changes with every person you bring in. No one member is the same.
That’s why you need to be ready to adapt to this rather than clinging to what your culture once was when you were smaller.
4. Consider a Four-day Work Week
To instill trust and respect, we implemented a four-day working week and other benefits to improve the well-being and progression of each team member.
Our journey started last year when we became part of a four-day work week trial. When the trial ended, we decided to continue with it as it ended up being a game changer for the team and agency growth. It brought in a 33% increase in revenue from the period before the trial and a 44% increase in revenue from the year before.
A shorter working week will incentivize your team to do their best four days a week without a pay bump or longer working days. And this is true for lots of businesses that took part in the 4-day pilot. Employee job satisfaction skyrocketed and, as a result, benefitted growth and performance. The results saw 39% of employees feeling less stressed, 71% having fewer burnouts, and 54% have a better work-life balance.
After pay, factors such as stress, poor job satisfaction, and unhappiness are the main drivers of why people leave their jobs. This is why some agencies experience a high turnover of employees. As an agency, we need to deliver high-quality services to our clients. But if your team suffers from creative burnout and general dissatisfaction, then you need to start making some changes. That’s why a four-day week works so well.
Leaving a five-day model behind won’t hinder performance. No one is 100% productive all the time. By being flexible, you will allow your team to recover, refresh and be at their best level of performance. It’s true when you hear the cliché, “There’s more to life than work.” Even as a CEO, I know that the work-life balance of both my team and myself is crucial for being more productive.
5. Offer Benefits That Are Built on Trust and Wellbeing
You should also ensure you have plenty of employee incentives to encourage better performance and improve productivity. At Trio, we offer the following:
Work abroad for up to 30 days a year
Flexible working hours
Pirkx membership–access to free 24/7 GP, mental health support, virtual gym classes, eye care, and more.
Monthly team activities
Annual staff awards
Regular training in new digital marketing developments
As well as this, we encourage the team to give kudos to other members for their hard work and effort. In our monthly meetings, we go through each team recognition, and whoever has the most will win a bonus. Compensating your team’s efforts, as well as listening to them, will make them feel heard, valued, and respected.
At Trio, the whole team is involved in the yearly strategy meeting so everyone can feel involved in the business growth. A business wouldn’t be anything without its employees! Together, we contribute, collaborate, and find ways to continue being a winning team.
I recommend making the shift from distanced, hierarchical power and welcoming your team’s ideas and views more into your decision-making.
6. Know Your Losses From Your Wins
As an agency, you will need to make some tough decisions when team members aren’t the right fit for your workplace culture. The motto, “Hire quick, fire faster,” is true. If people aren’t right for your agency, you need to remove them quickly before it impacts the rest of your team.
I once heard that “The best time to get rid of someone is usually the first time you think about it.” So, listen to your gut feeling! This inkling is the start of your doubts which will continue to grow as you drag this feeling out. Make sure to cut your losses before it’s too late.
This can sound harsh, but it really is the key to maintaining long-term positivity and great agency culture.
A winning team stems from a positive workplace culture that encourages flexibility, creativity, and trust for every member involved. Being open-minded as a leader is crucial–for example, trialing the 4-day week was no easy task, but being open to opportunities that could improve your team’s well-being and, in turn, benefit the business is well worth it.
A winning workplace is one that rewards employees and empowers them to succeed.
Claire Daniels is CEO of Trio Media, a digital marketing agency based in Leeds, UK. In 2022, Trio Media joined the 4-day workweek revolution, pioneering a new way of working. Subsequent to this, Claire has launched a new business venture, 4 Day Week Planner.