I often ask management teams – ‘What have you got when you take the people out of an agency?’
‘Rapidly depreciating iPads, phones and laptops and the legal liability of a lease’ is the honest answer.
It’s a cliché but people are an agency’s only real asset.
Her take was that your board director selection could be make or break. Not only do they run your clients but as importantly they set the example that drives your culture. It really shouldn’t be a case of time served or those that make the CEO/MD comfortable or play to his/her ego.
This was supported by fellow panelist Todd Tran who explained that Apple does not share the company’s values with all employees as is traditional, but limit their communication to senior management. It is up to them to communicate the values through their own behaviour. Actions really do speak louder than words.
Jim Hawker, CEO at Threepipe shared an original way of developing benefits packages for agency teams. Simply, ask them what they want in terms of perks and benefits (within a framework). This process has increased engagement and positively impacted retention for Threepipe and is a refreshing change from a standard list issued by the HR manager.
Alice Weightman, Founder and CEO of Hanson Search, also shared some useful thoughts on how best to work with a recruitment agency. Firstly, select a specialist that knows your sector, your agency and your competitors. Question the candidates on how they have been dealt with by the recruitment agency – interview process and the briefing on your agency.
Lastly, Alice suggested that agencies interview on cultural and values fit rather than skills.
One last comment that all panelists agreed on is that people management is not a numbers game but one that needs to be done by individual. Time consuming and frustrating as it can be without it you are after all left with those old PCs and that expensive lease.