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Seven things to do to retain talent in the ad world

Genuine talent is in short supply these days and while finding talent is a herculean task, retaining them is becoming even more difficult. BestMediaInfo.com spoke to a few people from the industry to understand what it takes to have one’s cake and eat it too

For an industry that thrives on new ideas and bold statements, it is imperative for the ad world to not just attract young talent but also retain it. But despite the glitz, glamour and the glory that the advertising industry promises, it suffers from the problem of talent retention. Notorious for low entry-level pay and long working hours, people jumping jobs in the ad world is common.

BestMediaInfo.com spoke to a few people from the industry to understand what needs to be done to retain talent. We spoke to Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and Chief Executive, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia; Usha Upputuru, Owner, Head and Tail Hunters; Sita Narayanswamy, Head of Operations, Rediffusion Y&R, Mumbai and Monty Bharali, Senior Vice-President, Human Resources, Ogilvy & Mather.

Recognition and rewards

To dismiss with the elephant in the room, rewards and recognition are a big part of why one chooses to work. It is important to not just value one’s work but also to pay the right value for their labour.

“A lot of people who I have placed call and tell me that they haven’t received their pay for months or that there hasn’t been an increment in years. People will start looking for other options if they don’t get what they deserve,” said Usha Upputuru.

Training and opportunities to grow

Ashish Bhasin

“Training and constantly upgrading people’s talent is very important. For one, it shows that you are investing in the employee and secondly there is a need to keep upgrading ourselves because the pace of change is increasing very significantly,” said Ashish Bhasin.

So, training programmes will not only ease an employee into his/her role it will also afford them the opportunity to add to their skill set. When an employee feels that a work place is not just a canvas for them to showcase their work but also a place where they can grow and learn, they are likely to stick around for longer.

“Help them learn. This aspect truly drives belief of young professionals. More often than not, the opportunity to do good work, work with good people and the availability of learning platforms can truly make the difference between retention and attrition,” said Monty Bharali.

Open and transparent work environment

“Advertising is a very close-knit industry and word travels,” said Upputuru. So, it is best to have all your cards on the table right from the start itself. An organisation should be open about their work culture, what they expect from the employee and what the employee can expect in return from the word go. An open and transparent work environment nurtures trust and loyalty.

Decentralise power

Empowering your employees is important and more so in an industry like advertising where ideas rule supreme. Ideas do not subscribe to hierarchies and a brilliant idea can strike anyone, anywhere without much consideration for designations. Decentralising power will ensure that more employees are empowered and that in turn will ensure that there is free flow and exchange of ideas and thoughts.

Emphasising the need for organisations to be idea hubs, Sita Narayanswamy, said, “An organisation should be inspirational in terms of cross functional dialogues and discussions.”

Employee engagement

Advertising, for the most part, is a young industry and therefore, employee engagement becomes a crucial aspect. Many young people stay away from their hometowns and families to pursue a career and might look at their workplace and colleagues for that much needed emotional support. Celebrating festivals together, getting together once in a while and making meaningful contribution to the society add more value to an individual’s life.

“One thing that we do is, once a year, all 3,000 of us go out physically to help people who are in need. We call it One Day For Change (ODFC). It is not about writing a cheque but about physically going out and spending time with people who are less privileged than us. We have observed that this works very well for us because CSR activities are particularly very integral to the millennial generation and it is also good corporate citizenship,” said Bhasin.

Values and culture

Identifying the values and culture that an organisation would like to subscribe to is important. Not only will this allow one to attract the right kind of talent to your organisation but it will also smooth out the possibility of any friction at the workplace. 

Good work

All said and done, if one doesn’t like what one does, they will not stick around for long, no matter what.

“Good work is its own motivator, pride of association and pride of creation continue to be huge drivers of retention,” said Bharali.


Tags: ad world
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