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Finding and retaining talent: Strategies for success

Finding and retaining talent: Strategies for success Lori Luechtefeld

In today's agency marketplace, roles and resources are constantly changing as technology, consumer behaviors, and demographic patterns evolve. That's a challenge that most HR departments aren't able to overcome in the ultra-competitive marketing staffing landscape.

At the iMedia Agency Summit in Bonita Springs, Florida, two Razorfish executives took to the stage to lay out how their agency structures resource growth in a way that creates loyal, mature, and hardworking assets.

Vik Kathuria, global chief media officer at Razorfish, noted that our industry is in the midst of a violent talent war in which staffing needs far outweigh the available qualified candidates. Katie Jamieson, VP of talent and strategic partnerships at Razorfish, agreed and cited the following major challenges:

  • Talent competition is increasing not only from other agencies, but also from ad tech companies, publishers, and clients.
  • Multiple offers: The best candidates are considering offers from more than one company at any given time.
  • Strong counteroffers from incumbents: Even if a candidate accepts a position, his or her current employer might try to retain the person with a counteroffer.
  • The time it takes to fill a position is increasing.

OK, so how can agencies combat these daunting challenges? For one, agencies should be looking outside of the traditional skill sets these days, Kathuria said. Engineers, mathematicians -- these non-marketers are increasingly playing vital roles within agency organizations. In addition, Kathuria and Jamieson laid out these key strategies for modern HR:

Talent acquisition:

  • Take an always-on approach to recruiting. Don't wait for that SOW to be signed. By then, you're already behind.
  • Leverage your employees as recruiters. The best recruiters are the happiest, most engaged employees. Make them your cultural ambassadors and have a strong employee referral program.
  • Differentiate yourself in the marketplace. Share the great work you're doing, and tout your award-winning work.
  • Develop your farm team. Grow your own robust internship program. Interns often make the best entry-level hires.

Talent retention:

  • Ensure your employees feel they're paid fairly and that they trust their managers.
  • Push people out of comfort zone by encouraging them to develop new skills.
  • Encourage people to work autonomously and become experts in their areas.
  • Emphasize corporate social responsibility, which is more important to Millennials than to any preceding generation.
  • Create an agency culture that people want to be a part of.

Lori Luechtefeld is principal of strategic content firm Wookit Media and an associate at WIT Strategy. In both roles, she works with a network of media and marketing professionals to devise and fulfill on content strategies that connect...

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