There’s nothing worse than confusion at work, and marketing agencies are especially susceptible to the clutches of chaos. Whether we’re working in design, development, digital marketing, advertising, social media, SEO (or any number of agency niches), we have a lot of moving parts to manage, often for 10 or more clients at once. If there is not a solid process in place for literally everything happening in-house, people can tend to get lost. And, when people feel lost, they usually want to be found… by another job.

Well-conceived processes are not only essential for the proper functioning (and profitability!) of a business, but also for keeping employees productive and happy in their individual roles. From the highest thought leader to the lowest task monkey, everyone wants to feel like they know what they are supposed to do, and what constitutes success. It’s human nature. 

 

Three ways process enhances employee retention:

 

Understanding one’s role and how it fits with the company’s wider goals provides a sense of purpose and engagement on a daily basis.

When a copywriter knows how his blog post relates to the long term content strategy for a client, or a programmer understands how her new email templates will save the agency heaps of time on future campaigns, they feel more needed and more connected. Agencies (and really, any type of business) should invest time in educating their employees on the bigger picture, because knowing the purpose behind tasks can elevate the quality of work. Being in a dark little box producing disjointed tasks can breed dissatisfaction. Bring those folks out into the light!

 

Knowing what tasks to accomplish on a daily basis and checking off tasks (especially in a project management software) is a good way to feel accomplished and on track.

Having a list of what needs to be done helps to organize time and ensure everything that needs to be done is actually done. That’s pretty basic, but think about the sense of accomplishment it brings to check off your to do list. It just feels good. Project management software (like Teamwork, or Asana) makes it even more fun, because employees can see just where they are in a larger process, and even find ways to work ahead and add value. Feeling valuable is important for employee retention.

 

Effective processes make your workforce more efficient, which makes your business more successful, which means your employees feel more secure in their jobs and aren’t going to be looking to jump from a sinking ship.

It may seem obvious, but employees want to feel like they are working for a successful business. Especially in an agency context, a lack of proper processes can translate into failure after failure when deadlines are missed, or when work is rushed. Having solid, tested procedures in place for client approvals, status updates, content creation, and all manner of other needs, makes clients feel more confident with their agency, and allows work to flow through the agency more efficiently. When agencies keep clients happy, clients keep agencies around, and when employees are part of a successful, productive company, they stay around, too.

Though creating solid processes does take some time at the outset of a new service, project or client, it is well worth the investment and will make things more efficient in the long run. Remember, no process you create is set in stone, so ignore that pressure to get it perfect on the first round. Especially in fast-paced and creative businesses, processes must be conceived as  living organisms that may change and adapt as people try out what works in theory, adjust to what works in practice, and infuse the work with their own flow and style. No matter the color and shape of your processes take, have them. Your employee retention counts on it.

Morgan Wells is a high-energy leader with over 10 years of experience in branding, marketing, project management, and content development. She believes every brand must live from its purpose, and works with clients on marketing strategy and brand storytelling to help them connect with customers in the digital age.

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