Motivate your creative team: how engagement = productivity

08 May 2017

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What’s the biggest asset in your creative business? Your tech and equipment? Your intellectual property? Nope, if you ask us, the most important asset you have is your agency team!

Without a skilled, dedicated and motivated group of people on board, you don’t really have an agency. You need great people to do great things, so it’s critical that your team shares your vision for the business and truly loves their job.

And there’s the challenge: how do you keep your team motivated and firing on all cylinders as workloads get heavier and the number of clients they’re servicing increases?

Here are five ways our creative clients have found to keep engagement high and productivity levels really top notch.

1. Don’t micro-manage: step back

You’re the boss. And you’ve no doubt spent years getting your creative agency to its current stage of success. But now you have a team of people working for you, it’s time to step back and re-focus your attention on the high-level running of the business.

Getting involved in the nitty gritty elements of admin and project management can do more damage than good. If you have account managers or project admin specialists, don’t micro-manage what they do. Trust them, give them clear goals and leave them to get on with it.

When your team feel trusted, they feel valued and tend to enjoy the responsibility you’ve placed in them. So, step back, delegate the workload and build your team’s confidence.

2. Involve the team in KPIs and reporting

As we talked about in our last post, performance management and key performance indicators (KPIs) are incredible drivers for an agency’s success.

And those KPIs and performance reports shouldn’t just be for the owner’s eyes. Everyone on the agency team is working towards the success of the business, so they’re just as invested in whether profit margins are being met, or customer targets are being missed.

When you have your regular team catch-ups, put a few minutes aside to run through the latest KPIs with the team. Seeing the actuals and performance figures can crystalise how each person is having an impact. It makes the team feel more inclusive and helps everyone to understand the health of the business.

3. Set the right performance and development goals

As your agency grows, so will the need for proper performance and development of your team.

It’s no good doing an ‘annual review’ for each person and hoping that this translates to a more engaged employee. People need regular conversations about how they’re doing, where they’re knocking it out of the park – and where they need to pull their socks up!

And a big part of making these conversations work is to set performance and development goals that are tailored to each person. A designer will have very different goals to an account manager, so you need to sit down one-on-one with everyone on the team and agree on the metrics that will work for them.

A personal balanced scorecard can be a great tool for this – setting four or five key areas of concern and then tracking how each person on the team performs against their unique metrics over time.

4. Ask the team for their feedback

Feedback and development isn’t a one-way street. If you monitor your team’s performance, let them monitor YOUR performance too and give feedback on how they’re feeling about their role?

As the boss/MD/management team, it can be easy to lose perspective and to never find the time for self-evaluation. Setting up a mechanism for team satisfaction can be enlightening.

Apps like Company Mood or NikoNiko allow everyone on the team to regularly feed back on their mood, their satisfaction levels and how they think you and the rest of the agency are doing in their roles. It democratises the feedback process and gives you a really clear overview of how engaged everyone is – and where there are issues that need sorting.

5. Offer great benefits that work for everyone

Giving your team the right benefits and incentives can go a long way to keeping them on board with the agency’s agenda.

Profit sharing, offering shares in the company or giving bonuses for exceptional performance can be ways to motivate some people on the team (sales and accounts people tend to work best with a financial carrot being dangled).

But bear in mind that not everyone will be convinced by dollar signs. For many creatives, non-bonus-driven incentives can work wonders for motivation. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking, but be creative and find out what your team would value:

  • Childcare vouchers or creche facilities – if you have parents on the team, anything that makes their childcare provision easier will definitely appeal. Vouchers can provide a saving on nursery fees, or you could even provide your own creche in-house.
  • Team away days – all work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl. Taking the team out of the office and away from work responsibilities is a brilliant way to build team feeling, have some fun and help people to de-stress.
  • Personalised gifts or bonuses – rather than giving straight financial bonuses, get each person on the team to choose ‘their ideal gift’. If they meet their targets, they get their perfect prize. It’s simple, and it ensures people don’t spend their bonus payment on rent or bills etc. and get a real treat.
  • Great pension provision – pensions may sound dull, but (increasingly) we’re all going to need a good one! With auto enrolment making workplace provisions mandatory for all UK businesses, choose a pensions package that really offers some key benefits for your people – and help them look after their own future.

To keep your team motivated, make sure you're engaging them – and keeping them happy! 😀

A happy team is a productive team

At FD Works, we know that there’s a direct link between a happy team and a productive business (as a small firm, we face the same challenges and performance targets too).

We might be accountants, but we’re definitely not just about the numbers – we can help you come up with a performance and development plan that gets the absolute best from everyone on your team… and that’s gonna keep everyone happy.

Want to improve your team’s performance?

If you think your agency needs a better grip of team performance, get in touch for a chat.

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