16 Effective Ways Agencies Can Reduce Turnover In 2022

Many aspects of our lives and work have changed over the past few years, and businesses continue to deal with fallout from the economic uncertainty the pandemic has caused. One major development for agency leaders, in particular, to be aware of is the “Great Resignation” that is currently underway.

With so many professionals of all ages choosing to leave their positions with or without an escape plan or a new job lined up, the already-high turnover rates that agencies typically see could increase. Here, 16 members of Forbes Agency Council share tips to help agency owners reduce the negative impacts of higher turnover on their businesses in 2022.

1. Offer Freelance Talent Customized Contracts

Employees are increasingly opting for freelance careers. Agencies should be the first to live and breathe the new workplace trends. To retain your talent, aim to offer them a customized scope of work with a freelance contract. Offer attractive commissions if they refer big clients they get in contact with but can’t cover as a solopreneur. – Melanie Marten, The Coup

2. Stay Accessible With An Open-Door Policy

An agency can reduce turnover by having an open-door policy. Top-level executives at an agency should be accessible to the people who work at the company. Listening to what employees have to say and making changes based on their feedback can go a long way. If an employee feels as if they are having an impact at their agency, they feel ownership and are far more likely to stay. – Tellef Lundevall, Accelerated Digital Media

3. Build An Environment Where Teammates Support Each Other

Being in multiple industries, some affected more than others, the key to employee retention for us always comes down to the work environment and building a team of people who support each other. We have had amazing employees with very impressive résumés brought on who failed because they didn’t fit well with the rest of the team. Once your team forms a bond, that bond is tough to break. – Blake George, BMG Media Co.

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4. Make Time For The Things Employees Seek Most

Work on the agency side has always been exciting but also unpredictable and intense at times. Agency owners will benefit from protecting their teams by putting in place structured times for things employees seek the most: deep work that leads to deeper fulfillment, social interaction (especially if teams are remote), and physical and mental wellness. – Catherine Clark, clarkmcdowall


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5. Empower Employees To Choose Their Own Professional Journey

We are committed to creating an environment that promotes happiness, productivity and autonomy. We do this by empowering our employees to choose their own professional journey, whether that’s a hybrid work model, part-time schedule, project-based contract or full-time career. If they prefer their kitchen to a cubicle, we want to give them the opportunity to work in a way that suits their needs. – Steve Ohanians, WebEnertia

6. Adapt To Offer Employees Flexibility And Empathy

Adapt to offer your employees what they want and need: flexibility and empathy. Adapt to remote work or nontraditional hours—if enforcing seat time “where and when” doesn’t impact results, why do you care? Tense and volatile social and economic times are fatiguing. Walk the talk of being an agency “family” or “community” and genuinely check in more with team members to make sure they are okay. – Bess Winston, Winston Agency

7. Help ‘Bosses’ Transition Into Becoming ‘Coaches’

People don’t really leave companies; they leave their bosses. Any professional service firm that wants to retain their people should focus on helping “bosses” transition into becoming “coaches.” Coaching is the single best strategy for preventing talent flight. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

8. See Which Clients May Be Bringing Your Team Down

Focus on building an environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and overall happiness. To do that requires not just looking at your own culture but also at how the culture of your clients may be impacting your team. Review your client list to see which clients are bringing joy to the team and which ones may actually be bringing your team down. Toxic clients lead to unhappy agency employees. – Elyse Flynn Meyer, Prism Global Marketing Solutions

9. Connect Employees’ Goals And Values With Your Agency’s

Agency owners need to understand that employees are looking out for what is best for them, not the agency. This means they want positions that offer growth, flexibility, compensation and the ability to be challenged. Every employee has different core values. My advice is to talk with each employee to find out what they are looking for and work to connect their goals and values with your agency’s. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

10. Give Employees Opportunities To Discuss Concerns One-On-One

In these tumultuous times, employees are looking for stability. Provide your team with ample support and opportunities to discuss their concerns one-on-one. Leaders need to step up and guide their employees to reduce confusion and make it clear that you’re all here for each other. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

11. Prioritize Employees’ Job Satisfaction

Employees identify more opportunities for growth and professional development (and ultimately, feel a desire to keep contributing to the success of the agency) when job satisfaction is prioritized. Agencies that have established a strong company culture prior to the pandemic will be greatly rewarded during this time, as they will see lasting, positive effects on staff retention and recruiting. – Scott Miraglia, Elevation Marketing

12. Have A Clear Process For Rewarding Your Employees

One of the most important things is to make sure that there is a very clear process for rewarding your employees. The main reason for that is to make sure that your process creates a feedback loop to ensure that there are many different options. – Jon James, Ignited Results

13. Make Sure Your Employees Feel Heard

Employees are real people who have thoughts, goals and desires and want to be part of a team. Invite them to share their opinions, grow and experience the financial benefits of hard work. In turn, agencies may need to reassess the value being added by individual team members against the costs incurred attracting, onboarding and nurturing new talent. – Bernard May, National Positions

14. Make Employees Responsible For Their Projects’ Outcomes

People leave when they don’t have a mission or when they lose focus, in my opinion. I think it is critical to connect employees to projects and make them responsible for the outcomes. If they feel a part of something, it is harder for them to walk away from it. If they buy in, they will feel as if it is theirs. In most cases, no one wants to leave if they can make an impact and have ownership of their work. – Jerry Kelly, Marketing 360®

15. Have An Engaging, Creative And Transparent Work Environment

Listen to employee pain points—especially if they involve having too much on their plate—and work to resolve them. This means making sure that you and your managers are approachable and also regularly checking in with those who report to them. An employee who feels as if they are listened to and valued will work harder for the team. – Michelle Abdow, Market Mentors, LLC

16. Offer Fair And Equitable Compensation

Regularly topping the list of reasons that employees will leave a position is simply “pay.” To reduce turnover, it’s important to offer fair and equitable compensation. While flexible policies, open communication and meaningful recognition are important, they are rarely prioritized above salary and benefits. So be sure to regularly review the market rate and adjust accordingly. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

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