How to Get Over the Hurdles of Agency Team Management with Shantel Khlief

By Jason Swenk on December 19, 2018

Are you having problems hiring or firing your employees? Ever feel like your team is holding back agency growth? In team management, hiring and firing employees doesn’t have to be difficult. Don’t worry about firing your less-than-perfect team members as your agency grows; it’s best for both of you in the long run!

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • #1 reason you should fire that one employee.
  • How to scale your agency with your current employees.
  • 3 key team management tips.

Today, I talked with Shantel Khlief CEO at Imagine Media Consulting, who has an absolutely incredible story of how she discovered her passion for marketing through pie! Shantel is one of those people who was born to be a marketer. She got her start when she couldn’t find a local pie shop’s menu on Facebook. Later, she stopped by and offered to grow the shop’s social media presence… and then like many of us, an accidental agency emerged!

Shantel shares some fantastic tips on employee hiring and firing, which is one of the most challenging aspects of growing an agency.

#1 Reason You Should Fire That One Employee

Every agency encounters a team member who’s just not making the cut. Maybe you feel a sense of loyalty toward a long time employee. Or, maybe you simply can’t bring yourself fire someone because you like them as a person (but dislike their work). Or, maybe you’re afraid of the impact firing will have on your clients and the rest of your team.

Here’s what you should do: fire them! Letting someone go may be precisely what they want (or need.) If you feel like the employee isn’t working hard enough, doesn’t fit your company culture or values then firing them may kickstart both of you. That employee will go on to do something new, and your other team members will respect you for it.

Remember, you’re the owner. You have to set an example. If you’re still hesitant, think about it this way. Would you rather fire them or lose your good employees because of them?

How to Scale With Your Employees

When your agency starts growing it’s typical to run into some employee friction. When you start out with just a few key team members, you’re all friends. You grab coffee together and talk shop regularly. But, when that number balloons up to 20+ suddenly you’ve gone from friend to boss-friend. Roles change and sometimes perceptions do not, which can cause friction. This is when team management plays a key role.

Look, it’s perfectly ok to change the playbook as your agency grows. The more employees you’re dealing with, the more difficult it becomes to please everyone. Sure, those loyal employees may be a little disappointed at first, but change happens. And, the good ones will understand how to help scale the agency to the next level.

3 Key Team Management Tips

1- Do more coaching. As your agency grows, your employees’ perception of you will change.. You may think they will come to you with any problem, but they may think you’re too busy. Coaching is a crucial piece of employee management. It’s a way to set expectations, deal with inconsistencies, and get employees pumped up.

2- Rethink your bonuses. Stop giving your employees bonuses at specific times. Give them out randomly. For one, it makes them appreciate it more. But, it also reduces any pain points caused by changing bonus structures. Once you hit the $1 million mark, you may have so many employees that high bonuses aren’t as realistic. My podcast with John Ruhlin completely changed the way I think about bonuses.

3- Fire the toxic employee. Seriously, I know it’s hard. But, as Shantel explains, it has to happen in order to grow. Stop worrying so much about what everyone thinks of you and put your goals and your agency first. The right move isn’t always the most popular one.

From this episode, use the tips and advice to improve your team management skills and grow your agency with the best team possible.

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