Managing Agency Culture During Times of Change

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NOELLE WEAVER: Our agency is going through a period of growth that has sparked a good deal of internal discussion about change and agency culture.

I’m sure we’ve all worked in places where day-to-day life was less than ideal. People were secretive. Rumors in the hallways. Worry of failure. Lack of motivation or motivation driven through fear.

At SS+K we love our jobs, the people we work with, the analytical hallway discussions, the crazy emails that poke fun at the partners and the after-hours office pranks. We don’t want any of that to change.

So we ask ourselves how do we maintain a culture that we've grown to know and love?

Over the years I have worked at agencies that have merged with other agencies, added new employees, hired new management and gained new clients. A few things remained true no matter what the reason for growth and change.

1.) Strategy + Execution: The agency plus its management team needs to have a passionate belief in what it stands for, where it is going, how it will grow and importantly, commit to it.

2.) Communication: You can’t expect your employees to love and accept your vision if they don’t know what that vision is. Communicate. At all levels. [Walk the hallways. Hold a town meeting. Take the staff out for beers after work.]

4.) Understanding: Recognize that people fear change and have heightened sensitivity during times like this. Open up avenues for discussion and questions. Have someone in charge of addressing concerns.

5.) Carry On: Continue to celebrate successes. Big and small. It will make your employees feel like winners.

Most of all, remember to create a culture that shows passion for what you do, that rewards innovative thinking, that celebrates and recognizes accomplishment and inspires your employees to lead. If you do, they’ll most likely reward you for your efforts
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