Retaining your digital media specialists

It is 9AM EST. Today's first global call to review the analytics of one of our latest campaigns kicks off.

It is 9AM EST. Today's first global call to review the analytics of one of our latest campaigns kicks off. Traffic sources, AUV, bounce rate, SEO, direct vs. transferred, and goal conversion. Calling from a garden patio in London, a temporary space in Austin, TX, and an unallocated virtual desk in our New York headquarters, this team has seen it all. All versions of HTML, AJAX, SQL, the latest in ALT tags, embedding NOEMBED, there is not an acronym that escapes them.

While larger firms struggle to build their digital offering through Web shop acquisitions and a heavy load of program retention, how do you gain and retain digital media talent?

Best-of-breed only—Professional growth used to rely on mentorship and recognition, but in today's digital environment, the next digital genius is probably disrupting the Web order and concocting some apps from his basement. How do you cast for the best talent? Our experience is that digital talents operate like a flock in V formation. Open a safe space for the best-of-breed digital explorers. Let them lead and let the word spread about the benefits of your firm.

Set them free—If you wish for virtual excellence, provide your team with virtual freedom. Enable them to experience creative autonomy and provide a culture for the unsupervised splurge in technology. Office hours, desks, cubes, and phone lines do not apply.

Casual Fridays?—Understanding the ebb and flow of the creative process, we entice our digital media specialists by enabling them to work remotely. Letting your digital media masterminds work toward building a brand's personality, presumably in their favorite pair of sweats, provides them with the necessary freedom to produce the best possible work.

Invest in passion—Looking for the passionate candidate is a large part of our recruitment strategy. Passion is not only necessary; it's our lifeline. In a digital world that never sleeps, true talents see the end of the workday as an interruption, rather than a relief. Digital mavens are consumed with staying up to date, with making themselves better at what they do, simply because they thrive on it.

Push the “pull” as hard as possible—Agencies looking to find a digital media specialist must seek out the individual deeply ingrained in "pull" marketing and the dynamics of on-and off-line community building. Ideal candidates thrive on working in a highly visible, brain bending, massively multitasking capacity at the cutting edge where communications and technology come together.

Digital media specialists pick and chose their projects. They pick and chose you. Invest in your belief that they are the future of your business and your firm will be chosen.

Sophie Ann Terrisse is founder and CEO of STC Associates.

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