Agency EA is in the business of creating memorable experiences for organizations ranging from The Obama Foundation and The Oprah Winfrey Show to Hilton, Google, Facebook, and Target.
This 20-year old experiential marketing firm, voted one of the best employers in Chicago, also delivers on a cultural experience for its team that helps to keep its turnover low and its competitive advantage strong.
In 2017, Agency EA had 101 employees and was in search of their first dedicated HR professional and technology to support their people programs. Their top priority: finding a software to centralize all HR functions, from new hire paperwork to payroll. “The selection team came at this problem like they approach client projects: with open minds and fresh thinking,” according to Traci Pratt, who joined as the agency’s HR lead.
The firm selected Zenefits and continues to explore and be impressed by how the platform supports the agency’s unique processes. “It was refreshing to have a comprehensive platform that runs so efficiently,” said Traci. “Payroll systems, in particular, are usually heavy and clunky.”
New leader, strategy, process and programs
Although Traci inherited a new and powerful technology when she took her job in 2017, she was charged with updating the HR procedures. For example, to hire and onboard new team members—43 in her first year alone— the existing process was bottle-necked with emails, paper resumes, and hard copy files.
“It was awesome to create a new process for hiring and through Zenefits’ integration with our applicant tracking system, Jazz HR, we streamlined the whole process and all its related documents, all in one system, all digitally. Now, lo and behold, everyone gets the information they need all in one place. Every time.”
And just in time—Traci expects that between full-time, part-time and interns, she’ll be bringing on about 70 more people in 2019 to add to the current blended team of 146. That is one new hire every 3rd or 4th working day of the year.
With Zenefits, we are able to focus on strategy versus administration. Today, for nearly everything, I ask myself: I wonder if Zenefits does this?”
Great culture and the power of being picky
“Because we’ve always prioritized our people and our culture, Agency EA is fortunate to have significantly lower turnover than the industry standard: on average 11% vs the industry’s 35%. We select people who don’t stay in their lanes…in the best way possible. Here, you need to be someone consumed by finding solutions and making change happen. What makes us successful at Agency EA is that we are all, always, trying to improve.”
Indeed, the agency, voted as Best Place to Work, with stunning interior design and a roof deck doubled as an ice rink for the long, cold Chicago winters, turns their experiential know-how to engage their own team. David St. Martin, the VP of Cultural development, has supported employee-initiated culture programs and manifested values in community involvement & Diversity, Equity & Inclusion programs, Dog Days, and bring your VIP to work (friends and grandmas warmly welcomed).
So, when it came time to review the company’s benefits, Traci knew that she needed more than the standard health and dental coverage. “Zenefits plus the counsel we got from our One Digital broker has been extremely beneficial to our business. Recognizing the demographics of our team, we were able to save enough money to afford to add: long term disability, life insurance, mental health, college tuition, two dental plans, two healthcare options, and Health Savings Accounts. And even then, we passed along savings of 6.5% to our staff!”
“The guidance we get from our success manager, our broker partner, and the quick and easy process for support calls is tremendous. I can’t say enough about my experience with Zenefits.
“Next, we are rolling out Zenefits Performance Management—one more way Zenefits helps us connect and reinforce our unique culture from onboarding through development.
“With Zenefits, we deliver on great employee experience. It is intuitive, all in one place, and just makes sense.”