I like to think my agency has done a remarkable job in retaining me. And I’m quite the catch 🙂
A new film from Arnold Worldwide will focus on the talent retention/management crisis going on at ad agencies.
The movie is scheduled to air during Cannes. In the trailer, one statistic highlighted is that 90% of ad agency employees (the ones who participated in the study of course) state that they have to learn things on their own. And here I was thinking I was the only one.
Here’s my thought on that statistic: I’ve been self taught for so many years that I just consider it normal. In college, I taught myself design programs for classes, though I did learn alot from mentorship at my job making print ads. When it came to working at the ad agency however, I was given very basic instructions. Things like this person needs to see this, this is how you input your time, and here is the list of clients. Most everything else was me figuring out how to execute day-to-day functions as well as involving myself in longer term strategic plans.
A previous boss of mine (who was terrific in every sense of the word) was the account services director, and while they were available for questions, it was pretty much known at my agency that this is very much a “figure it out for yourself” world. It’s not something I was shocked by, and I didn’t have reason to complain (too often). I feel that this “independent” path can build character and can help mold individuals into strong assets for any company in the future.
Or, it can lead them to seek other employment, which is what 60% of the participants in the study said they would do within twelve months.
If you go into any situation with the right attitude, I’m of the mentality that you can make most situations turn to your advantage. If you’re learning the job on your own, take the opportunity to OWN helping others when they join the company. You can turn everything you learned on your own into an opportunity to show others you are capable of teaching and helping others. And, you can show your company that you can hit the ground running without help. You may stumble from the lack of assistance, but if you can persevere you can prove to be a great asset.
This is all my opinion based on the fact that my history has been taking the independent path and figuring out how to make clients happy, work with different creative types, and knowing what to do when a client’s upset. I have almost always in my professional career had to learn things on my own, but never really saw it as a reason why I’d be considering leaving an agency. My agency isn’t entirely a “figure it out for yourself” place, but even if it were, all I would see is an opportunity to show that I can still help my agency grow (and clients happy) but teaching myself how to do so.
That being said, would love to see the film. This is obviously a problem in the industry, and I’m interested in seeing how others think. Especially on the account side.