Though we're still not out of the woods as far as the Great Recession, there has been good news for the industry in recent months. Client spending has increased, agencies have lifted pay freezes, and the job market has opened up a bit. In fact, there have been quite a few moves in recent months - Edelman hiring Steve Schmidt, Michael Bayer joining Cohn & Wolfe from FD, and Torod Neptune going to Verizon from Waggener Edstrom, to name a few.
Whenever there is news of one of these senior-level moves, it always brings into question the reason behind it. What drives the decision to leave a very prominent position at one agency or company for another? It's something I've explored recently for an upcoming article (to appear in PRWeek's Career Guide 2010 in the September issue) and what I've learned has been interesting.
Once you get to that very senior level, it's not really about the money. Often, what is more important is being inspired by a new opportunity and the idea of taking a risk - the things that truly motivate the creative people that make up this industry. In fact, for many of these professionals, being out of their comfort zone is what actually gets them most excited.
But that's not to say people need to make a move in order to find that challenge. Yes, the job market has opened up quite a bit from this time last year. However, there are still employees who are eager for a change, but are hesitant to make the leap to a completely new position because of job security reasons. These are the employees who represent a real opportunity for their employers - and they're not only at the senior level.
Agencies and corporate communications departments should not be afraid of taking risks because it is the thrill of doing so that can inspire employees of all levels the most - and can convince them to stay. That can mean everything from taking on a client that doesn't fit the usual profile but gets employees excited to pushing the internal communications team to try a new tactic, even if the old ones have garnered good results.
Yes, change is precisely what keeps creative types creative. The key is to find ways to implement that spirit of change within the existing job environment so that desire for something different doesn't necessarily lead to a move.
Erica Iacono is the executive editor of PRWeek. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.