The Challenge Of Retaining Your Digital Talent

Young creative team working on a concept
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece, HR business partner Jessica Rogers from digital agency Resolution offers B&T some top tips on one of the industry biggest issues – how to keep a hold of digital talent (and how to find your own Steve Jobs)…

We are in a remarkably tight talent industry. I don’t know about you – but this is the first industry I have worked in where people get triple promoted within a couple years. They literally go from pulling reports to deciding the strategic direction of a company and no one blinks an eyelid.

Jessica Rogers

Digital marketing is a relatively new area in the scheme of things. So new in fact, that in Australia a large portion of our talent is sourced from overseas markets. What I would be extremely interested in is looking at the source of influence. How many touch points does a person need exposure to before they consider a career in digital marketing? There are a lot more movies about doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. than there are about digital marketers. While it’s great when you are in it, it isn’t really a career path you think about travelling down, until you are already on it (often accidentally).

How long before academia catches on and includes digital marketing as a significant portion of their marketing qualifications? There are so many interns with Bachelors in Marketing, yet there are so few who can articulate what SEO, SEM, Content Marketing, programmatic buying, Analytics and CRO are, upon graduating. Granted, even armed with a photographic memory and a year’s worth of Omega 3 supplements, the hundreds of acronyms probably don’t help.

A bit of context

  • Average regrettable loss in this industry is 26.8 per cent (2014 Media Communications Agency Industry Census, MFA)
  • AHRI’s research places average cross-industry turnover at 13% (AHRI Pulse Survey Turnover and Retention, 2013)
  • 53 per cent of agency staff have less than 4 years’ experience (2014 Media Communications Agency Industry Census, MFA)

Combine a skill shortage with a rapidly growing digital industry and you get talent price wars and high voluntary turnover. Once you have laid the foundations of best practice HR what else is to be done?

The median age of the industry is 29 years. Gen Y. The Millennials. The Digital Generation. Some might say infamous for their sense of entitlement, short attention span and overly confident demeanour. This generation, whatever your view on it, is the heart and soul of the digital marketing industry.

This leads to the ultimate challenge: Retention.

Given the fast moving, highly demanding industry – businesses have to keep up with changing technology and consumer demands while engaging in a ruthless war for talent.

I would be highly suspicious of any HR practitioner in the industry not admitting to at least entertaining the idea of trapping Gen Ys with visa and PR conditions, or promising a 40 per cent salary increase and job title even the Prime Minister couldn’t refuse.

In this industry winning loads of new business is a double-edged sword – the desperate struggle to find resources to do the work can dampen the glow. In our darkest moments, while screening through hundreds of offensively unsuitable candidates, it can be hard to see the trees through the fog. But I promise there is light…

Resolution has been recognised as an Employer of Choice in The Australia Business Awards 2015– more relevant though is the fact that we have decreased voluntary turnover by 27 per cent in the last 12 months. I would like to share with you a couple of learnings that have had a massive impact on our business – with a very measurable impact on the bottom line. People + Product = Profit, right?

1. Peer pressure – the politically incorrect culture driver

In the 70s Leann Birch (Researcher at the University of Illinois) conducted a number of experiments to see what would get children to eat the vegetables they disliked. The focus here is not on eating more vegetables – just eating the specific vegetables they hated.

Birch tried a multitude of approaches, from telling the children they were “expected” to eat their vegetables to rewarding them with ice cream if they did. She also explained the benefits of eating vegetables and even used vegetable-eating role models. These tactics appeared to be the logical way to get the children to eat the vegetables – yet there was only one approach that worked predictably: putting a child who didn’t like peas, for example, with a few other children who did. Within a couple of meals the pea–hater was eating peas with as much enthusiasm as the pea–lovers.

Take on the role of the pea–lover in Birch’s experiment and create some healthy peer pressure. Focus and personalise retention efforts on key influencers or ‘the cloneables’ – the people who:

  • Are high achievers
  • Show high potential
  • Consistently display the right behaviours

The non-pea lovers will soon become uncomfortable and either adapt to the new way of thinking or move on. The focus here is on retaining the regrettable losses. Over time this will reduce your overall voluntary turnover because passionate, smart and personable people like to be surrounded by like-minded radiators, not drainers.

