In an industry where long tenures are the exception instead of the rule, and where turnover is an ever-present problem in terms of maintaining growth, Yamamoto has made it a central part of its culture to embrace those who have committed to the agency for the long term. By both establishing employee-first policies for everyone, and by celebrating longstanding members of their team, Yamamoto is succeeding in bucking the revolving-door trend within modern advertising.
Yamamoto has 10 individuals with more than five years aboard, which represents 21% of the total number of employees – a number that has steadily increased under CEO Kathy McCuskey’s leadership, who herself has been with Yamamoto for eight years. Group Creative Director, Shawn Pals has been with the agency just as long and describes why he thinks Yamamoto so consistently retains employees: “Every year we grow, and every year we’ve proven that we deserve more opportunities. Belief in leadership, in direction and in one another makes a big difference.”
The rest of Yamamoto’s five year club consists of Senior Motion Designer ,Travis Haggerty (5 years); Account Supervisor, Hillary Cohrs (6 years); Senior Copywriter, Vince Koci (6 years); Mac Artist Supervisor, Steph Hiatt (7 years); Account Director, Alyssa Erickson (7 years); Associate Creative Director, Sarah Koster (7 years); Executive Director of Insights and Innovation, Chris Rahill (7 years) and Systems Administrator, Joe Richgels (20 years).
What has made Yamamoto’s “campaign to retain” so successful? Mac Artist Supervisor, Steph Hiatt says, “It’s a challenge – but a fun challenge. Every day we’re motivated to improve.” In addition to pursuing new clients and opportunities, the agency has aggressively instituted quality-of-life policies for employees, including 401(k) matching, increased maternity and paternity leave and unlimited paid time off. Yamamoto has also doubled its commitment to celebrate long-tenured members of its team. In 2019, the agency announced a sabbatical policy, in which employees who have tenures of seven years or longer will be encouraged to take an additional three-weeks’ paid time off.
As for the employee retention trend continuing at Yamamoto, Associate Creative Director, Sarah Koster had this to say: “When you spend every day working with your friends – with people you respect – that matters.”