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Common Digital Agency People and Culture Misconceptions

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Being the owner or leader of a digital agency comes with a unique range of challenges. Not only are you tasked with keeping your agency thriving and generating a profit, but you also encounter a range of common misconceptions about the work culture you should build and why people join, stay, and leave your agency.  So many agency leaders are operating under misconceptions that hurt their businesses in the long run. Having a clear, keen understanding of why your people join and leave your agency, how you should go about pricing your services, and how to be an effective manager are critical for your success. It’s time to set the record straight. We’ve delved into the most common digital agency people and culture misconceptions to put everyone on the right track. 

#1. People Will Stay in Your Agency Because You Have a Cool Office 

Leading a successful agency isn’t just about attracting talent to your business. It’s about keeping them around long term. Despite popular belief, your employees won’t stay with your agency for years simply because you have a modern office or a fun break room with a coffee machine and a foosball table.  

The kind of talented individuals you want to keep around are actually looking for benefits like: 

  • Career development and learning opportunities to help them enhance their skills and abilities 
  • A healthy work-life balance that gives them time to spend with family and friends and on personal matters 
  • A company that prioritises honesty, integrity, and recognition 
  • A sense of purpose within your agency that motivates them to reach your agency’s goals and their own 
  • A strong and engaging company culture that focuses on emotional investment, strong leadership, involvement with other team members, and instilling a sense of belonging 
  • Fair compensation plus benefits such as medical and dental schemes, mental health programs, and other initiatives that provide support to employees who need it. 

If your agency can provide these benefits, you’re far more likely to retain your talent over time, while minimising high employee turnover rates and the expenses associated with them.

#2. An Agency Needs Hundreds of Employees to Gain Trust 

It may seem unlikely but it’s a fact – as long as you can win the confidence of your clients with great customer service and high-quality work, they will be willing to build relationships. Most clients express their feelings and experiences through their spending, and they won’t want to pay good money to businesses that let them down.  

Even with a small team, you can gain your client’s trust by offering exceptional and responsive customer service, sharing positive testimonials, being honest and transparent, and asking for honest feedback. When you receive this feedback, act on it – and always remain reachable to your target audience to ensure they feel seen and valued. 

#3. People Usually Leave Your Agency for “Better Roles” Because They Just Aren’t Happy

Some employees do leave agencies simply because they aren’t happy. However, there are many other reasons why your talent may leave for a better role. It’s important to understand these reasons if you want to reduce staff turnover and maximise employee satisfaction.  

Many people who leave their digital agencies do so to find a bigger challenge, more stimulation, or a higher salary with benefits. Others feel uninspired, are eager to feel more valued, or are seeking more compassionate and understanding managers. Or they’re hunting for career advancement opportunities, more structure, more independence, or a different work environment with a healthier company culture.  

If your agency can offer a great culture that values its employees, fair salaries with benefits, career growth opportunities, and a structured yet understanding management approach, you’re far better equipped to retain talent and keep them feeling engaged, motivated, and appreciated.

#4. Your Prices Should Beat Every Other Agency’s Prices 

Many business leaders firmly believe the best way to compete with their rivals is to undercut their prices. However, this is a tired strategy that needs revision. You can secure more sales when you stop undercutting your competitors. 

Here’s why. 

When you undercut your competitor’s prices, you’ll attract customers that primarily use your services because your prices are low. The minute your competitors decide to fight back and undercut your prices; you could see many of your customers switching over to them to save money.  

Moreover, cutting your prices requires a sacrifice elsewhere, perhaps in the quality of your services or the size of your team. This can harm your agency over time. Especially if you need to sacrifice important assets simply to remain the most affordable option. 

Instead, set your prices according to the value you believe you bring to your clients. Identify what they really want, and then take action to make your products and services as appealing as possible. This strategy will allow you to set your prices higher than your rivals’, as long as you can deliver consistently on the promises you make to your target audience. 

#5. You Should Host a Team-Building Exercise Once a Year 

Team building exercises bring countless benefits to agencies and their teams. They can boost motivation and productivity, encourage healthy collaboration, and build trust, respect, and appreciation between team members.

If you want to build a strong and resilient team, team-building exercises should play a core role in your strategy rather than a once-a-year afterthought.  

Host exercises on a regular basis, using input from your team members to choose activities that they will genuinely enjoy working on together. This simple investment alone could dramatically increase your agency’s chances of success.

#6. Being a Manager is Just Bossing People Around 

Being a boss and being a leader are two entirely different concepts.  

It’s easy enough to boss your employees around. But that’s not what being a leader is about.  

Managers and supervisors that want to connect authentically with their teams need to analyse their leadership constantly approaches to ensure that they’re guiding their teams in a compassionate, understanding, and effective way. 

The best leaders are those who can inspire and influence their team members to work together towards a common goal. They use key strategies like clear communication, setting realistic expectations, and delegating tasks to bring their teams together in a harmonious way. If you can become a valuable and hard-working part of your team, you’re far more likely to win their trust and respect, which makes positively influencing them that much easier.

Reframing the Team Mindset  

If you’ve ever adhered to any of these common agency people and culture misconceptions, you’re not alone.

However, one of the best ways to build a resilient agency is to identify these misconceptions within your own approach. Then, address them in a way that builds a healthier culture that your team is proud to be a part of. 

  • 🤔 Misconception: Company culture is solely determined by its leaders.
  • 🙅‍♀️ Truth: All employees contribute to shaping the culture of an organisation.
  • 🤔 Misconception: Culture fit means hiring people who are similar to current employees.
  • 🙅‍♀️ Truth: Hiring for cultural contribution means bringing in diverse perspectives and experiences.
  • 🤔 Misconception: A strong culture means everyone gets along all the time.
  • 🙅‍♀️ Truth: Conflict is a natural part of any workplace, and a healthy culture embraces it as an opportunity for growth.
  • 🤔 Misconception: A company can’t change its culture.
  • 🙅‍♀️ Truth: While changing culture can be challenging, it is possible with effort and dedication from all employees.