2. Find everyone their own Steve

What is Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerburg? Maya Angelou to Oprah Winfrey? Warren Buffet to Bill Gates?

“If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” – Richard Branson

“A small amount of time invested on your part to share your expertise can open up a new world for someone else.” – Mark Zuckerberg

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates

Invest the time and resources into developing a mentoring program.

It’s a great way to inject the caring, support and development at an individual level without relying on the individual’s Manager and HR processes. Through a mentoring program, an agency can reduce the anxiety experienced by talent in taking big steps, can focus upcoming talent on setting and achieving their goals, and can help nurture emerging leadership. If it’s good enough for the world’s billionaires then it works for us too.

The bottom line?

See your employees as investors – they choose to invest their time, skills, and experience with your organisation. They are constantly evaluating whether they are receiving a return on their investment. The more you improve their marketability, the higher the ROI they see from their investment, and the longer they will continue to invest their human capital with you.

Build your business on the foundation of remarkable people doing remarkable work.

Hold yourself and everyone else accountable. Create an environment of nurturing and development. Get this right and you will be amazed at the impact it has on retention and ultimately on the bottom line.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Social Change Maker Profile: Anthony Xydis, ARN
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Social Change Maker Profile: Anthony Xydis, ARN

There's no denying ARN's Anthony Xydis is one of the industry's "nice guys", and that's despite B&T's fondness for evil.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]

Aristotle’s Relevance To Experiential Marketing
  • Opinion

Aristotle’s Relevance To Experiential Marketing

In this guest post, group account director at GPJ Australia, Dylan McLaughlin (pictured below), is summoning some of history’s greats in his take on the 2018 experiential marketer… Extraordinary ideas are rarely serendipitous or eureka moments. They are the culmination of shared thoughts and notions that have been twisted and turned, built on and built from. They are […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Samsung  Kicks Off First Campaign With Tim Cahill Via Leo Burnett
  • Campaigns

Samsung Kicks Off First Campaign With Tim Cahill Via Leo Burnett

Samsung Electronics Australia has kicked-off its partnership with Tim Cahill with the launch of TIMVITE. TIMVITE is an interactive digital campaign that encourages Aussies to invite their mates to watch this year’s biggest sporting events together. The activity supports Samsung’s QLED TV category, which includes a range of 75” and 85” large screen TVs, because […]

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  
  • Media

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  

Arq Group has launched a new identity created by award-winning agency Hulsbosch, with the business rebranding from Melbourne IT to Arq. Previously known as Melbourne IT, the company was founded in 1996 as one of Melbourne University’s commercial ventures with the sole rights to manage .au domains in the early days of the Internet. Melbourne IT […]

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD

ANZ, in partnership with PHD and Adshel, have taken to the streets with a total take-over of the entire Adshel Live network. For one hour, between 8am and 9am on Tuesday 19 June, ANZ is inviting commuters to download the new ANZ app by showing six different ways the app can help them manage their […]

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business
  • Media

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business

IPG’s Initiative and Dentsu’s Carat have both been awarded a slice of the West Australian government’s $65 million spend. The government account is broken into two entities – campaign and non-campaign – each with its own agency roster. Carat has retained its long-standing position on the agency panel for all campaign work, which accounts for […]

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!
  • Marketing

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!

In case you missed it last week, a very lucky phone number – 1800 80 80 80 – is up for sale. And it could be yours!

Partner Content

by Customer Connect

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
  • Technology

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views

AppNexus, the world’s leading independent advertising technology company, today announced the launch of Guaranteed Views, a marketplace product that changes the way advertising is bought and sold on the open internet. Guaranteed Views enables marketers and agencies to pay only for ads that are measured as viewable and is the first programmatic product that enables 100% viewable buying at scale outside of Facebook and Google.

