How to Build an Ideal Team By Marketing Your Agency’s Culture

By Jason Swenk on January 9, 2022

Are you having a hard time hiring the right talent to build your agency team? Manish Dudhareija first started his journey as an entrepreneur nine years ago when he noticed there was a huge demand for skilled developers trained in the latest technologies and there was a gap in hiring, training that fit his expertise. He created E2M Solutions, a full-service agency that offers website design & development, SEO, copywriting, and content marketing. In this interview, Manish shares how agency owners can address the common struggle of finding and hiring new talent. He also talks about how advertising your culture can help attract the right people, and the creative ways you can make your agency stand out to top talent.

3 Golden Nuggets

  1. Advertising your culture. We’ve talked about how many agency owners need to do more to market themselves to potential clients. Manish adds another layer to this: marketing aimed at attracting the best people to your team. You’re really missing out if you’re not marketing your culture to attract the right elements. He likes to use LinkedIn to showcase his agency’s values and says he is as interested in candidates’ personality traits as he is in their skills. In this regard, he is looking to identify do they have the right kind of attitude? Do they have the willingness to learn? Are they curious? Are they accountable? The answers to these questions will be just as important in the process of selecting a new team member.
  2. Be creative in your search. When searching for your ideal team, Manish recommends creating ads that contain some sort of challenge, like code in the case of developers. This will help your agency stand out from the many messages just stating “we’re hiring” and is a way to spark the interest of the type of dynamic and curious individuals he wants to attract.
  3. On training his team. Manish has a team of senior developers whose main task is to be constantly researching and testing new technologies. Once the agency gets a new project, the team identifies the latest technology that they could work with and try to implement it. Later, when the opportunity arises, they propose that technology to their existing clients to let them know that they are always on the lookout for new developments in their area. This is also a good way to always have someone on the team that can train the rest of the developers and are creating the processes to do so.


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Getting Creative in Your Search for New Talent For Your Agency & Advertising Your Culture

{These transcripts have been auto-generated. While largely accurate, they may contain some errors.}

Jason: [00:00:00] What’s up, agency owners? Jason Swenk here, I have another amazing episode and we’re going to talk about, because look, I’ve been chatting with so many agency owners over the past months, and one of the big things is hiring the right people and just finding the right talent.

On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about some ways where you can find the best talent, should you hire seasoned pros or train them up? How do you train them up? And it really cool solution at the very end. So make sure you listen to the whole episode. So let’s go ahead and jump into it.

Hey, Manish. Welcome to the show.

Manish: [00:00:38] Hey, Jason. Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Jason: [00:00:41] Yeah. I’m excited to have you on. So tell us a little bit about your business. You know, you’ve been doing this for a while and you have over 110 people, but tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Manish: [00:00:52] Sure. Yeah. So I’m kind of an entrepreneur. I started this journey nine years back, uh, in 2012. So I founded E2M nine years back. And one of the reasons I founded this company is to solve a specific problem. That was kind of seeing, like, there is a huge demand of skilled and trained, you know, people, resources in terms of technology. And there was a gap, you know, I thought we can really feel where my expertise is, uh, strategy, uh, hiring, training people and, you know, injecting the traits like personality traits and how to have the force ready, where someone is looking for, like, you know, Uh, someone is not looking to hire people and they are looking for people who are trained to work with.

So that’s how I founded E2M. So it started like nine years back and we are kind of a white label, uh, you know, outsourcing company. Uh, we build websites, we do a lot of web development. With WordPress and Shopify and big commerce. And we work with digital agencies, regardless of the size, across the US and the other parts of the world.

And yeah, you know, we help them scale their agency business with our white label services.

Jason: [00:02:13] Awesome. Well, let’s get into it and let’s talk about, you know, a lot of agency owners struggle right now because there’s a lot of demand for what we’re doing, right? But it’s really challenging to find the right team members.

So what has worked for you? Because you guys have over 110 people what’s worked for you to constantly keep getting the best people?

Manish: [00:02:36] Yeah. That’s a very interesting question. And, um, I think, you know, similar, like the US, we have an adequate role here in India and we are also facing similar challenges hiring people.

But one of the things, you know, we are trying to do something is, so we often do a lot of marketing to attend the customers, right? But we never do a marketing to attract the people, right? Because we always think like, okay, you know, uh, that early the marketing has to be only to drive in the sales and leads. But I also feel like, you know, that you should also do a marketing to attract the people, right?

