Larisa Todd, Stopgap's Senior Consultant, offers insight on employee retention, the importance of wellbeing programs and what it means for your job search.
Employee retention indicates an organisations turnover rate of employees. It can be interpreted in different ways and is a product of many factors.
I asked Larisa a few questions about her perspective on wellbeing and retention rates both as a recruiter who helps great marketing and advertising talent find agency-side roles and as an employee.
Why should organisations prioritise employee retention?
In this current job market with such a talent shortage, we need to continue to look after our current employees.
If we lose them in an already limited talent pool, the business, client and supplier relationship, output of work, volume of work and employee or client satisfaction will quickly decline.
Are there any organisations you think do well at prioritising employee wellbeing?
A number of our (Stopgap's) clients do have wellbeing programs with regular staff check-ins, team bonding sessions, including lunches and yoga classes, counselling and mentor support if needed.
What would you like to see more of in adland and marketing to prioritise employee wellbeing?
Companies should be promoting their wellbeing programs and have teams share their experiences. In this high demand market, a key factor that will set any role apart are companies softer benefits, especially flexible working.
A number of my agency clients have a hybrid model of 2 days in the office, 2 days from home and the 5th day is flexible.
The ability to have a 360 degree review of how the pandemic has impacted your team's lives would also be a useful exercise. This helps to understand your employees better and their lives outside of the office now that we've all had to blend work and life at home without separation. Whilst many people have thrived with this arrangement, there are others that have found this challenging.
Would you encourage your candidates to ask about employee retention before they join a new employer?
Yes, I think it should be a key question as part of the interview process. I've always told my candidates that they're interviewing the client as much as they're being interviewed. You need to feel confident that you have a good understanding of the business, their structure and values, as well as why the role has become available and how long was the previous person in the role for.
Also, should the interview progress to a second or third stage, I'd recommend whilst the interviewee has the opportunity to meet a few members of the wider team to get a sense of the culture and whether this would be a good fit for them. This could be over drinks, a coffee, in the office. Obviously, an hour's meeting can be hard to know for certain but a good sense and gut feel can be established to determine if the organisation feels right.
How can candidates voice any concerns about the company culture or their personal priorities?
Candidates do need to be assertive and proactive and to be reassured that speaking up and asking questions is only going to serve them better. How do you know or how can we expect our employer to know if you don't have a platform to share your views and opinions.
For our clients, they need to have a transparent and open policy to encourage their staff to speak up, especially when we're all navigating a new way of working. We're all learning how to function at our best in these circumstances and sure, there'll be a level of trial and error but at least we're learning and listening to one another, no matter what level of seniority we're at.
Lastly, what do you love about working as an agency-side consultant?
I've recruited for Stopgap for 15 years in London and Sydney and the best part are the relationships I've established with my clients and candidates. A high percentage of my clients have also been candidates and I've had the opportunity to support them in their careers a few times over, even some that have moved from London to Sydney and I'm still connected to them!
I've listened to their stories of new relationships, marriages, children, divorces, their holiday experiences, which makes no two days of work the same. The ability to meet new people, support existing candidates and clients and help them find their ideal next role or that needle in a haystack candidate is incredibly rewarding.