Charli Sharp
Charli Sharp

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving agency world, the constant pressure to optimize budgets and deliver results often leads to training and development being sidelined. Many executives see it as a 'nice-to-have' rather than a strategic necessity. The focus often leans towards immediate, tangible benefits. Happy hours, retreats, gym memberships – these perks are appealing because they are visible, enjoyable, and contribute to a vibrant workplace culture. However, this focus on superficial perks comes at the cost of neglecting a fundamental component of long-term success: employee training and development.

The high turnover rates characteristic of agency life underscores the true cost of this neglect. The expense of replacing an employee extends far beyond the mere act of recruitment; it encompasses the loss of knowledge, client relationships, and the disruption of internal dynamics, with costs soaring to up to 200% of the departing employee's annual salary.

Understanding the True Costs

An untrained team is synonymous with inefficiency. Every untrained employee operates at a fraction of their potential productivity, directly eating into your profits. Considering that it takes up to five months for a new employee to reach full productivity, can you afford to ignore this gap?

The cost of this lost productivity is staggering, with the first month seeing a new employee operating at about 25% productivity—equivalent to a 75% loss of their potential output. This situation significantly improves over time, but the financial implications are profound. This productivity loss, combined with the high costs of replacing positions (e.g., a Coordinator-level role costing upwards of $27,500 factoring in replacement costs, productivity losses, and non-billable training time), illustrates the heavy financial burden of inadequate training.

Additionally, a lack of training and growth opportunities leads to disengagement. Unmotivated employees are not just less productive; they represent a significant loss in potential billable hours. Disengagement is costly – a Gallup study highlighted that disengaged workers cost the US economy around $500 billion annually.

Furthermore, a staggering 21% of clients cite understaffing and inexperience as reasons for terminating their relationship with agencies. When agencies fail to invest in employee training, they are not just sacrificing talent, but also the sufficient skill development that clients increasingly demand. According to LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report, a whopping 93% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. Development is no longer an optional perk or reserved for only certain positions. It’s expected by today’s talent.

Despite the clear indicators, many agencies still treat training as an optional expenditure rather than an essential investment. The average cost of hiring and onboarding a new employee in the United States, as reported by the Society for Human Resource Management, stands at approximately $4,100, a significant portion of which is devoted to training until the employee reaches optimal productivity.

Bridging the Gap with Sharp Learning

Sharp Learning addresses these challenges head-on. Training not only enhances skills but also fosters innovation, driving the creation of new ideas and solutions that open business avenues. It builds a more skilled, committed workforce, leading to higher productivity, lower turnover, and better client retention—all crucial for agency success.

Investing in Sharp Learning is cost-effective, providing a scalable solution to upskill your team compared to the high costs of turnover and productivity loss. It underscores an agency's commitment to excellence, attracting top-tier clients and projects and signaling to the market a dedication to delivering outstanding results.

For agency leaders, the message is clear: Investing in employee training is not just beneficial but essential. Sharp Learning offers a tailored solution that ensures teams remain competitive, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. The cost of neglecting this critical area goes beyond the bottom line, impacting the very essence of what makes an agency thrive.


Charli Sharp is a seasoned marketing and communications leader with a decade of industry experience. As the founder of Sharp Learning, she has redefined employee training in the marketing and communications field. Charli's practical solutions have enhanced workforce skills and fueled organizational success. With a profound understanding of the marketing and communications industry, and her ability to connect theory and practice, she has set a new standard for excellence in employee training.