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How To Retain Your Digital Team

As a Recruitment Consultant, a large part of our role is to advise and consult our clients, not just on a specific piece of recruitment but on the industry landscape as a whole, salary expectations, what the current market looks like, and general patterns that are forming within it.

As I sat down with one of my key clients recently, and we discussed both staff retention and how to be an ‘employer of choice’, it inspired me to put pen to paper on the subject… largely because times are changing.

Here at Beyond the Book, we work with a real mix of agency and in-house clients across the Midlands and Central England and, in the last 12-18 months, there has certainly been an increase in demand for ‘Digitally biased’ candidates. From specialists in CRO, Paid Media or Content Strategy to more generalist Digital Account Managers, Project Managers or Marketing Managers, agencies and in-house Marketing teams alike recognise that they have a need for Digital candidates.

There is also a recognition that unlike more traditional Marketing candidates, Digital candidates may be more inclined to move around and keep an ‘ear to the ground’ about what opportunities are out there. As technologies progress, good Digital professionals are keen to ensure that they are at the very forefront, and if they feel that their current place of work can’t offer them the opportunity to stay abreast of emerging trends, they may well look elsewhere.

Staff turnover rates (specifically within agency) were highlighted in The Drum, as part of an article about the Wow Companies bench-marking report ‘The Bench Press’:

“With the average staff turnover rate for agencies being 17% each year, the need to recruit is also strongly accompanied by the need to retain talent. This turnover rate has prompted many agencies to invest in staff retention strategies to help them keep their best talent in a competitive marketplace.”1

Within a small agency set up of 20 people, this rate of 17% equates to, on average, around 3 members of staff lost per year.

We’ve certainly noticed a shift towards staff retention efforts here in the Midlands, and whilst there has certainly been an increase in ‘counter offers’, it’s about what you do before it gets to that stage that really counts.

The Drum cited further findings from The Bench Press, including; “What were once considered perks by staff are now expected as the minimum. For example, 73% of agencies now offer flexible working as part of their benefits package. Free food and beanbags are no longer enough. Many agencies are now investing heavily in training and development programmes, to help them retain their best talent.”

This further emphasises a real need to focus on staff retention and engagement. Within Digital, there is an ever-growing focus on Acquisition, UX, Customer Journey and CRO – the recruitment and retention process have some similarities. Consider the stages of the candidate/staff journey;

  • Acquisition; the process of finding and securing the right candidate, be that direct or through a specialist agency. The experience of interviewing through to offer is the first stage of the journey. Make this slick and stress free for higher chances of retention further down the line.
  • User Experience; first impressions count, and much like how a customer feels when they first land on a website, how your new staff member is on-boarded and inducted to the business will have a huge impact on how long they stay. Ensure that new starters are given clear measures and have regular check-ins to ensure they are happy and understand what’s expected of them. Being made to feel like a valued part of the team from day one will pay dividends in the long run.
  • CRO; think of your ‘new starters’ as ‘site visitors’ – how can you convert them to ‘customers’ – or in this case, long-standing members of your team? Offer them what they are looking for. While not all clients have got budgets to offer huge financial rewards and benefits, don’t underestimate the power of flexible working, working from home options, parking permits, free coffee, fruit and other refreshments, as well as other ‘quick wins’.

At the end of the day, no one likes high “bounce or exit rates”, we all want a slick customer journey from acquisition to conversion, so consider this when looking at both recruitment and retention.

We can provide advice, guidance and consultancy on retention strategies, benefits packages and how to become an ‘employer of choice’ in your local area – just drop us a note and we will get in touch for a chat!

1The Drum https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2017/04/12/trend-the-wow-company-reports-what-the-average-uk-agency-looks Quote ‘The Bench Press’ – The Wow Companies agency benchmarking report

By Emma Simkiss