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TALENT RETENTION

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?
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