How to Attract and Keep Millennial Agency Employees

By Jason Swenk on January 13, 2020

Struggling to attract and keep Millennials at your agency? Do you want to learn what motivates Millennials in the workplace and how you can become an inspiring leader? Millennials are slowly taking over the workforce as the largest group, which means learning how to attract them and keep them around is critical for the success of your agency.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • New trends in incentivizing agency employees.
  • 4 things Millennials want from their leaders.
  • 2 ways to keep agency employees engaged.

Today, I talked with Chris Tuff, Executive Vice President and Partner at 22squared and best-selling author of The Millennial Whisperer. Chris has achieved great success as a digital marketer and is revered for his thought leadership and boldly blazing new paths in the digital space, including working with companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Chris shares some golden nuggets of information about motivating and leading Millennials to help you build an amazing agency team.

New Trends in Incentivizing Agency Employees

Today’s workforce has different values and traditional incentives might not be the key to keeping good employees at your agency. Instead, consider adapting to the go-getters. Chris believes in the importance of giving your employees a stake in the company. You can do this in a few different ways:

  • Phantom Stock. Sometimes called “shadow stock,” you don’t actually give your employees stock, but you give them the same financial benefits as stockholders.
  • ESOP. Implementing an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) gives your employees shares in the agency towards their retirement. You can either give employees shares or money to buy shares.
  • Partnership. The largest stake you can give your go-getter employees is to make them a partner in your agency. Typically, you offer this to employees as an opportunity for them to buy into your company and become a partner.

4 Things Millennials Want from Their Leaders

You’ve probably heard comments about Millennials like “entitled, needy, dumb, impatient, naive.” Chris argues these characterizations simply aren’t true. In fact, his favorite quote is “Millennials aren’t the problem, they just expose all the problems.” Many agencies are doing it wrong because they don’t understand what Millennials want from their leaders. According to Chris, you need to provide the following things as you lead your team, so you can retain quality employees:

  1. Inspirational leadership which includes coaching and goes beyond simple motivation.
  2. Autonomy such as remote work or flexible work schedules.
  3. Transparency like sharing information and communicating the vision.
  4. A sense of purpose which fosters employees’ passions and interest.

2 Ways to Keep Agency Employees Engaged

Attracting and keeping Millennials isn’t only about incentivizing and understanding their leadership needs. You also have to adapt the way you promote them and really learn how to bring out leadership traits. Chris says this is really about making a connection with your team and you can do that in two ways:

  1. Follow your team on social media. Some agency owners and bosses assume following your employees on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is a big no-no. This isn’t true. In fact, you can create a stronger connection with your team, foster friendship, and show empathy by keeping up with what’s going on in their lives.
  2. Be open to your team’s side-hustles. So, you might think it’s counterintuitive to encourage your team to have a side-hustle because it distracts them from their work at your agency. Yet, it’s these side-hustles that fuel your team’s passion and purpose. When you are open to supporting other projects that aren’t in direct competition with your agency, you help your employees feel engaged in work and in life. This can fulfill their desires and keep them from moving on to other employers or projects.

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