ON THE BENCH INSIGHTS

The Importance Of A Company Culture During A Pandemic

We got the chance to chat to Clodagh Higgins from Growit Group about the challenges agencies are facing at the moment.

In the last segment, we discussed What Agencies Must Do Now when Clodagh explained that with all this uncertainty, agencies are switching from long-term retainers to doing 60 day to 90 day projects and are hiring freelancers to just get the work done and make clients happy.

In this segment, we spoke about how employees are feeling during the lockdown period and how Agency Owners can support their team and create a conscious company culture.

Listen/download the podcast here

Clodagh is a reformed digital agency owner who then worked at HubSpot for 4 years. She realized that agencies need help with their businesses so three years ago, she joined Growit Group as an agency coach helping agencies increase their revenue and fix their company culture.

If you need some business consulting or advice for your agency, check out Clodagh’s service bundles here.

Q: What are the common challenges that you are seeing among agencies?

It seems to be a new wave every week, to be honest! First of all, there are the outside factors of the pandemic and then there has been race riots. As I deal with everyone on a global level, I can see that different governments have had different reactions to things.

These outside elements are not within our control but they do affect employees more than they affect entrepreneurs. If you ever work with me, this is one of the first realizations that you need to come to: when you're an entrepreneur and you start a business, it's not that you're not human, but you do have a drive and you're able to block things out a lot more than employees. Employees have different motivations.

What's happening now is that entrepreneurs can work day and night, they are super driven and super focused. A lot of the ones that I work with are basically saying to me, "I'm not letting the pandemic get the better of me."

Whereas, employees have different motivations. They like working in the agency but at the end of the day, it's a job. They can go and find another job. Compared to an entrepreneur who dies on the sword of their agency. Failure is not an option to them. 

Before the pandemic, I would work with agencies and and go, "listen, you have employees and they need a career path and a promotion plan..." and what's happened since is that employees have been very affected in what's going on in the world.

Perhaps their family has been affected or their friends have lost jobs. They are overworking - generally employee productivity has gone through the roof.

There a reason for that - survivor guilt: You have got your job but people close to you have lost theirs so you feel bad, you're working all the hours to make sure that you can prove to your agency owner that you're valuable.

1st month was okay, 2nd month, there were some cracks but now people are really suffering. They haven't had a break or a holiday. They are stressed out about what's going on in the world. They can't see an end out of it and there is a lot of mixed messaging from the governments about what's opening and not opening. It's all very confusing.

This is a big opportunity for the Agency Owner to create your own culture in the team. Here's what they need to do:

1) Firstly, they need to take a break 

  • Agency Owners need to take a break themselves, I know they can't go on holiday, but they need to give themselves a break.
  • They need to encourage employees to take breaks, long weekends etc.
  • They need to break the 'always working' mindset they they have created. If they don't, they are going to burn out.

2) They need to talk about mental health with their employees

  • Discuss things like meditation and mindfulness
  • Encourage the team to talk to someone if their are feeling anxious
  • Support their employees by investing their healthy lifestyle. One of of the agencies I work with in the UK have allocated a budget to mental health and the employees can use their portion how they please. One staff member used it for yoga classes, another for counselling etc. 

That's the starting point. We need to acknowledge that we're not working from home, we're working through a pandemic - very important. 

Give people a chance to recharge because it doesn't look like this is ending anytime soon.

Posted by Julia Short on Jul 14, 2020 5:20:43 PM
Julia Short

Julia Short

Julia Short is a Digital Account Manager at Huble Digital. Email julia@onthebench.io to get in touch.
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Topics: Professional Services, Agency Advice

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