Don’t ignore employee well-being: SEO agency owners

To this end, ensure that your managers receive targeted training on monitoring team members’ working hours. More importantly, teach them how to address the root cause of the problem and make sure no one feels like they have to work overtime.

6. Map out clear progression plans for each team member

Whether someone comes in as a junior and moves up the ranks or moves straight into a management role, if they don’t believe they have the room to grow and develop while at your agency, they will go elsewhere in search of more senior positions.

To combat this (and to ensure you’re not simply training talent on behalf of your competitors), provide everyone with progression paths tailored to their career goals. These paths should have clear deadlines and realistic milestones that can be reviewed periodically to keep communication open.

At Digitaloft we offer everyone a £1,000 training allowance each year, which they can use towards courses, industry events and conferences, or gain further qualifications and certifications that they feel will benefit them.

The results? We see individuals at all levels taking their success into their own hands, working to improve themselves, reaping the rewards and, in turn, generating growth for the agency. In the end, this investment of almost 80,000 pays for itself without breaking a sweat.

7. Take a zero-tolerance approach to disrespectful customers

While there is room for disagreement, healthy debate, diplomacy, and professional expressions of grievance, there is never a need for outright rudeness.

Let’s say you are the owner of an SEO agency with 10, 15 or even 20 years of experience in the industry. If so, you’ve probably developed a thick enough skin for things like this, but that won’t be the case for everyone on your team, especially younger members.

Dealing with disrespect, insults or discrimination can have a huge impact on your employees’ mental health, so it is your duty as a leader to step in and protect your employees.

Treat your team members with the same respect you hope to receive, even if it means burning ties with a paying customer.

While it may seem counterintuitive from a business perspective, it is exactly the opposite. Happy workers are more productive and help you gain more customers than you lose.

8. Recalibrate assumptions about mental health

As the conversation around mental health opens up, people are letting go of stigmas and access to support is improving.

To attract and retain the best talent, don’t take shortcuts; instead, prioritize mental health and communicate how your company supports the needs of its employees.

As standard, you should offer:

  • Health cash plans (cash back on prescriptions, rapid access to GPs, consultations, reimbursements for physical therapy).

  • Mental health first aid training for internal team members.

  • Resilience and emotional intelligence training for managers.

  • Take paid days for mental health (as you would for physical illnesses).

  • Champions of inner well-being.

  • Support before, during, AND after someone has had difficulty.

  • Judgment-free spaces where people feel comfortable asking for help.

  • Above-average maternity, paternity and parental leave benefits.

Ultimately, if you don’t offer these benefits, one of your competitors will.

9. Communicate as if your life depends on it

Okay, your life may not depend on it, but your agency does.

From experience, there are four ways to keep communication open as teams grow, each with a different purpose:

  1. Weekly instant updates: Each week, share a summary of highlights, challenges, and upcoming plans with your entire team. You can share however you communicate internally. Everyone feels included and no one hears things around.

  2. Monthly newsletters: Once a month, share a detailed insight into your personal successes, challenges, strategies and victories. Invite each team to contribute, sharing what they’ve been working on over the past few weeks and whether they could use support from other departments.

  3. Quarterly team meetings: When it comes to opening doors to new talent and accommodating individual work preferences, having remote or hybrid teams can be a game changer. But nothing compares to in-person meetings when it comes to solidifying friendships and sparking creativity. Once a quarter, give each team a budget to host a meeting that includes strategy sessions, team building activities, and some social activities.

  4. Annual meeting of all agencies: At an important time each year (perhaps around Christmas or the end of the financial year), bring your whole agency together in person to reflect, celebrate and explore what lies ahead. These meetings are an opportunity to share progress against annual goals, celebrate milestones, raise awareness of ongoing projects, and allow everyone to share their learnings. This face-to-face interaction is crucial for remote teams, as it breaks down communication barriers.

10. Build diverse communities internally

People are simultaneously more connected and disconnected than ever. In fact, according to new Meta-Gallup research, nearly 1 in 4 adults globally now struggle with feelings of loneliness.

But as employers, you are responsible for combating this loneliness epidemic by implementing measures to help your teams foster a true sense of community spirit. If you don’t, you risk ending up with a disengaged workforce and agency-wide mental health issues that impact performance.

At Digitaloft we asked our teams to suggest internal community groups they would like to participate in. Two examples that have been successful are CraftLoft and BookLoft – there are no prizes for guessing what the focuses of these are.

These groups maintain a virtual and physical presence within the agency, having dedicated Slack channels for members to connect whenever they want, as well as regular in-person meetings.

I also recommend hosting volunteer-led forums focused on neurodiversity advocacy, individual well-being, and charitable efforts. They help create a broader atmosphere of belonging and inclusiveness.

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