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Nurturing Experiential Talent: tips to forge a culture of growth and development

By Emma Ede |

February 24, 2012 | 5 min read

Emma Ede, managing director of iD talks about the limited resources currently available for training and development in the Experiential sector. She examines the role of agencies and industry bodies in the nurturing of talent, concluding with top tips on how business owners and management teams can forge a culture of growth and development, ultimately contributing to the longevity and well-being of the entire industry.

Nurturing talent is important to the well-being and development of any individual, business and sector. This is common knowledge, yet employee satisfaction and retention are constant challenges that the marketing industry notoriously grapples with.

The experiential sector is no exception. In fact, it appears to lag behind other marketing sectors, in terms of training and talent development. Recent moves by the marketing industry to tackle this issue have been welcomed, but these initiatives are still very much in their infancy. The IPM launched a certificate of Experiential Marketing qualification and training in 2010 but it is a distance learning programme and is therefore not the investment in face to face time with individuals. The MAA, on the other hand, offers some excellent general client service, creative workshop and project management face to face training programmes but they are very generalist marketing courses and really don’t focus enough on our specialist industry related issues.

It’s fantastic that the industry is beginning to tackle this issue, but I believe that training will only go so far, and it’s ultimately the responsibility of the employer to create an environment where people will grow. At iD, we have a very simple philosophy that every employee should look forward to coming in to work. Here are my top tips on how business owners and management teams can forge a culture of growth and development, ultimately contributing to the longevity and well-being of the entire industry:

1) Take Responsibility: At the heart of this, it is the responsibility of the agency to create an engaging and positive atmosphere for staff from graduate level to senior management. It’s the agency’s responsibility to nurture talent through mentoring and training on the job and this obligation is 100% in the hands of those running the agency. Paul Ephremsen, CEO at iD and myself take direct responsibility for employee satisfaction. This doesn’t have to come through long and expensive training days or role plays, instead it’s a fundamental part of those in charge of the agency to understand our staff and communicate effectively with them.

2) Encourage young talent to find their niche: The experiential industry is fast paced and never pauses. Our audiences and clients need to be impressed and excited, so the need for constantly evolving ideas makes agency life an exciting place to be. For young talent it’s about giving them the option to find their niche. The great thing about this business is that we work with clients from all different sectors from automotive to cosmetics and very few other roles can offer that. Giving people exposure to these exciting changes and challenges, refreshing and migrating talent around the business is the key to keeping people engaged and the creativity and commitment flowing.

3) Collaborate on all levels: We hold Monday morning meetings which the whole team is invited to participate in and believe that the whole team have the ability to inspire our pitching and client teams with creative ideas. We share the creative challenges for the week ahead and encourage anyone to contribute. Essentially, it’s about creating the right culture to make young talent feel comfortable, familiar and positive in their role. For small businesses in particular it’s important to continue to evolve the company culture and include all staff in this growth. Communication is key and everyone should know what is going on and feel, as they should, very much part of the business and your businesses successes.

The experiential marketing industry still has a long way to go, but the beauty of our industry is that it always changing and re-configuring, so it’s essential that we arm wider skill set with the right training, nurturing and development from the beginning.

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