Skills crunch leads UK ad agency giant to do ‘stay interviews’

By our News Team | 2021

Industry is concerned about losing key talent and wants to find out how people can be persuaded to stay with the company.

M&C Saatchi, the giant UK-based advertising and marketing agency, is so concerned about losing talented employees that it has begun a programme of ‘stay interviews’, as opposed to the common ‘exit interviews’ when people leave.

According to the industry publication, The Drum, the aim is to identify areas of improvement for the business, thereby persuading would-be leavers to rather stay with the company. 

The Drum says the UK ad industry is experiencing a talent crunch, with a record number of staff leaving, or intending to do so soon. Digital skills are said to be in particularly short supply, with jobs chasing people.

Brexit may have accelerated the skills shortage, as did the large numbers of people who were laid off by the ad industry during the pandemic and have since found work outside the industry.

Talent retention

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

M&C Saatchi’s Managing Partner, Annabel Mackie, mentioned in an interview with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) some months back that the message to staff during these interviews was: “We value you and we would like you to stay with us”.

Only effective if people can be honest

“It goes without saying that the ‘stay interviews’ will only be effective if talent feel they can be truly honest, as such we recommend those conducting the interviews are not line managers of those being interviewed and ideally not in the same department to enable objectivity and a degree of separation,” Mackie explained in a joint interview with two other experts.

“To be effective, the outcomes from the ‘stay interviews’ need to be shared [and] we suggest a member of the management team and a senior HR person sponsor this initiative and are responsible for collating the outcomes and arranging them into themes that can be turned into actions.”

Among the suggested questions during ‘stay interviews’:

  • Does your team enable you to be yourself and are you supported to thrive?
  • Do you feel you get enough recognition?
  • Do you feel positively challenged by the work you are assigned?
  • Would you say you have enough tasks to do?
  • Over the past year, how would you rate the support you receive from the agency on a 1-10 scale score?

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.