How role stagnation stifles agency growth

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Your internal work environment may be holding you back from attracting top people and creating exceptional new experiences for clients. Agencies typically have outside teams talking to clients and selling new business, while inside teams manage transactions.

However, the way we work and what we do for clients has changed so quickly that sticking with legacy roles stifles growth. The inclination of owners is to simply make changes to the sales team, but that short-sided thinking leaves a gaping opportunity untouched with the inside team.

Let’s be honest, this is also a gender issue because women usually occupy the inside roles. The current work environment is based on a post-industrial model where workers often started and ended careers at a single company; people came into the office every day from 9-5; men did the outside work; and women did the inside work.

But, the definition of “work” is changing as quickly as technology emerges and millennials enter the workforce, moving into spheres of influence. None of us, including clients, are limited by a single idea of work and we need to re-imagine it altogether.

We need to rethink “work” from the technology we use, to the roles people play, to even redefining what desktops look like. We have the ability to work from anywhere, at any time, and individual values influence those definitions.

A new environment

The environment needs to change to continue attracting women — the historical support base of agencies. Employee Benefit News reviewed a PricewaterhouseCoopers study on what millennial women want from work, and it clearly shows that legacy structures are not serving you well. Many Boomers worked to primarily complete a daily job, but that attitude is retiring out, being replaced with something entirely different from millennials:

• 85% seek out employers with strong diversity, equality and inclusion, yet 71% do not feel opportunities are really equal.

• 53% rank career progression as the most attractive employer trait, yet only 12% are satisfied with the frequency and quality of feedback they currently receive.

As women seek to develop their careers, they are looking for employers willing to be proactive along with them. Regardless of hiring them into sales or account management roles, keys to attracting women into your agency lie in providing ongoing performance coaching, personal development and career development.

And yet, these are among the most neglected areas of agency development we see. If you’ve got non-growth positions, people who have outgrown current responsibilities, and/or you’re not talking about next career steps, you’re vulnerable to employees leaving.

Account managers are tied to their desks, too busy to leave. However, we hear directly from them that they want to contribute at more significant levels. They have valuable insights, but no time to further develop ideas.

To create a sustainable business, you need to establish an environment where contribution, creativity and development are the norm for all positions. Allow your agency to grow and lead clients. Unleash your inner talent (or hire new) for valuable new contributions to become a feared competitor.


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