How PR agencies should nurture and retain talent

Maintain a strong pipelineWhether people realise it or not, workplaces across domains are undergoing a consistent transformation and PR is no different. Despite the popular media representations of the industry as a sought-after career option, Public Relations agencies aren’t all glamorous. That’s not to say there aren’t enough perks for PR professionals.

Over the years, PR has been found to offer an incredibly varied and challenging career to the professionals engaged in this industry. Yes, PR is stressful and it takes only the best of talent to navigate the daily hassles of client servicing and still manage to keep the business flow in. Maintaining consistency in employee turnover and keeping the clients satisfied is not at all easy. Hence, nurturing and retaining talent in PR is something that should be the concern of Public Relations agencies.

In the last few years, the PR industry has widened its scope greatly – offering a good number of employability opportunities to the freshers and experienced professionals both. With time, the fight to bring on board and retain top talent in PR has only intensified. After all, posting an ad on the website or a job listing isn’t enough to bring on board top talent.

It is possible that your enterprise is a great place to work in, but one should never assume that others will also think in the same way. It is absolutely crucial to understand how the enterprise is made to look to the outside world. In this regard, image building and an efficient brand positioning strategy come in handy. The conventional recruitment initiatives should make way for the new age, result-driven strategies.

The truth is most PR employers are looking for efficient ways to keep their employees satisfied. Although most employees consider parameters like higher salary, flexible work hours, retirement and vacation benefits as reasons for switching jobs, they are not enough to keep them for the long haul. Job satisfaction stands tall and helps to enhance employee retention rate considerably. There’s no denying that employee engagement and retention has emerged as one of the greatest challenges PR agencies are battling these days.

Here are certain strategies that the PR service providers in India should consider for employee retention.

Make your employee feel like an assetMake your employee feel like an asset to the Public relations agency
No organisation, irrespective of its domain, should make its employee feel like an overhead. Job security is of utmost importance. Appreciating employees for their contributions to the organisation is key. Take timely input from them about the rules or any changes they would like to see in the organisation. Many PR service providers in India have been promoting the concept of allowing employees to make their own choices as often as possible to bolster confidence.

Share a clear picture of the expectations and targets of the organisation
Always ensure you have your job descriptions clarified right at the onset so that the employees have a clear understanding of their responsibilities. If there are certain changes that need to be implemented, inform them beforehand. Every enterprise should opt for direct and clear communication.

Promote an open and honest work environment
Share feedback and be open to the idea of addressing the concerns of the employees. An employee-centric organisation is open to suggestions and offer guidance when needed.

Offer growth opportunities and room for advancement
Many global Public Relations agencies are supporting their employees by offering monetary/tuition support for continuing their education. Moreover, PR employers are spending a lot of time to realise the passion of their employees by allowing them to focus on projects of their interest. It is a good idea to let them know about the career development plans and the growth opportunities available to the enterprise.

appreciation for good workOn-time appreciation for good work
Reports suggest that rewarding employees with monetary bonuses are important, but recognising a job well done has a greater ability to build loyalty. Making sure employees are appreciated, respected and recognised for their work is a successful way to retain talent. An employee starts searching for a new job only when he/she feels undervalued or unappreciated.

Besides the above-mentioned pointers, an effective hiring process is believed to be the foundation. Building the brand presence helps to select those candidates who are the best fit for the job and organisation both. Identify what are the competencies, skills needed for attaining success and then use hiring tools to find suitable candidates matching these characteristics. This will not just boost the overall employee retention rate, but the loyal employees will successfully contribute to the overall success.

• Create an employment brand
Every public relations agency should aim to make the employment brand a crucial part of their company’s everyday recruitment and talent acquisition processes. Before an enterprise engages an extensive candidate pool, they should focus on the creation of a cohesive employment brand that reflects their vision for the future and long-term talent acquisition requirements.

Employment branding should be treated as a long-term strategy as the brand image your enterprise promotes today will be able to successfully influence the candidates’ impression of your firm in the coming years. An efficient employment brand reflects the employment experience of the existing employee base. Successful display of the company as an efficient employment brand helps to gain the reputation as a ‘great place to work’ and maintain a consistent stream of qualified applicants.

• Maintain a strong pipeline
Active recruitment firms that work for the PR service providers in India are robust in their approach and viable as well. Creating an efficient pipeline moves beyond collecting and easy management of resumes. It comprises qualified candidates who are willing to take up employment opportunities at a short notice period. Usually, the candidates in the pipeline are screened or interviewed before and recruiters seek the best opportunity to match them with the most suitable job opening.

• Follow up with the candidates
Although building an extensive pipeline is important for a successful recruitment process, it is also essential to undertake constant follow up. The engaged candidates appreciate the move where they know their stand in the extended recruitment cycle.

An on-going dialogue has been found to be helpful to maintain a fresh image of a company’s employment brand in the candidate’s mind. It is crucial to remember that the qualified candidates are pursued by other recruiters as well.
So, what do employees really want?

Besides the monetary benefits, the millennial generation is looking for perks such as on-site fitness centres, flexible work timings, yoga classes, casual dressing and more. Most employees want to have the option to work from home or flexible work hours so they are able to plan events or a daytime doctor appointment and work later during the evening. A healthy work-life balance is what helps them remain focussed and happy in their job in the long run.

Some of the other common fixes are improved office technology and office designs that have been found to be helpful in boosting partnership.

There are varied ways in which nurturing of Public Relations talent is possible. It is believed that a pro-active attitude is needed towards nurturing and retaining talent management.

When the employers are able to figure out which non-traditional benefits will offer the maximum value to their workforce, implementing them accordingly won’t be a hassle. It is clear that the workplace of the future should focus on the non-traditional benefits to retain talent.

Please share your thoughts, suggestions and opinions on how the new age work culture should evolve.

Also read: Essential skills every PR pro should acquire in 2016

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