5 Reasons Why Employees Love Boutique Agencies
Deciding between career opportunities can feel overwhelming. It may seem rational to base your job search on a brand, job title or salary, or just leave it to chance and go with your first option.
However, choosing to work at an agency can provide a solid platform for career growth, though big agencies vary considerably from boutique agencies. For example, there are usually a significant number of openings with big agencies that are available, while openings with boutique agencies are less common. Though harder to find, this article explores the benefits of the latter.
Here are some of the top reasons that employees love working at boutique agencies:
People Feel Like Family
One of the best things about working at a smaller agency is that you really get to know your co-workers, clients, and vendors. In contrast, when you work at a big agency, you’re typically stretched across multiple accounts. There are layers of account managers and relationship stewards that can dilute the intimacy of the relationship. Therefore, when working at a boutique agency, you most certainly will have more intimate relationships with clients.
The same goes for co-workers. Smaller account teams and fewer accounts mean that everyone works together and gets to know each other. You’re also working for a common set of goals determined by leadership, such as expanding into new areas or cross-selling services, which feels more like a group quest than a job. You’ll also likely know, and be appreciated by, ownership, which is much better than working at a company where you never see or meet the CEO.
Education in Entrepreneurship
Working at a boutique agency can feel a lot like being on the board of directors for the company. You are privy to information about many aspects of the business including business strategy, recruiting, new business, marketing, and operations.
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit or would like to start a business of your own one day, a boutique agency may be the right place for you. Your entrepreneurial spirit will be nurtured, and you’ll get a good education in entrepreneurship while learning about the inner workings of the agency as a whole.
You Wear Many Hats
At a smaller agency, you’re anything but just another resource. You have the ability and opportunity to make more of a difference by wearing many hats. Employee interests and passions are nourished. Employees have the opportunity to contribute to new business, marketing, recruiting, project management, etc. in addition to their primary job function if they choose. Employees generally have more opportunities to move to different capabilities as well. You’ll most likely be able to make more of an impact with regard to process development and innovation.
You may think that because larger companies have deeper pockets they will compensate you more. That’s not necessarily true. Remember, big agencies are typically owned by holding companies, which set high profit margin goals for agencies. Big salaries generally go to the leadership team and everyone else gets squeezed.
Branding is another tool that big agencies use to their advantage. Since many employees want to work for a reputable brand, agencies use this as a reason to compensate less.
Boutique agencies are certainly aware of the competition for talent. As a result, these agencies can get very creative with recruiting efforts, perks and benefits. Many boutique agencies provide unique bonus offerings, as well as other benefits, which big agencies may not be able to match due to restrictions from holding companies. These benefits may be worth exploring.
Job security probably wouldn’t be on your list as a benefit when considering employment with a boutique agency. However, it quite possibly should be.
It’s not uncommon for big agencies to lay off staff when accounts are lost. Accounts can be quite sizeable and, therefore, layoffs can be as well. Given that account loss is so frequent, big agencies often roll up performance-based terminations under the guise of layoffs to soften the blow to employees. Either way, it happens frequently.
Boutique agencies are often in the growth stage, and new accounts are typically added more frequently than they are lost. This creates better job security. Furthermore, when you work at a smaller agency, you most likely will know the ownership and be treated less like a number. If you’re a good employee, concessions are more likely to be made to keep you, even during tough times.
Boutique agencies attract a unique caliber of talent. Employees are typically entrepreneurial-spirited with a greater desire to be part of a quest or mission versus filling a specific job function. Even though the opportunities are less common, the benefits of employment with a boutique agency are extremely enticing for the right personality types. If you’re lucky enough to be presented with an opportunity, it is at least worth exploring.
Finally, boutique agencies may provide a long-term respite from the common phenomenon of big agency burnout, as well as a more creative and entrepreneurial work environment. Therefore, even big agency veterans should consider opportunities within a boutique agency. Sometimes a “small” approach can reap big rewards.