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The A-Team

Come on, let us face it.

The communication industry is facing an acute dearth

of talent.

This problem accentuates for start-ups and medium-sized agencies.

Of course, a lot of this can be attributed to the overall Mediocre Syndrome that is rampant around us. Stop refuting. Can you name one discovery, one new product, one new technology this world has seen during the past ten years? NONE!

Coming back to the main issue: Dearth of talent.

Honestly speaking, we are also to be blamed. Not willing to invest time and energy in hiring, training and providing the millennials with a Career Path, we have been consumed by ‘Getting The work done” frame of mind. As a result, we hire anyone, expect the world out of them and then sulk when we are let down.

Honestly speaking, the daily grind is so exacting that it compels us to look for ready-made solutions. But are there any? There are none. Let me share with you some tips which will ensure short term impetus, mid-term growth, and long term stability. I know, you might not agree with me but trust me, this is the surest way of getting a rocking team in place.

1.Another brick in the wall

Don’t let Floyd’s anthem fool you. Still, hiring from decent colleges is one of the safest ways to get the basics right. A decent college on CV ensures a decent IQ that makes the candidate worthy of grooming.

For years, I have hired copywriters only from North Campus, Delhi and that too from top colleges. Today, most of them are Creative Directors. Hiring people from lesser-known colleges puts you and your agency at the risk of ‘Growth Bump.’ There is no way you can groom young men from a third-rated college into a future manager, a presenter, or a leader.

Look around and you will be surprised to see that every name worth its salt is a product of some top college; Sonal Dabral to Shekhar Kapoor, Mani Rathnam to Prasson Joshi, the list is exhaustive.

Hiring art interns from Design Colleges is half the battle won. Agreed, they are as raw as any other intern but their robust training and rigorous grind of 3–4 years at their colleges makes them the ideal candidate for faster learning and ingestion.

2. Initiate them

Too boxed with work, we get tempted to put the interns immediately On Job. Resist yourself from doing this blunder. Make them learn, understand your work, your brands, your methodology, and expectations. Have a well shattered Induction Program that could last from a week to four. This is an investment and at one fourth the cost of a regular art guy, you can get better ideas and faster execution.

3. Resist Multi-tasking

I sound orthodox but hire people with fixed skill-set. If they have the desire and aptitude, of course, you can let them multi-task but don’t expect a Copywriter to do client servicing and vice versa. Your creative and communication will never get that edge to make you shine. There are times when I get appalled seeing people on a team who can’t even write an email, doing copy.

4. Get Communicators

Time has changed. We live in dynamic times where the scope of interpersonal communication has amplified. If your new team member can’t write an email, can’t present, can’t make a basic deck, you are doomed. The days of 100 people agency is near extinction. I know, I advocate hiring specialists but these specialists need to be communicators. What good is a copywriter if he can’t present his idea, what good is an art guy if he can’t engage with the client on colors, font, the fluidity of design?

5. SOP

There is no short cut to it. With the advent of Social Media, we are in a trifle rush to get the work done. Briefs have become a rarity, and brainstorming rarely happens. This costs your agency like crazy. Fine, the work might happen but you will notice that the Brand Edge will go for a toss and despite your best effort you will not be able to produce Wow work.

Brief puts the perspective right also the expectation.

Also, when the work gets reviewed, with a brief it gets easier. Of course, writing a brief takes time and that is precisely the point. When the servicing guy spends time on a brief, he is clear as to what the need of the hour is. The creative team will also have a better understanding of the delivery.

6. Make them read

A team that does not read, does not grow.

Yes, it is true. With Netflix and other channels, we have stopped reading. Especially, the youngsters are nor reading at all. That seriously impacts their growth and learning. Make a group, start sharing blogs on communication, awards, life, colors, travel, sports, music or anything. Incentivize them. It is an uphill task but with your persistence, they will get into the groove. And if you have a tam that reads, wow.

7. What more?

Start hiring for multi-talented people. A copywriter who can paint or is a poet, an SEO guy who is an avid trekker, social media manager with love for Jazz. Not only this adds more life to the agency but it also reflects in outlook and work.

8. Kill the Boss

Be a leader, a mentor not a boss.

Youngsters hate to be bossed around.

Show them the path and let them embark on the journey, deciphering it for selves.

Don’t try to spoon-feed. It will restrict growth and learning.

And yes, have patience. Remember, the killer Indian cricket team too was not built in a day.

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