March 1, 2016 – Freek Grootenboer &samhoud consultancy
The War for Creative Talent
The consultancy market is currently in a state of disruption. Old business models are reaching the limits of their usefulness and are in need of adjustment and/or replacement. The enormous speed of technological advancement, the shift in the global economic relations, the changing needs and demands of customers, plus the demand for new skills and talent are just a few examples of processes that drive the disruption of the market. We will now focus on the war for talent.
A Shortage of Creative Talent
It is nothing new that the scarcity of good, talented people in the labor market will only increase. In a market that changes continuously, with at the same time a population that grows rapidly, and with an aging population in the developed countries, it will become very hard to find the people you need to meet your customers’ needs. It will be even harder to keep them.
A particularly difficult subgroup to engage are creative people. People who are capable to produce ideas. To think ahead and out of the box. People who are able to captivate and inspire others and are capable of coming up with original and innovative solutions.
Why is it so hard to team up with them and to involve them? First of all, they are, as already pointed out, rare. Besides rare, they are also valuable and nowadays most of them are aware of this. This means that, if they are interested in partnering with a professional organization, they will pick the one that offers the most. And as part of the new generation, to the vast majority of them, this will not mean money. Creative people want to work with other creative people. They want to be inspired, to have freedom, responsibility, and possibilities to grow personally. Organizations that are agile, with a good culture and without confining structures. They want a company that has a meaningful impact on the world, one that creates value. In short: creative people will want to work for the coolest companies out there.
Not so cool companies – and the vast majority of them are – will have to pay top dollar for temporary people who are not particularly committed to them and/or their customers.
So what does this mean for all those companies? What is the lesson to be learned? Should they all aim to become cool? Of course it is important for all companies to work on creating a strong and meaningful culture. However, for a lot of organizations even a good culture will not do because, for instance, they are simply too big and complex to make exceptional talent feel at home.
So perhaps buying creativity is the solution – simply buy up small creative companies. However, in many cases, buying a creative company will result in killing creativity because it is absorbed by structures that are not designed to maintain it.
We believe that the answer lies in partnering with creative talent. Working together in a sustainable model (i.e. for a longer period of time), in which both parties keep their independence. This means that you have to learn to be a good partner, how to work together, and to create value together. To the creative talents you have to make clear what you have to offer. This could be, for instance, access to a large audience, execution and/or distribution power, money, etc. In learning to partner with creative talent, traditional organizations should surround themselves with the knowledge and skills they and their clients will increasingly need. As a valued partner, you can develop commitment together, and guarantee continuous quality to your customers.