Agency Culture Hacking: How to Set Values, Work Remotely + Retain A-Players
Creating a successful agency is no easy feat. For those interested in digging beyond the requisite hard work and dedication, we’re sharing some key insights that contribute to great business strategy. Jonathan speaks about Creed’s essential components and more in a podcast with Marcus Taylor of Leadformly. If you want to skip straight to the podcast, jump to the end for the link.
Working remotely is something all Creed employees do. Jonathan was inspired by 37 Signals founder Jason Fried’s idea of REM work when he laid the foundations for Creed. REM work compares working deeply in uninterrupted stretches to working lightly with frequent interruptions. Instead of using valuable personal time, such as at night or on weekends for deep work, that time is built in during the workweek. Creed was born as a fully virtual company, though that proved to be less effective over time when small roadblocks became mountains, too large to work through. Having actual face-to-face time was key, so the current model was developed. Employees currently work remotely three days a week with Tuesday and Thursday as scheduled office days. This effectively consolidates deep work distractions to two days each week. Those two high collaboration days are used for scheduling meetings and overcoming problems.
Our set of values – called creedologies – drive all facets of the business. They were born out of frustrations of the industry, and the drive to break from the status quo. Specifically the entrenched dishonesty in agency interaction with clients. Creed’s beliefs came from the desire to stand for something more. Transparency at all levels where honesty and values embody the organization, and not just the handbook. The primary four tenants are Wholehearted, Serving, Excellence, and Resourceful. Every day we strive to live up to those values, going so far as to evaluate performance against them during annual reviews. Our conference rooms are named after those values, and most employees volunteer time outside of work to serve the community.
In the early days of Creed, Jonathan spent nearly as much as time recruiting as he did on sales. Assembling a strong talent pool was the first step in creating the flywheel effect on the team that attracts more talented individuals because they see a great workplace and talented team members. One of our senior level employees was recruited over 10 years, which is a huge investment but Jonathan knew he would be a perfect fit for the team, the position, and our culture. Hiring itself is also a long process, making sure we’re seeking the best in the industry which forces the agency to grow at a certain rate. Every step is carefully thought out to set Creed up for success while ensuring that employee happiness comes first.
Listen to the podcast and read the full transcript here.