The assets of an advertising agency go in and out of the front doors every day, so it's crucial for the agency to have tools to measure, understand and optimize the utilization of those assets in the same way that factories need to measure, monitor and maintain the up-time for their production equipment.
Although not a comprehensive list, we've assembled a few measurement tools you can use to ensure optimal utilization of your agency's assets in this week's post.
A key metric for any asset is the cost of that asset to the company. Employees at agencies have two costs to monitor; their "rack rate" which is the hourly fee charged clients for their time, and their actual rate which reflects their true cost to the agency (calculated by their productivity).
Understanding, measuring and optimizing these rates can determine how profitable the agency is or isn't per employee. Some agencies don't track this at all, others do so in separate systems while others utilize their AMS to do so. Given how integral this data is to both agency and employee performance, we highly recommend the agency utilize an AMS that allows for these calculations to be done within the system and the results leveraged throughout that system.
Because Advantage's AQUA system integrates Project Management, Accounting, Operational and Media data, details like these flow through the system and inform other reports on employee performance as well. After all, you cannot accurately measure the value to your organization for an asset you cannot calculate the true cost and performance of.
Being able to quickly and easily track how well each employee is performing based on targets and goals is also key to ensuring that everyone is performing at their best and getting the support they need. Dashboards like this one in the Advantage AQUA system provide clear, concise feedback on how each employee is spending their time and how that usage measures up against expectations and goals. With accurate data like this, managers can solve problems before they compromise the agency's financial results and make informed resourcing decisions that benefit both employee and agency alike. Another benefit of having this data easily available for authorized users is that managers can access these reports directly without having to get Finance or Accounting's help to do so.
Just as you always want to know the history of any asset you own, knowing the history of your employees with the agency is critical to understanding their level of expertise, establishing performance expectations and helping them with their career. Unfortunately, employee histories often get deleted or lost in disparate software systems. Many agencies keep such history in their HRIS system but lack that data in the Agency Management System where it can play a big role in resource allocation and staffing decisions. Advantage's AQUA system includes a History Record which records changes in rate, title or department for every employee and makes that data readily available for both managers and automation purposes.
Tracking Paid Time Off is critical to understanding employee utilization. The challenge comes when you have different systems (like your Employee Benefits System) that tracks PTO, but that data isn't being synced with your Agency Management System. The best AMS providers give you the ability to track PTO within the system. If you prefer to use a 3rd party software, your AMS should allow you to import the approved PTO directly from that software with safeguards that prevent importing duplicate or conflicting data on the employee.
The imported PTO should be reflected in both the AMS calendar and the employee's timesheet. Having an import option like this not only saves time vs having to input the data manually, but also prevents human error. This shouldn't be a time-consuming activity; Agency Management Systems like Advantage's AQUA use a template-based approach which allows you to set up the import once and use that same template over and over for future PTO imports.
It should come as no surprise that the most accurate and useful measurements of your employees are generated by integrating data points across activities, departments and even competencies. The more data points your employee profile has, the greater the insights and guidance you'll be able to provide that individual.
With Agency Management Software like AQUA on the market, there really isn't an excuse for incomplete profiles, lost data or cumbersome systems anymore - especially when an all-in-one system like AQUA can actually cost less than maintaining multiple software subscriptions and non-integrated programs.
See what you're missing by scheduling a free online demo today. It's quick, it's easy and it's focused on answering your questions and helping you decide what's best for your agency. It's that simple.