How to hire and retain talent in the industry

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By Emma Bridgewater – head of HR at drp

We live in a competitive world, there is no denying it; we are competing all the time, whether it is for a university place, putting an offer in on a house, applying for a job or a promotion – we are all accustomed to competing. Companies are in the business of competing too, mainly for pitches, but also for talent. Even if we win top clients and hire the best people, we must still compete and stay ahead to retain each one. Hopefully this blog will go some way to enlightening you as to why retention is important and how it can be done successfully.

drp has had a staff retention of 90% over the past four years, so, perhaps it is safe to say that we understand our people, what they require from us, their job, environment and team on a day-to-day basis. No company can always get it right, but we try to accommodate our team as best we can. Here are some of our tips on to how to hire and retain talent in this industry (and perhaps even beyond!).

Hiring

Experience

Of course, in an ideal world, everyone you recruit make matches the job description perfectly, and even has the sweetest icing of everything-you-expected-and-more on top…but realistically this doesn’t happen. So, look for skills, not just experience. How can the skills that they have accumulated over the past (however many) years translate into the role that they have applied for – are they transferrable? Sometimes it isn’t about how much experience a person has, it is the quality of it!

Opportunities

At drp, we offer plenty of opportunities to learn on the job and be fully immersed into the company though work experience, internships and apprenticeship placements. Most recently, we have been trailblazing with other events agencies to establish an Events Assistant Apprenticeship. This is a great way to invest in your people too, because everything those on placements learn is aligned with your company; they are soon embedded into the culture and teams.

Values

Always employ people who have your values – we ensure that everyone at drp has the ‘anything is possible’ mindset innate in their work ethic. Values are not often things that you can force upon people, so choose the people with the right attitude, who fit with the overall team and the team they are going into.

Retaining

Career Progression

It is imperative that there is a clear path for each individual to grow, learn and develop in their role, and within the company. It is important to set goals and objectives that are achievable, alongside being motivating for the individual. To keep track of progression, make sure to have regular reviews (every 3 or 6 months) to assess development and achievements.

Flexibility

  • Within Role
    • If it is possible, and it should be in the digital age that we are in, give your employees the chance to work flexibly. This could be working from home if need be, working remotely, or working alternative hours to the norm – for example 8-4 instead of 9-5. It of course depends on projects, workload and the rest of the team – but this can all be talked about!
  • Within Company
    • Again, this might not be possible in all businesses, but at drp we are fortunate to have a multitude of departments and roles. This means that if a team member is eager to try something else then we let them, if we can. For example, we have had someone working in the warehouse become extremely successful as an Event Producer.

Listening to Your People

Listening is also vital! Make a conscious effort to know what is happening on the ground on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, it is hard to know what is really happening in different departments or the company as a whole, even if you are working together and not siloed. At drp we hold two conferences a year, to assess where we are, where we have been and where we are going together as a business. There is a chance to ask questions to the board face-to-face too. We also run the confidential Best Companies survey each year, to get feedback on what is working and where we need to improve.

Environment

Is your working environment good enough for people to want to stay? Last year we invested £400K on an expansion at our head office, doubling the complex in size with £650K spent on new facilities and technology. It is better place to work, collaborate and spend our days! Sometimes though, it isn’t just about the décor and aesthetics, it’s the little perks too (like hot water through a tap instead of waiting for the kettle, or subsidised lunches).

Training

Similar to career progression, the team are investing time in progressing in your company, so make sure you are providing the tools and means they need. Training – whether small snippets, or something more substantial such as management training – invest in developing your people, for the good of them, and in the long term, you as well!

Rewards and Benefits

What are the benefits of working for you? Are there rewards for performance? Recognition for hard work or for long-term service? There should be! After working with you for a number of years, do they get extra annual leave? Are there awards for those who have gone above and beyond for your company or your clients? Recognise them! We have monthly drp heroes, and at the end of the year we have the drp awards, where the biggest prize last year was a 3-night trip to Hong Kong!

Overall, find the right people and treat them right.

Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

Martin Fullard

Author

Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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