How to Build A “Best Place to Work” Company

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By Casady Williams

It’s no secret that Power Digital Marketing has won numerous awards over the past few years for its outstanding company culture. From Outside Magazine to the San Diego Business Journal to Inc. Magazine, Power Digital has won them all. So, what’s the special ingredient that makes us so great? Believe it or not, it’s not just the dog-friendly office space and the catered organic lunches. Power Digital Marketing is ranked as a best place to work time and time again because of three factors that attract the top marketing talent in Southern California.

Autonomy + Freedom

Every employee at Power Digital is encouraged to embrace a CEO mentality by having a strategic vision for the company and making executive decisions. This autonomous empowerment is one of the reasons the company maintains a 95% employee retention rate. The key to the agency’s success is having a leadership team that is well-informed without the need or desire to micromanage their employees.

Their management style has allowed the agency to bring new solutions to the market inspired and created by team members. Most recently, Power Digital employees launched the influencer marketing department and the Amazon marketing department after identifying opportunities for growth with their current clients. When team members come to the leadership with an idea, they provide authentic counsel and the freedom to succeed, all the while, encouraging them in return to showcase what they accomplished. And if something goes wrong in the process, the managers lead the team to a solution rather than solving it for them.

Digital + Traditional PR

In the same vein, one of the agency’s most unique attributes is its supplemental compensation structure. Power Digital provides every team member several opportunities to earn commission for employees who go above and beyond. At the end of each quarter, Power Digital distributes a percentage of every dollar of net profit directly to its employees. Although this is unique for marketing agencies, leadership believes the team should be compensated in a structure that rewards and motivates great work.

Culture + Empowerment

Power Digital is composed of some of the top talent in the industry who have plenty of career options, so the agency needs to prioritize more than just the work. That’s one of the many reasons we created Empower Digital, a program that focuses on a philanthropic event every month. Past initiatives include team charity events, sponsorships and pro bono work. Most recently, Power Digital provided pro bono marketing services for Women’s March San Diego. For months, the team offered social media, public relations, influencer marketing, and email marketing to promote the march completely free of charge. More than half of the company is composed of talented, driven women so it was well-received by all employees.

Outside of the office, we believe it is important to foster friendly and collaborative relationships among employees. Each year the top-performing team members embark on an all-inclusive President’s Club trip. At the beginning of each year, the executive team sets aggressive goals for the agency and each individual employee strives to hit these goals throughout the year. Past President’s Club trip destinations have included Hawaii, Costa Rica, Jamaica and more. The experience not only motivates the team to hit their goals, but also provides a unique bonding opportunity in an entirely new environment.

But what really shows that our initiatives and leadership are effective is the 95% employee retention rate. When people are happy, they stay and bring their friends with them. In 2018, Lafrenz scaled the team by 32 employees, and most recently in 2019, already hired seven new team members.

Integrity + Loyalty + Trust

Power Digital has experienced unprecedented success primarily due to the amount of trust and transparency present among employees. The executive team operates with an open-door policy so at all times team members can step into their offices with candid questions about operations, finances or even difficult client issues. This open-door policy also translates virtually into the online Power Digital Command Center. At any point in time, employees can review the status of new business pipeline, client budgets and retainers, and agency revenue. Access to this data allows team members to identify and collaborate on client upsell and cross sell opportunities.

In addition to financial transparency, Power Digital maintains constant open communication between employees, managers and executives. Power Digital never lets their employees go unheard. Instead of quarterly or yearly performance reviews, Power Digital holds one-on-one meetings on a bi-weekly basis. Each employee meets with the director of their department every other week so the directors have a close pulse on their entire team. Whether it’s breakfast, meeting in the office, or grabbing lunch to chat about bandwidth, client challenges, and personal goals. Transparency has a number one place at Power Digital.

Lastly, setting goals is what guides our team toward success week after week and has become a huge part of our culture. Every Monday, our team sets three goals for the week, and on Fridays during our goals showdown, the department with the most successful week wins $100 to spend on a team event, a new resource or anything else they’d like. This increases accountability for each team member and encourages employees to celebrate the wins of others.

Why it Works

At Power Digital Marketing, our people are our product and our biggest priority. Through autonomy, empowerment, and trust, we created an organizational culture where employees feel empowered and valued.

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