So we do a lot of branding our HR team, and we have a social media team, we do a lot of granting on LinkedIn. We expose or culture, you know, more often on LinkedIn and that builds the transparency, that builds the, like, that kind of showcase what we are, what our value is, right? So, we pay a lot of attention in that we, uh, be are vocal and we speak loudly about, you know, what our culture is, what kind of initiatives we have.

So it is not just about, uh, like, you know, the team outing lunch, or get together, but it’s more than that, right? So one of the things, you know, which I believe is other than the skill, the traits are very important as well. The personality traits, right. We kind of, you know, when we look for the people, we just do not look for the skill, but we also look for the traits, like what kind of traits to the have, right?

Do they have right kind of attitude? Do they have the willingness to learn? Are they curious? Are they accountable? Are they responsible? Are they good with working with the people? Are they having an open mindset? That allows us to train people faster, right?

So obviously we look for the skill, let’s say, if you are looking for a WordPress developer. Yeah. WordPress is something, you know, definitely that’s the reason we are interviewing them. But apart from that, we also look for the traits, right? So we are kind of a company where we pay a lot of attention and a lot of importance to the traits. So that’s kind of showcase, you know, in LinkedIn.

And transparency, right? I think, you know, one of the things that… Where people love to be in a transparent culture, right? So we don’t ask them, we don’t lock them into the contract that you have to sign bond with us. You have to work for X number of months or years with us. It’s kind of a very open culture we have where we explain them the benefits, how we are different.

Uh, we showcase and we let our other people speak, right? So we are over… uh, so we are like one hundred people right now. So a lot of our existing, we talk about how we have a higher retention ratio. The other team members, they speak about their experience openly. So these kinds of things, you know, help us attract a really, really good talent and, yeah, happy, happy people.

I would say like, you know, we get a lot of, uh, new hires through over existing members. So because they are already happily working with over here, right. So they do a word of mouth. See, it’s the concept of like, you know, the customer brings some other customer happy customer will bring another, you know, a customer.

The same concept applies when you were hiring people as well, right? That, okay, if you have a happy employees, happy you happy people working with you. Obviously they are going to bring other people, their friends and family members and friends and friends, they are going to bring that right. So I think, you know, there are the companies right now facing two types of challenges.

One is hiring new people, as well as retaining existing people. Fortunately, we are only facing one problem, which is like, you know, this is a good problem to have, hiring new people, for which we are also like know, working in a way that we are getting rid of that problem, but we do not have the second problem is retaining the existing people because we have a very transparent culture in a way where, you know, people feel more accountable and responsible and they can end with them the kind of growth they’re looking for.

So that is helping us a lot to retain existing talent and bringing on the new talent.

Jason: [00:07:21] I love that, you know, because I think a lot of agencies are missing out on always be recruiting. And, and be marketing to, you know, the people that you may need, because like you were saying, I think they’re focused on, you know, oh, I need to market to the clients. And, and look, if we’re all honest here, digital agencies do a pretty crappy job at marketing themselves, let alone marketing to the people that they want.

But you know, as, as you guys are listening to this episode, I really want you guys to go, man, this makes total sense. You know, first I need to market to, I need to do a good job of marketing to my clients, because there’s a lot of agencies that are built on word of mouth. But I need to commit to, you know, going forward to marketing our culture.

Because when you market your culture to people you’re trying to hire, it will actually help you with your clients, because they’ll be like, oh man, that’s pretty cool. Like, I want to work with this, this team. And the one other thing that we did, and you guys may do this as well, especially as, you know, your employees refer other employees to the team. We would do a commission structure or like a little bonus to them if, once we hired someone and they stayed for three months or longer.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

Manish: [00:08:38] Yeah, that’s what we have already done. We already have that in practice. So it’s, we also do bounty. So, you know, when you bring, refer to your friends and, you know, uh, any other candidates, if they get selected, you get a bounty of X number of amount once they complete three months. So we already had that in place.

The other thing, you know, we are doing differently is something… We know that, okay, the, everyone is using a Facebook and Instagram, right? So generally we do our services and what is meant on Facebook and Instagram. We are also doing our hiding our ads. So we have paid budget, uh, specifically allocated for that on a monthly basis where we do already creative posts, where not…

Okay, if you are looking for a WordPress developer, we put a PHP code and we say, okay, no, find an error on this. If you can find an error on this, you know, we are looking for you, right? So generally, you know, we do kind of this kind of creative ads and another example, you know, we, uh, that is kind of like, okay, our QA team is challenging that, okay, you know, if I’m going to review your code and I’m going to find X number of bucks, for sure. If you challenge that, okay. If you, if you do a code where I cannot find a bug at all, then we are looking for you, right?

