If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being on the road, it’s that every agency offers their own unique set of perks. And in turn, those perks play a pivotal role in the overall culture and appeal of that agency. They encompass a wide array of themes, but each one helps to create and sustain an environment that is appealing to those who work there.
It’s true that some perks can be found in many, if not most, agencies. Things like free breakfasts, beer kegs and community candy drawers are all things I’ve come across again and again. However, most places also offer some very unique benefits. And they're the most important of all, because they help the agency stand out from the pack. For instance, BooneOakley has a fridge stocked with client products and often treats the team to home-cooked meals. Both of which help to reinforce their more casual and laid back environment. At Boxing Clever, they allow team members to take a “tattoo recovery day” if they ever get some fresh ink done and also maintain a near endless supply of records in the office. In the end, these highly specific perks attract a certain type of person to the agency in question (I’m included in both pools).
The best agencies I’ve visited don’t just offer random, off-the-wall perks to win over their team members. No, they bake these bonuses into their established cultures to help reinforce the agency’s values and expectations. That’s why BooneOakley, Boxing Clever and 99% of the other agencies I’ve visited stand out as employers. They don’t offer things for the sake of offering them. They do it because they want to reward the team for their hard work and do it in a way that matters. They listen. They understand. I mean, you won’t see Red Tettemer handing out gold watches or diamond-encrusted pens anytime soon. It’s not right for the team they’ve built and they know it.
In the end, I think one of the best examples comes from Recess Creative in Cleveland. I always talk about how much it felt like a family there and I wasn’t lying. They’re a small group doing big things and enjoying every minute of it. I think a big part of that has to do with how enjoyable Tim and Chris make each day. They understand everyone in that office and know what makes them tick. That allows them to offer perks on the fly or base them on a particular season, situation or event. From annual holiday traditions to random “in the moment” offerings, they make sure every single perk and benefit reflects their culture—and it shows.
Last December, Recess set high expectations for this entire project and I feel extremely lucky to be visiting so many other great agencies that continue to surprise me with their unique and wonderful cultures. It’s a beautiful thing when everyone at an agency loves what they do and pours that emotion into their work every single day.