I read all the industry articles on digital transformation, dearth of talent, competition from consulting, publishing, and everyone in between. As an industry, we do an excellent job talking about the problems, issues and challenges. In fact, a casual search will bring up dozens of articles on the issues or problems, often with very similar conclusions: doom, gloom, sinking ship.
Yet, in all my research I've seldom (if ever) seen articles published on what agencies are actually doing to evolve and transform. There's plenty to share. Investment in talent development has never been greater (in my ten years of being focused exclusively on digital talent development). The stories from the ground, not executives or the board room, are particularly encouraging and motivating. What's driving change and progress in the industry? The employees who walk in the doors each day.
In our work, there are often three subsets of employees: pacifists, activists, and experts. The pacifists, representing the largest group, are in denial. Employees (and leaders) who are passive about evolving their skills, ways of working, processes, structures, and capabilities are on their way out. But maybe not fast enough. The activists are the employees you want to keep. They often represent about a 1/4 of the population. They are eager to learn, ready to evolve ways of working and are actively seeking out opportunities. The experts are the smallest group. They are the specialists, often hired to save the rest of the agency from its demise. They work across most of the work. They support in pitches, strategy and creative. These employees know more about digital and technology than others. However, they are stretched super thin, co-workers don't understand how to engage them, and they tend to move in and out of agencies at a rapid rate.
Why share this with you? Here's the deal...
Rather than speculating about what capabilities, types of employees, and skillsets you have at your agency – why not know for certain? smith & beta is offering a chance to find out. We're extending our standard agency skillset and capability analysis to ten agencies at no cost in the month of May. Why? Data about actual capabilities is powerful. Particularly when this data is generated from employees (on the ground and in the work), their understanding of capabilities, and direct input on what is needed. It's with this data that you can make smart decisions in 2016 on where and how to invest in talent.
Now, let's stop circling and discussing the same industry issues year over year and start doing something about it.