Creative, Marketing and In-House Staffing: An Update from Pile’s Divisions

Friends of Pile,

You often hear from me on Pile Consulting, but I thought I might share a few industry insights from two of our divisions—Communications Collaborative, our creative and marketing staffing arm, and IHAF, our professional association for in-house agencies.

As we move ahead in 2017, Communications Collaborative shares that we remain in a “candidate’s market.” So, what does this mean for employers?

– In Massachusetts, where the lion’s share of CC candidates are placed, unemployment is low. Jobseekers are enjoying less competition and more choice—securing better salaries, perks and benefits.

– Hiring processes need to accelerate. Candidates are receiving multiple offers and employers need to move quickly.

– Employers who find a great candidate should shift their thinkingfrom, “I need a person to fit my role,” to “I need my role to fit this person.”

– Work-from-home and flex hours are becoming more prevalent, often included from the outset as part of a hiring package.

– If you are an employer stuck in a recession mindset, it’s time to evolve. Squeezing a candidate on salary, offering mediocre benefits and zero flexibility will not work in this economy.

IHAF shared that one of the biggest issues facing their in-house agency membership is finding the right staffing model. Many organizations restrict the number of freelancers an in-house creative service team can hire. And full-time employees aren’t always the solution due to the fluctuations of an in-house agency’s workload.

New policies should emerge that provide in-house agencies with the flexibility to hire freelancers, FTEs or “permalancers” (long-term freelancers) as needed. This will not only enable in-house teams to remain a viable financial option for their companies, but also allow them to effectively and efficiently meet their brand’s advertising needs.

Low turnover and tenured employees can pose another challenge.Some, not all, long-term employees allow skills to stagnate. When in-house agencies seek to attract top talent from external agencies, there is a schism between big name creatives and the existing employee base.

To attract top talent, in-house agencies must increase expectations around skillsets and roles. These groups are poised to grow and assume greater responsibility, but they must hold their employees to a higher standard if they want to not just survive, but thrive.

If you’d like to hear more about Communications Collaborative or IHAF, please reach me at 617.587.3925.