Creating a Vision and Culture to Attract Top Agency Talent

By Jason Swenk on December 14, 2016

If you’re struggling to build the agency you want or having issues taking it to the next level, it could be a lack of clarity.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • #1 Struggle of building an agency team
  • How to create and communicate your agency vision
  • An on boarding process that sets expectations from day one.

Today’s guest on the show is Danny Gonzalez, co-founder of Perception, the digital agency he and his partner built over the past fifteen years. Danny talks about how they communicate their vision in order to attract and keep top agency talent.

You’ve probably seen some of Perception’s work if you’ve watched Iron Man 2 or Batman vs. Superman. They’re the team responsible for the fictitious technology your favorite superheroes use. They also develop real-world tech solutions (for us non-superhero types), such as UX and UI designs for automotive and technology companies. Pretty cool, right?

#1 Struggle of Building a Team

The most difficult thing about building a team is getting your established clients to trust them. When you operate solo or as a partnership for a long time, your clients are accustomed to leaning on you. Although when you’re growing it becomes necessary to hire. The challenge is getting your existing clients to transfer their trust in you to your new team.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Hiring right lets you build the business instead of spending time in the weeds.” quote=”Hiring the right people frees you up to concentrate on building the business instead of spending time in the weeds.”]

The key is to start slow. It takes time to educate your current clients and have them accept a reorganization. Be sure display complete confidence in your new hires and over time your clients will feel it too.

With new clients, it’s much easier. Get your team involved from the start. Let go of your need to be involved. Assure the client that you are available if there’s an urgent need or large scale issue but their day-to-day contact is super capable of handling everything.

How to Create and Communicate Agency Vision

For the first few years, it was just Danny and his partner. But as they started growing and hiring, they began making notes about what they wanted for their company – expectations, culture, values and goals. With an agency name of “Perception”, for them it is all about internal and external perception and the senses.

Eventually these bullet point notes of expectations, values and vision turned into a handbook. The handbook is given to new hire candidates before they’re even hired. It includes “rules” things like:

  • We don’t bullsh*t each other.
  • We don’t shoot down each other’s ideas.

As well as the lifecycle of a project with a variety of scenarios that lead to different actions: “If this happens, then do X. If that happens, then do Y.”

This is definitely something that has evolved over time and it’s only one part of Perception’s on boarding process.

In my interview with a Zappos executive, she described their process for communicating Zappos Core Values. As a result, Zappos has increased productivity and creativity, reduced turnover and sick time and has topped many Best Workplaces Lists for several years.

On Boarding Process That Sets Expectations from Day 1

In addition to receiving the handbook, the partners give new hires their “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” presentation. They walk through past projects, clients and situation to go over what went right, what went wrong, what was learned and why sometimes you just have to walk away (that’s the ugly stuff 🙂 )

Other aspects of on boarding include communicating very role-specific expectations. Setting very clear expectations from the start also sets your team up for success.

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