Last week I attended the first-ever talent conference held by the 4A’s – Talent2030.Sure, there have been discussions here and there about advertising talent, but this was the first forum calling industry HR leaders and talent managers to have a candid conversation about the challenges agencies face. Don’t worry – there were no panels about developing impossible interview questions. Below are a few of my takeaways from this memorable occasion:
1. Think outside the advertising box. Agencies are not each other’s competitors. Day-to-day struggles of managing talent and keeping the tangible products (AKA the brains) in house are not limited to the advertising industry. If you think your next big competitor is agency so-and-so, think again. Agencies are competing across industries — technology, healthcare, education, etc. Our competition is everywhere. So we have to get smarter and reach beyond our industry to find amazing talent.
2. More than $$$. So now that we’ve covered competition, let’s talk dollar signs. People want to make money– fact. People are interested in being compensated wonderfully for the hard work they put in- fact. But money is not the only thing agencies need to offer, and I’m not speaking health and welfare benefits either. The generation we have all come to love because of their ability to challenge the status quo in the workplace (yes, Millennials, I’m talking about you) is now driving the newest trend in “compensation” — employees are seeking out opportunities that allow room for a broader career trajectory. Not one that is limited to a specific department or job classification, but one that is flexible, providing vast working experience in multiple areas of an agency. One easy way for managers and HR professionals to do this is to keep our fingers on the pulse of our employees’ interests and provide opportunities for them to become more well-rounded.
3. The Big Three. I’ll leave you with this. The Big Three which includes trust, collaboration and transparency. The truth of the matter is employees want transparency. As agency leaders, we can give it to them by being honest about how we make money, where our agency is headed and clearly communicating the overall goals of the organization. Equally important is trust. As Rishad Tobaccowala, chairman of DigitasLBi and Razorfish, stated, “trust is speed,” meaning when trust is present things move more quickly and decisions are made faster. If you have a team of people you can’t trust, it’s probably a good time to start re-examining said team. And finally, collaboration is the product of trust and transparency. At the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of people working together because they believe in one another and are collectively invested in the organization’s success.
My two-day immersion into the future of talent was inspiring for two reasons. First, I’m fortunate to work for an agency that understands many of the principles shared above and has already put into place many of the suggestions made throughout the conference. Second, I’m excited for the future of our industry. We have a lot to learn and a lot of great opportunities to grab on to.
Change is constant. As agencies continue to grow and stretch, we are making big strides as an industry, agency leaders, and individuals. On to 2030!