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How to Retain Your Creative Talent
24/08/2018

Attracting creative talent is one thing, but the real question is how do you KEEP your creative talent? It’s inevitably important for your staff to want to stay at your company, by retaining core talent it enables trust, it creates a culture for your company that people want to be a part of, that your clients feel is consistent and dependable, and it allows your staff to build genuine friendships and enjoy their work.

However, it can be easier said than done. So what is it that makes your employees want to stay for 5/10/15 years and not feel they need to fly the nest? Here is what our candidates say would keep them or HAS kept them in a role for a significant period of time… 

“It’s about a good atmosphere, people you can bounce off. I go into every role with the same attitude for the actual work so that doesn’t change, so the main thing in wanting to stay in a role for me is the environment I work in. If it’s a real, genuine company filled with real people with lots of enthusiasm that’s what matters. Creatives don’t really need extravagant offices and perks, we’re quite laid back, so just some good technology and software and a good bunch of people. That’s what would keep me.” - Mid-Weight Designer

“A main factor is personal growth and development. A chance to grow and have different opportunities really. Financial reward is definitely a big factor. I think if you get a bonus or a salary increase I see that as validation that you are achieving and improving so it means a lot. It depends on your situation, but if I was in a role I loved but I wasn’t getting that financial reward I would have to look elsewhere, I have to put myself first at the end of the day and ensure I am able to support myself financially.”  - Mid-Weight Designer

“I’d say having a company or business that appreciates the value of creative and it’s worth and value to the business. Having a collaborative atmosphere and a great working culture helps.” - Junior Designer

 Taken from our 2017 Salary Survey

“When I was a junior, it was definitely all about the work. It was gaining experiences with new brands and clients, money was never bothered me. But as you get older it’s about opportunity for promotion, it’s long term goals and having targets in place - but I’ve found it hard to find somewhere that will offer me that. There are still places that offer those chances for progression but they are few and far between, so I freelance now. I want the ability to manage people, to progress in a company, and a good holiday package with decent money - in an ideal world that’s what I’d like in a perm role and what would keep me there.” - Freelance Digital/Print Designer

Whilst that is what the candidates are looking for, how do agencies accommodate these wishes? We spoke to our clients to see how they DO keep their creative talent…

“For us we are big on flexibility, making sure we were accommodating to peoples circumstances and lifestyles. We also wanted to make sure everyone felt they could be creative, so if we were having a team brainstorm we’d invite everyone, even the book keepers, because anyone could have a valuable idea. Pulling in on peoples experiences helps the creative process, and it means everyone works together creating good internal communication, it makes it an easier way to work as well as a more enjoyable way to work. It’s all about creating an atmosphere of collaboration and being brave and open to new ideas.” - Co-Owner of design studio

“A big factor for us retaining talent is the quality of work we get in, and the calibre of clients. Having that high quality exclusive work is really how we keep people. We always make sure we are entering into awards and giving our team the chance to be recognised by their peers, and we offer good training schemes too. We’re a fairly small agency, as is the case with most agencies, the opportunity for progression in terms of actual promotions are limited, the creative director isn’t going anywhere, and there are only so many spaces to fill. So at that point it becomes about long term goals and increasing responsibility, so having awards to win and so on helps towards that." - MD of advertising agency

So how do you retain talent? Progression, rewards, collaboration, and a happy atmosphere. Simple, right? Ok, maybe not - but by the sound of things as long as you’re honest with your staff, appreciate their contribution, and consider what their own personal goals are you’ll be in with a fairly good chance of them staying for the long run. 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this piece, get in touch on Twitter @OrchardTweets
Liked this? You may also want to read what benefits are your creative employees REALLY interested in? 

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