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Media Agencies: How to manage effectively without stifling creativity

Media Agencies: How to manage effectively without stifling creativity

Whether your business specialises in creative marketing, web design, UX, PR or the latest tech craze, running a successful agency can be a complicated job. One of your biggest costs as an agency will likely be salaries, but your workforce is also your biggest asset. It’s vital to get the best out of your team, keep them happy and continually improve their productivity to maximise your billable rate.

In this article, we share some simple strategies to help you improve the way you manage your creative talent.

‘Creatives’ are not all the same

Your creative team are the lifeblood of your business, without them your business simply would not operate. However, managing creative individuals can sometimes be challenging. Matching their desire to reach creative perfection with your goal to meet client deadlines and maximise their billable hours can often result in conflict.

So many people make sweeping generalisations about creatives being non-commercially aware or IT specialists being difficult to communicate with. The truth is, everyone is different. So, there is no one size fits all solution to managing creative employees.

Regular one to one’s help avoid problems before they arise

Depending on the size and structure of your team, your creatives could have a range of different roles, from managing projects to producing creative work or even liaising directly with clients. Some will thrive on these extra responsibilities while other will want nothing more than to focus on creative work day in day out because that is where they excel.

It’s important to communicate with your team regularly to find out what they are working on, what they enjoy, what they find difficult and what they dislike. By reviewing their current roles and identifying areas they require support you can put in place development strategies or allocate roles to others that are more suited.

For example, if your creatives are responsible for project management as well as delivery, it’s important to review their processes to ensure they are efficient and effective for the business. Remember to act carefully. It’s natural for anyone to be protective over their processes and be nervous of interference. So delicately work with them to identify any potential blockages or areas for improvement. They may be relieved for the support and welcome solutions that help them spend more time on the work they enjoy.

Time sheets are a great way to understand your team’s capacity

Agencies have a reputation for long hours so keeping a keen eye on workload is a must, you don’t want to risk burning out your biggest assets. A timesheet is a great tool to help you understand where your team are under most pressure. By regularly conducting timesheet exercises you can find out which clients are taking up your team’s time, where there are capacity issues or where there are underutilised team members. This information can help influence your overall team management or form an aspect of your business development strategy.

Be careful to communicate the reason you are requiring time sheets, however, it is to understand processes and capacity issues so you can help your team and build the business, not check up on them.

Plan effectively to reduce resource issues

Forward planning is vital to understand your team’s capacity and reduce the risk of too much or too little work. On a regular basis, you should be reviewing your team’s holidays, meeting schedules, workload and business pipeline so you can understand impacts on your team. Client demands will always change last minute but by carefully planning, you should be able to manage workloads so that both clients and employees can be kept happy without overworking them. This information will help you be able to manage the needs of your team and plan recruitment around business growth.

Keep creatives producing

Don’t forget that your creatives are working for you for one reason. To be CREATIVE. So, help them do so by reducing the amount of non-creative work you throw at them. It is commonplace in the agency sector for employees to be quite transient, moving between agencies to keep work interesting and keep their creative juices flowing. To stop this from happening it’s important to retain your best talent through keeping them happy, engaged, creatively fulfilled and bought into your company’s culture. In times when work is slow, encourage professional skills development, competitions, skills shares or put them to work refreshing your own brand assets.

Always be recruiting

With the best will in the world, there will always be some staff turnover and as work comes in there will also be a need for new recruits. Successful agencies are always in the process of finding and interviewing candidates so that when work comes in, they are in an immediate place to deliver it.

Always be on the lookout for top talent and keep in touch with those that fit your requirements and company culture. Having a database full of potential candidates ready to go when you win your contract or need to replace an employee, stops panic recruiting, helps you recruit the right people and reduces expensive recruitment costs. However, you should never recruit team members until you have won the work. Recruiting, without work in place to pay for it is a recipe for disaster.

