4 thoughts on “Want to Grow Your Agency? Grow Your People.

  1. Hey Hank,

    We 100% agree.

    We’ve been guilty of it in the past, seriously guilty, and have paid the price with the loss of clients, and more importantly, the loss of great team members who’ve moved on in their careers, probably to more supportive environments.

    But recently, we’ve adopted Second Wind’s training program, down to Wagner, our VP of Client Services, providing weekly training sessions to the account service team using their DVD series, and now, we are considering sending the AEs to Agency Roundtable’s training seminar as well.

    We took it a step further with our commitment to continuing training and education with white paper program, which encourages evokers to contribute white papers to the agency website, preferable in a fringe area to their primary role, expanding their own knowledge base. We use Twitter to promote the papers and have grown our following to more than 100,000 pushing out original content – win/win!

    For this change in our philosophy, we can thank Betsey Dalbeck freshtracksinc.com/bio who helped us realize it’s culture first – build the right culture and you’ll attract and retain the right people, who will in turn help you build your company to become more profitable, and in the end, you’ll have more resources to reinvest – the domino effect.

    I appreciate you discussing this subject Hank, and allowing us a forum to thank Betsey for opening our eyes and helping to shape the environment at evok, with investment in the team being our #1 priority.

    Be well Hank.

    Larry Meador
    ceo – evokad.com

  2. Well said, Hank. I recently read a quote about a conversation between two executives… One was saying, “What if we spend money to train them and they leave?” The other replied, “What if we don’t and they stay.” For companies to embrace a training philosophy requires strong leadership. Under this kind of leadership, training and mentoring programs are a given and a great investment.

  3. Jo LynnI agree! Well said Hank. Should be said more often.

    I’ve also received the response, “if we spend the money to train they just leave anyway”.

    The reality is young talent leaves between 1-2 years to gain broader experience (industry, disciplines, skills, etc.). Mid-management leaves between 2-4 years and Supervisor and above 3-5 years. Been that way for as many moons as I’ve been in the business. After all, we do claim to be in an entrepreneurial creative business which lends itself to frequent change based upon client and agency evolving environments.

    Knowing this, of course the hope is that training will help to keep employees a little longer… The real value is that new people come up to speed and begin contributing productively to the Agency business more quickly. In this instance the return on the Agency’s investment begins within 6-8 months of their start date versus 12-18 months. And face it, the longer it takes to come up to speed, the more errors (write-offs), greater chance of client dissatisfaction, employee dissatisfaction, etc. When a new employee leaves, the ultimate investment loss is between 3-4Xs the employees salary (if less than 2 years from their hiring date). Never mind the negative impact on peers and managers who are constantly re-introducing new people to the basic and tasks and requirements to get a job done!

    Last soap box moment! New employees are being trained by peers, managers and clients in an ad hoc undisciplined way, which only contributes to dissatisfaction and poor productivity. Instead of looking at training as one more thing that needs to be done (and an extra cost), why not look at it as what it is? A current activity that requires formalization and a modicum of thought in reference to desired levels of performance. Dust off those old training manuals, they are hiding on a server somewhere. Not that these documents are completely appropriate for all elements of today’s Agency environment…they do reinforce business fundamentals, which do not significantly change.

    Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hired to fix horrendous Agency and Client relationship issues that were partially resolved by training teams in basic communications management skills: returning phone calls/emails within 2-3 hours, sending out conference reports (not cover your a## reports), updating status reports with who’s responsible and due dates, providing meeting agendas, settling arguments as to who should take notes in a meeting. The list goes on…

    Off my soap box…

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