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Get Over Yourself and Fight For Your Talent

Posted on March 15, 2012 and read 1,739 times

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Mandy Get Over Yourself and Fight For Your TalentMandy Gilbert
Founder & CEO
Creative Niche

You run a buzz-worthy, in-demand creative agency—now get it over it and fight to retain your top talent.

So, you’ve built a trendy, innovative and much-sought after creative agency, landed big-name accounts and think your newfound cache is enough to retain your top creative talent.

Think again.

Industry insiders have seen the same scene play out time and again—a small agency started by hyper-talented creative and business minds pitches to large clients, wins major projects and its popularity explodes. In the ensuing months and years, hype and momentum is unstoppable and the agency’s march towards being a global, award-winning firm is unstoppable. Other agencies want to be them, top creative want to work for them, and everyone from media to key influencers is obsessed with talking about them.

But in many cases, that firm’s growth pattern will spiral out of control as leadership team egos begin to overshadow the work produced by the agency. Their focus begins to shift from what made them successful, to elevating their personal brands and grasping opportunities to remain in the spotlight. As management loses touch with the creatives actually producing that once-cutting edge work, the firm becomes bloated and inefficient—possibly over-staffed—but not before talent management slips and creative directors’ responsibilities start surpassing their abilities. Because producing innovative work and managing staff are difficult to balance, grumbling starts among key creatives.

It’s not long before ominous whispers erupt from corners across the agency’s open-concept, brick-and-beam office: “Get me the hell out of here!”

As leaders and entrepreneurs, we all know intuitively that our businesses are only as strong as the talent we can attract and retain, while turnover doesn’t only cost time spent on-boarding and briefing new talent, but also potentially sacrifices key client relationships and account progress. It also chips away at an agency’s employer brand—how it’s perceived by existing and prospective employees.

If this describes your firm, don’t panic. It’s never too late to turn your culture around. Here are eight ways to avoid some common pitfalls and preserve your agency’s appeal to top creative talent:

  • Get the right leadership in place to support your teams – If you’ve recently promoted from within, support those new managers with the opportunity to participate in an executive leadership program.  If it’s time to start building out a leadership team, take the time to create detailed job descriptions for your ideal candidates and set the hiring process in motion.
  • Admit you have a problem – Throw a town hall meeting, acknowledge there’s room for improvement and that it’s a priority to recruit and train leadership to ensure a consistent and rewarding employment experience for everyone in the organization.
  • Stop playing dictator and think like a producer to get better insight into what your creative colleagues are experiencing – Ask questions about how things can be improved, then act on that that feedback.  You’ll be surprised by the great solutions and ideas that come forward.
  • Hire a great HR person to help implement programs such as a company and individual goal planning project— The right programs will help open lines of communication at all levels of your agency.
  • Don’t be a control freak – Sharing and delegation will help empower your team and build a collaborative, engaged environment.
  • Share your vision and madness – After all, that’s the reason they signed on to work with you in the first place.
  • Show gratitude –Be sure to acknowledge wins and successes.
  • Acknowledge they have a life outside of your agency— Once-in-a-while beer parties aren’t enough to compensate staff for working 24/7.

With some dedicated attention, leadership, appreciation and listening, all hope is not lost for you to retain the top talent you deserve.

Creative Niche is IHAVEANIDEA’s exclusive talent and recruitment partner. Learn more about them.






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