Why do some agencies seem to win all the awards and others don't? Simply, it's about their approach to talent. Awards, trophies and accolades are a pivotal part for many agencies to help them standout, attract clients and new talent. Award entries are a full time job; filling in the forms, submitting the entries making sure the support materials are supplied and all within the (often) extended deadline, all fairly obvious.
What will be less obvious in their moment of glory is that the work to achieve such accolades commenced sometime ago. Creative geniuses, management architects, tech experts, planners, designers and progressive superstars all have their place in the agency ‘A team’. And that’s what it takes to win awards.
The challenge for today’s agencies is how to attract, retain and evolve what are essentially silos of talent and turning them into an award-winning team. Through history and more critically today - with the shift and need for a greater diversity of skills required - agencies need to rethink their approach to talent and become scouts with a 3-5 years plan. It’s a very old but fundamentally true adage that in the agency world (indeed most businesses) the greatest asset leaves the building at the end of each day. It’s only through the right planning, people and processes that those people come back the next day.
To put together a multi-awarding winning, progressive agency ready for the challenge of the next five years towards 2020, here are some words of advice:
Only those agencies that truly have a collaborative and dynamic culture will be able to attract and retain progressives.
Smooth out silos
In pursuit of the ‘full service’ offer it’s too easy to get sucked in to creating never ending new departments. This will simply hinder and cause blocks to progress. For progressive talent to thrive in the new environment they need to be at the core of the agency, cross-pollinating - inspiring and educating the agency whilst soaking up as much as possible from their new surroundings.
Clear career path
If new people join an agency because they have a specific skill set, then what next? How do they learn, grow and move up within the agency. This is key to retention.
The best people are driven by creating amazing work that has never been done before and engages. These people are less likely to join an agency whose body of work mirrors that of Sterling Cooper.
To attract and retain talent, agencies must have a clear identity and vision. The most progressive talent will be attracted by an agency that has a vision for the future that they are inspired by and buy into. Increasingly brands are talking about being purpose driven, to attract the best progressives, agencies must align with this too.
Gareth Moss is managing director of The Blueprint, the business design and headhunting consultancy.