It Ain’t Easy Being Creative
Austin is known for being a tech hub, with the most startups of any metro area in the country and some of the world’s most well-known brands opening offices here, like Amazon, Google, and Apple. For anyone in the tech industry, Austin is the place to be. But what if your company is looking for a traditionally non-technical person, particularly if you need them in your IT department?
“Creatives,” as we like to call them, are not just being pigeon-holed into marketing departments anymore. Today, because digital talent is now a requirement for most organizations, IT departments are welcoming those with digital marketing skills with open arms. These sought-after skills are precisely what’s needed to take an organization to the next level when it comes to modern customer engagement. Forget the marketing brochures and print advertisements, today’s marketer is all about SEO, social media, big data, AI, mobile apps and high-touch strategies that require creative execution across digital channels.
This puts many IT-driven companies in an unfamiliar position. They’ve relied on IT staffing agencies to help them fill gaps in their technical capabilities, but now, they must hire talent with both technical and creative skills. Digital Marketing Institute said these are some of the most difficult positions to fill, simply because it’s an emerging requirement and those hybrid skills aren’t as commonplace.
Fortunately, there are some staffing agencies in Austin that are versed in both digital and IT staffing, broadening their pool of candidates ahead of the new demand. These agencies can only do so much, however. Sure, they are fantastic at getting to know your company and matching the right person for the job and culture, but there’s plenty your company must do to attract those candidates to your business and then keep them there. After all, they are in high demand. If you want to land one or more of these prized assets to your organization, read on.
Creative Staffing: What Offer Is a Good One?
No matter the position, most people say the salary isn’t always the number one determinant of acceptance. In fact, only 12 percent said salary was an important factor in their job. It matters, don’t get me wrong, but there are plenty of other factors candidates consider before saying “yes” to the offer. If they’ve worked anywhere before, they likely understand that even a great salary can’t make up for a poor working environment with no opportunity for growth. Here’s what counts:
Yes, salary is important, but as we said, it’s not the most important thing candidates consider. Where many organizations fail is knowing the going rate. When it comes to creative staffing, companies must understand these skills are in high demand. Offering the “going rate” may not cut it. Keep in mind, your candidate is in high demand. They’re being wooed by more than just you and it’s a candidate’s market. That’s going to take some Benjamins. You don’t have to go overboard, but you do have to recognize you can’t have the same offer as the next guy. You have to make them raise their eyebrows and take notice.
Working with a creative staffing agency in Austin will give you a leg up on what other companies are offering for the same skills. You don’t have to worry that you’re making a low-ball offer, but you’re also not giving away the farm. Finding that sweet spot is key and unless you have insider knowledge at several IT companies with creative staff, it’s best to let your creative staffing agency share their wisdom.
Benefits in 2019 are not the benefits of 2010. You don’t need ping pong tables and weekly in-office happy hours. Those types of perks may make your office seem “cool,” but they can only go so far. People always have and always will care about their health insurance, 401ks, bonuses and stock equity. Creatives, just like the rest of your staff, are going to want to be taken care of. Be sure your benefits package is up to par with what they expect.
Aren’t sure? Touch base with your digital staffing agency. Again, they keep tabs on plenty of companies around Austin that are similar to yours. They know where candidates are flocking and which companies can’t seem to retain employees. They can help you design a benefits package that doesn’t just check a box but can be used to attract candidates.
The 9-to-5 workday, five days a week, may have been the norm since the 1930s, but it’s not exactly how things are done these days. Gallup found that employees who work remotely, even part of the time, show greater levels of engagement, and 35 percent of them say they’d change jobs to have more flexibility in where they work. Creative staffing can be a bit challenging here. They must often work on specified technology with specific team members, limiting their flexibility to work out of the office. But, simply by offering flexible work hours, you can circumvent some of those challenges.
Perhaps you allow employees to work outside of the office one day a week or shift their office hours a couple of hours forward so they can get their kids to school. Maybe your company can invest in mobile technology that enables them to work from their laptop. By eliminating the rigid workday, you give your candidates optimism that they can have a life while still being productive.
That brings us to work/life balance. People want flexibility, but they also want some personal time off (PTO), paid maternity (and increasingly more paternity) leave. If they can share their responsibilities with other team members, they may not be as stressed or feel so tied to the office. This means you may need to keep on staff employees with similar skill sets. You can either hire these skills or, better yet, give existing employees the opportunity to develop their skills.
Opportunities for Development and Growth
And here we are with opportunities to grow. Few people want to get stuck in a job that leads to nowhere. One poll of nearly 5,000 professionals found the top reason people were looking for a job in 2018 was they were bored and wanted a new challenge. Creative staffing in Austin is ripe with opportunities for growth. Creatives often have incredible ideas and marketing skills. Why not marry those skills with technical skills so they can evolve their talent into the digital age?
Providing training, extended education, shadowing and other opportunities enables IT and creatives to learn things outside of their traditional scope. They can grow their skills and advance in the company. It also gives your organization a priceless gift: employees who have range and depth to bring value beyond their original expected contributions. By hiring within, you also save significant dollars on the candidate search process. It’s a win-win, promising to make a difference when attracting and retaining creative staff.
What’s it like working for your company? What personality does your company have? Every company has one. Startups are notorious for having laid-back atmospheres that focus on free thinking and creativity. Established companies are known for being about hierarchies and protocol. But just like you can’t stereotype people, you can’t label a company just because of its size or tenure.
Companies of all shapes and sizes give off their own, unique vibe. They either foster collaboration or they don’t. They either welcome ideas from every employee or they don’t. Some favor creativity, while others focus on output. Many still work in silos and others focus on cross-department teamwork. Whatever your company culture, own it. Don’t sugar coat it to candidates in the hopes of attracting them. You’ll only end up losing them once you’ve spent the money to onboard them. Speak the truth. There’s a company culture out there for everyone and you want a candidate who will appreciate your unique company culture and work well within the environment.
Selling Yourself to Creatives in Austin
Creative staffing in Austin is competitive. You have to sell yourself perhaps even more than the creatives have to sell themselves to you. That’s why working with a digital staffing agency in Austin, where they know Austin talent and Austin-based companies best, makes sense. They know what’s in Austin, both in terms of job opportunities and open positions. With relationships with many companies looking to blend IT with creative skills, these staffing agencies can help you determine what’s special about your company.
When you understand what it is you have to offer, in terms of salary, benefits, culture and all of the other things mentioned above, you can develop a company persona that helps you sell the package. How are you marketing yourself online, on your website, social sites, mobile apps, and other digital technologies? This will tell a candidate a lot about who you are as a company and how you value digital skills. Creatives, maybe more than any skill set, will be looking.
Is how your company portrays itself in the world going to attract this new crop of digital creatives? Is your company innovating in such a way that candidates are lining up down the street to get the opportunity to work there? Your offers are only part of the package. Your company’s reputation, both in terms of employee satisfaction and innovation, is often what gets a candidate’s attention. Creative staffing agencies can help drive candidates to your open positions, but you won’t get far if your company fails to demonstrate its commitment to forward-thinking in this digital age.
Working with the right agency will give you the insights you need to craft a complete package that will attract and retain creative staff in Austin. They can find you that needle-in-a-haystack, creative-IT hybrid talent to build out your IT team to meet the changing consumer demands. You don’t have to go at this alone. Leave the creative staffing to the experts while you focus on delivering value to the business.