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Talent for 2017: React or Plan?

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As a leader in the UK’s creative and marketing industries, you’ll have given a lot of thought to 2017/18. But when Sunday the 1st of January comes crashing down on you, and New Year’s Eve’s Bollinger fades into a hangover, you’ll find yourself in one of two camps.

Camp one, let’s call them the Scouts, with the motto “be prepared” or camp two, not prepared, let’s call them the camp B (B for Brexit) in recognition of having no plan what-so-ever.

The difference between the two camps is, primarily, one has turned anxiety about the future into concrete plans and actions: the Scouts. While camp B folk are simply muddling on and waiting for divine intervention – possibly, to enlighten them with a handy road-map to sustainable profit.

Of course, I sympathise with Camp B; you were just so busy hitting 2016’s numbers, fire-fighting, holding on to clients, coping with massive industry change, and simply shell-shocked from your less-metropolitan neighbours’ vote to Leave. But it’s too late, 2017 will have arrived. And a quick scour of the 2017/18 agency landscape reveals:
• Anxiety and confusion over Brexit in equal measure.
• Wild expectations from clients now expecting to pay only on sales and growth.
• The on-going land-grab from the big groups to provide full services integration.
• Finally, contend with the disruption as usual of digital, big data and omni-channel.

As you can see, tomorrow’s going to be an adventure, and the winners in this environment will be the ones with the best plans and talent on board by 2nd Jan – the Scouts. Naturally, we want our clients to be in the Scouts camp, and for you to gain your ‘Strategy’ badge.

Here are DNA’s top three tips for getting the talent you need to thrive in the face of disruption. Guaranteed to get you talent with clear strategies, heaps of innovation and commercial smarts.

1. Start Planning Now
You need to carve out time now amongst all the short-term goals to plan for 2017/18. Start sketching out the details of your strategy and vision for 2017/18. Develop clear timelines and the talent you’ll need to deliver your agency’s and client’s plans to ensure smooth delivery and commitment with your plans, engage your stakeholders early on.

2. Talent Audit
Once you know the direction of the business, conduct a talent audit of your current team. Review your team for skills, attitude and culture fit, and gauge how they’ll fit into the agency’s plan. Look out for our talent audit e-book later this

3. Define New Roles and Recruit
OK, with your plans carefully crafted, stakeholders onboard and your rigorous talent audit complete, it’s time to define the new roles. Craft clear specs and ground them in your agency’s needs. 

Again, check in with your stakeholders and get their input. Agree on a deadline to fill each new role and develop a recruitment plan with your head-hunters. Finally, bang your agency’s drum in the marketplace, because the best talent will only move to your agency if they like the sound of your music – and it had better be sweet and loud!

Passive Talent
Apologies if I’ve added to your In-tray, but at DNA we know your success depends on harnessing the best talent now. An uncertain future requires solid teams in place for the beginning of Q1. The best talent is passive and will take time to seduce, and with notice periods of three to six months, you could spend a year waiting to fill key roles.

We can help
We’re a dynamic recruitment, search and career consultancy covering agency and client side in London, throughout the UK and around the world.
Recently, we have placed MDs, Client Services Directors, Strategy Directors, and ‘C-suite’ level players across agencies in both the UK and globally. We can help you too. Contact