The most important rule for retaining the best of your resources is to give them a stimulating environment and atmosphere where creative thrives. Creative people would like to stick around for longer only if their creativity is encouraged. Along with that, these are my seven ways to retain talent...
Freedom to fail: You have to give freedom to your people. Freedom does not mean allowing late entry to office… freedom means that your people are fearless and are not inhibited to try out new things. They should not be afraid of failure and learn to take risks and come up with ideas.
Trust and transparency: An organisation should trust its employees so that they have complete faith and trust in it. This can happen only if there is complete transparency, whether in relationships or dealings or in business. There shouldn’t be any politics, back-biting, hidden agendas and bitching going at the workplace. Trust is an old-fashioned word, but very important in our industry.
The ultimate call should be with the creative chief: The final say should always be of the creative chief. That has to be the message which everyone obeys and follows. There can be differences, people should debate about it, but the final call has to be his or her. No one else should take that call.
Don’t burden creative with administration: Taking care of menial things definitely affect productivity. Organisations should provide assistance to creative people for doing basic things, otherwise it will just put them off. Regular administrative work should not be their duty.
No room for egos: Your ego should not be the hurdle for progress of any work! Usually, people confuse self-pride with ego, but there is a difference. Ideas die when ego starts playing a role and that is the biggest obstacle for creativity. It’s difficult to administer it, but lesser the ego, the better it is. The environment should be open for people to feel free and walk to each other and admit it if there is a mistake.
Exposure: You have to facilitate exposure to keep people motivated. Whether it’s training, workshops or informal discussions, you have to facilitate exposure because the more the exposure, the better your resources will be in coming up with ideas. Whether it’s going out for movies, intellectual discussions, interactions once a week or sending your junior-most resource also on a shoot, the exposure has to be as much as possible. It does not necessarily have to be related to your own profession. For opening up the mind and horizons, exposure is important.
Meritocracy: You have to have an atmosphere in your organisation where talent or performance gets duly and timely recognised. I have seen heads of departments feeling insecure about juniors getting rewarded. That should not happen. A junior getting an award is a testimony that his leader is great. If there is no recognition for work and that too on time, it leads to insecurity and then people tend to leave the place. Along with recognition, time of that recognition is also crucial. You can’t laud the efforts when the person is leaving, so the timing of it is also of equal importance.
(Kamal Oberoi is Chairman & Managing Director at M&C Saatchi.)