Want to keep your rock star team members? Then don’t follow in the footsteps of most agency owners and make this all too common mistake.

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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, this week coming to you from my home studio. You know, I know, for many of you, you are concerned about retaining your rock stars. That is a worry that you’ve taken with you through 2021 and you’re bringing with you into 2022. And I don’t blame you a bit. With the hiring situation the way it is, with as expensive as new employees have gotten in 2021, keeping your rock stars and keeping them happy is really a critical element of our business. But I’ll tell you there is a mistake, a common mistake, that many agency owners make that actually puts you at risk of losing your rock stars. And it’s this. Nothing is going to kill a great employee’s attitude, desire to stay in your shop, willingness to fend off other offers, than watching you keep mediocre employees. And I get it. I get it. I totally get it! When you tolerate a bad employee, I assure you, long before you knew they were a bad employee, the people around them knew and they’ve been feeling resentful and frustrated because they’re carrying the weight of that bad employee. Now, in an employment situation like we’re in now where it’s so hard to find people, I have been in many conference rooms where agency owners have justified keeping someone because they were busy, because they couldn’t find a replacement, fill in the blank. But what’s missing in that equation and that conversation is the risk. And the risk is that if you keep that mediocre or bad employee, what you’re saying to your rock stars are, “I’m okay with surrounding you by people who aren’t as talented, who aren’t as dedicated, who aren’t as passionate as you. And I’m also okay with making you tolerate that.” And when we talk to agency employees who have left to go somewhere else, in many, many cases, what they’re saying is, “I was tired of carrying the extra weight. I was tired of staying up late and working on the weekends while fill-in-the-blank person, while Bad Beth – of course, it’s Bad Beth – while Bad Beth didn’t do her job. And everybody saw it, including the agency owner, but they didn’t do anything, which makes me think that I’m going to have to experience this and endure this forever. So, you know what? I got a job offer and I took it.” I am a firm believer that you should be ranking your employees. You should be grading them on a quarterly basis. And if you’ve got anybody who’s below a B, you need to have a serious talk with them about how to elevate their performance up to a B or an A, or you need to move them out. I don’t care how busy you are. I don’t care how hard it is to replace them because the risk is exponential. And what you’re really risking is your best rock stars, so don’t take that risk. Clean house. Only keep employees who deserve to be in your shop and who deserve to be surrounded by and surrounding the other people that work for you. Don’t settle for less. It’s much more expensive than you think. All right? I’ll see you next week.

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