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore

Bereft of any Monday motivation? Let today's Women in Media profile be like low-current electric waves to the brain.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%
  • Marketing

Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%

• Ad spend in Australia forecast to grow by 2.8% in 2018 , with main drivers of growth in Government, Retail, Finance and Gambling sectors. • Global advertising spend to grow by 3.9%, revised up from 3.6% in January 2018. • Digital to overtake TV for the first time, to reach 38.4% of global share (TV 35.5%). In 21 out of the 59 markets tracked, digital will be the leading advertising channel in 2018. • One quarter (25.2%) of global ad spend will be delivered through mobile devices for the first time.

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria
  • Media

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria

Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines has announced the appointment of Emma Baston as client strategy director for Victoria. Baston has worked in senior digital media buying and planning roles at various agencies including UM Australia, Cummins&Partners and MindShare, with exposure across the strategy, communications and creative process. She has also worked at Facebook in a […]

Seamless pattern of a crowd of many different people profile heads. Vector background.
  • Media

SBS Launches Diverse Communities Content Initiative

SBS has launched the Short-Form Content Initiative, a commitment to providing increased opportunities for Australian creatives from diverse communities through the commissioning and production of content for SBS On Demand. SBS has partnered with five of Australia’s screen agencies, including Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest and South Australian Film Corporation. The initiative aims […]

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi
  • Campaigns

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi

BIG W, the home for families, fun and entertainment, has today launched its annual toy sale campaign – Toy Mania. Running until 11 July, the campaign showcases the frenzy and hysteria that comes with the BIG W toy sale. It also highlights that buying toys can be just as fun as playing with them and […]

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’
  • Technology

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’

Datorama, a global technology company, today announced the launch of Data Canvas, a suite of new data visualisation capabilities within its Marketing Intelligence platform. Datorama Data Canvas leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in a brand new way — to help marketers create expert-designed dashboards to tell compelling, data-driven stories. Datorama’s previous AI releases have […]

Who’s Looking The Goods At Cannes Lions 2018
  • Opinion

Who’s Looking The Goods At Cannes Lions 2018

In this opinion, Fjord lead Bronwyn van der Merwe (pictured below) discusses the work to look out for at Cannes Lions 2018. I fully expect there will be some staggering examples of creative brilliance at Cannes Lions this year, and I’d recommend anyone going resists having their attention pulled by projects that are largely based on […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
We Are Social Acquires Socialize
  • Media

We Are Social Acquires Socialize

We Are Social has acquired Socialize; however, it will not be renamed We Are Socialize or even Margaret for that matter.

Global Marketing Player adm Appoints Country Manager For Australia & NZ
  • Marketing

Global Marketing Player adm Appoints Country Manager For Australia & NZ

International marketing services business adm Group Ltd has appointed Matt Cave as its country lead for Australia and New Zealand. Cave (pictured above) has more than 25 years of industry experience in the Asia-Pacific region, and will be instrumental in driving adm’s expansion throughout Australia and New Zealand. With 26 offices in 19 countries around […]

Weploy CMO Ben Eatwell: “We Want To Help Businesses Challenge The Status Quo”
  • Media
  • Technology

Weploy CMO Ben Eatwell: “We Want To Help Businesses Challenge The Status Quo”

Weploy began with a shared realisation between two friends that recruiting quality staff had become too complicated and it was high-time so declutter the process. Based in Melbourne, the start-up combines Tinder-style online skills-matching with Australian job market, and in doing so, rids eager employers of the strenuous – and at times incredibly uncomfortable – […]

Nielsen Acquires Sydney-Based Media Analysis Business Landsberry & James
  • Marketing

Nielsen Acquires Sydney-Based Media Analysis Business Landsberry & James

Nielsen has announced it has acquired Landsberry & James (L&J), a leading media analysis and software company based in Sydney, Australia. L&J designs, develops and markets software across the entire media analytics, planning, buying and post analysis process for television, digital, radio, advertising expenditure and advertising creatives. Nielsen’s investment in L&J enables an unparalleled and powerful […]