We’ve never been here before. Over the history of our country, whenever there has been an employment crisis, it’s been from the employer’s point of view. This really isn’t unemployment - it’s de-employment.
And redeployment is challenging. Everybody is feeling it in every industry.
This employment challenge should play to our strengths. What we do is look at problems from every angle and come up with creative solutions that help our clients profit.
According to Gerri Knilans of Trade Press Services, “While the “Great Resignation” has a chilling ring to it, what we’re really seeing is the natural fluctuation of the business world returning to a state of a new normal after a crisis. Sure, there are challenges to address, changes to make and leadership required, but with eyes wide open and a strategic perspective, the workforce will come back stronger than ever.”
The Great Resignation was the hottest topic at a webinar put on jointly by Salesforce and the American Marketing Association. Karen Mangia, VP of Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce and Debbie Cohen, co-founder and author at Humanity Works, shared some interesting thoughts around not only hiring, but retaining top talent.
“It’s about building relationships and letting people know that you genuinely care about them,” Cohen said. “Talent is short, and careers are long. You might really see the need to re-engage with people over the arch of their careers. So, it’s important to be genuine and supportive.”
“People are moving forward by stepping into their people,” she added. Step into that community and help employees feel invested. That’s the best way to ensure they know where you’re going. It’s a new day and a new way.”
There is always, always, always some way to look at a conundrum that is a bummer and find a positive way to look at it. The solution can be found by looking into the question.
One way to solve this riddle is to use the old reliable question of copywriters everywhere: “What’s the benefit of the benefit?”
In other words, one benefit that candidates get by working with you could be that they will have access to the top level of your agency, rather than working with a mega-agency and its mega-layers.
The benefit of this benefit is that each candidate will have more say in the direction of the agency. They will have the opportunity to be heard, even if you do not agree with them on a particular point. They will still get an at-bat instead of dropping a suggestion into a black hole. This is a powerful motivation for candidates today.
And you will receive another benefit from this exercise - It may not be easy, but by forcing you to examine your own agency and its strengths, it can be an invigorating wake-up for you. “Sonofab*%$&. We’re pretty damn good.”
As John D. Rockefeller, who was pretty successful in his day, famously said, “You have to find a way to keep your head while everyone around you is losing theirs.”
This is what we do. We look at a problem and find a creative solution. Right now, our problem as agency owners and officers is how to recruit and retain great people. A shift in perspective can be powerful. For example, in an Ad Age article from January of this year, Sharon Tunstall, an HR professional of Empower Media Agency, shared this nugget,
“In the past we looked for talent in a specific market,” she says. “Now we look for talent across all markets, given that the work environment has shifted.”
Brilliant. Instead of being constrained by the candidates’ market, we could be empowered by it. No longer does geography play a limiting role in getting the best candidates together to work on a client’s problem. No company is expected to have all its talent in-person. In fact, it is more efficient and reflects well on an agency not to have everyone in one physical location.
The talent pool is deeper. Dive in. If you’re leery, dip a toe in it first. Either way, your clients will appreciate that you are better allocating their budgets by renting the best talent in the world instead of buying only what you’re able to recruit to your physical location.
That sounds more like a clients’ market.