The digital skills shortage in Australia has been well documented previously by numerous industry and research bodies. With digital revenue on course to surpass all other media in years to come, a grab for the limited talent pool has started. More recently advertising agencies and client teams have begun to expand their digital resources by poaching from full-service digital set ups or media planning agencies.
This puts pressure on organisations who have done all the hard work in identifying and training talent either locally or from overseas. Training new staff or going through the lengthy process of interviewing overseas candidates with sponsorship requirements can be cumbersome. To check the rate of attrition, organisations should focus on four simple retention strategies to keep existing in-house talent.
1. Have a Digital vision
Organisations with a clear vision of the role of digital in their business are more likely to hold and attract digital talent. Internal candidates will recognize that such organisations are more likely to invest in tools and resources that will aid their personal growth. Do not commoditize the digital product through an over-reliance on trading desks and exchanges. A strategy first organisation will always attract and retain the cream of the talent pool.
2. Build a team
Don’t just add one token digital specialist under a generalist manager. Instead build a high performance digital team. As new technologies and formats roll out, digital executives need like-minded peers to bounce ideas off and to share learnings with. Make your digital team members feel they are part of something bigger rather than just resources to keep your basic search, website and social functions ticking over.
3. Support. Support. Support.
Nothing inspires employees more than top management support. Hire the best and get out of their way as the adage goes. Chances are there is very little you can teach your digital people, but what you can do is ensure you clear any hurdles impeding them. Also allow them the latitude to choose their tools, devices and operating systems of choice.
4. Reward as required
Recognize that digital specialists are in demand and their salary expectations only reflect what the industry is offering. This is simply supply and demand. A few thousands to retain someone with valuable intellectual property (IP) and the right cultural fit is peanuts compared to the loss in productivity due to the inability to replace them.