Managing an agency is both exciting and challenging. As contracts are won and teams are built, many agency owners must quickly change from creatives to managers in an instant. To retain and grow your team and continue to achieve your agencies targets you need to know how to nurture and manage your greatest asset, your workforce.

For advice on people management in your agency get in touch by calling us on 0330 555 1139 or via email at hello@crossehr.co.uk.

The Key to Managing Millennials

The Key to Managing Millennials

So-called ‘Millennial’s’, (those born between 1980 and 2000), get a lot of bad press and here’s how to manage millennial’s. A recent Daily Mail article devoted just under 1000 words to describing Millennial’s as “spoilt, full of themselves, averse to hard work and expect success on a plate”. It’s not for us to comment on the Daily Mail’s appetite for sensationalism but the article did raise a few questions as to how to get the best out of this much-maligned generation.

The key is understanding their values, skill set, ambition and aspirations. that’s how to manage millennial’s.

The millennial mantra: work, live, excel, repeat

There are over 75 million so-called millennial’s in or preparing to join, the workforce right now. To generalise that they all conform to the negative stereotypes the press circulate is just wrong. Within this massive group, there will be a diverse range of backgrounds, skills, attitudes, expectations and work ethics. Would you describe everyone in your generation as the same?

That said, there are key characteristics to the Millennial generation, that provide some clues as to how to get the best out of them:

• A busy social life, a desire to make friends at work and enjoyment of working as a team.
• A need for continual feedback, stemming from the feedback culture of modern schools.
• An urge for a healthy work-life balance
• An unprecedented use of technology in work and social life and ability to multi-task to get jobs done
• A desire to understand where their career is going and how they are being supported to achieve their objectives.

In simplistic forms, there is a culture in this generation to have a good work-life balance, but in a job, that provides both professional and social satisfaction and a structured plan for them to achieve their aspirations. Surely these goals are what most of us strive for? With that in mind, here are three tips to help you get the most out of how to manage millennial’s.

1. Recognise achievement and coach to improve performance

Recognition and feedback are vitally important for all workers, helping them to understand how they are doing, what they are excelling at and how to improve. Recognising achievement is an easy way to inspire and motivate your workforce, but something that’s easily forgotten, when the stresses and priorities of the working day take over. So, schedule time to recognise the achievements of your team.

Consider investing in social recognition software. Tools like Benefit One or Performly help you quickly and easily recognise success, publicly, giving your workers recognition in front of the whole company. This helps to create a culture of high achievement by encouraging peer to peer recognition. Some CRM systems like Salesforce or Dynamics have social networking or recognition tools built in, so be sure to find out before reaching to yet another piece of costly software.

2. Millennial’s are eager to impress so provide structure and leadership

Set clear goals, assign due dates for objectives and be sure to define the criteria for success. Then, set regular informal and formal reviews to measure progress, give feedback and recognise achievements. During these catch ups, provide leadership and guidance. Investing your time in coaching and developing your teams will lead to you being rewarded with high-quality work and an eagerness to impress.

3. Keep work varied to avoid boredom

Millennial’s are massive multitaskers. Having been brought up with the internet and technology, they will be adept at doing multiple tasks at once and in fact, they need this constant stimulation to be motivated. Boredom is the route to lost motivation so give your Millennial’s a variety of tasks and goals to pursue to make work varied and keep them on their toes.

Millennial’s tend to be comfortable working in teams so take advantage of this to spice up their day to day tasks with activities such as running work social events, taking charge of charity events or leading projects.


Managing millennial’s is more about embracing the changing nature of the workforce and the workplace, than pandering to the whims of a younger generation. Millennial’s are the future of business, no matter how you look at it, so it’s important to understand how to get the best out of them, rather than fight against their culture and values, to achieve your businesses objectives. For more advice about engagement, motivation, recognition strategy or any of the topics discussed in this article, get in touch by calling us on 0330 555 1139 or via email at hello@crossehr.co.uk.