agency talent, remote work,

Agency Talent Management in 2021

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How to manage agency talent is one of the questions that has probably crossed your mind over the past few months. The covid-19 pandemic forced many changes. After a year, a lot has changed on the workspace. This can make you wonder: What does talent want? Cella’s 2021 Creative Marketing and Digital Talent Report has some interesting insights on this.

The pandemic forced most of the workforce to be sent home to work remotely, and most of the 400 respondents whose answers are gleaned in the report seem to want to keep it this way. Another thing to look out for is the major resignation that hit many industries. The numbers are astonishing.

Remote work (at least as far as the US is concerned is here to stay)

About 90% of respondents are interested in working remotely. Not only that but remote work consistently featured highly as a factor throughout the questions.  This might be a double-edged sword because, while it does allow people to avoid the daily commutes, many businesses are beginning to cotton to the fact that there are big demographic changes in the costs of employees depending on where they live.

This is even more prominent if the business is willing to look internationally for talent. For example, Latin America has some great talent when it comes to creatives. The salaries are typically a lot lower than in the US.  

The other main implication of this is that it is more important than ever to have tools and systems in place that support remote working. It’s just not practical to have vital systems and documents stored on local machines. This shows the importance of having cloud-based systems like WorkBook and ConceptShare, now more than ever.

Staff churn is back with a vengeance.  

This has always been an issue for agencies who, from what we’ve seen, have an annual churn rate of around 25% but I have seen this quoted as high as 30%.  Perhaps this will be bigger now that the uncertainties of the pandemic are now subsiding and there is a pent-up desire for people to look for new challenges. The reasons for looking for new work are typical but all too often avoidable:   

  • Compensation
  • Feeling uninspired 
  • Lack of challenges  
  • No career advancement 
  • Absence of professional development
  • Poor leadership 
  • Toxic environment 

 According to the report, “51% of employed respondents are so unhappy with their current company, they’d take the first opportunity to make a lateral move”. One of the main reasons people consider leaving their organization is to find better opportunities. The most prevalent reason why talent wants to quit was “poor leadership/management and a harmful atmosphere”.

Now, when asked about the #1 perk people look for when researching potential employers, 28% mentioned the flexibility to work remotely. In fact, this was the most desired perk candidates look for. This is a great example of how things have changed. Remote work beats out higher compensation, benefits, and paid vacation days.

All this data shows that the world has changed and agencies need to do more to address staff churn. Especially given that people are their principal asset and represent 65% of their operating costs. 

A 25% staff churn means that a quarter of your staff today will not be working with you in 12 months. There are lots of studies that show the cost is significant and actually difficult to calculate because it includes a lot of variables that are subjective. For example, how do you calculate the cost of:  

  • Disruption to the business 
  • Lost productivity (a new person may take 1-2 years to reach the productivity of an existing person)
  • Lost engagement (other employees who see high turnover disengage and lose productivity)
  • Customer service and errors (new employees take longer and are often less adept at solving problems). 
  • Internal Training cost 
  • Cultural impact (whenever someone leaves others to take time to ask “why?”)

There is a huge benefit in reducing staff costs and it’s not as difficult to address some of these issues as it may seem.

Agencies that have the highest staff churn are those that have not conquered their creative operations. These are the agencies that Carlos Pezzani describes in his book Sanar su Agencia: Agencies that are trying to manage in a digital age with antiquated systems and processes and a siloed organization structure.  

There’s a good thing that the report shows: agencies that have the right tools and processes to manage their talent effectively should not have too much to worry about. If you want your agency to become one of these, contact us. We would be happy to show you what our solutions can do to help you.

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In today’s world, agency systems need to be connected to improve the productivity of talent. If maximum productivity equals profit, your agency should have the right systems in place. Specially considering that remote-work seems to be here to stay.

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