How can agencies win the war for ‘rock star’ talent?

Who would have thought we’d be entering into another year with Covid-19? With more livelihoods and lives lost, vulnerability is a constant companion. We expect the ‘unexpected’– it’s just how life is now.


In tough times, leaders are gathering those around them, who they really trust to fly their rockets. Creative and strategic drivers are the people who make things happen and create the biggest impact!


With recruitment being more competitive than ever, agencies must reimagine their offering.


The State of the Industry report for creative communications & live events was such an interesting read – published on our website. Of those surveyed, 47% said they were confident about the future of the events industry, 47% expected their number of full-time employees to increase a little and 38% by a lot.

At royall, we find that, due to market uncertainty, event talent have sadly left for other industries. It is our mission to attract them back! There is a resultant smaller talent pool to choose from and thus, as a lead recruitment partner, we need longer lead times and more planning with recruitment. Less ‘reactive’ briefs and more quarterly recruitment planning, for best ‘talent engagement’ strategies, required from client partners.


Clients who INVEST in spending time with their recruitment partners will get the BEST from them. Especially given they still work on a ‘no placement - no fee’ terms and basis.


Employer brands must be authentic, creative and genuine. Employee value propositions must be attractive and competitive; with salaries, benefits and flexibility forming part of these.


‘Growth’ & ‘Sustainability’ need to be on the top of leadership agendas, with a ‘people first’ mindset– promoting organic growth. The more engaged people are, the more discretionary effort they will provide.


Many agencies have adapted their approach to accommodate the changing expectations of staff and prospective talent. Businesses need to remain flexible in the current market - talent have more say in what they are striving for.


As we look forward and ahead to this brand-new year, it is important to recognise that people are still “battle-bruised” and coping with way too much emotionally. Let’s be sensitive to the different ways that the past two years has changed us all. Can we channel the losses into productive creativity, so that we don’t waste what we have learnt? Can we please be CURIOUS, CARING & COURAGEOUS with our people. By putting them first and creating clear, concise, easy to digest and on-board plans which involve every person in your business, regardless of level – this WILL see your business thrive.


Unsurprisingly, the roles most in demand are those requiring digital, hybrid and virtual skills. Although salaries have increased for talent with these skills, there is not always the revenue to support them. Offering overtime is one-way smaller agencies are managing the increase in workload (but still with concern of live events being cancelled) instead of hiring more head count.


Consensus from the report, whether the outlook is positive or negative, is that the marketplace has changed dramatically due to Covid-19. Skills required for 2022 are in shortage. Employers who have a clearly defined sense of ‘purpose’, one that celebrates the reason for the company existing and celebrates people, diversity and inclusivity, within all aspects of their ‘purpose-place environment’ will “attract, engage and retain” the best talent.


Successful leaders will be those who can communicate openly, with empathy and in a human way. Demonstrating how they will care for the human needs of their people. In addition, they must show as a company, how they have evolved and developed during the pandemic, to be able to provide a stable, caring environment and exciting career paths going forward.

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