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Attrition, Talent, & Transformation in the Digital Industry Part II

Yesterday Prakash Patel, CEO of Prezence, looked at how and why the new millennial generation of talent in the marketing industry, and doubly so in the digital industry, seems to think that anything longer than 1.5 years in one job is a lifetime. We’ve also seen how this trend, which the industry has been complicit in creating, has affected not only agencies but the industry as a whole.

Now, having pointed out the elephant in the industry, Patel explains why he don’t just see it as a problem, but also an opportunity for the industry to motivate staff, and give them a purpose in their jobs.

What motivates us?

When looking at what satisfies us in a given career, it’s vital to have a job with a purpose that stirs you every day.

I am not being naive as I totally appreciate the value of salary expectations and rewards. And yes, that means being able to do the basic stuff from writing briefs, contacts reports and marketing plans to the more exciting stuff like strategising for a brand, all of which can only come with experience.

Attrition, Talent & Transformation in the Digital Industry: The Elephant in the Room

Prakash Patel, CEO of Prezence, looks at attrition, talent & transformation – the “elephant in the room” – in the marketing industry in this first of a two-part series.

With the emergence of new technologies and mediums, old business models may be defunct. But I can assure you that the old business working ethos is still desperately needed if businesses are to survive in today’s hectic world.

In a career spanning three decades, I have worked full time for only six established companies (including my own company). That basically averages four years per company.

This would have been unthinkable to my father, for whom a job was a job for life. I remember him asking me why I was leaving a perfectly good job, and me responding that it was to ‘pursue a new challenge or opportunity’. We could only make peace by agreeing to disagree.

I guess the same can be true of today’s young working generation, for whom the average time spent at a company is about 1.5 years. To this new generation, anything more than that is a lifetime.

They say ad years are like dog years. I say in digital, it’s that to the power of two.

Don’t get me wrong or think I’m being naïve. It’s great when people move on to pursue new challenges and greater opportunities, or move on when things haven’t worked out. Having said that, the true reasons for this employee churn in the industry aren’t those.

The true reasons are frightening, costly, and challenging.

I ask myself: “Is it the culture? Is it the work? Is it the leadership? Is it even me? Or, perhaps, is it just the new way I need to accept, like my father had to, with my generation?”

This alarming attrition rate is something others and I have never witnessed before. Although it’s making a few astute head-hunters very rich, I feel it’s holding back our potential as an industry. And although we don’t discuss it in public, I’m going to lay it bare.

In spite of the many great things we at Prezence do for our team: paying well, treating employees fairly, encouraging innovation, having company-sponsored lunches twice a week, and allocating the last Friday of each month to invite guest speakers to inspire and mingle with – last year we had an attrition rate that ran into double digits.

By the way, these are perks most players in the industry provide to their teams. The question then remains: Why the attrition rate?

Management changes at AVATAR

AVATAR celebrates its fifth birthday this year with co-founder, Zibusiso Mkhwanazi, stepping down as agency CEO to take on a bigger role as group CEO of AVATAR Investment Holdings (AIH) and the AVATAR360 Group, which owns AVATAR Johannesburg and Cape Town. Co-founder, Veli Ngubane, will continue at the helm of the creative department. Growth The […]