We surveyed almost 1,000 agency employees to find out what made them sticky or not, in terms of choosing to stay with a specific agency. Turns out there was one overwhelming reason to stay.

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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, this week, coming to you from Richmond, Virginia. You know, for many of you, the challenge of keeping your great team and finding new team members right now is really tough. So it occurred to me that one of the things that might be helpful for you is some data that we drew from one of the Agency Edge Research Series that we did a couple years ago where instead of talking to agency clients like we normally do, instead we talk to about a thousand agency employees. And one of the data points that came out of that research, that I think is absolutely as significant today as it was then, was we asked the employees, the respondents, what it was that would keep them at a job if someone was poaching them, if someone was trying to lure them into another job. And when we asked agency owners what they thought that answer would be, of course, what everyone thought is that was money. But it wasn't money. In fact, money was like fifth or sixth down the list. The number one answer by quite a bit was an employee will stay at an agency if they feel like the agency owner and leadership team is invested in helping that employee grow and learn. And what that means is anything from giving them access to online courses to sending them to conferences and workshops, for your employees want to keep getting better. And they want to keep getting smarter, they want to keep getting more valuable, because that's how they get promotions, that's how they get raises, that's how they elevate themselves professionally, and they're looking to their employer to be invested in that. That was the number one answer by a huge long shot. So, one of the things as we're coming out of the pandemic and everybody is getting a little more stable in terms of spending and all of that, one of the things that a lot of you did during 2020 was you froze any sort of educational opportunity. You weren't sending people even to online conferences, let alone, obviously, they won't go into real conferences. But all of the learnings were to stop because A) we skinny down our staff, B) we were just scrambling to stay alive, and C) everybody was working from home, and it was challenging, and so you wouldn't want to put additional pressure on your team in terms of more things for them to do. Well, now it's time to step back into that pre-pandemic habit of investing in your people and helping them grow. So, one thing I want you to remember, though, about investing in your people, the best employees, the employees who really do want to grow and get better, also understand that it is not just your responsibility; that while it is great for you to pay for a conference or a workshop or an online course, that they, too, have a responsibility for their own growth and their own learning. So sometimes they need to do it on their own time and on their dime. So watch for the employees who are so hungry to learn that they're doing it themselves. They're going after Google certifications or whatever it may be. Those are the employees to invest in because they are committed to getting better. And you know what? While they want to get better so they can get a promotion or a raise, you want them to get better because you want them to be more efficient and more effective, and for them to grow in their professionalism, so you can have people underneath them that they can grow. That's how you scale. And the way you scale is by investing in your people and helping them get better. And the great news is, it's also how you keep your best employees. I'm not saying don't give them a raise. I'm not saying don't give them a bonus. What I'm saying is, what we heard loud and clear, was the thing that they value the most. Because it's not just about the money you spend, but it's about the confidence that you're showing in them; that you believe they're worthy of the investment, that you believe they can learn and grow. So it's not just the learning, but it's also the message that the learning sends to them about how you feel about their career path. So as your thinking about how to retain your best employees, I'm having conversations every day where people are feeling that their best employees are at risk. One of the ways to sort of cement them into your shop is to ask them what they want to learn and how you can help them do that. All right? I hope that's helpful. I'll be back next week. See you then.

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