Before launching we.people, Cassie Sack's career has seen her work with top level management inside network agencies and independents, most recently as the people and development director of creative hotshop The Works (Sydney) and as the national human resources manager of Whybin\TBWA Group Australia.
Here, Sacks sheds light on what brings people together and more importantly, what keeps them there in her five key steps to retaining talent.
"There is less talent out there with more options. Yet they are increasingly important to the success of your company, both financially and for the quality of your agency's work. So what can you do?"
1. Above all, you have to live the belief that this issue is of vital importance in your job. It’s a mindset more than a list of things to do. If you are responsible for people, it is part of everything you do to make those people as good as they can be in their jobs. You have to spend your time thinking about them and their needs, not about you and your needs.
2. Second, you have to work out what your people want from their jobs. A recent survey confirmed the commonly held belief that great talent want exciting challenges and great development opportunities first. They want to work in a successful company with great leaders. They want an open and trusting environment, which sets and upholds high standards. And they want to get a good crack at decent money. Money alone cannot make anyone stay or do anything, but it needs to be in the right range. Pay them enough to take the money conversation off the table.
3. Next, you need to make sure you recruit well. Not just people who can do a job, but people who can be really great in what they do and who can contribute to the development of the wider company. Too often we hire people to fill gaps based simply on whether they have the ability to do a job and are okay as people. We must be more ruthless and only hire talent with the right attitudes and ideas, as well as the skills to do a job. We need talent who can make a difference to how we do, what we do, and who will fit in long term to our teams, at all levels.
4. When you hire this talent, they need to be properly developed. Stretch people. Coach people. Develop careers. Get them close to the company through mentoring. Make sure they get the skills training they need. Make sure they know where they stand in the company and how they are doing.
5. Finally, be active in managing the mix of people. Reward those who fit well, who build the culture, who set standards for our work and who are productive. Support those at the middle levels who can be important contributors or who can step up. Remove those who will not make it. It hurts everyone to keep people who are not up to standard or those who undermine the culture.