UnLtd’s Chris Freel: Why Purpose & Human Connection Are Key To Securing Talent

UnLtd’s Chris Freel: Why Purpose & Human Connection Are Key To Securing Talent

There’s a real need for organisations to dive into corporate social responsibility and to embrace the return of industry events, according to UnLtd CEO Chris Freel (lead image). He explains why instituting these practices can help retain industry talent and rebuild those all-important connections.

After two years of seemingly endless webinars and virtual shows, it’s uplifting to see many industry events returning, giving us the chance to reconnect face-to-face once again.

Now is the perfect time for the media industry to get out of its proverbial pyjamas and get back into the swing of things. And ahead of us is one of our biggest challenges yet – retaining and securing talent.

For the past two years we have been living in a bubble that has had a huge impact on the way that we communicate as a collective.

While there are many benefits of working from home, there’s no doubt our industry is fundamentally built on personal relationships. Losing that physical interaction has made it so much harder to foster and forge our own deeper connections with others.

With many newcomers to the industry having never met their own teammates, clients or compatriots, it’s crucial that we as a community address the long-term effects this could have. We need to reawaken ourselves from the social slumber that we have found ourselves in.

Hitting a lack of connection for six

Over the last month, UnLtd kicked off the industry’s first major social events – the Big Clash cricket tournaments – played across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

The event brings all fields and levels of the industry together to raise funds for youth at risk, working together in a way that they never ordinarily would. It’s a truly unique event that brings traditional rivals together under one team.

Meta, Amazon and Snap stand together in Team Tech, as do Channels Seven, Nine, Ten and Foxtel in Team Media Owners. The radio networks and rival publishers discuss tactics, while The Monkeys and BMF put aside creative differences. Moreover, OMD, Carat and Mediacom can be seen limbering up together in the Media Agency Team.

This year, the event felt even more special as everyone came together in person, at a time when many are craving human connection and interaction.

With over 700 attendees across the four events, the atmosphere was electric and chock full of positivity, chatter and much-needed laughter. In the Sydney event, the men’s player of the day was only in his fourth day in our industry and he couldn’t believe how incredible the energy and atmosphere of the industry was.

As organisations start to consider their back to work plans, some are still reluctant to consider holding events. But the inclusion of social gatherings is critical to reigniting the magic of our businesses, especially for younger employees who thrive on connected culture.

Our industry is very hard working and that can be relentless at times, especially for young people starting their careers. Many of the traditional perks of the job have not been present for two years and this has an impact on our industry’s ability to recruit and retain staff.

Being able to come together at events to celebrate all that is good about our industry and showcase that to people is important.

Engagement through empowerment

The Core Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study found that 64 per cent of Millennials won’t take a job if the employer doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. A further 82 per cent said they would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social issues.

People want to work for organisations that are more than just cool and hip. They want to connect with companies that stand for something bigger than the bottom line and profit generation.

UnLtd, as an organisation, is an asset for the industry to be able to talk about when attracting talent. No other industry has an organisation like UnLtd, which brings our community together in such a fun and meaningful way. Through events, and supportive initiatives like Mentally Healthy and Mood, UnLtd provides an injection of purpose and meaning by giving our industry the power to make a difference.

Despite the headwinds that we have all faced, looking ahead and shifting our focus to human connection is now essential. By being involved across the industry, it gives us a chance to reconnect, come together and make a positive difference for all involved.

I encourage everyone to join us at our many events – from surfing to soccer – and to be reminded of the good in our industry and the power we have if we work together

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Chris Freel UNLTD

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