Why Agencies Need Better People Development

Jane is a star performer at your agency. And this morning she walked into her manager’s office and said, “I quit.”

Why? What led to this? How could this have been avoided?

After some prodding the truth comes out: “There just wasn’t room for me to grow here.”

Jane was bored. And Jane was frustrated. And that boredom and frustration is now a huge set of costs for the agency.

Some costs are obvious:

  • recruiting costs to find Jane's replacement
  • training costs to get her replacement up and running

Some costs are not obvious at all:

  • mistakes made on Jane’s projects during the transition
  • disruption of Jane’s team in the wake of her departure
  • damaged client relationships you must repair

Oh, and there’s the revenue you’ll lose in 6 months when two of Jane's clients leave you and go over to her new firm.

Studies show that the total cost of replacing Jane can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2X her annual salary.1 Multiply this times all the potential Jane’s in your agency and you start to see the size of the problem. Depending on your annual turnover rate, this could be costing you as much as 20% of your annual payroll. This might be a 7-figure hole in the hull of your ship!

But Jane’s story is preventable. It starts with a simple shift in perspective: No one wants a job. They want a journey.

People want to go on an adventure that will challenge and change them. They want to be transformed into better professionals and better people. They want to look back on their time at your agency and see the ways in which they’ve grown. They want to see a trail of successful projects that pushed them to develop new skills and more maturity.

Provide this journey for your people and you patch that hole in the hull.

Who Should Read This?

This field guide is for anyone trying to build a Growth Culture.

Maybe you're the CEO. Maybe you're the head of HR. Maybe you're simply the person who raised your hand at the leadership meeting when the topic of "training and career development" came up.

But most likely you want to prevent more Jane situations. Perhaps people are quitting for the wrong reasons. Or they don't feel pushed or supported with their own development. Maybe "Training and career growth" keeps topping the wish list on the annual employee engagement survey.

The message comes in many forms, but ultimately your people are saying, "I feel stuck".

Your goal is to help them get unstuck. Not directly; that's the goal of a manager or mentor. Rather, your goal is to tinker with the culture and process so that your agency can systematically get people unstuck and help them flourish and grow.

Think of your agency as a conduit for talent. People should enter your agency... spend some years building skills, experience, and intuition (while creating value for the agency)... and then leave as elite professionals and positive brand ambassadors for your agency.

That's what a Growth Culture does: it turns your agency into an efficient and inspiring conduit for talent.

Who are we?

CultivateMe is a small and discerning people development agency... for agencies.

Since 2016 we've helped agencies in New York, Los Angeles, and London become a conduit for talent. We've helped them establish a Growth Culture that turns their jobs into journeys. As a result they've seen retention go up and teams grow tighter. Most importantly they've created the capacity for more growth.

This field guide synthesizes all our lessons and experience on how to do just that: create a sustainable system of people development that attracts and retains great talent… a system for turning jobs into journeys.

Part 1 covers the foundational elements of good people development.

Part 2 walks through how to apply those foundational elements to each stage of the employee journey.

Part 3 looks at different ways to take that first step and transform your agency.

Take what you want. Try it out where you can. And if you get stuck, drop us a line at hello@cultivateme.xyz.

Let’s get started…