Finding people who are the right fit for your company is an ongoing challenge across the industry and, with agency competition at an all-time high, the race is on to find and nurture the very best talent.
Firstly, you need decide on your company’s USP. What makes you different from the other agencies out there? Is it the agency’s innovation, its record of winning awards, the company culture? Whatever it is, it’s important to remember the recruitment process is a two-way exchange.
You need to sell your agency just as much as the candidates need to sell themselves to you.
One error I think agencies often make is being too prescriptive in what they’re looking for; focusing on how many years’ experience a candidate has and the therapy areas they have worked in.
In today’s climate, you need to be flexible and look beyond the traditional sphere of healthcare.
Perhaps a candidate comes from a consumer background, or hasn’t got a university degree – so what?
Experience can be learned; you need to think long-term and focus on an individual’s innate talents rather than those specified by rigid roles.
But attracting the right people is only half of the story.
Once you have talent you need to nurture it. For this, training is key, but it needs to be approached in new and exciting ways.
One approach I’ve found effective is interactive courses, giving employees intensive training through scenario simulations with actors.
This gives employees experience in order to fast-track their development and help them achieve their full potential.
Again, it is important to focus on the person and look at employee development at an individual level.
Not everyone wants to follow the same path. You need to be open minded and allow employees to explore their options within the company – be it a secondment to help them learn a new discipline, such as advertising or digital, or the creation of hybrid roles.
Opening up opportunities can help employees to flourish and keep them motivated.
Intrinsically PR is a high turnover industry, yet there are ways to keep employees happy and motivated – and this goes beyond the Friday drinks trolley or the annual away day.
To really motivate people you need to challenge them and support them to achieve their best.
For me, my ultimate goal is for my team to do the best work of their careers here.
People are our greatest asset; clients don’t buy agencies, they buy the people within.
If you want to attract and retain the best, you need to treat them as individuals and provide them with the encouragement and stimulus they need to feel connected to the business.
Victoria Wright is general manager at Publicis LifeBrands Resolute
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