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Overcoming Advertising Agency Turnover and Hiring Challenges

Aug 24, 2023

The world of advertising is constantly changing and becoming more competitive. Advertising agencies need to stay ahead of the latest marketing trends and techniques. However, this is often easier said than done.

Many ad agency leaders face challenges such as turnover and hiring difficulties that often hinder their capacity for growth. When there are not enough people to work on new campaigns, client services and overall business operations can suffer.

This is not an unusual challenge for agency leaders. In fact, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) estimated that the advertising agency turnover rate is over 25%. Doing some quick math, for every four people you hire, slightly more than one will leave.

Obviously, this cuts against an agency’s ability to scale. How can you keep growing your agency when you’re worrying about losing members of your team? While keeping 3 out of every 4 you hire is a promising statistic, you could one day lose the only specialist you have serving a specific channel. After that, you might face the very real decision over whether to discontinue a service or outsource it to a platform or vendor that you’re not 100% confident in from a quality standpoint.

It doesn’t have to go that route, though. Today, we’re going to cover some tips for what you can do at your agency to navigate through staffing obstacles and continue to scale when the opportunities arise.

1: Take a Proactive Approach to Recruitment

Agency leaders must be proactive when it comes to recruitment. This means anticipating future hiring needs and starting the recruitment process before there is an urgent need. This approach allows for a longer lead time to identify suitable candidates and accommodate the often lengthy hiring process. Additionally, agencies can astutely preview the candidates' experience, skills, core values, and teams, ensuring a long-term fit.

Finding the right candidate who is less likely to turnover at your agency can be a challenge. However, there are specific qualities you should look for when hiring, such as:

  1. Individuals who express genuine interest in your agency's mission, culture, and values. These individuals are more likely to stick around for the long haul because they believe in the company's vision.

  2. Candidates with a history of loyalty in their past roles. Someone who has stayed with previous employers for an extended period of time is more likely to do the same with your agency.

  3. Individuals who demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow with the agency. Those who are hungry for knowledge and progression are less likely to get bored and move on. By keeping these qualities in mind, you can hire the right candidate who will be loyal and committed to the success of your agency.

Looking for these types of individuals will help you find the right fit for your agency. If you serve a specific industry or a small handful, you may also want to consider what industries a candidate has worked in in the past. They may feel more at-home serving a niche that’s the same or similar to ones that they have done so previously.

2: Encourage Employee Retention

Employee retention is as essential as recruitment. Once the agency has hired the right person, it is vital to retain them. Attracting and keeping the ideal people is key to a successful and stable workplace.

Encourage employee retention by investing in your employee's development needs, treating them equitably, valuing their contributions, and providing them with a positive work-life balance. When someone enjoys where they work, they are far less likely to search for another professional home in the future.

3: Elevate Internal Culture & Communication

Internal culture and communication are key factors in employee motivation and engagement across your agency. As a leader, it is your responsibility to foster an environment where teams collaborate, promote diversity and inclusion, manage difficult conversations, and establish trust.

Communicate frequently and transparently across all channels to ensure that employees are aware of the agency's direction and objectives. You could also hold weekly company-wide meetings where everyone can feel informed, contribute to discussions, and receive clarification from you on certain aspects of agency life that they are interested in learning more about.

4: Take Stock of Current In-House Utilization

Utilization issues can be costly and can also make or break operations at an agency. If a member of your in-house team is underutilized, are they costing too much to retain? If they don’t have enough hours to spend on client service in their usual role, can their role be expanded to drive additional value?

If someone on the team is underutilized, consider some options to boost their utilization such as:

  • Having them focus on internal marketing to promote your agency to your ideal clients

  • Having them learn a new digital specialty so that they can contribute to your team in new ways

  • Cross-train to assist other team members that may be at full capacity or approaching over-capacity

Similarly, overutilization does not help with hiring and retaining an in-house team. Employees that are burnt out, stressed, and spread thin cannot perform at the highest levels for your clients. This can lead to errors, miscommunications, and potentially damage the relationships that you build with your clients that trust you to deliver results for them.

Beyond hiring, here are some other ways that you can solve the challenge of overutilization:

  • Prioritize daily, weekly, or monthly tasks in order of most important to least important so that the person fulfilling them knows where they need to concentrate most of their attention.

  • Reassess client expectations if the client is expecting too much for what was promised to them in their agreement with your agency.

  • Ask your team if there are certain specific tools or types of tools that they can use to streamline some of their more time-consuming tasks that they perform on a regular basis.

  • Encourage senior members of the team to delegate tasks more efficiently so that they can take more work off of their plate and allocate toward someone who might be underutilized.

  • Establish clear communication so that the people struggling with capacity know that they can come to you as the agency leader to figure out a potential solution or more efficient path forward.

5: Look Beyond Your Local Market

As much as most agencies prefer to keep their talent geographically close, it may make sense to consider hiring someone remotely if you are struggling to find the right expertise in your market. Look for remote workers who possess the skills that you need and have a track record of reliability in similar long-distance work environments.

Remote workers may also help you save on staffing costs. You may find someone who asks for less money than your local market commands if they are based in an area with a lower cost of living and will not have to spend money on commuting-related expenses such as fuel, tolls, and vehicle maintenance.

However, while fully remote workers may sound like a solid solution, finding the right ones should be approached with caution. According to the chief economist of ZipRecruiter, high turnover should be expected as a permanent fixture in remote working.

6: Activate a White Label Digital Marketing Partnership

When you need a reliable team that can consistently deliver for your clients, where should you turn? While you can and should take steps to enhance the employee experience at your agency, there may simply be periods where the right people are not available to help you in your efforts to scale.

That’s where a white label digital marketing partnership comes in.

A white label ad operations team provides ad agencies with access to an extensive range of digital marketing services, allowing them to expand their suite of services without the need to recruit highly specialized and/or costly development teams. These partnerships also provide your agency with the ability to deliver better performance through a single partnership with access to experienced professionals with hands-on experience in diverse digital marketing fields.

Beyond solving staffing issues, white labeling also enables you to expand the scope of services you offer in-house. For example, if you’ve never offered OTT advertising to your clients before, you now can offer white label OTT advertising through your partnership with the confidence that a certified expert is handling each aspect of the campaign.

Overall, partnership is a win-win for your agency and clients. Better yet? White label deliverables can be rebranded to your agency or client’s branding to help you maintain more continuity and control over the materials that you provide to your clients.

Solve Advertising Agency Turnover with a White Label Partnership

Scaling an agency requires overcoming the hiring and turnover challenges that many ad agency leaders face today. Taking a proactive approach to recruitment, employee retention culture and communication, and leveraging contractors/freelancers are all wise steps to overcoming outside forces that impact hiring and retention.

When you need to solve your capacity, bandwidth, and skill-gap issues, there’s a solution forward: white label partnership.

At Conduit Digital, we partner with successful ad agencies in North America as their trusted white label adoperations team to help them scale higher than previously possible. With a single partnership, you can access 17 expertly managed digital channels all overseen and implemented directly from our team at our New Jersey headquarters.

If you’re ready to solve your hiring and turnover challenges through the power of partnership, let’s talk.









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