Attracting Creative Talent Takes More Than Money

To a creative business, so the theory goes, talent is everything. 

This I have come to understand, is a distorted view. The assets of a creative company being both the original thinkers that it employs, and the methods by which it attracts, harnesses and purposes their creativity. 

For the advertising industry, this is becoming an issue. 

Both because their organizational structures tend to separate and filter at a time when they need to connect and flow. 

And because keeping talent and acquiring talent are not built into the advertising industry’s DNA.

Research recently conducted by the Association of American Advertising Agencies (AAAA), suggests that one third of the industry’s talent will either have left their job or left the industry by this time next year. 

And according to Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, the advertising industry is also guilty of ‘criminal neglect’ in its approach to recruiting talent.

For an industry that sells original thinking, this is unassisted suicide. 

The good news is that no matter the size of the company, attracting and retaining talent has more to do with your commitment to building a sustainable business, than how much you pay. 

The species to which we belong being compelled at a cellular level towards achievement and progress.

Which means that we only accept the substitute of more money as compensation not for our labor, but for what we sacrifice. Namely, the opportunity to make a difference.

Doubt that? Ask those whose achievements you most admire and whose originality you find most compelling, the source of their core motivation. None will reply money. Not one. 

Financial rewards come to those who make a difference. Which, ironically tends to be those companies who put the difference part ahead of the money part when it comes to attracting talent. 

And who know that to retain that talent, money is but one part of a nine part equation.

Tomorrow I’ll examine all nine parts in detail.