Which one word is the key to agency success?

 |  By: Steve Johnson In: Agency creativity | Agency management | Design | Growing an agency

In Forbes magazine on 15 March this year, Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte writes of a recent study of 2,500 organizations in 90 countries. Their main conclusion? Companies are struggling to engage their workforces today.

  • 79% of business leaders believe they have a significant retention and engagement problem.
  • 77% do not feel they have the right HR skills to address the issue.
  • Only 17% feel they have a compelling and engaging employment brand.

His assessment is that workers today want more. They are demanding, they want meaningful work, and they expect their employer to make work more rewarding.

Here’s more evidence. A recent international report by Gallup called State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide  says that only 13% of employees around the world are actively engaged at work, and more than twice that number are so disengaged they are likely to spread negativity to others.

The UK ‘engaged’ figures are slightly better than the average. But before we get too superior at beating the French and Germans here, the UK’s ‘actively disengaged’ numbers are also higher than average. It can only mean that we’re a country of extremes.



It’s startling, yes? As the Forbes article says,

“Let’s face it. If you’re a business leader, the only thing you really have is your employees’ commitment and engagement. This is not ‘one of the things’ to worry about, this is ‘the thing’ to worry about.”

But let’s not panic. The numbers in the chart are the averages across all UK industries. Agencies aren’t typical companies, however. No agency could survive a week if only 17% of their employees were engaged with their work, right?

I asked Nigel Wilson, MD of Birmingham-based digital agency Clevercherry, which one word is the key to agency success. He said

“I believe that culture is the key to our industry. Retaining our culture as we grow is important to us. It’s who we are. You don’t want to lose the important aspects of your personality and what you stand for.”

Judging by my experience of the very palpably positive buzz at Clevercherry and other UK agencies I’ve visited recently, engagement and a vibrant culture are areas that are being excelled at in some of our most creative UK agencies today. It’s a pleasure to witness it.

But how do you maintain your culture if you’re growing in size? What’s to stop it becoming diluted? See Clevercherry’s views on creativity, agency growth and culture in their infographic at www.synergist.co.uk/user-stories


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