Henry Hall of MediaContacts recaps the roundtable he led on HR & Staffing issues...
The consensus was it is becoming increasing difficult to hire search professionals.
Most at the table agreed that it is much easier to hire college grads and perspectives with no search experience. Many find that hiring search professionals with experience â€" sometime recruits come with baggage such as not adhering to new procedure, adjusting to new environment, etc. Gathering folks outside of search bring new thought perspectives. Non-Search background recruits generally seem to be much more strategic.
- One sector identified as a good pool to recruit from is the financial analysis field. Recruit are highly analytical and love number, excel, etc. They are better at delivering data in a tangible fashion â€" key for client service, education.
- Most at the table require all member to be proficient in analysis, copy creation/editing, campaign structure, etc. Larger agencies said they break some function such as SEO and Analytics to dedicate teams.
- Most in the group said an avg. search team was about six professionals per client or brand. The appropriate level of FTEâ€™s is subject to account. Bigger and Global accounts are staffed with more senior professionals. Smaller accounts are staffed with more junior teams.
- It was noted that educating all search employees on how their respective agency makes money and associated margins will help employees through this difficult/uncertain economic time.
- Some voiced it is slight possibility to shift employees to different accounts, etc. when account spend decreases or clients move business. But that decision is based on overall margins.
- Keeping good talent is a challenge for both large and small agencies. It was widely agreed that junior/entry level employees feel a sense of entitlement. They expect quick promotions, raises, etc. However, the current economy might bring the issue of entitlement into perspective.
- Other tactics is to keep employees: open an office of heaving lifting in a non-competitive geo-graphic area.
* More substantial suggestions were to be open and honest with employees. Give the employee an opportunity to be an expert on a certain subject; campaign structure, competitive bidding, copy writing, etc. and let them be a visible resource to the rest of the search team. In addition, developing specialized project such as writing POVâ€™s, evaluating vendor technology, etc will help retain.