So a lot of this kind of interesting ads we run on Instagram and Facebook that also helps us to be in front of, you know, people who are not even sometimes, no, they are not looking for a change, but the way we present ourselves, it makes them interested to apply for the position and change their mind.

So I’m actually reading a book right now, Atomic Habits. I’m sure you must have read. It’s a really interesting book. I’m reading, you know, it’s Atomic Habits. And, uh, one of the things, you know, that’s book I read is see when you sell something, people are not actually interested what you are selling, but they get more curious, how you present it to them, right?

So it’s like when we have an opening, we just don’t say we are looking for a WordPress developer, but we present in a way that, okay, we are looking for WordPress developer when we don’t write it very obviously. And that’s kind of, you know, attract them. Okay. This company is standing out and that’s where we are getting a lot of attractions.

Jason: [00:11:07] I love it. And I want to switch focus just a little bit, you know, as we kind of end the, or getting more toward the end of the show. How do you constantly…? Because I see agency owners struggling with constantly training their people with a new skill. So what have you seen work for you guys?

Manish: [00:11:30] That’s a good question. You know, so we have, you know, different people with different, uh, you know, skill set, right? So we have project managers who just look after the projects team and like that. Then we have technical leads, they are only there to solve developers, technical problems. And then we have a senior developer, some of our developers are just working on exploring the new technologies, right?

So what we do is, you know, when we work with agencies and they are looking for, let’s say they are hiring a WordPress developer with us, so then we ask them, okay, you know, there is a core vital, which is very important these days. We have started exploring onto headless CMS right now for building a fast-loading website, using react as a front end, WordPress is the backend, right?

So we kind of identify what is the latest in terms of technology. And we have a specific people who are just working on, you know, doing research and exploring the new technologies. And then when there is an opportunity, you know, we propose that to our existing clients that, hey, you know, we have been working since long and this is something new. What do you like us to try it out?

And they are always open for that. And that gives us a live project to work on. So it, it, it is kind of like, you know, we keep our eyes and ears open and we do a lot of research and we work with a lot of agencies. So we always get to know different problems than we have a technical team with just doing research, what’s the latest out?

And then, you know, they learn for us because they are highly experienced and then they, you know, teach that they kind of teach that to other developers as well. And that’s how we train that. One thing we do when they are doing that, they make sure to have the processes, they make sure to have documentation, right?

They make sure to have proper standards, coding standards in place. So there is documentation, there is a checklist. So the other developers who are being trained, they don’t have to train on the wheel, they get drained faster. So this is something, you know, this is how we are managing basically

Jason: [00:13:41] I love it. I love it. I love that you have dedicated people to, to that, that train the rest of the team. I think that’s where, you know, people make a mistake of, especially when they bring in a junior person and they think they’re just going to learn up very fast. If you don’t have a dedicated person or a dedicated system for training them, it’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to cost you more than it would of just hiring the more experienced person.

Well, this has all been amazing, Manish. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you think would benefit the audience?

Manish: [00:14:14] Yeah, I think, you know, the one thing is that, uh, we work with a lot of agencies and help them scale and grow with our white label. So this isn’t like that. So in case if any agency is facing a problem with management and you know, when you have projects on board, but you do not have anyone to help you executing those projects, then yeah we help agency owners, you know, with our white label services.

So we have a special offer for our listeners today. So we are, you know, we have, we are productized our white label services. So we have different monthly plans to choose from. So if you are listening to this podcast, you can go to E2M, to our website we have specifically designed for this audience, which is

So that’s E and 2 is a numeric and M for marketing If you go to that, that is so when you, you know, use this link, and if you are going to sign up for any of our plans, you will get an additional 10% discount for first three months.

Jason: [00:15:23] Awesome. Well, thanks so much for doing that for the audience. Make sure everyone goes there and, uh, check that out.culture

And, uh, I think that will be a great resource tool in helping you all build in 2022, I can’t believe it’s 2022. That’s crazy. So go to the website now go claim that offer and Manish, thanks so much.

And until next time have a Swenk day.

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