Celebrating our team: Achieving retention as a creative agency

Celebrating our team: Achieving retention as a creative agency


As a creative marketing agency based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, we like to do things differently here at Crush. 

From brand-focused design to strategic website-building, James, Craig and Stuart are proving industry statistics wrong as they each celebrate 10 years of working at Crush this month. 

Speaking on this incredible achievement, Crush Founder and Creative Director, Natalie, commented:

“I am amazed at how quickly the years have flown by and incredibly proud of how these valued members of the Crush team have grown in talent, experience and are genuinely all lovely human beings. I would like to say a huge heart-felt thank you to each of them for staying with Crush for such a long time and I really hope they are all here for at least another 10 years!”

In this short blog, we’ll be asking each of them what they think it is about Crush that’s made them stay and discussing how other agencies can retain their staff. But first, let’s give you some context…

Retaining talent within the creative agency industry

It’s recently been reported that the average staff retention at UK agencies is 42%, whilst the 2021 IPA Annual Review showed that staff turnover across its members was just 26.8%. Compared to the recommended staff retention rate of 90%, this situation is pretty dire. 

As you can imagine, for a lot of agencies (in advertising, design, digital, marketing and many more) low retention can cause a lot of disruption; both internally and for their clients. It’s making the industry harder to work in, and less attractive to businesses who may want to outsource their marketing to an agency.

So, why is it hard to retain creative talent? There are various reasons for this low retention in the sector. Whilst some people are driven by pay, others value a more flexible work/life balance or a better working environment. In fact, 96% of employees think empathetic leadership increases their desire to stay with a company. 

Not for Crush, though. We’re among the select few agencies in the UK who can take pride in our retention rates. As an independent agency operating from a midlands location, with a global perspective, we might just have found the secret ingredient to retention in the creative sector.

Celebrating the 10 year work anniversaries of James, Craig and Stuart

James Burkinshaw, Design Lead

James joined the Crush team with a variety of experience within the creative sector. A true professional, James heads up our design department and oversees all aspects of our creative projects. For him, it’s the pure flexibility of his role that’s led him to stay all this time.

“Having moved around quite a bit throughout my design career, I came to Crush looking for work that could offer me both stability and creativity. Working from our rural location for local and global clients achieves this for me, and I think that it’s a flexibility that more creative agencies should adopt.”

Craig Murphy, Graphic Designer

Starting out as a junior, Craig came to Crush with a mission to learn and develop his skill set within design. Whilst most junior designers usually leave their first job within 1-2 years, Craig has stayed. 10 years on from when he first stepped into our studio, Craig is now an incredibly valued and talented senior designer with a multitude of knowledge, proving that retention is truly the key to any agency’s success.

In putting his trust in us, we put our trust in him. It’s this kind of working relationship that we accredit to why he’s been here for over a decade (and counting!).

“Most people don’t find a job they’re fully content with until much later on in their career, so I count myself very lucky to have found mine so early on. My work at Crush gives me all the things most people look for – flexibility, balance etc, but it also has a genuine atmosphere about it. I really enjoy the people I work with, it’s that kind of environment that’s made me stay.”

Stuart Lindley, Web Developer

Stuart works in the back-end development of website-building as a full-stack developer. An exceptionally talented professional within our agency, Stuart plays a huge part in all of our digital projects – ensuring success and precision throughout. 

Recognising this rare talent for meticulousness, we knew we needed to keep him, and cannot imagine Crush without him. 

“Our projects at Crush truly excite me, an element of work that is just so rare within an industry overcrowded with agencies that all seem to offer the same thing. Finding Crush was like a needle in a haystack, but once I did, I never looked back.”

brand and website designer graphic designer Wordpress developer smiling delicious cake with 'thank you' decoration